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Soundtrack review: Braveheart (James Horner – 1995)

Composer of the month perfect scores The expendables month Top 10

Soundtrack review: Braveheart (James Horner – 1995)


“The expendables” month covers such a large specter that it give me the chance to write about one of the most special scores ever for me…Mel Gibson’s stint as the bad guy in “The expendables 3” is the loophole I found so I could express my feelings about “Braveheart”.

I compare Braveheart to that first look into the eyes of the one who will become the love of your life. It’s the moment when your eyes meet and you know that that person will play one of the most important parts in your life. “Braveheart” is the equivalent of that look in my relationship with film music.  Braveheart is one of my favorite movies of all time. It’s one of the movies I get the most emotional while watching and every scene is like an open wound that gets reopened every time I hear the music or thinking of the movie. I turn into a heavy, overloaded sack of water that starts leaking very soon.

If it wasn’t for this poignant movie and its score, I probably wouldn’t be so tuned in to film music as I am now. James Horner’s magnificent and emotional Scottish influenced score is one of the four scores that I credit with opening my ears to film music. 20 years later, it still hasn’t lost any of its appeal. “For the love of a princess” remains one of the most emotional and intense dramatic cues I have ever heard. It is on my very short list of perfect cues and it is among the first titles that come to mind when I try to enumerate my favorite compositions. I dare you not to cry when you hear this theme. The emotional impact is tripled by the memory of the movie.

“A gift of a thistle” is a tender and pure Scottish gem, a motif that will make you feel happy and in love. This theme is like my cue to enter an emotional trance from which I know I will get out very affected. I don’t listen to Braveheart very often, because it’s hard for me to do so. It carries an enormous emotional weight but it is one of my most precious treasures. I feel the love in “A gift of a thistle”… I feel the playfulness in “Wallace courts Murron”… I feel the heavy hate and determination in “Revenge”… I feel the motivation in “Sons of Scotland”… I get the heaviest of hearts and teary eyed at “Betrayal and desolation” and the moment when William Wallace shouts “FREEDOM” is one of the single most intense moments in movie history for me. It is the only scene that makes me understand the meaning of sacrificing one’s life for a greater cause. I feel it, I agree with it and I don’t care that it never happened like that. Braveheart is a visual and musical legend that will always have a front seat in my life.

20 years later this score is just as fresh and piercing as the first time I was mesmerized by its themes. Braveheart was there for the birth of my love for film music and its statue will live on for ever.

Cue rating: 100 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 77 / 77

Album excellence: 100%


Main Title

A Gift Of A Tristle

Wallace Courts Murron

The Secret Wedding

Attack On Murron


Murron’s Burial

Making Plans/Gathering The …

‘Sons Of Scotland’

The Battle Of Stirling

For The Love Of A Princess


Betrayal & Desolation

Mornay’s Dream

The Legend Spreads

The Princess Pleads For …

‘Freedom’/The Execution …

End Credits


Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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