The best stories are ones that are based on truth. The movies Braveheart and Gladiator are both based on historical events. The fact that these stories are based on true events makes the movie watching experience much more interesting. Upon close examination of these two films many similarities can be drawn. Both Braveheart and Gladiator take place during historic events in world history. Although Braveheart is more historically correct, being that William Wallace actually existed as opposed to Gladiator where Maximus is a fictitious character. There are many similarities between the two movies and the two main characters themselves.
Both characters dealt with the idea of revenge. Maximus seeks revenge from Commodus because he murdered his family and his mentor Marcus Aeurilius. William Wallace’s revenge was not for just one incident but for years of the English taking advantage of the Scottish people and not allowing them to be free. In the two movies both protagonists become martyrs. William Wallace although in excruciating pain does not honor the English King. When the execution begins the crowd is cheering for his death but by the end the crowd is pleading with the executioner for mercy.
After Wallace’s death his dream is finally realized when Robert the Bruce leads the Scottish army to victory against the English and finally giving the people of Scotland freedom. Maximus on the other hand is challenged to a dual in the coliseum with the current Caesar of Rome, Commodus. Before they start the battle Commodus stabs Maximus to give Commodus an advantage. His plan does not work as he expected Maximus slays Commodus in front of the Roman citizens. Maximus dies soon after from the wound Commodus gave him but not without giving his message to restore the glory of Rome.
Another interesting comparison is that both sons’ betray their father. Commodus, the son of Marcus Aeurilius kills him in the beginning of the movie. Commodus suffocates his father when he finds out that Maximus and not he will become the new Caesar of Rome. Edward Longshanks son does not kill him directly like Commodus does. He simply does not do anything to find a cure or help his father with his sickness. Women also play an important role in both movies. In both movies the main characters wives are murdered. In Gladiator, Maximus is helped by Commodus’ sister.
She sets up a meeting with him and a senator to talk about restoring Rome to its former glory. She also is in love with him which upsets Commodus very much being that he has some kind of incestual relationship with her. In Braveheart, William Wallace is helped by the prince of England’s wife; she tries to plead with the king for his mercy and warns him about ambushes. Also like in Gladiator, William Wallace has a love affair with the women. Another theme in both movies is political conspiracies. In Braveheart, the nobles pledge allegiance to fight for the Scottish.
With the acquisition of the nobles on Wallace’s side he is ready for a huge battle with the English. But when the time comes to fight the nobles are no where to be found. They decided to join sides with the English instead. The English promised to give more land and titles to them if the decided not help Wallace. In Gladiator, the senate is corrupt, they do not care about the well being of the people, all they care about is money. There is only one senator who wants to help Maximus’ cause but he is executed when Commodus finds out about his agenda.
These two academy award wining films are very similar. Although the stories are different they both revolve around the same central idea. That idea is power. Maximus and Wallace both gain power through the people. These movies teach us that power is not simply having wealth and title; it is being able to influence the masses. Both Maximus and Wallace were effective leaders because they knew how to use the power they had. These characters also teach us that there is not just one way to achieve power or to lose it. Braveheart and Gladiator lift our spirits and show us what great men are like.