EXT. THE SCOTTISH COUNTRYSIDE – DAY
Epic beauty: cobalt mountains beneath a glowering purple sky
fringed with pink, as if the clouds were a lid too small for
the earth; a cascading landscape of boulders shrouded in
deep green grass; and the blue lochs, reflecting the sky. We
hear a voice, husky, Scottish…
I will tell you of William Wallace.
EXT. MACANDREWS FARM – DAY
A farmhouse and a large barn lie nestled in a Scottish valley.
Riding down the roads that lead in from opposite sides are
Scottish noblemen in full regalia: eye-popping tartans,
sparkling chestplates. Even the horses are draped in scarlet.
Behind each nobleman rides a single page boy.
Historians from England will say I
am a liar. But history is written by
those who have hung heroes.
Another noble rides in from the opposite side. Two more appear
down the road, converging on the barn.
The King of Scotland had died without
a son, and the king of England, a
cruel pagan known as Edward the
Longshanks, claimed the throne for
himself. Scotland’s nobles fought
him, and fought each other, over the
crown. So Longshanks invited them to
talks of truce. No weapons, one page
The nobles eye each other cautiously, but the truce holds.
They enter the barn, with their pages…
EXT. SCOTTISH FARM – DAY
Nestled in emerald hills are the thatched roof house and
barn and outbuildings of a well-run farm. The farmer, MALCOLM
WALLACE, and his nineteen-year-old son JOHN, both strong,
tough men, are riding away from the farm. They hear hooves
behind them and turn to see a boy riding after them.
Among the farmers of that shire was
Malcolm Wallace, a commoner, with
his own lands and two sons: John…
We FAVOR JOHN WALLACE, the nineteen-year-old sitting easily
on his horse, beside his father…
WILLIAM, a skinny eight-year-old riding bareback, catches up
to his father and older brother.
Told ya to stay.
I finished my chores. Where we goin’?
MacAndrews’. He was supposed to visit
when the truce was over.
They ride on, over the lush hills.
EXT. THE MACANDREWS FARM – DAY
The horses are all gone; the place looks deserted. UP ON THE
HILL we see the three Wallaces, looking down.
He means William. He and his elder son spur their horses.
AT THE BARN – DAY
The Wallaces ride up, looking around.
Malcolm finds a pitchfork, John the woodpile axe…
INT. THE BARN
POV from within as the door opens and a widening block of
sunlight illuminates the dusty shadows. Malcolm and John
Wallace step in, and are shocked to see…
POV THE WALLACES
Hanging from the rafters of the barn are thirty Scottish
noblemen and thirty pages, their faces purple and contorted
by the strangulation hanging, their tongues protruding.
Malcolm stabs the pitchfork into the ground in useless anger;
John still grips the axe as he follows his father through
the hanging bodies of the noblemen to the back row, to see
the one man in commoner’s dress, like theirs…
A SHUFFLE; John spins; William has entered the back door.
William! Get out of here!
Why would MacAndrews make so many
Before his father and brother can think of anything to say,
William, with a boy’s curiosity, touches the spurred foot of
the hanged noblemen we first saw riding in. It’s too solid;
he takes a real look at the face, and suddenly —
R — real!!!… Ahhhhhgggg!…
He turns to run, but knocks back into the feet of the hanged
man behind him! In blind panic he darts in another direction,
and runs into another corpse, and another; the hanged men
begin to swing, making it harder for William’s father and
older brother to fight their way to him.
Then, worst of all, William sees the pages, boys like himself,
hanged in a row behind their masters!
Finally his father and brother reach William and hug him
tight. There in the barn, among the swinging bodies of the
hanged nobles, Malcolm Wallace grips his sons.
Murderin’ English bastards.
EXT. WALLACE FARMHOUSE – NIGHT
The cottage looks peaceful, the windows glowing yellow into
the night. From outside the house we see John rise and close
the shutters of the kitchen, where men are gathered. We PAN
UP to the upper bedroom window…
INSIDE THAT BEDROOM
Young William is in nightmarish sleep. He mumbles in smothered
terror; he twitches. We see
In the blue-grays of his dream, William stands at the door
of the barn, gazing at the hanged knights. We WHIP PAN to
their faces, garish, horrible… Then one of the heads moves
and its eyes open! William wants to run, but he can’t get
his body to respond… and the hanging nobleman, his bloated
tongue still bursting through his lips, moans…
WILLIAM tears himself from sleep; looking around, swallowing
back his tears and panic.
IN THE KITCHEN
A dozen strong, tough farmers have huddled. Red-headed
CAMPBELL, scarred and missing fingers, is stirred up, while
his friend MacCLANNOUGH is reluctant.
Wallace is right! We fight ’em!
Every nobleman who had any will to
fight was at that meeting.
So it’s up to us! We show them we
won’t lie down to be their slaves!
We can’t beat an army, not with the
fifty farmers we can raise!
We don’t have to beat ’em, just fight
’em. To show ’em we’re not dogs, but
Young Wallace has snuck down and is eavesdropping from the
stairs. He sees his father drip his finger into a jug of
whiskey and use the wet finger to draw on the tabletop.
They have a camp here. We attack
them at sunset tomorrow. Give us all
night to run home.
EXT. WALLACE FARM – DAY
Malcolm and John have saddled horses; they are checking the
short swords they’ve tucked into grain sacks when William
comes out of the barn with his own horse.
William, you’re staying here.
I can fight.
These words from his youngest son make Malcolm pause, and
kneel, to look into William’s eyes.
Aye. But it’s our wits that make us
men. I love ya, boy. You stay.
Malcolm and John mount their horses and ride away, leaving
William looking forlorn. They wave; he waves back.
EXT SCOTTISH HILLS, NEAR THE WALLACE FARM – DAY
It’s strangely quiet, until William and his friend HAMISH
CAMPBELL, a red-headed like his father, race up the hillside
and duck in among a grove of trees. Breathless, gasping,
they press their backs to the tree bark. William peers around
a tree, then shrinks back and whispers…
Three, maybe more!
They’re English soldiers, ain’t they?
With your father and brother gone,
they’ll kill us and burn the farm!
It’s up to us, Hamish!
Hamish leans forward for a look, but William pulls him back.
Not yet! Here he comes, be ready!
They wait; heavy FOOTSTEPS. Then from around the edge of the
grove three enormous, ugly hogs appear. The boys hurling
rotten eggs. The eggs slap the snouts of the pigs, who scatter
as the boys charge, howling. We PULL BACK… as the sun goes
down on their play.
EXT. THE WALLACE HOUSE – SUNDOWN
The boys walk toward the house, beneath a lavender sky.
Wanna stay with me tonight?
I wanna have supper waitin’.
We’ll get those English pigs tomorrow.
Aye, we’ll get ’em.
EXT. HOUSE – NIGHT
William’s face appears at the window, looking toward
THE DISTANT HILLS
of trees and heather, where there is no sign of life.
INT. THE HOUSE – NIGHT
William has cooked stew in a pot, and now spoons up two
steaming bowls full and sets them out on the table. But he
is only hoping. He looks out the window again; he is still
all alone. So he leaves a candle burning on the table beside
the stew, and moves up the stairs.
EXT. FARMHOUSE – DAWN
The house is silent, fog rolling around it in the dawn.
INT. FARMHOUSE – DAWN
William has been awake all night, afraid to sleep. He rises,
and in QUICK CUTS: he dresses; he moves down the hall, stops
at the door of his father’s bedroom and sees the undisturbed
bed. He moves on, passing the door of his brother’s room,
IN THE KITCHEN
He finds the two cold bowls of stew, beside the exhausted
candle. He spoons up his own cold porridge, and eats alone.
EXT. HOUSE – DAY
William is in the barn loft, shoveling corn down to feed the
hogs, while he glimpses something coming.
THE BOY’S POV
An ox cart is coming down the curving lane. Its driver is
Campbell, with MacClannough walking behind it. The farmers
glance up at William, their faces grim…
From his perch in the loft, William sees that the neighbors
have brought: the bodies of his father and brother. The cart
stops; Campbell, with a bandage around his left hand where
more of his fingers are now missing, studies the back of the
ox, as if it could tell him how to break such news. The butt
of the ox seems to tell him to be matter-of-fact.
William… Come down here, lad.
William looks away, he takes quick breaths, he looks back…
but the bodies are still there.
EXT. HOUSE – DAY
It’s now surrounded by horses, wagons, and neighbors. The
undertaker arrives in his hearse.
INT. THE SHED – DAY
On a table the undertaker has laid out the bodies and is
preparing them. Cloths around the lower jaw and top of the
head bind their mouths shut; pennies cover their eyes.
Softly, William enters the shed, drawn to his father and
brother. Campbell follows him in, wanting to stop him — but
what can he say now? The undertaker goes on with his work.
William approaches the table; the bodies don’t look real to
him. He sees the wounds. The dried blood.
The undertake pours water from a bowl and scrubs off the
blood. But the wounds remain.
EXT. GRAVESIDE – DAY
CLOSE on a grave, with a headstone marked ANNE WALLACE. We
INCLUDE the two new graves freshly dug beside it, and see
the mourners gathered before them. The sight of the boy,
standing alone in front of the graves of his dead mother, as
the bodies of his father and brother are lowered with ropes
into the ground beside her, has all of the neighbors shaken.
The local parish PRIEST drones mechanically in Latin.
The farmers who were secretly gathered in Malcolm Wallace’s
kitchen the previous night are now glancing at William; but
no one is anxious to adopt a grieving, a rebellious boy.
Behind MacClannough are his wife and two daughters; his
youngest is barely four, not half William’s age; she’s a
beautiful girl with long auburn hair, and she clings to her
own mother’s hand, as if the open graves are the mouths of
death and might suck her parents in too.
…Restare in pacem eternis, Amen.
With the final Amen, the neighbors drift from the graveside,
pulling their Children along, to give William a last moment
of private grief before the grave diggers cover the bodies.
The boy stands alone over the open graves, his heart so
shattered that he can scarcely cry; a single tear makes its
way down his face. And the tiny girl feels for William in a
way that the adults cannot. From the ground she pulls a
Scottish thistle, moves to the softly weeping William and
places the beautiful wild blossom in his hand.
William looks up and their young eyes meet; her sad blue
eyes hold William’s as the grave diggers cover the bodies.
Then a lone, mounted figure appears at the crest of the hill
above them. Tall, thin and angular, in black clerical garb,
he looks like the grim reaper.
The girl hurries back to her mother’s side; everyone watches
in silence as the figure rides down to them. He is ARGYLE
WALLACE. He looks like a human buzzard, his face craggy,
You must be the relative of the
deceased… William, this is your
Argyle glowers at the man, dismounts, and glares at William.
William stares up at this frightening figure. They are
interrupted by the ominous sound of approaching horses; a
dozen mounted English soldiers, armed with lances, are
approaching. Argyle rattles to the priest…
You were wise to hurry.
The soldiers ride right in among the mourners and stare down
from their saddles, haughty, menacing, their LEADER brusque.
Someone dead from this household?
We just had a funeral, isn’t that
what it means in England as well?
What it means in England — and in
Scotland too — is that rebels have
forfeited their lands. We were
ambushed last night. But the Scots
dragged their dead away.
My brother and nephew perished two
days ago, when their hay cart turned
Then we’ll just have a peek at the
(to his men)
Dig ’em up!
They’ve been sanctified and buried
in the holy rites of God’s church,
and any hand that disturbs them now
takes on eternal damnation. So please —
Outmaneuvered, the leader reins his horse away. Several of
the farmers spit on the ground. Argyle glares at them.
Funeral’s over. Go home.
INT. THE KITCHEN – NIGHT
William and Argyle are sitting at the table, eating. Argyle
has laid out a proper meal, with exact place settings.
Not that spoon, that one’s for soup.
Dip away from you. And don’t slurp.
Argyle sits down and begins to dine with the boy.
We’ll sleep here tonight. You’ll
come home with me. We’ll let the
house, and the lands too; plenty of
I don’t want to leave.
Didn’t want your father to die either,
did ya? But it happened.
Argyle pushes his food away; he has no appetite now.
Did the priest say anything about
the Resurrection? Or was it all about
It was in Latin, sir.
Non loquis Latinum? You don’t speak
Latin? We have to fix that, won’t
Did he give the poetic benediction?
The Lord bless thee and keep thee?
Patris Benefactum et —
…It was Malcolm’s favorite.
INT. WILLIAM’S BEDROOM – NIGHT
Argyle knows nothing about tucking a boy in bed; he stands
awkwardly idle as William scrubs his face at the washstand
and crawls into bed.
Good night, Uncle.
Argyle grunts and starts out. Then he stops, turns back,
leans down over William… and with great tenderness the
grizzled old uncle kisses his nephew on his hair.
INT. THE KITCHEN – NIGHT
Argyle sits by the hearth, staring at the embers. He holds
the huge broadsword that belonged to his brother. He looks
at the handle, like a cross. He whispers…
“The Lord bless thee and keep thee…”
Tears of grief spill down the old man’s cheeks.
INT. THE HANGING BARN – IN WILLIAM’S DREAM
Once again the boy stands in the doorway of the barn, looking
at the garish, hanged faces in his nightmare. Then a mangled
hand comes from behind him and grasps his shoulder, William
gasps, but the hand holds him gently. He turns to see his
father, and his brother! They are wounded, bloody, but they
smile at him; they’re alive! Weeping in joy, William reaches
to hug them, but his father stretches forth a forbidding
William keeps reaching out helplessly. His father and brother
move past him to the hanged knights. Two empty nooses are
there. Before the boy’s weeping eyes they put their heads
into the nooses, and hoist themselves up.
William’s grief explodes; his tears erupt and
HE WAKES IN HIS BEDROOM
tears flooding down his face. A dream! Still upset, still
grieving, he gets up and goes looking for his uncle.
INT. HOUSE – NIGHT
William moves down to the room where his uncle would be
sleeping. He opens the door. The bed has been slept in —
but his uncle is not there. He moves downstairs to
But his uncle is not there either. Then William hears a
strange, haunting sound-distant, carried by the wind. He
moves to the window and sees only moonlight. He opens the
window and hears it more clearly: bagpipes. William lights a
candle and throws open the door. Wind rushes in, blowing out
his candle. But he hears the pipes, louder in the wind.
EXT. WALLACE HOUSE – NIGHT
William is barefoot and in only his nightshirt; but the sound
of the pipes is growing louder. He moves through the
moonlight, drawn toward — the graveyard! He stops as he
realizes this, then forces himself on.
EXT. GRAVEYARD – NIGHT
William moves to the top of the hill where his ancestors are
buried, and discovers a haunting scene: two dozen men, the
farmer/warriors of his neighborhood, are gathered in kilts —
and among them, a core of bagpipers. The pipes wail an ancient
Scottish dirge, a tune of grief and redemption, a melody
known to us as “Amazing Grace.” Uncle Argyle has heard them
and walked out too; he stands at the fringes of the
torchlight, still holding the massive broadsword. He glances
down, noticing William as the boy moves up beside him. William
What are they doing?
Saying goodbye in their own way —
in outlawed tartans, with outlawed
pipes, playing outlawed tunes.
The farmers file by the graveside, crossing themselves, each
whispering his own private prayer. Argyle whispers, half to
William, and half to himself…
Your Daddy and I, we saw our own
father buried like this, dead from
fighting the English.
William takes the sword from his uncle, and tries to lift
Slowly, Argyle takes the sword back.
First learn to use this.
He taps William on the temple with the tip of his finger.
Then I will teach you to use this.
With an expert’s easy fluidity, he lifts the huge sword. It
glistens in the torchlight. The music plays, the notes hanging
in the air, swirling in the Scottish breeze as if rising
towards the stars…
EXT. WALLACE FARM – DAY
William and his uncle ride off in a farm wagon. William has
a bundle of clothes in his lap, and glances at his uncle as
if afraid of his disapproval if he looks back. But he does
glance back just once, to see the deserted farmhouse.
INT. WESTMINSTER ABBEY – ROYAL WEDDING – DAY
Amid the scarlet and ermine robes of officiating lords, with
gemstones sparkling everywhere, we hear…
Twelve years later, Longshanks
supervised the wedding of his eldest
son, also named Edward, who would
succeed him to the throne.
LONGSHANKS, King of England, stands in the jeweled light of
the ancient Abbey. Known as Longshanks because of the spindly
legs that make him almost seven feet tall, he has a hawk’s
nose and a snake’s eyes, punctuating a face of distinct
cruelty. Historians of his day considered him and the line
of Plantagenets from which he came to be devil worshipers.
As bride for his son, Longshanks had
chosen a relative of his rival, the
king of France.
GENEVIEVE, a nineteen-year-old virgin of stupendous beauty
moves down the aisle, the light in her face outshining her
blindingly white wedding gown. As she reaches the altar her
hands tremble, but she maintains her poise and control.
She looks toward EDWARD, Prince of Wales. Pampered young men
surround him as his retinue. He takes her hand coldly and
goes through the ceremony under his father’s stare.
It was widely whispered that for the
Princess to conceive, Longshanks
would have to do the honors himself.
That may have been what he had in
mind all along.
The ceremony concluding, attendants lift back the bride’s
veil. Her wedding day, the ultimate moment — and Prince
Edward ignores her, to turn back to his friends. But prompted
by one of the sour lords, he leans over and pecks his new
Princess on the cheek. For an instant, we see in her eyes
that her heart is dying. But she keeps her poise.
Having seen to his obligations to
provide for a successor, Longshanks
set about his fondest business — to
crush Scotland, and turn his power
CLOSE – A MAP OF THE BRITISH ISLES
Longshanks’ narrow finger jabs Scotland.
We are in the —
INT. ROYAL ENGLISH PALACE – DAY
Longshanks is being listened to by his advisors, all in the
outrageous splendor of royal military dress, and all deathly
afraid of him.
The French will grovel to anyone
with strength! But how will they
credit our strength when we cannot
rule the whole of our own island?!
He punches the map, then sees the Princess enter softly.
Where is my son?
Your pardon, M’lord, he asked me to
come in his stead.
Longshanks’ eyes expand in fury; it is frightening to see.
I sent for him — and the little
coward send you?!
Shall I leave, M’lord?
If he wants his queen to rule, then
you stay and learn how! I will deal
He spins back toward his generals. Ignored, the princess
settles silently onto the cushions of the window seat.
Nobles are the key to the Scottish
door. Grant their nobles land here
in England. Give our own nobles
estates in the north. Make them too
greedy to oppose us.
One OLD ADVISOR speaks up hesitantly.
Sire… Our nobles will be reluctant
to relocate. New lands mean new taxes,
and they are taxed already for our
war in France.
Longshanks glares at him, but takes the point. The wheels
grind in his brain; his dark eyes falling on the Princess,
he is inspired.
Perhaps it’s time to reinstitute an
old custom. Grant them prima noctes,
“First night.” When any common girl
inhabiting their lands is married,
our lords shall have sexual rights
to her on the night of her wedding.
That should fetch just the kind of
lords we want in Scotland.
INT. PRINCE EDWARD’S ROYAL APARTMENTS – DAY
The prince and a muscular young friend, PHILLIP, are stripped
to the waist and fencing. They pay no attention to the
KNOCK, or to the Princess as she enters. She watches them —
they are dancing more than fencing. Edward loses his sword;
it clatters to the polished floor. He looks up at his wife,
as if angry at her for having seen his clumsiness.
What is it?!
You directed me to report to you the
moment the king’s conference was
So I did! And what was so important
Scotland. He intends —
But Edward and his friend are fencing again, the clanging of
their blunted swords so loud that she can’t hear herself.
He intends to grant —
Edward loses his weapon again, and whirls on her.
Shut up, would you! How can I
…His majesty was quite keen that
you should understand —
All so very boring! He wants me to
learn to fight too, so let me do it!
For an instant, anger flares into her eyes. She glances at
Edward, and at the young man with him, then lowers her eyes
and starts to back out. But Edward has noticed.
She stops, but does not raise her eyes.
Do you disapprove of Phillip?
He lifts his hand and draws his friend Phillip to his side.
Still the Princess does not lift her eyes.
Look at me. I said LOOK AT ME!
She lifts her eyes. But she could not brace herself enough
for what she sees: Edward nuzzling Phillip, the prince’s
bare chest to his muscular friend’s bare back, both men
glistening with sweat and sexual excitement.
The Princess’s eyes quiver… but she does not look away.
Now, my flower, do you understand?
Yes. I had thought that… I was
loathsome to you. Perhaps I am. If I
may be excused, M’lord.
She starts to leave, as quietly as she came. But her husband
calls after her.
Don’t worry, m’Lady, it is my royal
responsibility to breed. And I assure
you, when the time comes, I shall…
She closes the door softly, on her husband and his lover.
Now in Edinburgh were gathered the
council of Scottish nobles…
ESTABLISHING COUNCIL – DAY
The picturesque heart of Scotland, with its CASTLE on a fairy
tale plateau above the Firth of Forth.
INT. EDINBURGH CASTLE – DAY
The nobles are gathered around a huge table. They rise at
the entrance of young ROBERT THE BRUCE, a handsome young
man, full of intelligence and power.
Among these was Robert, the 17th
Earl of Bruce, a leading contender
for the crown of Scotland.
Robert strides to his seat in the center of the table, and
the others settle in respectfully. MORNAY, another young
warrior, gives him a bow, as does CRAIG, a grizzled noble.
Young Robert, we are honored —
My father hears that Longshanks has
granted prima noctes.
Clearly meant to draw more of his
The Balliol clan has endorsed the
right, licking Longshanks’ boots so
he will support their claim to the
throne. If we make a show of
opposition, the commoners will favor
It is too soon to step out alone. My
father believes we must lull
Longshanks into confidence, by neither
supporting his decree nor opposing
A wise plan. And how is your father?
We have missed him at the council.
He strained his leg so that it pains
him to ride. But he sends his
greetings — and says that I speak
for all the Bruces. And for Scotland.
EXT. SCOTTISH VILLAGE, AT THE EDGE OF TOWN – DAY
Flutes and dancing; laughter and garlands; village families
have gathered for a wedding celebration — we see the happy
bride and groom. Farmers cart in fresh bread and hoops of
cheese; villagers arrive with casks of beer or strings of
And watching the people are ubiquitous English soldiers,
battlescarred veterans with missing eyes and ears.
Riding along the road comes William Wallace. Grown now, a
man. He sits his horse as if born there, his back straight,
his hands relaxed on the reins. He has a look of lean, rippled
power. He looks dangerous.
And the soldiers notice him, nudging each other as he passes.
He carries a dead wild goose hanging across his saddle; he
stops his horse at the edge of the clearing and surveys the
scene. Farmers are roasting a pig; women are comparing
handiwork; young men are tossing huge stones in the
traditional Highland games — and everyone is noticing
William’s arrival, especially the farm women with daughters
of marriageable age.
Among those watching William arrive is Campbell, grown older
now; and with his old rebel friend, MacClannough. William
dismounts and ties his horse to a willow. One of the English
SOLDIERS shoves William from behind.
Hey boy! You hunt this bird?
William’s eyes fix themselves on the soldier.
It’s against the law for Scots to
own bows. You shot this bird?
His buddies, enjoying their role as intimidators, grab the
bird and begin to search it for evidence.
I hit it in the head. With a rock.
They don’t believe that — but they can’t find any puncture
wound on the bird. William reaches his hand out for the return
of the bird. The soldiers drop it onto the ground.
Slowly, William picks it up, and heads into the clearing.
The farmers watch him come.
Among those noticing William’s arrival, but pretending not
to, is MARION MacCLANNOUGH, grown now into a stunning young
woman; her long auburn hair reminds us of those years long
ago; she wears it the same way, straight and full down her
back. Her dress is plain, like the grass that surrounds a
wildflower. She’s the most beautiful girl in the village,
maybe in all of Scotland, and the soldiers who hassled William
notice her too.
William reaches the food table and contributes his goose to
the feast. FARM WOMEN eye him; he nodes to one.
Miz MacDougal. You look well.
…William? It’s William Wallace,
back home! — Have you met my
The daughter mentioned is missing teeth. William nods to
her. It’s impossible for him to giver her a smile as bright
as her hopes, and she lowers her head in disappointment. But
then raises her face in surprise as William takes her hand
and gives her a respectful bow.
He moves away from the table, passing through the crowd like
a stranger. Then he glances toward the knot of girls. He
sees Marion. She sees him, then looks away. Do they remember
each other? He moves toward her; she is shy, her eyes
downcast, but then she raises them and looks at him.
They move closer and closer together. Just as they are about
to reach each other, a huge round stone THUMPS to the earth
at Williams’ feet.
He looks up to see one of Marion’s suitors — the broad,
muscled young man who has just tossed the stone in William’s
way. Now everybody’s looking to see how William will handle
the challenge. He tries to move around, but the guy cuts him
off. Then William thinks he recognizes the big red-head.
It is his old friend, but Hamish won’t admit it, or be put
off from the challenge. He points to the huge stone.
Test of manhood.
Call it a test of soldiery, then.
The English won’t let us train with
weapons, so we train with stones.
The test of a soldier is not in his
arm. It’s here.
He taps his temple. Hamish stretches out his hand, as if to
show William something in his palm.
No. It’s here.
With a sudden movement, he slams his fist into William’s
jaw, dropping him. A few men move to interfere, but Campbell,
MacClannough, and the other farmers who are the true leaders
here, stop their neighbors from interrupting. Hamish stands
over William, waiting for him to get up.
A contest, then.
William stands and hoists the huge stone, eighteen inches in
diameter. Straining with the effort, he lugs the stone to
the line scratched in the rocky field. Beyond the line are
the muddy dents from previous tosses. William takes a run
and heaves the stone. It flies past the other marks in the
field; people are impressed. William looks at Hamish.
I still say this is no test. A
catapult can throw a stone farther
than a man can.
That depends on the man.
Hamish walks out, lifts the stone, and lugs it back to the
line. He takes a run and heaves with a great groan! The stone
flies, passing William’s mark by a couple of feet.
People laugh and whistle. William nods, impressed.
Can you do it when it matters? As it
matters in battle? Could you crush a
man with that throw?
I could crush you like a roach.
William walks to the dent made by Hamish’s throw.
Then do it. Come, do it.
Hamish scowls at William, at everybody watching. He lifts
the stone and carries it back to the line. William stands
calmly. Hamish backs up for his run. William yawns.
I will not.
Hamish backs up a few more feet, for a longer run.
That’s not fair!
He’s tired, he should get a longer
William seems completely unafraid. He leans down, picks up a
small smooth stone and tosses it up in the air casually.
Stung by this show of calm, Hamish takes furious run, and
heaves! The stone flies through the air, just misses William’s
head, and buries itself halfway into the earth behind him.
William never flinches. The people cheer.
Hamish is miffed; it’s like William won.
I threw longer than last time!
An ox is strong, but not clever.
An ox is stupid enough to just stand
in one place.
That’s not the point.
William turns, walks double the distance Hamish threw, and
turns and hurls the rock he holds! It whistles through the
air, hits Hamish in the forehead, and drops him like a shot.
Everybody cheers and laughs! They surround William.
A fine display, young Wallace!
William takes a tankard of ale from a farmer, walks over and
tosses the cold liquid into Hamish’s face; he wakes, and,
his eyes uncrossing, accepts William’s hand, pulling him up.
Good to see you again.
I should’a remembered the eggs.
Grinning, they embrace. MUSIC plays, the dancing begins.
William walks to the knot of young ladies… but passes
Marion, and moves to the girl with the missing teeth.
Would you honor me with a dance?
She’s thrilled to accept; they begin to dance.
You’ve taken over your father’s farm?
They say he died long ago. Fighting
He died in an accident, with my
brother. Their cart turned over.
The musicians interrupt their playing; a group of heavily
armed horsemen, with banners and flying colors, ride up,
reining their horses into the middle of the celebration. In
the middle of the group is an English NOBLEMAN; he is gray,
in his fifties, and stops in front of the BRIDE and groom.
I have come to claim the right of
prima noctes. As the lord of these
lands, I will bless this marriage by
taking the bride into my bed on the
first night of her union.
Stewart, father of the BRIDE, lunges forward.
No, by God!
The horsemen point their lances at the unarmed Scots — who
see that the English soldiers from the village have moved to
the edge of the gathering, as if to dare any resistance.
It is my noble right.
Even unarmed, Stewart is about to attack — but the bride
intervenes. She grabs her father and whispers to him. She
moves to her husband and does the same. Holding back tears,
she allows herself to be pulled up behind one of the horsemen.
Marion MacClannough is looking on, sobered by her friend’s
courage and sickened by her fate — and Marion is even more
unsettled as she notices that one of the soldiers, a
particularly nasty looking brute with a scarred face, is
leering at her. William Wallace sees this too.
The noble and his escorts ride away, and as they do it begins
to rain. The celebration destroyed, the Scots gather the
food and disperse to their homes. But Wallace remains,
standing in the downpour, keeping his thoughts to himself.
EXT. THE WALLACE FARMHOUSE – MAGIC HOUR
The farmhouse looks lonely and forlorn. William stands at
the open door, and gazes out at the rain; it leaks on him,
through his roof; he doesn’t seem to notice.
EXT. THE MACCLANNOUGH HOUSE – MAGIC HOUR
A thatched cottage, lit with a cozy fire, beneath the rain.
A hand KNOCKS on the door, and MacClannough opens it to find
William, on a horse! MacClannough frowns.
Good evening, sir. May I speak with
Mrs. MacClannough shoulders up beside her husband, and Marion
appears behind her scowling parents.
Marion… Would you like to go for a
ride on this fine evening?
The boy’s insane!
It’s good Scottish weather, Madam,
the rain is fallin’ straight down.
She absolutely may not, she’ll —
Marion has grabbed a cloak off the back of the door; she
runs out to hop up behind William, and they gallop away.
THE RIDE – MAGIC HOUR
William and Marion race along the heather, up and down hills,
through swollen streams. The rain stops, as the sun sets;
the Scottish mists lift, revealing stunning natural beauty.
William stops the horse and they look out over it all
together. He speaks, without turning to face her.
Your father doesn’t like me, does
It’s not you. He dislikes that you’re
a Wallace. He just says… the
Wallaces don’t seem to live for very
Thank you for accepting.
Thank you for inviting.
I’ll invite you again, but your mother
thinks I’m crazy.
You are. And I’ll come again.
He lingers; he wants to say something, or maybe he just
doesn’t want the moment to end. Finally he spurs the horse.
EXT. THE MACCLANNOUGH HOUSE – NIGHT
They reach the door. William hops off the horse and reaches
up to help her down the moment she touches the ground, they
look into each other’s eyes… but the door is snatched open
so quickly by her mother that there is not time for a kiss.
Marion, come in!
He walks her closer to the door. They turn and look at each
other again. She waits for him to kiss her…
Marion, come in!
She still hesitates; he isn’t going to kiss her. She starts
in, but he grabs her hand. And into it he puts something he
has taken from his pocket; it is wrapped in flannel. He hops
on his horse, glances at her, and gallops away.
She stands in the open doorway; she looks down at what he
left her. She unwraps the flannel; it is a dried thistle,
the one she gave him years before.
EXT. WALLACE FARM – DAY
William is re-thatching the roof of his barn, when he hears
riders approaching, and looks down to see that it is
MacClannough, backed by Campbell and Hamish. Uh-oh.
Young Wallace —
Sir, I know it was strange of me to
invite Marion to ride last night. I
assure you, I —
MacClannough’s daughter is another
matter. We come to fetch you to a
What kind of meeting?
The secret kind.
William goes back to repairing his roof.
Your father was a fighter. And a
I know who my father was. I came
back home to raise crops. And, God
willing, a family. If I can live in
peace, I will.
Campbell shakes his head and reins his horse away, with
Hamish. MacClannough lingers.
If you can keep your intention to
stay out of the troubles, you may
court my daughter. If you break your
intention, I’ll kill you.
MacClannough rides away. William sits down on the roof, and
looks out at the graves of his father and brother.
EXT. MACCLANNOUGH HOUSE – NIGHT
Outside the half-timbered house, William stands in the shadows
of moonlight and tosses a pebble against the wooden upper
window. Marion opens the shutters and slips out onto the
vines, dropping into William’s arms.
Giggling, suppressing laughter, they run to the trees…
SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS – NIGHT
Hand in hand through the heather they run, silhouettes along
a ridge, their breath blowing silver clouds in the moonlight,
the Scottish wind whipping through their hair.
They stop at a grove at the edge of a precipice, overlooking
a loch gleaming in the moonlight. So beautiful it’s sacred.
You’ve been here before?
Some nights. I have dreams. Mostly
dreams I don’t want. I started riding
at night to fill up my mind so that
when I did sleep I’d dream only of
the ride and the adventure.
Did it work?
No. You don’t choose your dreams.
Your dreams choose you.
He looks at her. They kiss suddenly, so long and hard that
they tumble into the heather, rolling, devouring each other.
Through their passion…
I want… to marry you!
I… accept your proposal!
I’m not just saying it!
But I won’t give you up to any
You scare me.
I don’t want to scare you. I want to
be yours, and you mine. Every night
like this one.
This night is too beautiful to have
I will be with you, like this.
They kiss again…
EXT. LANARK VILLAGE – DAY
Marion moves through the market. English soldiers admire her
as she walks. She stops, looking at white lace and cloth.
William casually passes, poking a note in her basket. Subtly
she withdraws his note, and reads:
INSERT – HIS NOTE
Tonight. By the trees.
EXT. MARION’S HOUSE – NIGHT
Marion slips out of the house and runs to the trees, where
William waits with horses. She fetches a bundle she’s stashed
in the crook of a tree, and they mount and ride off.
EXT. RUINS OF AN ANCIENT CHURCH – NIGHT
The church is at the base of the precipice, beside the loch.
INT. THE CHURCH – NIGHT
This ancient Gaelic place of worship has been destroyed by
the occupying army, and yet it looks devoutly holy this way,
lit only by candles and moonlight through the open roof. The
village PRIEST whom we saw at the wedding celebration is
waiting at the altar. Marion steps into the confessional, as
William moves to the altar and kneels in prayer.
Marion emerges; she’s changed into the wedding dress she
made from the cloth she bought. William stands and watches
her float down the aisle; his whole life was worth this
Together, the two lovers turn to the priest.
You have come to pledge, each to the
other, before Almighty God.
From within his shirt, William withdraws a strip of cloth
woven in his family tartan. He and Marion each lift a hand
to the priest, and he binds their wrists with the cloth.
I will love you my whole life. You
and no other.
From her dress she takes a handmade handkerchief, embroidered
with a thistle to look like the one she first gave him those
And I you. You and no other. Forever.
The Priest waits for them to go on, but neither can; they’re
too taken with emotion, looking at each other. The Priest
intones holy phrases…
Agus bhayd lauch… The Lord bless
and keep thy love, now and forever.
The lovers kiss. As they break their embrace, a figure
carrying something dark and spiky appears at the broken door
of the church, and William spins as if to attack, but the
Priest catches his arm; they see the man carries bagpipes.
I trust him — or I’d’a killed him
me’self. A weddin’ needs pipes.
The piper begins to play, and the tune from his primitive
chanter is wispy, ethereal, beautiful. The lovers look into
each other’s eyes, as the single melody of the pipes merges
into a swell of music, UNDERSCORING MONTAGE
William and Marion ride the path to the top of the precipice,
where, in the shelter of the grove, they spend their
honeymoon. The MUSIC CONTINUES as, still sweaty from their
love-making, he returns her to her house just before dawn.
She waves from her window, as William rides away, as we
EXT. VILLAGE OF LANARK – DAY
It’s Market Day in the village, busy with Highlanders,
merchants of all kinds, and a few special attractions like
jugglers and fortune tellers. Marion moves along a table
full of flowers and fruit… William, concealed behind hanging
baskets, watches her unseen, savoring the beauty of his
beloved, bathing his soul in the sight of her. Then she looks
up and spots him, her smile sudden and luminous, before she
remembers to conceal it. He moves up beside her.
I’ve missed you.
Shush. It’s only been a day.
And it’s seemed like forever.
My parents are growing suspicious! I
can’t keep meeting you every night!
Playfully he pokes his finger under the collar of her dress,
pulling up the strip of checked cloth he gave her at their
wedding, which she now wears hidden around her neck.
Tucking in the cloth strip, she hurries away, smiling.
ANGLE – DRUNKEN ENGLISH SOLDIERS – BY AN ALE CASK – DAY
They spot Marion moving through the fair, glowing, beautiful.
The soldiers smirk at each other; as Marion passes, one of
them grabs her wrist. It’s the soldier with the scar, the
one who’s been staring at her.
Where are you going… lass?
A second drunken SOLDIER pipes up.
Why don’t you marry my friend here?
Then I’ll take the first night!
The scarred soldier pulls Marion into his big arms; she shoves
him away with surprising strength, and he staggers back, to
the laughter of his friends. Then he snatches her again and
kisses her hard on the lips.
She breaks free and SLAPS him fiercely, hard enough to draw
blood from his mouth. Tasting the trickle, he slings her
down against sacks of grain, and the soldiers are all over
her, pinning her down, ripping her clothes, a full scale
public gang rape. As the townspeople try to move in the three
soldiers waiting their turn at Marion pull their knives,
keep them townspeople back.
Bitch, who do you think you are?
He slams his mouth down against hers for a long, awful time,
comes up clawing at her dress to rip it from her body… and
is hit in the face by a rock thrown at great speed!
It takes a moment for the other soldiers to realize what
just happened, and in that instant William is on them. He
wrenches one soldier’s arm in a direction it was never meant
to go, breaking the elbow, separating the shoulder, and
slinging the howling soldier into his comrades.
Two of the soldiers leap at William, swinging their short
swords; William ducks, knocking their ale cask into their
knees; William lifts the whole table where they were sitting
and slams it into the faces of two more attackers.
She shouts to warn him that the scarred soldier, now
bloodyfaced, has recovered from the rock and is behind William
with a knife. William sidesteps the first thrust, snatches a
leg from the shattered table and crushes the man’s skull.
Wallace Wallace! William Wallace!
But there’s no time for celebration. There’s blood and ale
everywhere, and the fallen soldiers are yelling…
MORE SOLDIERS hear the call and come running, reinforcements
converging from all over the village.
Run, William! Run!
Will sees the horse that pulled the flower cart and throws
Marion up onto its back. He slaps the horse’s rump and it
plunges with Marion into the twisting village lanes. William
darts off through the crowd, as the MAGISTRATE and more of
his soldiers arrive — dozens of them!
William pauses out in the central street of the village,
just long enough to be sure they’ve spotted him, and darts
into a side lane in the opposite direction Marion went;
William weaves through the narrow streets of the medieval
town, knocking over baskets, jumping carts.
As the soldiers stumble after him, the Magistrate looks down
at his mangled soldiers. The one with the ruptured arm is
lying in agony.
The girl on the horse! Stop her!
The shout rings through the village; Marion hears it, and
when she sees more soldiers at the far end of the lane she’s
trying to take out of town, she urges the horse into an even
narrower back alley. She sees a clear route to freedom…
But the flock of pigeons pecking on the scraps thrown there
behind the shops rise into the horse’s face with a sudden
thrashing of wings, and the horse shies against a wall.
Marion controls him, but a flap of her ripped dress has caught
on a crude nail, and as the frightened horse lunges forward
again, she is pulled off its bare back, her dress catching
and ripping at the same time, dropping her hard.
reaches the edge of the town and slips into the trees by the
river; the soldiers are running every which way, but they’ve
lost him. Thinking Marion’s made it too, William heads deeper
into the trees.
IN THE TOWN, MARION
recovers; her dress has torn free! She starts to get up; but
the soldiers’ pikes appear over her, and the magistrate leers.
So this is the little whore he was
EXT. THE GROVE AT THE PRECIPICE – DAY
William moves into the shelters of the trees, expecting to
see Marion. He doesn’t. He listens; only the rustling of the
wind through the treetops.
Nothing, except the wind.
INT. ROYAL MAGISTRATE’S HEADQUARTERS – DAY
Marion is thrown into a chair and her arms are bound with an
oak staff behind her elbows. She and two dozen soldiers are
in the tavern the English have commandeered.
The Magistrate is a battlescarred veteran, a brutal pragmatist
angry with his CORPORAL.
One Scot buggers six of us? Hell to
pay when that gets round.
Burn the village.
But he is free. You never catch ’em
in the Highlands.
He studies Marion, her mouth now stuffed with burlap. He
notices the strip of cloth around her neck, and touches the
Clans weave that cloth in their own
So why is this strip concealed?
He fought for you, eh?
EXT. TOWN SQUARE – DAY
The Magistrate and his men bring Marion into the village
center, and tie her to a post of the well. The townspeople
don’t want to be near the soldiers, but they hang on the
fringes of the square, too curious to pull away.
An assault on the king’s soldiers is
the same as assaulting the king!
He looks down at Marion, her mouth bound, her eyes defiant.
He jerks out his dagger and slices Marion’s throat!
Her eyes spring open like a doe’s; then she sags, dead. The
townspeople are speechless; even some of the soldiers are
shocked. The Magistrate turns calmly to his men.
Now. Let this scrapper come to me.
LONG SHOT – EXT. THE GROVE AT THE PRECIPICE – DAY
From a distance, we see Hamish approaching the grove, the
same one where he and William played as boys. Hamish moves
reluctantly, forcing himself forward; as he reaches the grove,
William appears, hurrying out to him.
We STAY IN THE LONG SHOT, seeing William asking anxiously
for any news, and seeing Hamish’s great shoulders as he tells
him something that makes William step backwards…
EXT. LANARK VILLAGE – DAY
At a barrier across the main road into the center of the
village are twenty professional soldiers, entrenched, fully
armed — bows, pikes, swords. They hear A HORSE’S SNORT…
THE ENGLISH SOLDIERS’ POV – WALLACE, ON HIS HORSE
He has stopped, rock still. The soldiers hush; there is
something unsettling about this man alone, staring at the
twenty of them, as if to steel himself for the butchery.
Wallace raises his sword, screams… and charges!
EXT. VARIOUS ANGLES – LANARK VILLAGE – DAY – THE FIGHT
We FAVOR WALLACE’S SUBJECTIVE POV: the barrier as his horse
pounds toward it, the faces of the enemy soldiers with their
eyes white with fear… They stand to shoot at him with their
bows; the arrows WHISH toward the lens, fly past…
The arrows tear through Wallace’s clothes, but don’t catch
his flesh. He charges on; his horse LEAPS the barrier as
Wallace simultaneously swings the broadsword — and he’s
more than an expert: the tip, at the end of a huge arc, nearly
breaks the sound barrier and the blade bites through the
corporal’s helmet, taking off the upper half of his head!
The soldiers try to rally, to shoot him in the back as his
horse leaps over them. One of them has sighted William’s
back… But Hamish and his father crash into them! It’s a
wild fight; old Campbell takes an arrow through the shoulder
but keeps hacking with his sword; Hamish batters down two
men — and more Scots arrive! They overwhelm the soldiers.
WALLACE RACES THROUGH THE VILLAGE – FAVORING HIS POV
He dodges obstacles in the narrow streets — chickens, carts,
barrels. Soldiers pop up; the first he gallops straight over;
the next he whacks forehand, like a polo player; the next
chops down on his left side; every time he swings the
broadsword, a man dies.
Wallace gallops on; his farmer neighbors, and people from
the village, follow in his wake.
EXT. IN THE VILLAGE – DAY
The Magistrate hears the APPROACHING SHOUTS. He and thirty
more of his men are barricaded around the village square.
Don’t look surprised! We knew he’d
The see Wallace gallop into sight; but he stops, then heads
down a side street.
The Magistrate and his men don’t like this; where did he go?
Which way will he come from? And then they hear the horses,
and see the other Scots, at the head of the main street. The
soldiers unleash a volley of arrows at them.
They are loading to fire again when Wallace runs in — on
foot! — and cuts down two soldiers! The other Scots charge!
The startled soldiers break and run in every direction.
The Magistrate, abandoned, runs too. Wallace pursues.
Not far along a twisting lane, the bulky Magistrate falters.
He turns to fight, and Wallace slashes away his sword.
No! I beg you… mercy!
IN THE TOWN SQUARE
As the Scots see Wallace, they break off pursuing the English
soldiers and stop to watch; dragging the Magistrate by his
hair, Wallace hauls him back into the village square, slams
him against the well, and stands over him with heaving lungs
and wild eyes, staring at Marion’s murderer.
Wallace’s eyes shift, falling on
THE STAIN OF BLOOD
Marion’s blood, in a dark dry splash by the wall of the well,
the stain dripping down onto the dirt of the street. Wallace
spins, jerks back the Magistrate’s head, and cuts his throat
with the sword.
ON THE OTHER SCOTS
Silenced by what they’ve just seen and done. On old Campbell’s
face is a look of reverence, and awe.
Say Grace to God, lads. We’ve just
seen the coming of the Messiah.
William staggers a few steps, and collapses to his knees.
And then not just the Scottish farmers but the townspeople
too begin a strange, Hi-Lo chant.
William’s wild eyes slowly regain their focus. And there in
the dirt beside the well, he sees the severed cloth strip he
gave to Marion, now stained with her blood. He lifts it,
crushes it in his hand, as the Highlanders chant for war.
EXT. LANARK VILLAGE – NIGHT
The villagers are still excited by what just happened; at
the blacksmith’s forge, men tend to Campbell’s wound…
Pour it straight into the wound. I
know it seems a waste of good whiskey,
but indulge me.
They obey, then take a glowing poker from the fire and run
it through Campbell’s shoulder, where the arrow went. There
is a terrible SIZZLE, and Campbell reacts to the pain.
Ah. Now that’ll clear your sinuses,
Campbell looks down at his left hand. His thumb is missing!
Well bloody Hell, look at this! Now
it’s nothing but a fly swatter.
Wallace is sitting alone nearby, staring at nothing. Hamish
moves over and puts a hand on his shoulder. Wallace looks at
his friend, and looks away; killing the Magistrate did not
bring Marion back.
SHOUTS of alarm: ARMED MEN are coming! The farmers scramble
for their weapons, ready to fight; even Campbell jumps up;
but what they see coming out of the darkness are twenty more
farmers, with hayhooks, knives, axes, anything they could
find for weapons. Their leader is MacGREGOR.
MacGregor — from the next valley!
MacGregor leads his men into the circle of rebels.
We heard about what was happenin’.
And we don’t want ya thinkin’ ya can
have your fun without us.
Go home. Some of us are in this, I
can’t help that now. But you can
help yourselves. Go home.
We’ll have no homes left when the
English garrison at the castle comes
through to burn us out.
They all look at Wallace.
EXT. ENGLISH MILITARY STRONGHOLD – NIGHT
Furious preparations: armorers pound breastplates, hone
spears, grind swords in a shower of sparks. The garrison is
led by BOTTOMS, the English lord who claimed the right of
prima noctes. Now he shouts to his scurrying soldiers.
Gather the horses! Align the infantry!
(grabs a man)
Ride to the Lord Governor in Stirling.
Tell him that I will hang five rebels for every good
Englishman killed! FORM FOR MARCH!
The troops begin to scramble into the courtyard. At the same
time, the messenger gallops to the gate and nods for the
keepers to open it. They pull up the chains and the heavy
gate rises. The messenger spurs his horse to gallop through —
and is hit in the chest with an axe!
The Scots, hidden just outside the gate, come pouring through,
led by Wallace! Arrows pick soldiers from their perches,
Scots drop over the wall; the surprise is so complete that
it’s over almost without a fight. Lord Bottoms looks around
Stop them… Don’t let… Align…
Scots drag Lord Bottoms off his horse; an arrow in a flexed
bow jabs right up to his eye, the archer ready to drive the
shaft through Bottom’s eye socket and into his brain; but
Wallace’s hand closes on the archer’s fingers — and Bottoms
sees that the archer at the other end of the arrow shaft is
none other than the Highland farmgirl he forced into his bed
on her wedding night. Beside her is her husband, holding a
scythe, red with English blood.
On your way somewhere, M’lord?
Murdering bloody bandit!
The point of Wallace’s sword jumps beneath the Lord’s chin.
My name is William Wallace. I am no
bandit who hides his face… Find
this man a horse.
The green eyes of the defiled highland bride flash fire.
William takes his hand from her bow and looks at her, grief
for Marion in his eyes; for the sake of that she does not
release the string.
Give him a horse.
Hamish extends the reins of the Lord’s thoroughbred.
Not this horse. That one.
He nods to a bony nag hitched next to a glue pot.
Today we will spare you, and every
man who has yielded. Go back to
England. Tell them Scotland’s
daughters and her sons are yours no
more. Tell them Scotland is free.
As the Scots cheer, Wallace throws Lord Bottoms onto the
nag’s back and slaps the horse’s rear. IT shambles away,
followed by the English survivors, as the Scots chant…
Wal-lace, Wal-lace, Wal-lace!…
CLOSE – A GRAVESTONE – EXT. HIGHLANDS – DAY
The marker is carved with the name MARION MacCLANNOUGH, and
beneath her name A THISTLE is chiseled into the stone.
Bagpipes wail like banshees and the Priest who married Marion
and William now mutters ancient prayers as her body, wrapped
in burial canvas, is lowered into the earth, under the sad
eyes of those who just fought in the battle.
Opposite William stands old MacClannough; he stares across
the open hole that accepts the body of his daughter, his
eyes full of pain, and then staggers away.
Wallace kneels at the graveside in unspeakable grief. From
within his shirt he withdraws the embroidered handkerchief
she gave him, and the bloodstained strip of cloth he gave
her. He places the strip over her heart, and as the
gravediggers fill the hole her returns the handkerchief to
its spot over his own heart.
EXT. LONDON PALACE – DAY
Prince Edward is in his garden, playing the medieval version
of croquet with his friend. The Princess, ignored, sits
watching. Longshanks marches through the game, furious.
Scottish rebels have routed Lord
I hear. This Wallace is a bandit,
Longshanks slaps his son, knocking him down among the colored
balls and wickets. Everyone gasps, stunned.
You weak little coward! Stand up!
Longshanks jerks him to his feet.
I go to France to press our rights
there! I leave you to handle this
little rebellion, do you understand?
Longshanks grabs his son by the throat.
And turn yourself into a man.
The king leaves. The friends of the humiliated Prince hurry
to him and lift him; as the Princess moves to him too…
Get away from me!
He slaps her! Her personal guards, Frenchmen in distinctive
uniforms, jump from their seats at the edge of the garden,
but the Princess raises a hand to show she needs no
assistance, and curtseys to Edward, who shouts —
Convene my military council!
As Edward marches off with his entourage, NICOLETTE, a
beautiful raven-haired Handmaiden, rushes to the Princess,
who is wobbly, hurt more than she let show. Nicolette whispers
to her in French, with subtitles…
They say this Wallace killed thirty
men to avenge the death of his woman.
I hope your husband goes to Scotland.
Then you’ll be a widow.
INT. BRUCE’S CASTLE – BEDCHAMBER – NIGHT
Robert the Bruce is in bed with a young Nordic beauty with
vacant blue eyes. She drowses; but the lovemaking has not
defused the restlessness of Robert’s spirit. He lies on his
stomach, turned away from her on the bed. Stirring, she kisses
his neck; but he doesn’t respond.
I wanted to please you.
But he is numb as she nuzzles him again. She sags back, and
he still stares away, lost in thought. Realizing her hurt,
In Lanark village, the king’s soldiers
killed a girl. Her lover fought his
way through the soldiers and killed
She looks at him blankly.
He rebelled. He rebelled. He acted.
He fought! Was it rage? Pride? Love?
Whatever it was, he has more of it
You might have lied.
I’m too arrogant to lie.
CLOSE – ROBERT THE BRUCE
On his FACE as he moves grimly up a dark castle staircase.
He follows a servant who carries a candle against the gloom.
They reach a door, which the servant unlocks. Young Robert
takes the candle, and enters —
A DARKENED ROOM
Robert wills himself forward, and places the candle on a
table in the center of the room. A SHUFFLE in the dark; then
moving into the light is a LEPER whose once-noble features
are decaying with the disease. Isolated in his disfiguration,
he looks at his visitor — his son — with the eyes of the
condemned. Young Robert forces himself not to look away.
ROBERT THE BRUCE
Father. A rebellion has begun.
A commoner named William Wallace.
A commoner? So no one leads Scotland?
The old man thinks, and points a half finger at his son.
You will embrace this rebellion.
Support it, from our lands in the
north. I will gain English favor by
condemning it and ordering it opposed
from our lands in the south. Whichever
way the tide runs, we will rise.
This Wallace. He doesn’t even have a
knighthood. But he fights with
passion, and he is clever. He inspires
You admire him. Uncompromising men
are easy to admire. He has courage.
So does a dog. But you must understand
this: Edward Longshanks is the most
ruthless king ever to sit on the
throne of England, and none of us,
and nothing of Scotland, will survive
unless we are as ruthless, more
ruthless, than he.
Young Bruce rises heavily, and moves to the door.
Press your case to the nobles. They
will choose who rules Scotland.
With a last long look at his father, Robert leaves.
EXT. SCOTLAND – MONTAGE – DAY
— Troops ride through the countryside, intimidating and
questioning civilians; all refuse to talk.
— Wallace’s house burns, as soldiers dig up the graves of
his father and brother, and scatter their bones to dogs.
— The English search through the woods, finding nothing.
EXT. WALLACE LANDS – NIGHT
William and Hamish ride, to see the damage. They find the
smoking ruins, and the defiled family graves.
Ah, William… I am so sorry.
William is struck by an awful, urgent thought…
EXT. UNDERBRUSH NEAR MARION’S GRAVE – DUSK
We open on Marion’s grave, with the thistle-carved marker,
looking peaceful; but up the hill in the underbrush, English
soldiers wait in ambush. Edgy, they perk up at the sound of
muffled hoofbeats — then their eyes bug as a cloaked figure —
Wallace — suddenly looms up behind them, galloping and
swirling fire! He hurls burning torches into the clustered
soldiers, setting some of them on fire!
MEANWHILE, HAMISH has crawled to Marion’s grave and is digging
frantically. The new dirt parts easily and he pulls the
shrouded body out, cringing with the effort.
MORE SOLDIERS rush from behind the rocks at the far side of
the graveyard. Wallace charges them, driving them back. He
grabs the reins of Hamish’s horse, hidden among trees, and
gallops to him.
Hamish hands the shrouded body up to William and bounds into
the saddle of his own horse. They spur the horses and ride
away, William clutching Marion’s shrouded body to his chest.
EXT. SECRET GROVE ON THE PRECIPICE – NIGHT
William dismounts, stretching the body gently on the ground.
Hamish dismounts too, with the spade he used to dig up the
old grave. He sees the emotion on William’s face.
I’ll wait… back there.
Hamish, I… thank…
Hamish puts a hand on his friend’s shoulder, then quietly
leads the horses away. William starts to dig…
LATER IN THE GROVE
William sits looking at the new grave, covered with leaves —
completely hidden. He touches his hand to the earth.
EXT. WOODS – BY THE STREAM – NIGHT
Hamish is waiting as William comes out of the grove. There
is nothing to say. They mount their horses and ride away, as
the MUSIC of William and Marion’s love haunts us…
EXT. WOODS – ENCAMPMENT – NIGHT
Wallace and his inner circle hare huddled around a small
fire. Other highlanders guard the perimeters. Old Campbell
is lovingly honing the broadswords to razor edges and sharing
a whiskey jug with Hamish, who stares at the fire. Wallace
is using a stick to draw diagrams in the dirt.
What’re ya doin’?
Does it hurt?
What do we do when Longshanks sends
his whole northern army against us?
They have heavy cavalry. Armored
horses, that shake the very ground.
They’ll ride right over us.
At a loss, Wallace looks up at the sky. HE SEES: the trees
stretching into the night like spikes to skewer the stars.
We make spears. A hundred spears.
Fourteen feet long.
Volunteers coming in!
They look to see a half dozen new volunteers being led in,
blindfolded. When the guides remove the blindfolds, the new
recruits see Wallace and rush to him, bowing.
William Wallace? We have come to
fight and die for you!
Stand up, man, I’m not the Pope.
I am Faudron! My sword is yours! And
I brought you this tarta —
As he reaches into his cloak, both Hamish and Campbell
instantly draw their swords and put the points to his neck.
We checked them for arms.
Carefully, Faudron pulls out a beautiful tartan scarf, and
replaces Wallace’s tattered old one.
It’s your family tartan! My wife
wove it with her own hands.
Thank her for me.
A loud voice interrupts…
Him? That can’t be William Wallace!
I’m prettier than this man!
They all look at a slender, handsome young man, STEPHEN, who
is talking to himself — or more accurately, seems to listen
to some unheard voice, then answer it…
All right, Father, I’ll ask him!
If I risk my neck for you, will I
get a chance to kill Englishmen?
Is your Poppa a ghost — or do you
converse with God Almighty?
In order to find his equal, and
Irishman is forced to talk to God.
The Almighty says don’t change the
subject, just answer the fookin’
Insane Irish —
Stephen whips a dagger from his sleeve and puts it at
Smart enough to get a dagger past
your guards, old man.
Wallace jerks his sword to the Irishman’s throat, and grins.
That’s my friend, Irishman. And the
answer’s yes. You fight for me, you
kill the English.
Stephen grins, and happily tucks away the dagger.
Excellent! Stephen is my name. I’m
the most wanted man on the Emerald
Isle. Except I’m not on the Emerald
Isle of course, more’s the pity.
A common thief.
Wallace shakes his head and moves back to the fire, as the
sentries take the newcomers to find their own spaces.
EXT. SCOTTISH COUNTRYSIDE – DAY
A column of English light cavalry — a hundred riders —
moves through the picturesque beauty of the Highlands.
English LORD DOLECROFT is in command, wearing a hat with a
pompous white plume. UP AHEAD, the English SCOUT sees five
Scots, including Hamish, walking out of the forest. The Scots
run; the Scout rides back to Dolecroft.
Scotsmen, Sire! Headed west!
They’ve blundered at last! After
The English force charges off. Hamish and his men changed
direction but the English spot them crossing a hilltop and
ride after them. The Scots run for their lives; the English
horses gallop. The Scots run down one slope, up another; the
English follow, find their horses stumbling, and see…
We’re in a bog!
Here, it’s firm this way —
But as they move toward the firm ground, fifty Scots appear
on the crest of the hill. Hamish leads them, smiling.
Dolecroft wheels and looks to his rear; Wallace appears there,
with fifty more, and more Scots appear to the left and right
of the English, who are surrounded in the bog. Too late,
Dolecroft realizes his blunder. Wallace lifts his broadsword,
screams, and leads the charge…
EXT. SCOTTISH WOODS – DAY
The Scots are moving through deep woods; they are laden with
the booty they took from the English cavalry: extra weapons,
clothing, food — and one man even wears the late Dolecroft’s
plumed hat. Wallace is leading them, traveling with his heavy
sheathed broadsword across his shoulders.
Stop here and rest.
They collapse to the leaves and loam, greedily squeezing
water from sheep belly canteens.
INT. STIRLING CASTLE – DAY
LORD PICKERING, English commander, is handed news of the
disaster. He reads the message, and pales.
Another ambush! My God! …What about
He has already joined them, M’lord.
EXT. SCOTTISH WOODS – NIGHT
The moon is high above the Scots, encamped for the night.
Most everyone is sleeping, but William sits leaning against
a tree, lost in lonely thoughts. Suddenly William freezes; a
shaft of moonlight illuminates a cloaked woman standing twenty
feet ahead of him. Something about her is familiar — and
then she pulls off the hood, revealing her auburn hair,
cascading in the moonlight… It is Marion!
Marion! Is… is it you?
Joy explodes on his face, and he runs to her, but stops before
he touches her, as if she might evaporate.
Yes, you are. And you must wake.
I don’t want to wake. I want to stay
And I with you. But you must wake.
I need you so much! I love you!
Wake up, William. Wake up!
Wake up, William!…
William clutches at Marion, but his arms can’t enclose her.
lying on his new tartan, in camp, with Hamish shaking him,
William’s arms clutched empty to his chest.
Wallace jumps up, hearing the DISTANT BARKING that alarmed
Hamish. Stephen, the new Irish recruit, races up.
We must run in different directions!
We don’t split up!
They used hounds on us in Ireland,
it’s the only way!
He’s right, Hamish! Campbell! Divide
them and run!
Shoving groups of men in different directions, Wallace then
takes off. His group is about a dozen; they race through the
woods, dodging trees, running aimlessly. They stop and listen.
The BARKS are getting closer.
Again they divide, and race in different directions.
But no matter how they run and dodge, the BARKS grow nearer.
We INTERCUT with the approaching of the dogs — a large PACK
OF HOUNDS, with keepers like on a fox hunt, and behind the
dogs, Lord Pickering, with his soldiers, prepared for a long
chase, cloaked against the wet darkness, carrying torches.
Wallace and others pause, hear the dogs, and run again, in a
new direction. The hounds are relentless. Wallace’s group is
down to Hamish, Stephen, and Faudron.
No matter how we go, they follow.
They have our scent. My scent.
Run! You must not be caught!
Faster now, faster. The barks are getting very close.
Wallace and his friends are starting to panic. The blood
beats in their ears, their breath scalds their lungs. And we
MOVE IN on Wallace’s eyes. He stops, gasping.
We can’t stop!
They’ve tricked us.
What’s the crazy man saying, Lord?
The dogs have a scent. My scent.
Someone must have given it to them.
Who would do such a thing?
Wallace pulls out his dagger…
bark frantically now; they smell a kill; they tug so hard at
their leashes that the handlers are almost dragged along.
Be ready! We have them!
The soldiers grip their weapons, ready to take their
prisoners. They burst into the little clearing; the dogs
find a body, stabbed, his throat cut; the dogs plunge their
snouts into the gore, yipping wildly. The handlers must fight
furiously to tear the dogs from the body.
Lord Pickering approaches the body and looks down. It is
Faudron, mangled now but clearly identifiable — with the
scarf he gave William, in place of William’s own, tucked
into his shirt.
As Pickering rants, his men look at the darkness all around.
After him! Get them going again!
Their noses are drowned in new blood,
they’ll follow nothing now!
And just as the realization hits Pickering that he can’t
pursue Wallace any further, a cloaked figure mixed in among
his men leans in from behind him to whisper…
STEPHEN OF IRELAND
The Almighty says for you to give
His regards to the Devil.
Pickering’s eyes go wide, then roll back as Stephen’s dagger
slides expertly through his back ribs and into his heart. As
Pickering falls and his men realize what has happened, Stephen
has already run back into the trees.
Pickering’s men freeze at this sudden turn of events. Even
the dogs whimper, picking up the rising fear of the men around
them. Then from the darkness all around them comes a chorus
of demonic, bloodcurdling yells —
Three wild men tear out of the darkness from different
directions, their swords slashing. Pickering’s men panic and
run, their dogs yelping, and the other soldiers, evident by
their torches, fell with them in all directions.
Wallace, Hamish and Stephen are left alone in the heart of
the woods, howling, barking like dogs, snarling like wolves —
and then laughing like hyenas!
I thought I was dead when ya pulled
No English lord would trust an
Let’s kill him anyway.
They laugh again; then Wallace’s laughter leaks away, and he
stares into the trees, where he saw Marion in his dream.
VARIOUS SHOTS – THE STORY SPREADS THROUGH SCOTLAND…
Two men are talking in A VILLAGE…
…and William Wallace killed fifty
men! Fifty, if it was one!
The same tale is exchanged by two farmers AT A CROSSROADS…
A hundred men! With his own sword!
He cut a through the English like —
The tale is repeated IN A TAVERN…
— Moses through the Red Sea! Hacked
off two hundred heads!
Saw it with my own eyes.
And the rumors are discussed even INSIDE THE PALACE GROUNDS
IN LONDON, where the Prince and his friends are trying on
elaborate attire presented them by fawning tailors, and the
Princess, ignored by her husband, strolls and chats with her
Handmaiden, Nicolette (in subtitled French).
When the king returns he will bury
them in those new clothes. Scotland
is in chaos. Your husband is secretly
sending an army north.
How do you know this?
Last night I slept with a member of
the War Council.
He shouldn’t be telling secrets in
Ah, Oui! Englishmen don’t know what
a tongue is for.
The Princess blushes, whacks her with her fan, and smiles.
This Scottish rebel… Wallace? He
fights to avenge a woman?
A magistrate wished to capture him,
and found he had a secret lover, so
he cut the girl’s throat to tempt
Wallace to fight — and fight he
The Princess is pained at such cruelty; Nicolette warms to
share the juicy gossip…
Knowing his passion for his lost
love, they next plotted to take him
by desecrating the graves of his
father and brother and setting an
ambush at the grave of his wife. He
fought his way through the trap and
carried her body to a secret place!
Now that is romance, Oui?
…I wouldn’t know.
EXT. SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS – DAY
A Highlander, a RUNNER, slips like a shadow up the hillside,
to a circle of ancient monoliths. There, hidden among the
stone pillars, he finds Wallace and his band resting.
The English are advancing an army
Do the nobles rally?
Robert the Bruce and most of the
others will not commit to war! But
word has spread and Highlanders are
coming down on their own, by the
hundreds — by the thousands!
EXT. ROAD – DAY
Wallace rides down the road, followed by his band. As they
pass people on the road, the women, the children, all cheer.
Wallace! It’s William Wallace! God
bless Wallace and Scotland!
At a crossroads, more of Wallace’s men join them, in clusters.
One group carries something long, encased in wool covers.
Farmers in the field, blacksmiths at their forges, leave
their work and uncover their inevitable weapons and run after
the riders. They put on their forbidden tartans, kiss their
wives and head off to fight.
EXT. STIRLING FIELD – DAY
Stirling Castle perches on a hill high above a grassy field,
cut in half by a river, spanned by an old wooden bridge.
SCOTTISH NOBLES have gathered on a smaller hill overlooking
the field; they wear gleaming armor, with plumes, sashes and
banners, and are attended by squires and grooms.
The mists of morning shroud most of the field. But from the
opposite side of the bridge they hear the CLATTERING of a
huge army moving forward. LOCHLAN, a noble, gallops to Mornay.
It sounds like twenty thousand!
The scouts say it is ten.
And we have but two!
THE COMMON SCOTTISH SOLDIERS
are wearing padded leather shirts, and carry pikes and
daggers. As through the mists they see the numbers arrayed
against them, a YOUNG SOLDIER tugs at a grizzled VETERAN.
The nobles will negotiate. If they
deal, they send us home. If not, we
charge. When we are all dead and
they can call themselves brave, they
I didn’t come to fight so they could
own more lands that I could work for
Nor did I. Not against these odds!
He lowers his pike and starts to desert. At first one-by-one
and then in clumps, more highlanders follow.
THE NOBLES see the desertion.
Stop! Men! Do not flee! Not now!
Wait until we have negotiated!
They won’t stop — and who could
Then, riding into the mob of men, comes Wallace, followed by
his friends. He’s striking, charismatic, his powerful arms
bare, his chest covered not in armor but a commoner’s leather
shirt, and unlike the heavy knights on their armored horses,
Wallace rides a swift horse, like he was born on it.
The entire Scottish army watches in fascination as Wallace
and his men ride through them, toward the command hill. The
soldiers whisper among themselves…
The common soldiers, already having broken ranks, cluster up
the hill to see the confrontation. As Wallace and his captains
reach the nobles, Stephen laughs.
The Almighty says this must be a
fashionable fight, it’s drawn the
Where is thy salute?
For presenting yourselves on this
battlefield, I give you thanks.
This is our army. To join it, you
I give homage to Scotland. And if
this is your army, why does it go?
Wallace reins his horse around to face the mob of sullen
men, now frightened, ready to desert. We play this picture,
Wallace sitting his horse, looking down in awe at this thing
that has grown beyond anyone’s imagination.
He glances at his friends: Campbell, Hamish, Stephen.
They’ve got no suggestions, they’re just as awed as he is.
We didn’t come to fight for them!
SHOUTS FROM MOB
Home! The English are too many!
Wallace raises his hand, and the army falls silent.
Sons of Scotland!… I am William
William Wallace is seven feet tall!
Yes, I have heard! He kills men by
the hundreds! And if he were here,
he would consume the English with
fireballs from his eyes, and bolts
of lightning from his ass!
Many laugh — all get the point.
I am William Wallace. And my enemies
do not go away. I saw our good nobles
hanged. My wife… I am William
Wallace. And I see a whole army of
my countrymen, here in defiance of
tyranny. You have come to fight as
free men. And free men you are! What
will you do with freedom? Will you
Two thousand, against ten? We will
run — and live!
Yes. Fight and you may die. Run and
you will live, at least awhile. And
dying in your bed many years from
now, would you be willing to trade
all the days from this day to that,
for one chance to come back here as
young men, and tell our enemies that
they make take our lives, but they
will never take our freedom?
Down on the plain, English emissaries in all their regal
finery gallop over the bridge, under a banner of truce.
Look! The English comes to barter
with our nobles for castles and
titles. And our nobles will not be
in the front of the battle!
No! They will not!
He dismounts, and draws his sword.
And I will.
Slowly, the chant begins, and builds…
Wal-lace! Wal-lace! WAL-LACE!
BAGPIPERS play, pulling the mob back into companies. But
through the lifting mists they see the overwhelming enemy
army. Hamish, Campbell and Stephen move up beside William.
Fine speech. Now what do we do?
Bring out our spearmen and set them
in the field.
Campbell, Hamish and Stephen ride off. Mornay reins his horse
over, lifts the reins of Wallace’s horse, and extends them
to him: an invitation to join the pre-battle talks.
Wallace mounts up and rides out with the Scottish nobles to
meet the English contingent.
OUT ON THE FIELD, THE TWO GROUPS OF RIDERS
meet like the captains of football teams before the kickoff.
CHELTHAM, head of the English contingent, glares at Wallace.
Mornay. Lochlan. Inverness.
Cheltham. This is William Wallace
Here are the King’s terms. Lead this
army off the field, and he will give
you each estates in Yorkshire,
including hereditary title, from
which you will pay him an annual —
I have an offer for you.
…From which you will pay the King
an annual duty…
Wallace pulls his broadsword and snaps it at Cheltham, whose
eyes flash in disbelief at the bad manners.
You disrespect a banner of truce?!
From his king? Absolutely. Here are
Scotland’s terms. Lower your flags
and march straight to England,
stopping at every Scottish home you
pass to beg forgiveness for a hundred
years of theft, rape, and murder. Do
that, and your men shall live. Do it
not, and every one of you will die
Cheltham barks at the Scottish nobles…
You are outmatched! You haven’t even
any cavalry! In two centuries no
army has won without it!
I’m not finished. Before we let you
leave, your commander must cross
that bridge, stand before this army,
put his head between his legs, and
kiss his own ass.
The outraged Englishman gallops back to his lines.
I’d say that was rather less cordial
that he was used to.
Be ready, and do exactly as I say.
They return to the Scottish lines. Wallace dismounts where
his men are breaking out new 14-foot spears. Hamish, eyebrows
raised, looks expectantly at Wallace; Wallace nods.
Wish I could see the noble lord’s
face when he tells him.
LORD TALMADGE, AT HIS COMMAND POST
The husky English commander’s blood boils from Cheltham’s
report. Before he can respond, they see WALLACE’S SPEARMEN
taking up a position on the far side of the bridge. Suddenly
the Scots turn and lift their kilts and moon the English!
Insolent bastard! Full attack! Give
no quarter! And I want this Wallace’s
heart brought to me on a plate!
Cheltham spurs his horse to form up the attack…
EXT. THE FIELD BELOW STIRLING CASTLE – DAY
The English army moves forward toward the bridge. It’s so
narrow that only a single file of riders can move across it
at any one time. The English heavy cavalry, two hundred
knights, cross uncontested, and form up on the other side.
WITH WALLACE AND THE SCOTS
Things look terrible. Stephen turns to William.
The Lord tell me He can get me out
of this mess. But He’s pretty sure
ON THE ENGLISH SIDE
Talmadge sees the Scots doing nothing.
Amateurs! They do not even contest
us! Send across the infantry.
M’lord, the bridge is so narrow —
The Scots just stand in their
Our cavalry will ride them down like grass. Get the infantry
across so they can finish the slaughter!
The English leaders shout orders and keep their men moving
across the bridge. Talmadge gestures for the attack flag.
THE CAVALRY ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BRIDGE
The English knights see the signal banners, telling them to
attack. They take the lances from their squires, and lower
the visors of their helmets. Proud, plumed, glimmering; they
look invincible. Their huge horses, themselves draped in
scarlet and purple, look like tanks. The knights charge!
Their hooves THUNDER; the horses are so heavy the ground
literally shakes with the charge.
The Scots stand and watch them come on. It’s difficult to
imagine the courage this takes; from the POV OF THE SCOTTISH
LINES we see the massive horses boring in… we feel the
RISING THUNDER of the charge, closer, closer…
Wallace moves to the front of the lead group of Scots.
Steady! Hold… hold… NOW!
The Scots snap their 14-foot spears straight up in unison.
Now the spearmen snap the spears forward in ranks, the first
line of men bracing their spears at an angle three feet above
the ground, the men behind them bracing theirs at a five
foot level, the men behind that bracing at seven feet.
The English knights have never seen such a formation. Their
lances are useless and it’s too late to stop! The momentum
that was to carry the horses smashing through the men on
foot now becomes suicidal force; knights and horses impale
themselves on the long spears like beef on skewers.
can see it; but worse is the SOUND, the SCREAMS OF DYING MEN
AND HORSES, carried to him across the battlefield.
WALLACE AND HIS MEN
are protected, behind a literal wall of fallen chargers and
knights. Wallace draws his broadsword and leads his swordsmen
out onto the field, attacking the knights that are still
alive. Most are off their horses; a few have managed to pull
up their mounts. Wallace and his men are so much more mobile
than the knights; the field runs with blood.
Wallace faces Talmadge in the distance.
Here I am, English coward! Come get
TALMADGE is even more enraged — and his judgment is gone.
Press the men across!
Talmadge himself gallops forward.
WALLACE smiles. He grabs Hamish.
Tell Mornay to ride to the flank and
cross upstream. Wait! Tell him to be
sure the English see him ride away!
Hamish hurries off with the message.
The English infantry keeps moving across the little bridge.
The Scottish nobles watch from their positions on horseback.
They have a few dozen mounted riders, none heavily armored.
If he waits much longer —
Hamish hurries up.
Ride around and ford behind them!
We should not divide our forces!
Wallace says do it! And he says for
you to let the English see you!
They shall think we run away.
Mornay leads his riders away.
sees the Scottish nobles ride off, and shouts to Cheltham…
See! Every Scot with a horse is
fleeing! Hurry! Hurry!
He drives half his army across the river.
lifts his sword.
He charges down the hill…
THE FIGHT AT STIRLING BRIDGE – VARIOUS SHOTS
The Scots follow Wallace on foot, charging into the English.
The English leaders are stunned by the ferocious attack.
Press reinforcements across!
The English leaders try to herd more of their footsoldiers
onto the bridge, which only hams them up. Meanwhile, on the
other side of the bridge, Wallace and his charging men slam
into the English infantry with wild fury. The English fall
back on each other, further blocking the bridge.
UP ON THE HILLTOP
The nobles look back with grudging admiration.
He’s taking the bloody bridge! The
English can’t get across! He’s evened
the odds at one stroke!
With rising desire to join the bandwagon, the nobles spur…
DOWN ON THE PLAIN, Wallace and the attacking men drive the
English back, killing as they go. The Scots reach the bridge
itself. The waters below it run red with blood.
Talmadge has begun to panic.
Use the archers!
They’re too close, we’ll shoot out
ON THE BRIDGE
the Scots are carving their way through the English soldiers;
nothing can stop them. Wallace is relentless; each time he
swings, a head flies, or an arm. Hamish and Stephen fight
beside him, swinging the broadsword with both hands. Old
Campbell loses his shield in the grappling; an English
swordsman whacks at him and takes off his left hand, but
Campbell batters him to the ground with his right, and stabs
him. Reaching the English side of the bridge, the Scots begin
to build a barrier with the dead bodies.
The English are not without courage. Cheltham leads a
desperate counterattack. The Scots make an impenetrable
barrier of slashing blades. Still Cheltham keeps coming;
Wallace hits him with a vertical slash that parts his helmet,
his hair, and his brain.
TALMADGE has seen enough; he gallops away. The remaining
English General tries to save the army.
We are still five thousand! Rally!
The English try to form up; but the Scottish horsemen, fording
the river high upstream, come crashing into the English flank
and ride over the surprised English infantry.
AT THE BRIDGE, WALLACE
sees the Scottish nobles attacking. The English soldiers are
in utter panic, running and being cut down on all sides.
And the Scottish soldiers taste something Scots have not
tasted for a hundred years: victory. Even while finishing
off the last of the English soldiers, they begin their highlow
chant… Even the noblemen take up the chant!
Wallace looks around at the aftermath of the battle: bodies
on the field; soldiers lying impaled; stacks of bodies on
the bridge; the bridge slick with blood.
Before it can all sink in, William is lifted on the shoulders
of his men.
Wal-lace! Wal-lace! Wal-lace!
INT. CASTLE – GREAT HALL – DAY
William kneels before one of Scotland’s ancient elders, who
lifts a silver sword and dubs William’s shoulders.
I knight thee Sir William Wallace.
William rises and faces the Great Hall, crowded with hundreds
of new admirers, as well as his old friends in their new
clothes and armor. The crowd chants —
Wallace lifts his eyes, taking it all in. At the rear of the
hall is a balcony, backed by a magnificent sunlit stained
glass window, and in the center of its rainbow corona he
sees a familiar form: Marion, so real to him in this moment
of triumph that he can see her, glowing like an angel, in a
gown worthy of the occasion. But the illusion won’t last; in
the blink of an eye she is gone, and Wallace hears the chant,
and fingers the cloth she gave him.
INT. SCOTTISH COUNCIL – DAY
The nobles of Scotland are gathered in the huge chamber; a
massive table runs across the far end of the room, and aligned
on either side are the two rival factions of nobles, glaring
at each other. Old Craig is in the center, with young Robert
the Bruce on his right. There is a general MURMUR along the
nobles, and Robert whispers to Craig…
Does anyone know his politics?
No. But his weight with the commoners
could unbalance everything. The
Balliols will kiss his ass, so we
A court STEWARDS steps in and formally announces…
Lords of Scotland: Sir William
The nobles on each side of the table try to outdo each other
in their acclamation as Wallace strides in, flanked by Hamish,
Campbell, and Stephen, splendid in their tartans.
Old Craig rises.
Sir William. In the name of God, we
declare and appoint thee High
Protector of Scotland! And thy
captains as aides decamp!
The nobles rise; court attendants hurry to Wallace and drape
a golden chain of office around his neck. Wallace takes the
three smaller chains they bring and drapes them around the
necks of his friends, as once again the nobles applaud.
Almost before the applause dies, a member of the BALLIOL
clan, who has kept an open seat beside him, speaks up…
Sir William!! Inasmuch as you and
your captains hail from a region
long known to support the Balliol
clan, may we invite you to join us?
But Wallace’s gaze has locked onto Robert the Bruce, who
stares back, the two young lions instantly recognizing the
leadership power of each other.
You are Robert the Bruce.
ROBERT THE BRUCE
My father fought in support of yours.
The Balliols shrivel. The nobles on the Bruce side can barely
keep from grinning. Suddenly the men on the other end of the
table change their attack.
With this new success, the result of
all of Scotland’s efforts, now is
the time to declare a king!
Then you are prepared to recognize
our legitimate succession!
You’re the ones who won’t support
the true claim! I demand consideration
of these documents!
Wallace glances again at the Bruce, who suddenly feels ashamed
of the bickering.
Those were lies when they were
written! Our documents prove
absolutely that —
Suddenly Wallace turns his back and walks toward the door.
Sir William! Where are you going?
We have beaten the English! But
they’ll come back, because you won’t
stand together. There is one clan in
this country — Scotsmen. One class —
free. One price — courage.
He turns again and strides toward the door.
But… what will you do?
I will invade England. And defeat
the English on their own ground.
Invade?! That’s impossible, it —
Wallace slings out his broadsword and moves down the length
of the table, bashing the succession documents into the laps
of the nobles.
LISTEN TO ME! Longshanks understands
He brandishes the broadsword.
There is a difference between us.
You think the people of this country
exist to provide you with position.
I think your position exists to
provide the people with freedom. And
I go to make sure they have it.
Wallace bangs through the door. Suppressing smiles, his
friends file out behind him.
INT. EDINBURGH CORRIDOR – DAY
Wallace and his men are marching away, as Robert the Bruce
runs out after them.
Wait! …I respect what you said.
But remember, these men have lands,
castles. Much to risk.
And the common man who bleeds on the
battlefield, does he risk less?
No. But from top to bottom this
country has no sense of itself. Its
nobles share allegiance with England
and its clans war with each other.
If you make enemies on both sides of
the border, you’ll end up dead.
We all end up dead. It’s only a
question of how. And why.
Wallace walks; Robert catches up and speaks to him in an
urgent half whisper, so that no one else can hear.
I’m no coward! I want what you want!
But we need the nobles.
Nobles? What does that mean — to be
noble? Your title gives you claim to
the throne of our country. But men
don’t follow titles, they follow
courage! Your arm speaks louder than
your tongue. Our people know you.
Noble and common, they respect you.
If you would lead them toward freedom,
they would follow you. And so would
Wallace walks away, leaving Robert the Bruce alone.
THE SCOTTISH ARMY – DAY
Wallace rides at the head of his army, moving through the
countryside of northern England. It is autumn, the foliage
is beautiful, the wheat fields gold with harvest.
EXT. ESTABLISHING YORK CITY – DAY
A medieval city guarded by a fortress.
INT. THE FORTRESS – MAP ROOM – DAY
The ROYAL GOVERNOR is a spoiled young man, Longshanks’ nephew.
He is studying maps and written appeals for help; his CAPTAIN
of defenses strides in with another note.
Message from your cousin, the Prince.
He says London has no more troops to
Every town in Northern England is
begging for help! Where will Wallace
I should think these smaller
settlements along the border…
They hear shouts as a rider arrives and dismounts. They look
out to see a panicked RIDER, who shouts up…
To what town?
He comes here!
CARTS, RUMBLING IN PANIC DOWN A ROAD
as civilians flee the walled city in the distance.
THE SCOTTISH ARMY
has cut a huge tree and placed it on wheels. It rumbles
ominously TOWARD CAMERA…
THE CIVILIAN PANIC CONTINUES as more people join the swell
of those leaving York.
THE SCOTTISH ARMY keeps coming on.
INSIDE THE WALLS OF THE CITY – DAY
The governor is furious and confused.
We will not allow a bandit to panic
the greatest city in Northern England!
Close off the escapes! Let no one
The city has emptied already, Sire.
Only the Scottish civilians remain.
The Governor turns to his captain with a look worthy of his
uncle, Longshanks the King.
ON THE BATTERING RAM
as it picks up speed and SLAMS into the wooden gate of the
city. With the collision, THE BATTLE IS ON. It’s a night
battle: torches, flaming arrows, pots of boiling oil being
splashed down at the attackers, who swarm the gate.
The oil beats the first wave of Scots back, but Wallace rushes
forward, grabbing the ram cart with his own hands; the
attackers rally to him, helping him slam the gate again and
again. It breaks; but behind it is an awful tangle of carts,
broken sheds, impenetrable rubbish. Wallace grabs a torch,
throws it into the wooden tangle, and shouts —
Back! Wait for it to burn!
INSIDE THE CITY
The Captain hurries into the tower room.
They’ve breached the wall!
Then do as I ordered.
OUTSIDE THE WALLS
The Scots wait, biding their time as the barrier burns.
Suddenly they look up in horror; the English are throwing
the bodies of hanged Scots over the wall.
They stare at this in mute shock. Wallace is frozen, his
eyes reflecting his boyhood reaction. His men rush forward.
STOP! NOT YET! LISTEN TO ME!
They wish to frighten us! Or goad us
into attacking too soon! Don’t look
The Scots look at the hanging bodies.
Behold the enemy we fight! We will
be more merciful than they have been.
We will spare women, children, and
priests. For all else, no mercy.
Wallace draws his broadsword. The burning debris inside the
gate collapses, leaving a tunnel through the fire. Wallace
screams, and leads the charge through the burning barrier.
INT. THE PALACE IN LONDON – DAY
Prince Edward and Phillip, his fencing friend and lover,
hear a contingent of horsemen clatter into the courtyard
below; they look out the window and see the arrival of
They lean back into the room and Edward begins to pace
It is not your fault! Stand up to
Edward shows Phillip the dagger he has concealed in his belt
behind his back.
I will stand up to him, and more.
Longshanks bangs the door open and stalks in angrily. First
he glares at Phillip with obvious loathing, then turns his
piercing stare to his own son.
What news of the north?
Nothing new, Majesty. We have sent
riders to speed any word.
While I am in France fighting to
expand your future kingdom I learn
that Stirling castle is lost, our
entire northern army wiped out! And
you have done nothing?!
I have ordered conscriptions…
A messenger enters and hands the prince a message. Edward
reads it and nearly loses his balance.
Wallace has sacked York!
How dare you bring a panicky lie.
The messenger has also brought a basket. He approaches the
central table with great dread and places the basket on it,
uncovering its contents. Prince Edward is closest; he looks
in, then staggers back, stunned. Longshanks moves to the
sack coldly, looks in, and withdraws the severed head of his
nephew, York’s (former) Governor.
Sire! Thy own nephew! What beast
could do such a thing?!
The king drops the head back into the sack, unmoved.
If he can sack York, he can invade
We would stop him!
Edward, who is this shitpoker who
speaks to me as if I needed his
I have declared Phillip my High
Longshanks nods as if impressed. He moves to Phillip and
examines the gold chain of office that the young man wears.
Then Longshanks grabs him and throws him out the window, the
same one Edward and Phillip were looking out, six stories
above the courtyard. We hear Phillip’s SCREAM as he falls.
Edward rushes toward the window in horror. He looks out at
the result, turns back toward his father in shock and hatred,
and only then remembers the dagger and goes for it.
He stabs at Longshanks; the old king smiles at the attack,
parrying, letting his arms be cut.
You fight back at last!
Then Longshanks unleashes his own hateful fury; he grapples
with Edward, knocking the dagger away and hurling him to the
floor; then Longshanks kicks his son, again and again. He
exhausts his fury on him.
Edward is a bloody mess; Longshanks coughs up a bit of blood.
He ignores it and his son’s wreckage, and goes back to the
discussion, as if this fight was normal business.
We must sue for a truce, and buy him
off. But who will go to him? Not I.
If I came under the sword of this
murderer, I would end up like my
nephew. And not you, the sight of my
faggot son would only encourage an
enemy to take over this country. So
whom do I send?
EXT. WALLACE ARMY CAMP – DAY
A full encampment, across an English field; campfires chase
the dawn chill. Soldiers sharpen swords and spear points.
Wallace is huddled with his inner circle, all except Campbell,
who receives a report from a scout.
A royal entourage comes, flying
banners of truce, and the standards
of Longshanks himself!
Wallace buckles on his sword.
AN ENGLISH PAVILION TENT – YORKSHIRE – DAY
Set up for a meeting in a sunny meadow. Wallace and his men
ride in, wary, ready for ambush. They surround the tent.
There are two dozen royal soldiers there, but they make no
No sound from the tent. Wallace rests his hand on the handle
of his broadsword, ready.
Longshanks! I have come.
Servants pull back the sides of the tent door, and a tall,
slender, shapely female figure appears there. There in the
shadows, she looks just like Marion! William is not the only
one who notices the resemblance; he glances at Hamish and
Campbell and sees them haunted by it too. Is this another
dream? He pales, as she steps into the morning sun. She moves
toward him, her face lowered. It is Marion!
She reaches him, lifts her face… and he sees the Princess!
William is relieved — and yet as he sees the Princess more
closely he is still shaken by the resemblance in the way she
carries herself, her shape, the fall of her hair.
The Princess is struck with Wallace, too — tall, powerful,
and commanding. Wallace dismounts, and moves to face her.
Their eyes hang on each other. She sees something that she
has not seen in the face of a man in her whole life.
She surprises him by bending at the knee, in a half-submissive
yet proud curtsey.
I am the Princess of Wales.
Wife of Edward, the king’s son?
She nods; somehow she is already ashamed.
I come as the king’s servant, and
with his authority.
It’s battle I want, not talk.
But now that I am here, will you
speak with a woman?
She leads him under the pavilion, a purple canopy shading
rich carpets laid on the bare ground. Watching the gorgeous
walk, Stephen lies back on his saddle and twitches his leg
like a horny dog. Hamish backhands him; Campbell, Hamish and
Stephen quickly dismount and follow the procession,
shouldering their way in beside the Princess’s French guards,
so they can watch Wallace’s back. The rest of the Scots
surround the tent, ready for ambush.
Nicolette is among the royal attendants there; seeing Wallace,
she shoots a glance at the Princess that says Ooo-La-La! The
servants have brought a throne for the Princess, a lower
chair for Wallace. She sits; he refuses the chair.
She studies him, taking in his anger and his pride.
I understand that you have recently
been given the rank of knight.
I have been given nothing. God makes
men what they are.
Did God make you the sacker of
peaceful cities? The executioner of
the king’s nephew, my husband’s own
York was the staging point for every
invasion of my country. And that
royal cousin hanged a hundred Scots,
even women and children, from the
That is not possible.
But knowing Longshanks’ family, she glances at a richly
dressed Advisor, a CRONY of the king, who averts his eyes.
Longshanks did far worse, the last
time he took a Scottish city.
The Crony mumbles to her in LATIN, WITH SUBTITLES…
He is a murdering bandit, he lies.
I am no bandit. And I do not lie.
They are startled at Wallace’s fluency in Latin.
Or in French if you prefer that:
Certainmous et ver! Ask your king to
his face, and see if his eyes can
convince you of the truth.
She stares for a long moment at Wallace’s eyes.
Hamilton, leave us.
Leave us now.
He reluctantly obeys. Seeing that she wants the exchange to
be private, Wallace turns and nods for his men to leave.
Stephen, who has been admiring the lady’s beauty non-stop,
leans in and whispers to William…
Her husband’s more of a queen than
she is. Did you know that?
Stephen moves off with Hamish and Campbell. Wallace and the
princess are left alone.
Let us talk plainly. You invade
England. But you cannot complete the
conquest, so far from your shelter
and supply. The King proposes that
you withdraw your attack. In return
he grants you title, estates, and
this chest with a thousand pounds of
gold, which I am to pay to you
A Lordship. And gold. That I should
Peace is made is such ways.
SLAVES ARE MADE IN SUCH WAYS!
The outburst startles even those watching from a distance.
The Princess is mesmerized by Wallace’s passion.
I understand you have suffered. I
know… about your woman.
She was my wife. We married in secret
because I would not share her with
an English lord. They killed her to
get to me. And she was pregnant.
The Princess is stunned; Wallace is dead still.
I’ve never told anyone. I don’t know
why I tell you — except because you
look… much like her. And someday
you will be a queen, and you must
open your eyes!
Tell your king that William Wallace
will not be ruled. Nor will any Scot,
while I live.
The Princess rises slowly from her chair, moves in front of
him, and lowers herself to her knees. The Crony and her other
attendants, seeing this from a distance, are shocked.
Sir. I leave this money, as a gift.
Not from the king, but from myself.
And not to you, but to the orphans
of your country.
She lifts her face. Their eyes hold a moment too long.
LATER, EXT. FIELD – DAY
Wallace and his captains sit on horseback at the head of
their company and watch as the Princess’ procession leaves.
Hamish studies Wallace’s face; Wallace notices and gives him
a non-committal shrug. As the carriage rolls away, its window
curtains lift back slightly. All they see are the Princess’
fingers, but they know she looked back. Wallace reins his
horse away, to ride back to camp.
INT. EDWARD’S PALACE – DAY
The doors open; the Princess enters Longshanks’ war council;
Prince Edward is there, among a dozen others.
My son’s loyal wife returns, unkilled
by the heathen. So he accepted our
No. He did not.
Then why does he stay? My scouts say
he has not advanced.
He waits. For you. He says he will
attack no more towns — if you are
man enough to come fight him.
You spoke with this Wallace in
private. What kind of man is he?
…A mindless barbarian. Not a king
like you, M’lord.
The Scottish nobles have sent him no
support. His army starves. Our stall
has worked, he must withdraw. You
may return to your embroidery.
She barely curtseys, and starts out.
You brought back the money, of course?
He already knows she didn’t; Hamilton is standing near him.
No. I have it to ease the suffering
of the children of this war.
(glances at son)
This is what happens when you must
send a woman. And a fool.
Forgive me, Sire. I thought that
generosity might demonstrate your
greatness to those you mean to rule.
My greatness is better demonstrated
From a box at his feet the king withdraws a crossbow and
throws it onto the table. Most of those there are shocked.
The weapon has been outlawed by the
So the Scots will have none of them,
will they? My armorers have already
made a thousand.
Longshanks smiles. No one notices that the Princess is deadly
EXT. WALLACE ARMY CAMP – DAY
The Scots are lining up to leave their encampment. Wallace
is about to give the signal to start the march when Hamish,
beside him, comes alert; a small group of riders in
distinctive attire are coming toward them; what can this be?
William — French guards?
The riders stop at a distance, and out from their ranks comes
a single rider, sitting sidesaddle. It is Nicolette.
Wallace and Hamish recognize her from the Princess’s visit.
She trots her horse the rest of the way, while the French
guards stay back. Hamish helps her from her horse. She moves
to Wallace, and opens the heavy folds of her heavy riding
Secreted there, hung from a rope at her neck, is a crossbow.
EXT. A FIELD IN SCOTLAND – DAY
Wallace has gathered the nobles, among them Robert the Bruce,
Mornay, and old Craig, for a demonstration. Hamish and Stephen
have placed a spearman’s chestplate against a bale of hay.
As William cranks the crossbow to its full cocked position
and places a bolt in its slot, Stephen tucks a melon behind
William aims… and fires. The bolt slashes through the air
and punches through the armor and the melon, leaving no doubt
what it would do to a man’s heart. The nobles pale.
That is why the Pope outlawed the
weapon! It makes war too terrible.
How many does Longshanks have?
You have made me Guardian of Scotland.
So I tell you this is what we face.
We must sue for peace.
We cannot defeat this —
With cavalry — not heavy, like the
English, but light, fast horsemen,
like you nobles employ — we could
outmaneuver their bowmen!
It is suicide.
Sir William —
The Bruce sees Wallace about to explode, and tries to
intervene — but Wallace’s anger is too great.
We won at Stirling and still you
quibbled! We won at York and you
would not support us! Then I said
nothing! Now I say you are cowards!
The nobles grip their weapons; Wallace, Hamish and Stephen
are ready to finish this quarrel right here. Robert the Bruce,
backed by Mornay, steps between the two sides.
Please, Sir William! Speak with me
alone! I beg you!
The nobles stalk away, and Robert draws Wallace away, to the
target Wallace shot, so they are alone.
You have achieved more than anyone
dreamed. But fighting these odds
looks like rage, not courage. Peace
offers its rewards! Has war become a
habit you cannot break?
The question strikes deep.
War finds me willing. I know it won’t
bring back all I have lost. But it
can bring what none of us have ever
had — a country of our own. For
that we need a king. We need you.
I am trying.
Then tell me what a king is! Is he a
man who believes only what others
believe? Is he one who calculates
the numbers for and against him but
never weighs the strength in your
own heart? There is strength in you.
I see it. I know it.
I must… consult with my father.
And I will consult with mine.
Robert the Bruce walks off the field, heading the way the
other nobles went. Wallace rejoins Hamish and Stephen. They
look to him; what do we do now?
Remember when the English turned
their hounds on us? Maybe we should
introduce them to our dogs.
INT. THE DARKENED ROOM OF BRUCE THE ELDER, THE LEPER
In the faint nimbus of the single candle, young Robert sits
across from his leper father. The son grips his own head, as
if stunned by a blow.
This… cannot be the way.
You have said yourself that the nobles
will not support Wallace, so how
does it help us to join the side
that is slaughtered?
Heartsick, the father reaches across the table, then stays
his arm, unwilling to touch his son with his leprous hand.
My son. Look at me. I cannot be king.
You, and you alone, can rule Scotland.
What I tell you, you must do — for
yourself, and for your country.
Young Robert holds his father with his eyes, and does not
EXT. THE BATTLE OF FALKIRK – DAY
The Scottish army moves out onto the hilly plain, covered in
the gray mists. They see glimpses of the enemy in the
distance. Wallace deploys the Scots: Campbell with the
schiltrons (spear formations), Stephen with the infantry,
the noble Mornay leading the cavalry, and with Wallace and
Hamish on horseback, looking over the field. Hamish sees
gazing up at an empty hill above the field.
The Bruce is not coming, William.
Mornay has come. So will the Bruce.
He’d better, the odds look long. And it’s nasty ground; one
side of the field is ankle deep in water, and the English
are covering it with a layer of burning oil, releasing thick
smoke to hide their movements.
The Priest from their home village is moving through the
Scottish ranks, dispensing absolution. He reaches the two
friends, who accept the Host, say their own last prayers,
and give each other a look of goodbye. Hamish rides off to
join the schiltrons.
LONGSHANKS AND HIS GENERALS
on the opposite side of the field, send their army forward.
WALLACE AND THE SCOTS
see them through the smoke; Wallace spots what he’s looking
for: there they are, the ranks of crossbowmen!
And as they draw nearer, Wallace hears a haunting noise. He
sees the bowmen more clearly, and the English infantry. Some
are wearing kilts and marching to bagpipes.
STEPHEN OF IRELAND, WITH THE SCOTTISH INFANTRY
He stares at the approach of his countrymen. Wallace appears
beside him. Stephen sees him, and is ashamed.
So that’s where Longshanks got his
soldiers. Irishmen, willing to kill
Scottish cousins for the English.
Their families are starving, they’ll
feed them however they can. If you
don’t want to fight them —
No. I’ll stand with you.
Loyal to the end. Wallace signals to Hamish and Campbell,
among the schiltrons. The formations, bristling with spears,
move forward. Hamish looks back at Wallace; both men know
the spearmen are the bait here. Wallace and Stephen see the
English heavy cavalry advancing.
They can’t be that stupid to attack
the schiltrons again.
Wallace is scanning the battlefield. He sees the English
cavalry charge, but before they reach the bristling spears,
they pull up, and crossbowmen, moving up behind the knights.
It’s only a faint to shield the
The crossbowmen fire a volley, too hurriedly. We see the
hailstorm of bolts slash through the air in unison — you
can actually see them coming. The bows fall short of the
front ranks of the schiltrons.
Now! Give ’em the dogs!
Stephen signals, and up the slope behind them come handlers
with ten war dogs.
Huge mastiffs, they wear steel collars, with razor sharp
protrusions. Their handlers hold them at the end of long
catch poles. The crossbowmen are distracted from their
reloading by the appearance of the mastiffs; now, as the
Scottish handlers run toward the English ranks and unleash
the dogs, fear races through the English line.
The dogs tear into them. It is chaos; the bowmen can’t flee,
and as the dogs mix among them, the bowmen fire frantically,
mostly hitting each other. The dogs’ collars slash legs;
their jaws crush bones; even when their back legs are hacked
off, the frenzied dogs keep killing.
Wallace signals to Mornay with the Scottish cavalry. Mornay
does nothing. The crossbowmen, though taking great punishment,
are beginning to overwhelm the dogs by sheer numbers, and
Now! Charge! Charge them!
Mornay tugs his reins and leads his cavalry away.
AT THE ENGLISH COMMAND
Longshanks and his officers see Mornay and his cavalry melt
away. The English general looks knowingly at Longshanks.
For double his lands in Scotland,
and matching estates in England.
WALLACE, WITH STEPHEN
They see the Scottish army abandoned.
Wallace glances to the other hilltop; still no sign of Bruce.
He looks on in agony as the crossbowmen unleash another
volley. The Scottish spearmen, bunched in a tight group, are
helpless. The bolts fall, cutting through their helmets and
breastplates like paper. Wallace has no cavalry — and his
men are being slaughtered! He spurs his horse, and Stephen
and the infantrymen race behind him.
The English heavy cavalry surge to meet them, but Wallace
weaves through them, dodging with his horse, slashing with
the broadsword, cutting down on knight, another, another…
The Scottish infantry claws in, dragging down the horses,
hacking the knights as they run by.
The English bowmen are about to fire again, but they see the
Scottish charge bearing down on them and adjust their aim;
the bolts cut into the infantrymen; one bolt tears off the
armor of Wallace’s left shoulder. He wobbles on his horse,
regains his balance, and keeps up the charge.
AT THE ENGLISH COMMAND
Longshanks and his generals are watching the action.
My God, and still they come!
Use the reinforcements! But take
The General signals and the English reinforcements surge
into the battle.
IN THE THICK OF THE BATTLE
On horseback, Wallace fights his way into the watery edge of
the field, where English infantry is now overrunning the
schiltron. He hacks men down left and right, reaches the
Scottish center, and finds Hamish bending over another
soldier. Wallace dismounts.
Hamish! Ham —
And Wallace sees that Hamish is holding his father, fallen
in battle. Wallace has no time to react; he cuts down and
English swordsman moving in to hack Hamish’s back. Wallace
lifts Campbell across the saddle, and shouts at Hamish…
Get him away!
Hamish obeys, jumping onto the horse and galloping back toward
the rear. Wallace fights with new vengeance, swinging the
double-edged broadsword with deadly accuracy.
Rallied by Wallace’s presence, the Scots surge back. Then
Wallace sees the English reinforcement cavalry coming.
A charge! Form up! Form up!
The Scots pull up spears and hastily form another schiltron.
The spears bristle out, ready… the English horsemen thunder
- But before the spears impale the horses, another flight
of crossbow bolts cuts down half the Scots still fighting.
Hamish reaches the rear of the battle and lowers the limp
body of his father to the Scottish monks who are attending
to the wounded and giving absolution to the dying…
Still Wallace fights back, meeting the English charge. The
Scots hold their own. An English knight tries to ride over
William; he knocks the lance aside, and tough the horse slams
into him, William also unseats the rider.
The rider rolls to his feet. William struggles up to meet
him — and comes face to face with Robert the Bruce.
The shock and recognition stun Wallace; in that moment,
looking at Robert the Bruce’s guilt-ridden face, he
understands everything: the betrayal, the hopelessness of
Scotland. As he stands there frozen, a bolt punches into the
muscle of his neck, and Wallace doesn’t react to it.
Bruce is horrified at the sight of Wallace this way. He
batters at Wallace’s sword, as if its use would give him
Fight me! Fight me!
But Wallace can only stagger back. Bruce’s voice grows ragged
as he screams.
All around, the battle has decayed; the Scots are being
slaughtered. Another bolt glances off Wallace’s helmet; a
third rips into his thigh plate, making his legs collapse.
Suddenly Stephen comes through the melee, on Robert’s horse!
He hits Robert from behind, knocking him down, and jumps to
the ground to try and lift William onto the horse!
Robert sees a knot of crossbowmen moving up, sighting out
Wallace, taking careful aim! Bruce leaps up and helps Stephen
sling Wallace onto the back of the horse, even covers him
with his shield, deflecting another bolt fired at Wallace,
as Stephen mounts too.
As the horse plunges away into the smoke, Robert falls to
the water. His own troops reach him, realize who he is, see
the horrible expression on his face, and race on after the
Robert is left alone, on his knees in the water, the fire
and noise of battle now dim to him, as if his senses have
died along with his heart.
Looks over the battlefield, strewn with the bodies of the
Scottish dead. For now, he is satisfied.
EXT. ROAD – SUNSET
Remnants of the defeated army straggle past. Wallace and
Stephen are trying to help Hamish carry his father, but now
old Campbell says…
Son… I want to die on the ground.
But as they tilt old Campbell onto the ground, he grabs at
something that starts to fall from the wound in his stomach.
Whew. That’ll clear your sinuses.
No. You’re going to live.
I don’t think I can do without one
of those… whatever it is…
Hamish is too grief-stricken to speak.
You… were like my father…
Old Campbell rallies one more time for this.
…And glad to die, like him… So
you could be the men you are. All of
The last three words to Hamish, telling him he’s a hero too.
I’m a happy man.
Hamish is weeping. When he looks up again, his father has
died. We PULL BACK from them in tableaux, with the army, the
people of Scotland, the whole gray world in defeat.
INT. EDINBURGH CASTLE – DAY
Wallace, still bloody and in his battered armor, removes the
chain of office from beneath his breastplate, lays it onto
the table in front of Craig and the other nobles, and walks
from the room. Hamish and Stephen see the satisfaction on
the nobles’ face, and follow William out.
INT. CASTLE CORRIDOR – DAY
Hamish and Stephen move out into the hallway after Wallace —
but he is gone.
EXT. WOODS – NIGHT
Wallace is in the woods, in the grove of trees, looking at
Marion’s hidden grave. The rain falls on his face, like tears.
But he has no tears of his own. The cold, the icy rain, the
wounds, nothing seems to touch him.
With his fingertips he carefully draws her embroidered cloth
from beneath his breastplate; hanging in his trembling hands,
filthy with the grime and gore of battle, it looks impossibly
white, something from a better, purer world.
INT. PALACE IN LONDON – NIGHT
Thunder, the sound of driving rain. Snug by a massive fire
are Longshanks, his son Edward, and other advisors. On the
far side of the room, away from the fire, the Princess stands
at the window and watches the rain against the panes.
Their nobles have sworn allegiance,
M’lord. Every last one.
Longshanks savors the victory — and gloats to his son.
Now we kill two birds at one stroke.
We recruit from Scotland for our
armies in France.
The Scots will fight for us?
What choice do they have? Now they
must serve us or starve.
But if we have not caught Wallace —
He is gone! Finished! Dead! If he
has not yet bled to death or had his
throat cut for him, he will not
survive the winter. It is very cold —
is it not, our flower?
From the other side of the window, we see the Princess as
she hears him, but doesn’t turn around. She looks at the
window, we snow swirling among the raindrops outside. Her
eyes glisten, and her breath fogs the glass.
INT. BRUCE’S DARKENED CHAMBER
The elder Bruce, his decaying features sagging from his face,
stares across the table at his son.
I am the one who is rotting. But I
think your face looks graver than
He was so brave. With courage alone
he nearly won.
So more men were slaughtered
He broke because of me. I saw it. He
lost all will to fight.
We must have alliance with England
to prevail here. You achieved that!
You saved your family, increased
your lands! In time you will have
all the power in Scotland!… Yet
In my heart I had begun to hope that
he would never break.
All men lose heart. All betray. It
is exactly why we must make the
choices we make.
INT. MORNAY’S CASTLE – NIGHT
Mornay, in an opulent bedchamber hung with tapestries and
carpeted with eastern rugs, lies in bed, tossing in the
restless sleep of a tortured soul.
He thinks he hears galloping. In SUBLIMINAL FLASHES he DREAMS
of Wallace riding toward him.
He wakes, and listens to a strange noise. It is hoofbeats!
Coming closer. He hears shouts too, screams from below —
and those strange, approaching hoofbeats…
WALLACE, ON HORSEBACK
rides up the circular stairs inside Mornay’s castle! His
horse bounds up the stone — Mornay’s guards are behind him,
on foot, pursuing.
At a landing, Wallace cuts down a guard, and gallops higher.
IN HIS BED, MORNAY
sits up gawking as the door explodes inward and Wallace rides
through! Mornay is frozen. Wallace slashes him down.
Out in the corridor, the guards gather; they have Wallace
trapped. He covers the horse’s eyes with a cloth and spurs
his flanks. The blind animal runs through the window!
EXT. CASTLE – NIGHT – SLOW MOTION
The horse and rider plunge past the sheer walls of the
castle… and into the loch! Mornay’s guards and the castle
servants cluster at the windows to see Wallace and the horse
surface, and swim to the shore, escaping!
EXT. SCOTTISH VILLAGE – DAY
The news has spread through the countryside. In the town
square, drunken Scotsmen chant…
Wal-lace! Wal-lace! Wal-lace!
Old Craig rides past them, heading toward the Bruce’s castle
on the hill above the town.
INT. BRUCE CASTLE – DAY
Robert is in his central room; he hears the chanting from
far below. Old Craig enters.
Is it true about Mornay?
Craig hands him the bloody nightshirt Mornay was wearing.
And he rode through the window? My
He can’t hide his admiration. From below, he still hears the
EXT. LONDON – GARDENS – DAY
Longshanks and Edward are in the royal gardens, resplendent
with spring. Longshanks pulls a new flower, and crushes it.
His legend grows! It will be worse
You let Wallace escape your whole
army. You cannot blame me for this.
Longshanks glowers at his son; the Princess arrives.
Good day to you, M’Lords.
You mock us with a smile?
I am cheerful with a plan to soothe
your miseries. All of England shudders
with the news of renewed rebellion.
Wallace himself. If you wish to
pretend a ghost rallies new volunteers
in every Scottish town, I leave you
to your hauntings. If you wish to
take him, I know a way.
Edward snickers in derision — but his wife is steel.
I have faced him. Have you?
Let her speak.
He will fight you forever. But what
does he fight for? Freedom first,
and peace. So grant them.
The little cow is insane —
Grant, as you do everything else,
with treachery. Offer him a truce to
discuss terms, and send me to my
castle at Locharmbie as your emissary.
He trusts me. Pick thirty of your
finest assassins for me to take along.
And I will set the meeting, and the
You see, my delicate son? I have
picked you a Queen.
EXT. THE PRINCESS’ SCOTTISH CASTLE – DAY
Locharmbie is a small, picturesque castle on a hillside. As
the queen’s entourage moves through the gates, they close
behind her. She steps out of the carriage and moves into
INT. CASTLE – THE GREAT HALL – DAY
Inside the great hall are thirty killers, led by their CHIEF
ASSASSIN, a cutthroat with a mangled eye.
We came in small groups, so the rebels
would not suspect.
And you have reached Wallace’s men?
We tell the villagers, and the
traitors pass it on. All that’s left
is for you to say where.
EXT. MARION’S GROVE – NIGHT
Wallace is in the grove of trees where Marion is buried.
Drinking in the silence, his own isolation. He hears a RUSTLE
behind him, and spins, drawing the broadsword. Then his face
registers… it’s Hamish and Stephen.
Hamish is unsure if he did the right thing in coming here —
unsure, until Wallace moves to them, and hugs them.
INT. CAVE – NIGHT
They are in the old secret cave; rain is falling, but it’s
dry inside, with a campfire smoldering at the entrance.
Thanks for the food and drink. And
for bringing ’em yourselves.
We’re here to stay. We don’t care to
live, if we can’t fight beside ya.
Stephen pulls a jug of whiskey from his pocket. He swigs,
hands it to Hamish for a chug, then to Wallace, who declines,
but smiles for the first time in many weeks.
There is… one thing, William.
Longshanks is offering a truce. He
has dispatched his daughter-in-law
as his emissary, and she has sent
word that she wishes to meet you —
in a barn.
Wallace frowns; a barn?
EXT. A BARN IN THE SCOTTISH COUNTRYSIDE – DAY
Hauntingly similar to the one in Wallace’s childhood. As he
sits on his horse and looks at the place, surmounted by a
white flag of truce, it gives him a chill. But in full view
of the barn, he hands Hamish his sword and rides forward.
INSIDE THE BARN
are the assassins, killing knives ready.
It’s William Wallace, sure! And…
he’s given up his sword! Be ready!
They position themselves at every entrance.
OUTSIDE THE BARN
Wallace reaches the barn, dismounts, and moves toward the
door. But suddenly, instead of entering, he grabs the heavy
bar and seals the door! At this motion, Scots spring from
the woods in all directions. The assassins inside realize
the ambush is being turned on them, but it’s too late; they
hear the entrance being sealed from the outside.
More Scots, led by Stephen, scramble up from hiding, place
tinder-dry brush and pitch against the barn, and set it on
fire. In moments the entire barn is blazing. The Scots stand
back and watch the barn burn, their faces lit by the flames.
After awhile, there are no more screams from inside.
EXT. CASTLE – NIGHT
The Princess sees the burning off in the distance, like a
bonfire. She stands on the wall, looking out at it. And then
she sees, on a hillside, silhouetted against the night and
the fire, a rider, just sitting there on his horse, looking
at the castle. She runs into the castle, up the stairs, and
stands on the pinnacle of the castle, so that she too is
silhouetted, and he can see her.
The lone rider is William Wallace.
CLOSE – A CANDLE
being placed in a window of the stable cottage, built into
the outer wall of the castle. AT A DISTANCE, the candle burns
like a tiny beacon. And William sees it.
INSIDE THE STABLE COTTAGE, THE PRINCESS
sits alone, wondering if her signal is going to work.
OUTSIDE THE CASTLE
Wallace climbs the castle wall, hand over hand up the mortared
stones, to the window twenty feet above the ground.
He reaches the safety of the window cove and kneels on the
ledge. He looks through the window, and sees her inside.
INSIDE THE ROOM, she looks up, and sees him there. The first
glance frightens her, and yet she expected him, prayed for
him to come. Now, for a long, long moment the two of them
look at each other through the glass, each realizing the
implications of this moment.
She moves to the window and opens it. The wind rushing through
extinguishes the candle, and he slips inside. They face each
other in the darkness. Then she strikes a match and relights
the candle, and they look at each other.
A meeting in a barn. It had to be a
trap. And only you would know I would
be aware of it.
It does me good to see you.
I am much diminished since we met.
She wants to say something — but instead she says something
There will be a new shipment of
supplies coming north next month.
Food and weapons. They will trav —
No. Stop. I didn’t come here for
Then why did you come?
Why did you?
Because of the way you’re looking at
me now. The same way… as when we
He turns his face away. Gently, she pulls it back.
I know. You looked at me… and saw
He twists back toward the window.
You must forgive me what I feel. No
man has ever looked at me as you
Surprised, he looks at her now.
You have… you have a husband.
I have taken vows. More than one.
I’ve vowed faithfulness to my husband,
and sworn to give him a son. And I
cannot keep both promises.
Slowly, it starts to dawn on him what she’s asking, and an
unexpected smile plays at his lips. Her smile lights too.
You understand. Consider, before you
laugh and say no. You will never own
a throne, though you deserve one.
But just as the sun will rise
tomorrow, some man will rule England.
And what if his veins ran not with
the blood of Longshanks, but with
that of a true king?
I cannot love you for the sake of
No. But can you love me for the sake
of all you loved and lost? Or simply
love me… because I love you?
Slowly, he reaches to the candle flame, and pinches it out.
IN THE SHADOWS OF THE COTTAGE BED
we see the surging, pent-up passion… and
Their bodies limp, they lie asleep, entwined. The first rays
of morning spread yellow light through the room and across
Wallace wakes suddenly; sunlight! He grabs for his clothes,
as she wakes, covers herself in the blanket and jumps out of
bed, rushing to the window to look out.
No one! Hurry!
He reaches her, throws the window open, and sees a clear
path down the wall to safety. He stops and looks at her, and
touches her face in gratitude. She has to ask…
When we… did you think of her?
Pausing to look straight into her eyes, he kisses her —
her, not Marion — and climbs out. She watches him go.
EXT. GROVE OF TREES – NIGHT
Wallace stands alone in the grove where Marion lies.
— Wallace and fifty men gallop through a village on the way
to an English fortress; the villagers drop what they’re doing
and run to follow them; we see Wallace’s face, relentless,
as he hacks men down in the attack; with the fortress sacked
and smoking in the background, we see Wallace lead his men
away, the people cheering him…
EXT. FOREST ENCAMPMENT – NIGHT
Once again, Wallace stares at the fire, beside his friends.
Your rest is making me exhausted.
Stephen offers the jug; Wallace declines.
Come, it’ll help you sleep.
Aye. But it won’t let me dream.
Pulling a tattered tartan around himself, he lies down.
LONGSHANKS, INT. HIS PALACE – NIGHT
He sits by a palace hearth, where a huge blaze burns; still
he’s huddled beneath a blanket, and coughing blood. But he
ignores the ice in his lungs; his mind is plotting.
THE PRINCESS, EXT. THE WALLS OF HER CASTLE – NIGHT
she walks the parapets alone, lost in her own thoughts.
ROBERT THE BRUCE, IN A STONE ROOM OF HIS CASTLE
sits staring at… the stone coffin of his father. The coffin
is closed; on its top is a lifesize stone carving of his
father as a knight in final repose. Ranks of candles light
the scene, and Robert’s face, cold as the stone. A SHUFFLE…
Robert looks up to see old Craig.
May he rest in peace… You have
already sealed the coffin?
He was a modest man.
It will not be long before Longshanks
too is encased in stone, and his
crowns divided for others to wear.
Craig sits next to Robert, and keeps his voice low.
Our nobles are frightened and
confused… Wallace has the commoners
stirred up again, from the Highland
clans to the lowland villages. In
another six months Christ and the
Apostles could not govern this
Robert only stares at his father’s stone coffin.
Longshanks knows his son will scarcely
be able to rule England, much less
half of France. He needs Scotland
settled, and he trusts you, after
Falkirk. If you pay him homage, he
will recognize you as king of
Scotland. Our nobles have agreed to
this as well.
He shows Robert a parchment bearing the noblest names in
Scotland. The Bruce barely glances at it.
If I pay homage to another’s throne,
then how am I a king?
Homage is nothing. It is the crown
The crown is that of Scotland. And
Scotland is William Wallace.
That is another matter. There is a
price to all this, required both by
Longshanks and our nobles. Pay it,
and you will be our king. And we
will have peace.
Robert turns from his father’s coffin, to look at Craig.
EXT. FOREST ENCAMPMENT – NIGHT
A commotion; the nobles, their heads hooded, are led in on
horseback by guerrillas from the village. The nobles stop,
feel their hoods pulled off, and see Wallace.
Sir William. We come to seek a
You’ve all sworn to Longshanks.
An oath to a liar is no oath at all.
An oath to a patriot is a vow indeed.
Every man of us is ready to swear
loyalty to you.
So let the council swear publicly.
We cannot. Some scarcely believe you
are alive. Other think you’ll pay
them Mornay’s wages. We bid you to
Edinburgh. Meet us at the city gates,
two days from now, at sunset. Pledge
us your pardon and we will unite
behind you. Scotland will be one.
Wallace glances at Hamish and Stephen, who can barely hide
their contempt. Wallace looks at the nobles.
I will meet you, but only one way —
if Robert the Bruce is there, and
puts his hand on my Bible, and swears
his loyalty to Scotland.
He has already agreed to come.
EXT. FOREST – NIGHT
Wallace stands alone, looking at the moon and stars. Hamish
moves up and sits down beside him.
You know it’s a trap.
Probably. But we can’t win alone. We
know that. This is the only way.
I don’t want to be a martyr.
Nor I! I want to live! I want a home
and children and peace. I’ve asked
god for those things. But He’s brought
me this sword. And if He wills that
I must lay it down to have what He
wants for my country, then I’ll do
That’s just a dream, William!
We’ve lived a dream together. A dream
Your dreams aren’t about freedom!
They’re about Marion! You have to be
a hero, because you think she sees
you! Is that it?
My dreams of Marion are gone. I killed
them myself. If I knew I could live
with her on the other side of death,
I’d welcome it.
EXT. ROAD INTO EDINBURGH – SUNSET
William, Hamish, and Stephen are on their horses, looking
down at the road leading into the city. Wallace hands his
dagger to Stephen, and unbuckles his broadsword and gives it
Keep these. We’re going too.
No. One of us is enough.
Wallace hugs them, first Stephen, then Hamish. Tears roll
down Hamish’s cheeks. With one last look at his friends,
Wallace rides away.
EXT. LARGE ESTATE HOUSE – SUNSET
The house looks quiet as Wallace rides toward it.
INT. ESTATE HOUSE – DAY
Robert the Bruce and Craig stand at the hearth, tense.
He won’t come.
He will. I know he will.
They hear the approach of a single horse. The Bruce looks
out to see Wallace arriving.
Here. And unarmed. My God, he has a
OUTSIDE THE HOUSE
Wallace dismounts and enters.
INT. THE HOUSE
Wallace appears at the doorway into the main room, and stops.
Bruce faces him. The eyes of BOTH MEN meet, saying everything.
Wallace steps into the room. He sees something flicker onto
Bruce’s face — shame — just as henchmen in the rafters
drop a weighted net and it envelopes Wallace.
English soldiers spring from the closets, run down the stairs,
and tumble over him, ripping at his clothes, searching as if
broadswords might spring from his boots.
They bind Wallace hand and foot. He stares at Robert the
Bruce, who averts his eyes. The soldiers hurry Wallace out
the back, where others are bringing up horses. Robert grabs
the English Captain of the soldiers.
He is not to be harmed. I have your
king’s absolute promise that he will
be imprisoned only!
The Captain looks at Bruce the way the High Priest must have
looked at Judas, and leaves.
Now we will have peace.
Robert the Bruce spots something on the floor that must have
fallen from Wallace’s clothes as they grabbed him; Bruce
lifts the white handkerchief, and sees the familiar thistle
embroidered on it.
EXT. ROAD – NORTHERN ENGLAND – DAY
A procession of heavily armed English soldiers winds its way
toward London, Wallace strapped to an unsaddled horse, his
head bare to the sun. Country people come out to jeer…
Don’t look so fearsome, does he?!
A thrown rock careens off Wallace’s check; rotten fruit slaps
his shirt. His lips are so parched they bleed.
INT. ROYAL PALACE – LONGSHANKS’ BEDROOM – DAY
Edward inspects his father, who lies semiconscious in bed,
breath rattling ominously in his chest. Edward approves.
INT. THE PALACE HALLWAY – DAY
The Princess hurries up to her husband as he leaves the king’s
bedroom, and follows him down the hall to his own.
Is it true? Wallace is captured?
Simply because he eluded your trap,
do you think he is more than a man?
My father is dying. Perhaps you should
think of our coronation.
When will his trial be?
Wallace’s? For treason there is no
trial. Tomorrow he will be charged,
With a faint smile, he shuts his bedroom door in her face.
INT. ROBERT THE BRUCE’S CASTLE – DAY
The Bruce is incredulous, yelling at Craig.
You are surprised he would lie?
Balliol was murdered in a church
yesterday. You are Longshanks’ new
designate. You will be king.
INT. TOWER DUNGEON
Wallace stands in medieval restraints worthy of Hannibal
Lecter. Before him are six scarlet-robed royal magistrates.
William Wallace! You stand in taint
of high treason.
We PUSH IN on the iron mask that binds his face. We can only
see his eyes — but they are bright.
Treason. Against whom?
Against thy king, thou vile fool!
Hast thou anything to say?
Never, in my whole life, did I swear
allegiance to your king —
It matters not, he is thy king!
— while many who serve him have
taken and broken his oath many times.
I cannot commit treason, if I have
never been his subject!
Confess, and you may receive a quick
death. Deny, and you must be purified
by pain. Do you confess? …DO YOU
I do not confess.
Then on the morrow, thou shalt receive
they purification… And in the end,
I promise you’ll beg for the axe.
EXT. ESTABLISHING – THE TOWER
The stone prison, and the wretched stone section known to
this day as the Wallace Tower.
INT. PRISON – NIGHT
Wallace is alone in his cell, still in the garish restraints.
We can only see his eyes, as he prays.
I am so afraid… Give me strength.
OUTSIDE THE CELL DOOR
The jailers jump to their feet as the Princess enters.
I will see the prisoner.
We’ve orders from the king —
The king will be dead in a month!
And his son is a weakling! Who do
you think will rule this kingdom?
Now OPEN THIS DOOR!
The jailer obeys. The Princess can barely contain her shock
at the sight of Wallace; the jailers snatch him upright.
On your feet, you filth!
Stop! Leave me!
There is no way out of this hell!
Leave me with him!
Reluctantly the jailers shuffle out of the cell, but they
can still see her back and hear her. Looking at Wallace’s
eyes through the mask, she can’t quite hold back her tears —
dangerous tears, that threaten to say too much. Wallace tries
to distract her.
M’lady… what kindness of you to
visit a stranger.
Sir, I… come to beg you to confess
all, and swear allegiance to the
king, that he might show you mercy.
Will he show mercy to my country?
Will he take back his soldiers, and
let us rule ourselves?
Mercy… is to die quickly. Perhaps
even live in the Tower. In time, who
knows what can happen, if you can
If I swear to him, then everything I
am is dead already.
She wants to plead, she wants to scream. She can’t stop the
tears. And the jailers are watching.
Your people are lucky to have a
princess so kind that she can grieve
at the death of a stranger.
She almost goes too far now, pulling closer to him — but
she doesn’t care. She whispers, pleading…
You will die! It will be awful!
Every man dies. Not every man really
She pulls out a hidden vial, and whispers…
Drink this! It will dull your pain.
It will numb my wits, and I must
have them all. If I’m senseless, or
if I wail, then Longshanks will have
I can’t bear the thought of your
torture. Take it!
On the verge of hysteria, she presses the vial to the air
hole at his mouth and pours in the drug. The jailers, seeing
suspicious movement, shift inside the cell; she backs up,
her eyes wide, full of love and goodbye. From inside the
mask, he watches her go. When the door CLANGS shut, he spits
the purple drug out through the mouth hole.
INT. LONGSHANKS’ BEDCHAMBER – NIGHT
Longshanks lies helpless, his body racked with consumption.
Edward sits against the wall, watching him die, glee in his
eyes. The Princess enters, and marches to the bedside.
I have come to beg for the life of
You fancy him.
I respect him. At worst he was a
worthy enemy. Show mercy… Oh thou
great king… and win the respect of
your own people.
Longshanks shakes his head.
Even now, you are incapable of mercy?
The king can’t speak. But hatred still glows in his eyes.
The princess looks at her husband.
Nor you. To you that word is as
unfamiliar as love.
Before he lost his powers of speech,
he told me his one comfort was that
he would live to know Wallace was
She leans down and grabs the dying king by the hair. The
guards flanking the door start forward but the Princess’s
eyes flare at them with more fire than even Longshanks once
showed — and the guards back off. She leans down and hisses
to Longshanks, so softly that even Edward can’t hear…
You see? Death comes to us all. And
it comes to William Wallace. But
before death comes to you, know this:
your blood dies with you. A child
who is not of your line grows in my
belly. Your son will not sit long on
the throne. I swear it.
She lets go of the old king. He sags like an empty sack back
onto his satin pillows. Without even a look at her husband
she strides out of the room, with the rattling breath of the
dying king rasping the air like a saw.
EXT. LONDON TOWN SQUARE – EXECUTION DAY
The crowd is festive; hawkers sell roast chickens, and beer
from barrels. Royal horsemen arrive, dragging Wallace strapped
to a wooden litter. As they cut him loose and lead him through
the crowd, the people begin to jeer and throw things at him:
chicken bones, rocks, empty tankards.
We see a former English soldier, one of those who fled in
terror at the battle of Stirling, lift a stone from the street
and hurl it; it cracks against Wallace’s cheek.
Wallace’s eyes capture the soldier, and hold him, piercing
his soul. The soldier looks away in shame, even as the rest
of the crowd jeers more.
Grim magistrates prod Wallace and he climbs the execution
platform. On the platform are a noose, a dissection table
with knives in plain view, and a chopping block with an
enormous axe. Wallace sees it all.
We will use it all before this is
over. Or fall to your knees now,
declare yourself the king’s loyal
subject, and beg his mercy, and you
shall have it.
He emphasizes “mercy” by pointing to the axe. Wallace is
pale, and trebles — but he shakes his head. The CROWD grows
noisier as they put the noose around Wallace’s neck…
— THE PRINCESS, in helpless agony, hearing the DISTANT NOISE
from her room in the palace…
— Hamish and Stephen, disguised as peasants among the crowd,
helpless too, but there, as if to shoulder some of the pain.
— Longshanks, rattling, coughing blood, as Edward watches.
— Robert the Bruce paces along the walls of his castle in
Scotland. His eyes are haunted; he grips the embroidered
handkerchief that belonged to Wallace.
ON THE EXECUTION STAND
a trio of burly hooded executioners cinch a rope around
Wallace’s neck and hoist him up a pole.
That’s it! Stretch him!
In the SCORE, AMAZING GRACE, wailed on bagpipes, carries
through all that happens now… Ties hand and foot, Wallace
is strangling. The Magistrate watches coldly; even when the
executioner gives him a look that says they’re about to go
too far, he prolongs the moment; then the Magistrate nods
and the executioner cuts the rope. Wallace slams to the
platform; the Magistrate leans to him.
Pleasant, yes? Rise to your knees,
kiss the royal emblem on my cloak,
and you will feel no more.
With great effort, Wallace rises to his knees. The Magistrate
assumes a formal posture and offers the cloak.
Wallace struggles all the way to his feet.
Very well then. Rack him.
The executioners slam Wallace onto his back on the table,
spread his arms and legs, and tie each to a crank. Goaded by
the crowd, they pull the ropes taut. They crowd grows quiet
enough to hear the groaning of Wallace’s limbs. Hamish and
Stephen feel it in their own bodies.
Wonderful, isn’t it, that a man
remains conscious through such pain.
Wallace shakes his head. The executioners cut off his clothes,
take hot irons from a fire box. The crowd grows silent; we
see them, not Wallace, as the irons are touched to his body,
but we hear the burning of flesh. Then the Magistrate signals;
Wallace wants to say something.
That… will… clear your sinuses.
Everyone hears; Hamish smiles, even through his tears.
Rebuffed, the Magistrate nods to the executioners, who lift
the terrible instruments of dissection.
We are spared seeing the cutting: we are ON WALLACE’S FACE
as the disembowelment begins. The Magistrate leans in beside
It can all end. Right now! Bliss.
Peace. Just say it. Cry out. “Mercy!”
The crowd can’t hear the magistrate but they know the
procedure, and they goad Wallace, chanting…
Mer-cy! Mer-cy! Mer-cy!
Wallace’s eyes roll to the magistrate, who signals QUIET!
The prisoner wishes to say a word!
SILENCE. Hamish and Stephen weep, whisper, pray…
HAMISH AND STEPHEN
Mercy, William… Say Mercy…
Wallace’s eyes flutter, and clear. He fights through the
pain, struggles for one last deep breath, and screams…
The shout RINGS through the town. Hamish hears it. The
Princess hears it, at her open window, and touches her tummy,
just showing the first signs of her pregnancy. Longshanks
and his son seem to hear; the cry STILL ECHOES as if the
wind could carry it through the ends of Scotland; and Robert
the Bruce, on the walls of his castle, looks up sharply, as
if he has heard…
IN THE LONDON SQUARE
the crowd has never seen courage like this; even English
strangers begin to weep. The angry, defeated magistrate gives
a signal. They cut the ropes, drag Wallace over and put his
head on the block. The executioner lifts his huge axe — and
Wallace looks toward the crowd.
THE CROWD, WALLACE’S POV
He sees Hamish, eyes brimming, face glowing…
SLOW MOTION – THE AXE
begins to drop.
In the last half-moment of his life, when he has already
stepped into the world beyond this one, he glimpses someone
standing at Hamish’s shoulder. She is beautiful, smiling,
She is Marion.
CUT TO BLACK:
ROBERT THE BRUCE
His face has changed. He is standing AT THE OPEN GRAVE WHERE
MARION LAY, the headstone carved with the thistle still there.
He holds the handkerchief. As he tucks it into his own pocket,
and we MOVE IN on his eyes, we realize the VOICE OVER belongs
After the beheading, William Wallace’s
body was torn to pieces. His head
was set on London bridge, where
passerby were invited to jeer at the
man who had caused so much fear in
His arms and legs were sent to the
four corners of Britain as warning.
EXT. SCOTTISH TOWNS – VARIOUS SHOTS – DAY
We see the people, as the remains of William Wallace are
displayed in a box. The faces of the young men are fiery.
It did not have the effect that
More young men put on tartans, take up their weapons, and
gather into fighting units. Among them is Hamish, carrying a
shield emblazoned with a cocked arm holding a broadsword,
and the words “For Freedom.”
EXT. SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS – DAY
Robert the Bruce, flanked by the noblemen and the banners of
the Scottish throne, and backed by a ragtag army of Scots,
sits on his horse and looks down at the English generals in
their martial finery. The English are haughty, victorious,
at the head of their colorful, polished army, awaiting the
ceremony of submission from Scotland’s new king.
And I, Robert the Bruce, backed by a
body of Scottish veterans, rode out
to pay homage to the armies of the
English king, and accept his
endorsement of my crown.
FROM BELOW, ON THE OPEN PLAIN – DAY
The Scots — the remains of William Wallace’s army — look
so ragged and defeated that it hardly seems worth the wait.
One ENGLISH COMMANDER turns and jokes with another…
I hope you washed your ass this mornin —
it’s never been kissed by a king
UP ON THE HILL, Robert the Bruce sits on his horse, and waits.
He looks down at the English generals, at their banners,
their army. He looks down the ranks at his own.
He sees Hamish. Stephen. Old MacClannough is there, his eyes
watery, his weapon sharp. The Scottish bride Lord Bottoms
took is there, among the ragtag archers, her husband beside
her. Robert knows none of them — yet he knows them all.
Old Craig, among the other Scottish nobles mounted beside
the Bruce, grows impatient.
Come, let’s get it over with.
But Robert holds something — uncurling his fist, he looks
at the thistle handkerchief that belonged to Wallace. The
nobles start to rein their horses toward the English.
Robert the Bruce tucks the handkerchief safely behind his
breastplate, and turns to the Highlanders who line the hilltop
with him. He takes a long breath, and shouts —
ROBERT THE BRUCE
You have bled with Wallace! Now bleed
Bruce’s broadsword slides from its scabbard. A cry rises
from Highlanders, as from a tomb, rising —
Wal-lace! Wal-lace! Wal-lace!
The chant builds to a frenzy; it shakes the earth. The
Scottish nobles can scarcely believe it; the English are
shocked even more. Robert the Bruce, king of Scotland, spurs
his horse into full gallop toward the English, and the
Highlanders hurl their bodies down the hill, ready to run
through hell itself. In SLOW MOTION we see their faces…
And OVER THIS, we hear the voice of William Wallace…
In the year of our Lord 1314, patriots
of Scotland, starving and outnumbered,
charged the fields of Bannockburn.
They fought like warrior poets. They
fought like Scotsmen. And won their
On Wallace’s army behind Robert the Bruce, charging down the
hill to victory and glory, we slow to FREEZE FRAME and hear
their chant, huge, echoing…
Wal-lace! Wal-lace! Wal-lace!