First Advisor

Fischer, Fritz, 1962-

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Document Type


Date Created



In 1995, the myth-history presented in Mel Gibson’s award winning film, Braveheart, sparked the fires of nationalism in Scotland, leading to the nation’s partial autonomy. Braveheart’s influence on politics, historical memory and cultural identity are undeniable, yet few historians give the film the credit it rightly deserves. This demonstrates that, while it may not have single handily led to Scotland’s devolution in 1999, Braveheart did play a major role in the lead up to the 1997 devolution referendum. The film infused Scotland’s society, culture, and politics with nationalistic pride. Utilizing James DeFronzo’s five critical factors for revolutionary success as a framework, this project shows that Braveheart, a film about the legendary Scottish hero named William Wallace, had a vast political, social and cultural impact on Scotland, thus leading to the restoration of a Scottish parliament after three-centuries of dormancy. However, Scotland is not an independent country, as it remains a member of the United Kingdom. Therefore, this thesis also examines the ongoing nation-building, or rebuilding, process in Scotland, in the period immediately prior to the independence referendum in 2014. In all, the fact that Braveheart managed to revive, alter, and create Scotland’s greatest historical and mythological hero, as well as forever change the course of Scottish political and social history, makes it one of the most influential films of all time.

Abstract Format



Memory; Film; Braveheart; Scottish History; Scottish Politics; History


135 pages

Local Identifiers


Rights Statement

Copyright is held by author.