It has been 25 years since Mel Gibson painted his face two-thirds-blue, pulled on a kilt and howled: "They may take our lives but they'll never take... OUR FREEDOM!

A quarter of a century since Braveheart with brutally cinematic battle scenes, a literal cast of thousands and dubious historical accuracy exploded into the world consciousness and won four Oscars including best picture and for Mel Gibson, best director.

While the three hour epic took £140m at the box office it was only the thirteenth-highest-grossing film of 1995 - the year of its release.

But its resonance in Scotland remains, with many experts believing the story of a Scottish leader who fights against English domination at the end of the 13th century gave new impetus to the nationalist movement.

Today (Thursday) marks the 25th anniversary of the European premiere of the award-winning historical drama at the University of Stirling.

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It was attended by Mel Gibson, who produced and directed the film, as well as playing the leading role of Wallace. Other stars who attended the premiere were Catherine McCormack, and Angus MacFadyen, who played Robert, 17th Earl of Bruce.

And today, to mark the anniversary of the European premiere of Braveheart, an online event will explore the character of Sir William Wallace, and the film which brought his story to audiences worldwide.

The sell-out virtual presentation event – titled Braveheart Live 2020 - comes after planned Wallace Monument activities had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The monument will also be marking the anniversary this month of William Wallace's triumph at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 - a battle of the First War of Scottish Independence.

The Herald:

The commemorations come as the monument opened on Tuesday for the first time since closing due to the pandemic.

Among those participating talking at the anniversary event is David Martin-Jones, professor of film studies at the University of Glasgow who says that while many books have been written about the influence of the movie on Scottish culture there was a "no less-important" story to tell about its impact on tourism.

"This a tale of the influential intertwining of Scotland’s iconic heritage sites, their depiction on the large and small screen, and tourism," he says.

The year after Braveheart's release visitors to Stirling's Wallace Monument shot up from 40,000 to one million, with an annual turnover of £1m.

The combined tourist income from Braveheart and Liam Neeson's Rob Roy blocbuster, released six months earlier was £15m in 1996 alone.

Mr Martin-Jones will look at how the Braveheart effect can be compared to that experience with the Outlander books and TV series.

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Outlander, screened on Amazon Prime in the UK, follows the adventures of time-travelling World War Two nurse Claire, played by Caitriona Balfe, and Sam Heughan's 18th Century Jacobite Highlander Jamie Fraser.

Locations for the show, such as Doune Castle, near Stirling, has seen visitor numbers rise by 200%, while Visit Scotland plugs a 12-day self-drive tour taking in filming locations.

While some scenes for Braveheart were shot in Scotland, most were filmed in Ireland.

So Braveheart tours today will typically take in locations associated with Wallace, from his place of birth at Elderslie, to where he held by the English Army at Dumbarton Castle and of course the Wallace Monument in Stirling.

Ken Thomson, marketing manager at Stirling District Tourism has no doubt about the movie's continuing relevance.

"Braveheart is still having an impact to this day - and arguably the message of the film, regardless of the context and irrespective of how it is interpreted, which depicts Wallace as a leader who fought back against discrimination and injustice, is more relevant now than ever. It certainly resonates with visitors today every bit as much as it did when the film was released 25 years ago."

He added: "The success of Braveheart was instrumental in making Stirling a 'must visit' destination for travellers from across the globe, and the key figure from the film is still at the heart of what Stirling offers visitors today."

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Dauvit Broun, professor of Scottish History at the University of Glasgow will make a contribution to the new Braveheart Live 2020, by discussing what has been revealed about William Wallace in the last ten years which offers fresh understanding of his role of the rising against Edward I in 1297, his position as Guardian of Scotland and how he was regarded by officials at the heart of Edward I's government.

In May, a hidden fort believed to have been the home of Wallace and his men was uncovered.

The site near Lochmaben in southern Scotland was thought to have been built by the Scottish freedom fighter in the 13th century.

Researchers believe it was a hidden stronghold where he and his 16 men would "sally forth to annoy the English".

The find was uncovered by archaeologists from Forestry and Land Scotland who investigated the site where the fort is believed to have once stood.

Nine years ago, historians uncovered evidence that the English believed William Wallace wanted to by King of Scotland.

Accounts of King Edward I's Exchequer for 1304-1305, describe the Scots patriot as someone who "falsely sought to call himself King of Scotland".

Researchers described his find as "startling" but urged caution, saying the English may have misinterpreted Wallace's role as Guardian of Scotland.

Wallace was hung, drawn and quartered in 1305 for high treason.

He led the Scots to a victory over English forces at Stirling Bridge in 1297 as part of a struggle for independence.

Braveheart, however, changes dates, events, and characters.

The Battle of Stirling Bridge is missing.

The central Braveheart conflict was shot on Ireland's vast Curragh plain.

And a love affair between Wallace and Isabella of France, playced by Sophie Marceau, is entirely fabricated.

Yet the script by American Randall Wallace was based on a real historical source - the epic 16th Century poem The Wallace, by the minstrel Blind Harry, which tells the story of William Wallace’s rebellion.

Nevertheless, would become a critical success, and set the stage for similar epics including 2000's Gladiator.