Mel Gibson’s magnum opus of Scotland’s quest for freedom from the English yoke is an epic movie, winning the Academy awards for the best picture and best director along with a couple of others. What started out as a revenge plot by William Wallace for the execution of his wife Murron, turned into a full blown quest for freedom as millions of Scotsmen from different clans rushed to join William and together waged war against the treacherous English rule.
Gibson’s direction, the way the battle scenes were shot, the narration of a tale of vengeance, love and betrayal, and his endearing performance as the Scot hero made ‘Braveheart’ a timeless classic, one which can be re-watched many times. The onlookers cry out ‘Mercy’ when they see the Scottish hero being tortured unimaginably. Wallace never submits but cries for ‘Freedom’ even at his last moments spurring the Scottish to continue the rebellion. Wallace was executed but his dreams never were. His fighting spirit truly casts an aura and drives his successors to root out the English form their kingdom. Mel Gibson has created a very original and believable piece of historical war, making ‘Braveheart’ deserving of the plaudits it has received.
For this list, we are specifically going to focus on movies where the good guys don’t win in the end. The eventual triumph of the good guy in the end of a story or cinema is what we always expect. A happy ending is what we cherish. The old books and proverbs like ‘good triumphs over evil’ have taught us a lifelong lesson of the eventual victory of those who remain on the right side of the road. The heroes are forever without blemish, sacrificing a great deal and undergoing a great ordeal to eventually wreck loose on the villain, but show mercy in the end, owing to his good nature. Heroes never kill. Only if dear old life was like this! Real world, as we know it, often has the villain smiling victoriously in the end, while the good lies sprawled in the dust. Over time, our filmmakers have tried to instill this touch of realism in their movies, and came up with astounding results. We, at the Cinemaholic, present to you the list of movies similar to Braveheart that are our recommendations. You can watch some of these movies like Braveheart on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
This entry might be confusing to some of our readers but for the true Harry Potter fans, Severus Snape was something more than a hero; he was a legend. The Potions turned DADA professor at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry stole hearts with his selflessness and apathy towards glorification. The watchful protector of The Boy Who Lived led a life in the shadows and only after his gruesome death did the audience get to know his contribution. When Lord Voldemort set his pet killer snake, Nagini on him, the audience recoiled in horror and shock. During re-runs, tears were common among the watchers who only fell in love with the character as time passed. Severus Snape died in the battle, but remained evergreen through Harry and Ginny’s third child, Albus Severus.
The most recent film in our list, the final installment of the ‘Wolverine’ franchisee couldn’t have ended on a better note. James Mangold took his inspiration from the popular comic strip, ‘Old Man Logan’ for the motion picture, ‘Logan’. ‘The Wolverine’ is one of the most beloved comic book characters and Hugh Jackman made him even more likable on screen. The audience got their first shock when they saw their hero hurt and broken, seeming like he had lived way too long past his prime. His healing abilities were impaled and he was only a shadow of the fighter that he was before. In the end, in an attempt to rescue Laura and the other child mutants, Logan battles his clone X-24 in a savage fight. X-24 gains the upper hand over the weakened Logan and fatally puts him through a tree branch. The fans cried along with Laura as ‘Old Man Logan’ breathed his last. The cross turned X over his grave seemed to be the perfect testimony for this evergreen warrior.
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8. Leon: The Professional
If there was a grossly underrated film list, Luc Besson’s ‘Leon: The Professional’ would certainly feature in it. The story of a hitman taking up the responsibility of a 12-year-old girl, whose parents were murdered by corrupt DEA agent Stansfield is an endearing one indeed. Natalie Portman makes her debut as the twelve-year-old Mathilda. In this role reversal, the hitman Leon, played by Jean Reno, is shown to be the hero, a person who takes care of a young girl and a plant. The DEA agent, played by Gary Oldman, is shown to be a crack addict and is corrupt to the boot. When the DEA stage an attack on Leon’s apartment in the final moments of the film, the hero saves Mathilda meticulously before trying to stage an escape by disguising himself as an injured DEA agent. However the crafty Stansfield catches up to Leon and fatally shoots him in the back, thus killing the man whom the audience fell in love with. The wily hitman had the last laugh though, as he had rigged himself up with explosives, and set them on, thereby killing both himself and Stansfield.
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7. The Wicker Man
Robin Hardy’s 1973 British mystery horror film remains one hidden piece of jewel even after so many decades. ‘The Wicker Man’ is an open propaganda against the superstitions of Celtic Paganism or any other ancient religion as a whole, proving how fatal some orthodox beliefs might be. The isolated Summerisle proves to be a maze of horrors after devout Christian detective Sergeant Neil Howie steps afoot in search of a missing girl who had sent him a letter before her disappearance. The audience falls in love with the character as he faces several roadblocks during his investigation, as the inhabitants, including the missing girl’s mother seem reluctant to help him out. A missing photograph quells him to probe further and he soon unveils the horrors behind ritualistic sacrifice. In a bizarre twist of events, Sergeant Howie is revealed to have been chosen as the sacrifice and that he had been lured in for it. In a chilling anti-climax, the good detective is tied to a wicker man statue and set ablaze, and thus sacrifices his life for the villainous sect residing in Summerisle.
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6. The Gladiator
Ridley Scott’s marathon movie might have dipped down in the rankings after multiple viewings, but still it remains one of the most watched movies of all time. The Roman revenge story of soldier turned gladiator, Maximus Decimus is an epic one and along with the spectators at the Coliseum, gains the favor of the audience as time passes. His battle skills and bravery draw the attention of the onlookers and flames his quest for revenge on the evil emperor Commodus. The audience spur him on as the Gladiator wins battle after battle until he finally reaches a moment when he will be able to duel the Emperor one on one in the arena. The extremely wily Commodus stabs Maximus prior to the battle, weakening him severely. The warrior, however, slits the Emperor’s throat before succumbing to the stab wound. The hero died on the battlefield to the anguish of the onlookers who gave him a heroic funeral. Commodus, though having succeeded in his task of killing Maximus, lay dead and forgotten forever.
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When I watched ‘The Shining’, I couldn’t stop watching all Stanley Kubrick’s films. The one that struck me the most was this historical drama, inspired by the life story of the leader of a slave revolt in antiquity, Spartacus, and the events of the Third Servile War. The master that he is, Kubrick made painstaking endeavors to be meticulous and get a realistic grip of authenticity on the film. The result was one of the greatest movies ever made!
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4. The Departed
Martin Scorsese’s gangster movies do have a lot in common, starting from stylish executions to sudden bloodbaths. ‘The Departed’, however took a different turn in its anti-climax. When Police spy Billy J. Costigan finally apprehends his opposite number, gangster spy Sullivan at the top of the building, the audience might have expected a straight out win for the good guy Costigan, as he leaves with the villain and another cop in an elevator. The events took a wicked turn when Trooper Barrigan suddenly shoots Costigan in the head as soon as the doors open. The suddenness of the killing shocked the audience to the core, revealing that no one should trust Scorsese’s gangster film endings. Barrigan was another mole inside the department, and the wicked crime organization gained the upper hand by killing Costigan, who had spent some time as a police mole in their midst. The surprise of the death had overcome grief momentarily, but eventually Costigan was given a tearful sendoff. To set things right, Dingham finally kills the crafty Sullivan in the last moment of the film.
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3. Pan’s Labyrinth
Guillermo del Toro’s dark fantasy nightmare fairytale has acquired a cult status over the years. ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ is a wild journey of a young girl Ofelia, as she stumbles into the magical world in a bid to escape the cruel reality. There in the Labyrinth, she is considered as the fairytale Princess Moanna, and is set to complete three tasks by the faun in order to achieve immortality. The dreamlike ride leads her to encounter all sorts of magical and weird creatures like mandrakes and the Pale Man. However, the magical tale had a shocking anti-climax, when her Falaganism affiliated stepfather Vidal shoots her dead in front of the labyrinth. The death of a young girl was cruel and sad, affecting the audience who had hoped for a fairytale ending to the nightmarish fantasy land. Ofelia’s death however proved to be a blessing in disguise, as she was received as Princess Moanna in the Labyrinth and allowed to rule alongside her father. The villain wins in reality, but none of us like reality, do we?
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2. Boys’ Don’t Cry
It isn’t wrong to be different but sadly we humans have failed to grasp this basic concept of life and never fail to ridicule or even eliminate anyone who isn’t ‘normal’ is our opinion. The life of Brandon Teena, the American transgender who adopted a male identity in order to live and find love, and was brutally killed, is brought about convincingly in Kimberly Pierce’s ‘Boys’ Don’t Cry’. The film is so well made that the audience can actually feel every stab of pain in the life of Brandon as he seeks love and peace in his life. The movie chronicles the hypocrisy of the democratic society and the love between Brandon and Lana amidst the raging intolerance. The ending is particularly ghastly, as the drunken ‘friends’ and brothers of Lana murder Brandon right in front of her. The audience is left numb, as the lovable man is killed for something that is not his fault. Hilary Swank honors the late Brandon Teena, taking his love above the social norms and the limitations of male/female. She was flawless in her portrayal, bringing out the desires and unconventional beauty of his soul. She was exceedingly natural and emotional, facing an uphill battle for love and a place in the society. This is truly Swank’s best performance till date and one of the films in recent history. The film is as much about courage as ‘Braveheart’ is.
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1. Saving Private Ryan
Whenever someone lists out his/her favorite war movies of all time, a certain Steven Spielberg classic can be found languishing at the very top of the table. ‘Saving Private Ryan’ is a universally appreciated movie and one of the few to be loved by the critics and fans alike. This is apparently one movie which you cannot possibly hate. A war drama like no other, the mission to save Private First Class James Ryan is a tale everybody likes to watch and the emotion it displays is resonated thousand times fold. After prevailing in an uphill battle against a parading German convoy with few weapons and ammunition, Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) was shot dead tragically by the same German whom they had freed post Wade’s death. Upham, who was the reason he had been let go, confronts and shoots him fatally before letting the rest leave unharmed. It was a perfect mainstream anti-climax. When Miller tires to shoot at a tank despite his fatal injury, a bomber plane throws it out of the game. The timing couldn’t have been better as it gives Miller a chance to tell Ryan his dying words, ‘Earn this’. An aging Ryan honors his late Captain at Normandy several years later by tearfully saying that he became a better man indeed.
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