William Wallace was a monster, admits Gibson

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From the moment that Mel Gibson’s William Wallace — in blue and white facepaint and a tartan kilt — charged the English with the cry of “They can take our lives but they will never take our freedom”, historians have lined up to point out that, actually, Wallace was not the poor villager depicted in Braveheart, but a landowner and minor knight.

Now, 15 years on from filming, Gibson has conceded that the film played fast and loose with the historical truth — and that Wallace was “a monster” who was recast as the good guy for the sake of Hollywood convention.

Yet the star’s admission has done little to appease historians, who have claimed that Wallace’s real character probable fell somewhere inbetween.

Gibson, who also directed the 13th- century epic, spoke out in an interview to mark 15 years since its release. He said: "Wallace was a monster. He always smelt of smoke; he was always burning people’s villages down. He was like what the Vikings called ‘a berserker’.

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