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"Braveheart": Courage-Based Leadership

The movie Braveheart tells the story of how a common man named William Wallace (Mel Gibson) led Scotland to freedom from English rule. Out of a great sense of destiny, Wallace leads a ragtag band of farmers and villagers to defeat their oppressors.

After winning several battles, Wallace confers with the Scottish nobles on how to win complete freedom. The meeting falls apart as the nobles begin to argue over which of them has the right to be Scotland's king. Disgusted by their selfishness, Wallace stomps out of the meeting hall to fight the English without them.

Robert the Bruce, one of the few nobles who hopes for a free Scotland, follows after Wallace. Robert argues that since Scotland "has no sense of itself," Wallace simply must go back and join up with the nobles.

Wallace turns on him and reframes the situation: "You think the people of this country exist to provide you with position. I think your position exists to provide those people with freedom. Noble—what does it mean to be noble? Your title gives you right to the throne of our country. But men don't follow titles. They follow courage. Our people know you—both noble and common—they respect you. And if you would just lead them to freedom, they'd follow you. And so would I."

At the end of the movie, Robert the Bruce embraces Wallace's vision and finally leads the Scots to freedom.

Elapsed time: Measured from the beginning of the opening credit, this scene begins at 01:34:20 and ends at 01:37:05 (DVD track 12).

Content: Braveheart is rated R for sexuality and violence.

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