10 Brutal Facts About William Wallace’s Execution That Were Too Gory for ‘Braveheart’

There’s NO WAY they could have shown these things in the movie.


Even if you have not seen Braveheart since it was released back in 1995, its climax—of Mel Gibson being disemboweled (off-camera) and decapitated—is still probably seared into your memory.

But the execution of Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace in 1305 for treason was far more brutal I.R.L. After what the British put him through in his final moments, there is scant chance he would have been able to muster up that redemptive, George Michael-caliber “Freeeeedommm!” battle cry.

As legend has it, here is a play-by-play of the gruesome end William Wallace met:

1. Like in the movie, Wallace is said to have accepted his execution without resistance and a brave heart. He even made a final confession to a priest and read from the book of Psalms before his punishment.

2. His naked body was tied to horses and dragged six miles through the streets of London. Bystanders pelted him with garbage and excrement and even hit him with sticks and whips. 

3. Like in the movie, he was hung briefly but not killed. The British preferred their executions like their parliamentary bureaucracy or tearoom chats—long and painfully drawn out.


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4. Here is what you did not see in the movie when the camera held on Mel Gibson’s face in agony. The executioner sliced off Wallace’s manhood and disemboweled him while forcing him to watch. His intestines were likely burned before his eyes.

5. It is physically impossible he would have been able to bellow “Freedom!” after this.

6. In the movie, the executioner allows Wallace to bargain for a more merciful death if he accepted the rule of England. According to British historians, this is a load of bollocks.

7. Miraculously, Wallace would still be alive. As is the English execution custom, his heart would have been gouged out from his chest. If the executioner was skilled enough, it would have still been beating upon removal, and he would have yelled, “Behold the heart of a traitor!”


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8. Then, Wallace would have been beheaded post-mortem by one of those guys in the spooky cloth hoods.

9. His head would have then been displayed on a spike on the London bridge. This is described in the movie but was never put on film (thank goodness). 

10. The rest of Wallace’s body would have been chopped into four pieces, a torture practice known as “being quartered,” and then displayed around Britain as a warning to dissenters. 

In short, it was not an enjoyable way to go…

h/t Ranker