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Film / Outlaw King

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"You can fight for God, for country, for family. I do not care, so long as you FIGHT!"

Outlaw King is a 2018 historical film directed by David Mackenzie.

It tells the story of Robert the Bruce, who transforms from defeated nobleman to outlaw hero during the oppressive occupation of early 14th century Scotland by the armies of Edward I of England. Despite grave consequences, Robert seizes the Scottish crown and rallies an impassioned group of men to fight back against the mighty army of the tyrannical king of England and his volatile son Edward, the Prince of Wales.

It stars Chris Pine as Robert, as well as Florence Pugh as Elizabeth de Burgh, Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Black Douglas, Tony Curran as Angus MacDonald, Stephen Dillane as Edward I, Billy Howle as Edward, Prince of Wales, Callan Mulvey as John III Comyn, Lord of Badenoch and James Cosmo as Sir Robert de Brus, 6th Lord of Annandale (Robert the Bruce's father).

The film was released on Netflix and in selected theaters on November 9, 2018.

Previews: Official trailer.

Outlaw King provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Edward of Wales mentions that his father, Edward Longshanks, would beat him as a child. Even as an adult, Longshanks is notably cold, demanding and disapproving of his son, which goes some way to explain his attitude and actions in the film.
  • Adapted Out: Robert's brothers Alexander, Thomas and Nigel/Neil are all present. Conspicuously absent however is Edward, arguably the most significant member of the family besides Robert himself. Edward was proclaimed High King of Ireland and led his own campaign against the English administration there, enjoying some success before being killed in a minor skirmish in 1318.
  • Age-Gap Romance: Robert is visibly older than his new wife Elizabeth.
  • Altar Diplomacy: Robert and Elizabeth's marriage was to symbolize the union of England and Scotland. Edward I made the decision and Elizabeth was his god-daughter, so it counts.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Robert is crowned with a substitute crown and a substitute Stone of Scone, Edward I having stolen them both, but it's still pretty awesome, with the loyal nobles surrounding him. This is intercut and contrasted with Edward, Prince of Wales, following up his declaration of war against Robert with a drunken bacchanalia.
  • Artistic License – History: While the film averts this for the most part with clothing, historical characters and events (unlike Braveheart, the events of which directly precede those of Outlaw King), there are still some inaccuracies:
    • The leather bracers Robert wears, which are an ubiquitous Hollywoodian myth.
    • The main liberty taken is Robert and Prince Edward meeting in battle for a one-on-one duel at the end of a battle, which never happened. The idea that the prince would be simply abandoned on the field, while a duel between him and Robert could go on without any interference from either side, strains all credulity. And the Scots certainly would have insisted that Edward be ransomed for a huge sum rather than simply released.note 
    • Edward I only died two months after the Battle of Loudoun Hill.
    • Edward I was not buried where he had died as depicted in the film. Instead his body was taken south to lay in state at Waltham Abbey before being buried at Westminster Abbey.
    • Nigel de Brus was hanged, drawn and quartered for holding off an English force so that Elizabeth and Marjorie could get away, not just refusing to give up their location.
    • Alexander de Brus was not ambushed and killed while trying to retreat from the shore along with his brothers, but during a failed offensive landing. His brother Thomas was captured in the same battle and later beheaded in London.
    • Robert de Clifford, the English nobleman who was awarded the Douglas family's lands, was killed at the Battle of Bannockburn, rather than the Battle of Loudoun Hill as depicted in the film.
    • Apart from the duel between Edward and Robert and the death of Clifford, the Battle of Loudon Hill is accurately represented save for one detail: The Scottish army was uphill of the English, rather than on the same level.
    • It was Edward I who swore by the swans (and by God), not his son.
    • No-one at the time, not even the English would have thought England had the strongest army in the world. Only after the stunning victories in The Hundred Years War over France a few decades later would that thought have crossed anyone's mind.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted for the most part. For example, during the Battle of Loudoun Hill, Robert is on the receiving end of a brutal series of blows delivered by an English soldier armed with a battle ax, but thanks to his coat of plates, he is only winded and knocked to the ground.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: This is the gist of the English strategy at Loudon Hill. It doesn't end well for them. See Hollywood Tactics.
  • Badass Boast: This line by Robert to his men: "You can fight for God, for country, for family. I do not care, so long as you FIGHT!"
  • Bait the Dog: On meeting de Bruce and his men with his own host, Lord MacDougall makes it clear that he has no love for Robert due to the fact that the murdered John Comyn was his cousin. However, after mulling it over he appears to relent and grudgingly lets the Bruce and his meager force pass through his lands, seemingly indicating that he's going to remain neutral. Not long after, however, he and his clan brutally ambush the Bruce's men at a loch and succeed in killing several more of Robert's men, his brother Alexander Bruce among them. It's left ambiguous, however, if this was his intention all along or a decision he made later.note 
  • Bald of Evil: In contrast to all the beards and manes on screen, Aymer de Valence has not a single hair on his head.
  • Battle in the Rain: As soon as the Battle of Loudoun Hill begins, the rain begins to fall.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: The Battle of Loudoun Hill, which closes the movie. The ending text notes that it wasn't yet a decisive Scottish victory , which wouldn't come until seven years later at the Battle of Bannockburn, but only the first major one Robert won.
  • Bling of War: Edward of Wales' maille armour is adorned with gilded rings and golden flower-shaped scales at the shoulders, forearms and gauntlets. It makes him stand in contrast to Robert, whose armour tends to be more toned-down and functional (though he does wear a coat-of-plates with the Scottish Royal Emblem emblazoned on it at Loudon Hill).
  • Blood Knight: Douglas. The man is practically salivating before the Battle of Loudoun Hill.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: James Douglas and Angus MacDonald sure are loud when fighting.
  • Book Ends: There is a duel between Robert and Prince Edward at both the beginning and end of the film.
  • Break the Haughty: Robert's rebellion, and subsequent guerilla campaign, are arguably one long Break the Haughty for Prince Edward, culminating in his defeat at the Battle of Loudoun Hill.
  • But Not Too Foreign: The historical Aonghus Óg Mac Domhnaill, the only Highlander in Robert's circle, is given the much more manageable name of "Angus MacDonald", and doesn't speak Gaelic at any point in the film.
  • Casting Gag: Two notable ones:
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Lord Mackinnon refuses to aid Robert when he arrives at his island seeking help, his defeats fresh and only forty men still following him (though unlike MacDougall he does remain neutral and sincerely wishes de Bruce good luck). On the eve of the Battle of Loudon Hill, he arrives to ask Robert for forgiveness and pledge himself and his warriors to fight against the English. Robert asks him how many men he's brought:
  • Combat Pragmatist: It was Prince Edward's idea to "raise the dragon", i.e. to disregard chivalry when dealing with Robert. Later Robert himself becomes one after Edward's men brutally kill his brother and ravage the cities that ally with him.
  • Cool Old Guy: Downplayed with Angus MacDonald. He proves to be a skilled soldier and gives lessons in fighting for the recruits despite being one of Robert's older followers.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: True to history, Nigel de Bruce is hanged and gutted by Prince Edward for refusing to tell him the whereabouts of his brother. His drawing-and-quartering, while not shown onscreen, is explicitly referenced by Angus.
  • Daddy's Girl: Marjorie de Bruce is this for her father.
  • David Versus Goliath: The English army is much larger and better equipped than Robert's army. However, Robert's strategic planning and resourcefulness (coupled with the English's overconfidence) end up winning the war.
  • Dead Guy on Display:
    • William Wallace is cut into pieces and displayed in different places within Scotland and England. In one place, Robert witnesses the exhibition of one of Wallace's arms, and this drives the townspeople into a riot.
    • Wallace's head can be seen on a pike on the bridge over the river Thames, preserved in tar pitch. Truth in Television.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Edward Longshanks has his moments, most notably when being informed of Robert's ongoing guerilla campaign against English forces in Scotland. Prince Edward, clearly nervous about his failure to capture Robert as he swore, promises his father "We will not fail you again." Longshank's response:
  • The Dog Bites Back: (The would be) Edward II dishonors his father's deathbed wish to have his bones boiled and carried to battle. This is the only time he stands up to him, ever.
  • Doom Troops: Prince Edward's personal retinue of knights, after he raises the Dragon Standard, are a medieval version of this: They wear dark mail with black tabards adorned with red dragons, wear face-concealing helms, and are the Elite Mooks of his army, as well as the Prince's Praetorian Guard. However, due to falling victim to Hollywood Tactics, they fare no better than any of the other English knights at Loudon Hill.
  • The Dragon: Aymer de Valence serves as this for Prince Edward of Wales.
  • Dual Wielding: A relatively realistic example in the form of James Douglas' arming sword and ballock dagger combo. Robert also briefly does this with his sword and axe during the Battle of Loudoun Hill.
  • Due to the Dead: When escaping the MacDougall ambush, Angus apologizes to Alexander Bruce's corpse before pushing it off of the boat to make room for the surviving men.
  • The Dung Ages: The climactic Battle of Loudoun Hill was fought with rain falling and the English cavalry charge churning up the earth, muddying all combatants with both earth and spattering blood. Robert specifically sought this condition in order to mitigate the disadvantage of his fewer troops and the cavalry advantage of the English.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Right after Robert and the other Scottish earls swear fealty to Edward I, his son Edward, Prince of Wales taunts and insults Robert into a duel with swords. This establishes that 1) this Prince Edward is not the same effeminate weakling as in Braveheart, 2) he's a complete Jerkass, and 3) he's an idiot, as for no damn reason he antagonizes Robert, one of the most powerful Scottish earls, immediately after his father the King has gotten Robert to bend the knee and swear loyalty.
  • Freudian Threat: Played for Laughs with Angus MacDonald. Douglas charms one of his daughters, which causes him to threaten to cut off his balls and use them for bait. Douglas responds by playfully kissing him, and later charming his other daughter.
  • Friendly Enemy: Edward I and Prince Edward are much more affable to the Scottish nobles, particularly the Bruces, than in other media depictions. It's pointed out that they and the Bruces go way back together. Until rebellion breaks out again and Edward I orders it to be crushed, with the rules of chivalry to be disregarded.
  • Funny Background Event: When Robert and his father are talking by the fire about how the elder Robert and Edward used to be friends Marjorie and Elizabeth can be seen in the background playing with metal helmets completely covering their heads, but still wearing their dresses and apparently having a hard time seeing each other with the visors closed.
  • The Ghost: William Wallace. His deeds are mentioned but he is never seen, except for his cut off arm and head after he is captured and Killed Offscreen.
  • The Gloves Come Off: At first, Robert tries to fight with honor and chivalry. However, when the English start fighting dirty, Robert decides to do the same.
    • The English decided to fight dirty because Robert broke the peace agreement first by murdering John Comyn on sacred ground during an active truce. And they declared Robert an outlaw, so there was no reason at all to fight with honor and chivalry to begin with.
  • Good Stepmother: Elizabeth proves to be a loving and protective caregiver to her stepdaughter, Marjorie.
  • He Knows Too Much: Robert murders his rival John III Comyn in a church after proposing they join forces in rebellion, and Comyn not only thinks it's hopeless but even threatens to tell King Edward on him.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Averted with Robert at Loudoun Hill, as he has been a particularly-ruthless Combat Pragmatist the rest of the film—albeit the helm he wears is still open-faced. For their part, James Douglas and Angus MacDonald only wear chainmail hoods—and even that eventually slips off as they go full Blood Knight during the height of battle.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Marjorie and the audience immediately know Elizabeth will be a good stepmother when Elizabeth starts petting the family dog.
  • Heroic BSoD: Robert suffers from one when he gets word of his brother, Nigel, being drawn and quartered and his wife and child taken hostage. It serves as the catalyst that makes him stop fighting fair.
  • Historical Beauty Upgrade: Robert the Bruce was not known to be handsome, and he was certainly not as handsome as Chris Pine.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Historians speculate that the murder of John Comyn was just due to him and Robert having rival claims on the Scottish crown, but the film presents it as Robert saving his own skin.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade:
    • Downplayed as per King Edward I, and somewhat played straight with Edward, Prince of Wales.
    • In clear contrast to previous and stereotypical depictions of Edward I, he has visible moments of being a Reasonable Authority Figure and the Only Sane Man in his court. He will, at most instances, try to give his opponents a chance to redeem themselves to him and profess their loyalty. If they fail/backstab him, however, he will punish them—utterly and without scruples. Much of his brutal actions and policies, accurate to history, remain consistent with this.
    • On the other hand, Prince Edward (based on records) is actually Out of Focus in historical records during this period. It cannot be credibly established whether he played a major role in the Scottish campaigns under his father (especially since scholarly consensus suggest he is textbook Idle Rich at best). In this film, he is seen to be actively making the effort to contribute to the war project—if ineffectually. There's no evidence for the real Prince Edward being this sadistic, neither then or later as king. He in fact frequently delegated his duties and was a reluctant ruler. The real man was well known for generosity toward his household staff and chatting with commoners, something people during the era criticized. That being said, the fact that his reign ended in the proscription, execution and extrajudicial murders of his opponents among the nobility subsequently blackened his reputation enough—regardless of whether it was his favorites (Gaveston or the Despensers) ordering it with his sanction or coming from himself.
  • Holy Ground: Even in a medieval time of overwhelming Catholicism, the sanctity of Church ground was scarcely honored:
    • Bad enough that Robert killed Comyn during a truce, but he did it inside a church. He's aghast at this, is at risk of being excommunicated, and goes to the Bishop Lamberton to be forgiven.
    • Later on, Douglas initiates the ambush on his family castle (which was being held as an English garrison) in the beginning of a Palm Sunday mass, stabbing and murdering English soldiers at the chapel in battle frenzy. He would later offer what would have been the post-mass feast to the Scottish residents as a PR coup for the Bruce cause.
  • Hollywood Tactics: The Battle of Loudon Hill both averts this and plays it straight for the Scottish and the English respectively. Knowing his enemy has five-to-six times his numbers and an overwhelming advantage in their heavily-armed-and-armored knights, Robert the Bruce deploys his men behind stake-filled ditches with pikemen on the front line, surrounded by deep bogs, and orders them to hold their position on the dry central ground. The English knights, led by Valence and Edward, charge forward en masse without support from their archers or footmen. The result is perhaps predictable: The English vanguard is devastated when they impale themselves on the stakes and pikes of the Scots, and their attempt to go around the flanks only results in them getting hopelessly stuck in the surrounding morasses, where the more lightly-armored Scottish infantry butchers them. This is a significant change in geography from reality (where the Scots were on the hill the battle is named for and the bog forced the English and ditches dug much further out, parallel to their approach, to form a narrow column on a road up the hill, which prevented them from bringing their superior numbers to bear), but the effect is much the same.
  • Humiliation Conga: This is what happens to Edward of Wales. Not only is his army utterly defeated at Loudoun Hill, Robert defeats him in a humiliating manner during their rematch duel, he yells like a child for someone to help him, barely escapes with his life and is forced to flee on foot.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Black Douglas at one point uses a rock, and then a chainmail coif wrapped around his fist to bludgeon several MacDougal clansmen.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Prince Edward feels this way compared to his father Edward Longshanks. Compounding matters is that Longshanks feels exactly the same way, and even his last words reflect that.
    "I have never been able to imagine you leading an army into battle... Driving your horse forward to the sound of the drum, risking your life for the honour of the English crown..."
  • Incurable Cough of Death: A particularly extreme example. Robert's father coughs while he's sitting by the fire, has a little chat with Robert in which he says he thinks he might have made a mistake trusting Edward I...then promptly dies, right there and then in his chair.
  • In the Back: In a Missing Trailer Scene, Robert throws an ax in the back of an enemy rider during a horse chase.
  • Intro Dump: Robert and his main rival, John Comyn, are both introduced to the audience when Edward I calls them forward at a royal reception.
  • Karmic Death: Lord Buchan is the one to tell Edward of Wales where to find Robert's wife and daughter (and does so with a satisfied smirk no less), which leads to the deaths of both Neil (Nigel) Bruce and Lord Fraser and the imprisonment of Elizabeth and Marjorie. Fittingly, he's killed by Robert at Loudon Hill in a brief Curb-Stomp Battle, with Bruce not even sparing him a second glance as he falls.
    • Macdougall ambushes Robert's men at a crossing and Alexander is killed in the crossfire. He didn't see it coming when Douglas cut his throat from behind.
  • Karma Houdini: Just as in Real Life, Aymer de Valence survives the Battle of Loudon Hill unharmed (and will survive the Battle of Bannockburn seven years later). However, throughout the film he fails to capture Robert (despite having the perfect opportunity to do so at Methven), for which he is repeatedly berated by Edward of Wales, and his overconfidence and contempt for the Bruce at Loudon ends up directly contributing to the defeat and death of the knights he commands, so he doesn't exactly get off scot-free.
  • King on His Deathbed: Edward Longshanks discusses the subject with his son, wondering if it's better to die in battle or living to old age regretting the things you leave unfinished. True to history he dies en route to battle of dysentery.
  • Knighting: Edward Longshanks knights his son and several other nobles in a ceremony before they pursue the Bruce. This includes a smack to the face as the last blow they should receive without taking retribution.
  • La Résistance: The basic premise concerns Robert rising as a leading figure to rally (or submit) feuding Scottish clans and free Scotland from English domination.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Edward Longshanks, on his deathbed, asks his son to take his bones to every battle against the Scots. Prince Edward promises, but then quietly taunts Longshanks as he breathes his last and orders his men to disregard his father's last wishes and bury him then and there, away from England or any sacred ground. He then leads the army to Loudon Hill, where his reward is his defeat and utter humiliation.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: The impulse to do this bites Robert in the ass hard. He meets the English army and offers De Valence a fight in single combat. De Valence accepts, but says that it's Sunday so they'll have to fight tomorrow. Bruce agrees and goes back to his camp. That night De Valence ambushes Bruce's camp and wins a crushing victory (the Battle of Methven). Robert's army is annihilated, he barely manages to escape alive, and the knock-on effects include two of his brothers getting killed and his wife and daughter captured by the English. After this Robert turns into a Combat Pragmatist.
  • Let the Past Burn: Part of the Bruce army's chevauchée strategy, wherein to deny the occupying English resources, they not only took over the castles but stripped them of resources then burning them. Douglas was notable for doing and invoking this to his family castle: after massacring the English garrison, he gave away their festive food and his family wealth to the occupied Scottish population, netting their support for the Bruce cause.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: Robert briefly appears nude after bathing, which got an unusual amount of attention in the media.
  • Marriage Before Romance: Robert isn't enthusiastic about marrying Elizabeth de Burgh because he's still mourning his late wife. They eventually do fall in love, helped by the fact that Robert didn't force himself on her at any point to consummate the marriage, showing the utmost respect to her and thus letting things blossom between them over time.
  • Moment of Silence: After the Battle of Loudoun Hill ends, the sound of the soldiers cheering fades out and only the music plays while the survivors are seen taking themselves together.¨
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Robert seems to have a brief moment of this after he had just killed John Comyn at Greyfriar's. His immediate decision is to ride with all haste to Bishop Lamberton to tell him what happened and ask for forgiveness.
  • My God, You Are Serious!: Robert has a silent version of this when Comyn says Wallace "got what he deserved."
  • Mythology Gag: Robert's Rousing Speech (quoted below), while not in any historical record, is in some measure evocative of the Declaration of Arbroath, a document drawn up by the Scottish nobility and sent to the Pope in support of Scottish self-rule:
    ''"We do not fight for honour, riches, or glory, but solely for freedom which no true man gives up but with his life."
  • Never My Fault: Edward II blames Robert's escape from the English on Valence. Now granted, that did happen at Methven, but Edward has been ransacking Scotland and searched high and low for Robert and only has Elizabeth and Marjorie to show for it. He fails to recognize that for all his efforts, he's also failed to capture Robert.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Robert knows the names of his servants and even invites some of them to the feast of his wedding. This is one of the reasons the common folk still support him.
  • Noble Demon: King Edward I wants control of Scotland and is perfectly willing to wage war for it, but he would just as soon achieve it by peaceful means. In the first ten minutes, he bombards Stirling Castle after they've already surrendered to send a message about the futility of further resistance, but also accepts the fealty of the rest of Scotland's nobles, encourages Robert and Comyn to find common ground and move past their grudge, and chews out the Prince of Wales for his immaturity. Even when he agrees to "raise the Dragon", it comes across as an act of frustration against a problem that won't go away, rather than bloodlust.
  • Not Worth Killing: This trope, along with We Used to Be Friends, is probably behind Robert's decision to spare Edward II after defeating him at Loudon Hill. Edward's Villainous Breakdown makes him so pathetic that Robert can only look on in disgust and pity as his enemy crawls away in the mud, wailing in terror.
  • The Oathbreaker: Subverted. Robert the Bruce and other Scottish nobles in the beginning of the film swear fealty to King Edward. He then quickly breaks his oath along with many others to rebel. Unlike many examples, they're the heroes, and this is portrayed as right because Edward conquered Scotland, coercing them into their oaths.
  • The Oner: The film opens with an eight and a half-minute tracking shot featuring several long conversations, scores of extras, movement out, in, and back out of a tent, a swordfight, and a trebuchet.
  • One-Steve Limit:
    • Averted with the Bruce family, where "Robert Bruce" is the main character's name, his father, his grandfather, and his great grandfather.
    • This is potentially the reason for Edward Bruce not appearing in the film, as three main characters called Edward might have been a bit much.
  • Paper Tiger: Edward, Prince of Wales. He's a skilled enough swordsman to hold his own in battle, and duel against Robert, and aggressively pursues his campaign against the Bruce and his allies. However, his actions are not nearly as effective as he thinks they'll be, his tactics at Loudon Hill cement him as a General Failure, and despite claiming late in the film to be 'stronger' than his father, his last scene after losing against Robert is him dragging himself through the mud, crying and screaming for someone to help him.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Neither Robert nor Elisabeth wanted their marriage at the beginning. Later they both end up Happily Married.
  • The Quisling: The film makes it clear that several Scottish nobles are refusing to aid Robert in his bid for kingship, and others directly ally with Edward and the English and actively help hunt him down. The most visible of these is Lord Buchan, who's killed by Robert at Loudon Hill.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: What the English (and their Scottish allies) do to any domain that helped Robert when looking for him.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Edward I, while certainly ambitious and dedicated to advancing England's sphere of influence, seems to regard Scotland with no particular malice, and is even somewhat fond of the Bruce family.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Longshank's last words to his son provoke the Prince into whispering in his dying father's ear the reason he never cried when being beaten: "I knew it scared you. The thought that I was stronger than you. And the truth is... I am. I have always been. And soon, the whole world will know that."
  • Royal Brat: Edward, Prince of Wales, made more embarrassing since he's already an adult and yet still acts like a roaring frat-boy. King Edward I, understandably, has dim hopes for his future and his succession to the crown.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Robert the Bruce...not just a combat commander, mind you, because in that time any monarch was expected to lead his men in the field. Robert will go the extra mile and actually help dig a trench as the Scots prepare themselves for an English attack.
  • Rousing Speech: Before the Battle of Loudoun Hill, Edward II and Robert did one for their men. Edward's is scaremongering his troops to Do Unto Others Before They Do Unto Us, while Robert's is a more straightforward Dare to Be Badass (with a dash of appealing to the Blood Knight in every Scottish fighting man).

    Edward: Remember this! The men that we fight today have sworn fealty to a godless murderer! Make no mistake, his aim will be to take our England next!
    Robert: I could talk about God, but He has no place where we are going. I could talk about honor, but you are here. You know enough about honor. I know you all as men, but today... today we are beasts. We fight for God, for honor, for country, for family, for yourselves, I do not care, as long as YOU FIGHT!
  • Say My Name: Edward I made a royal decree that he never wanted to hear the name Douglas again, so James Douglas decided to make it his battle cry, and he screams his family name when fighting. He even forces Robert of Clifford to say it before he kills him.
  • Screaming Warrior: Nearly every Scottish fighting man tends to be one. Particular note, however, should be given to Douglas, for howling like a mad dog every time he guts someone.
  • Screw the Rules, They Broke Them First!: The English raise the dragon banner because Robert broke the truce by murdering Comyn inside Greyfriars' chapel. As far as they're concerned, the Scots started it so they have the moral high ground to do away with chivalry.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Valence, realizing the battle at Loudoun Hill is un-winnable and their casualties are mounting, orders a swift retreat.
  • Screw Your Ultimatum!: After being captured by the English, the Prince of Wales gives Elizabeth a chance to return home with her family by renouncing the title of Queen and annulling her marriage to Robert. Despite her parents' insistence, Elizabeth refuses.
  • Shown Their Work: Has its own page.
  • Slashed Throat: An all-too-present hazard in a medieval battlefield. This is also how Douglas kills Lord MacDougall and, later, how Edward II kills Lord Fraser.
  • Speed Sex: Robert doesn't consummate his marriage with Elizabeth de Burgh on their wedding night. As he leaves her room, a servant remarks that it was quick. The servant's wife then snarks that he "knows an awful lot about that". Zig-zagged a bit when Robert and Elizabeth finally, actually consummate it: while it is definitely designed to be more tender and lingering, the entire scene clearly lasted below 5 minutes.
  • Spikes of Doom: The Scots dig deep ditches and line them with large, sharpened wooden stakes to stop the cavalry charge during the Battle of Loudoun Hill.
  • Spiteful Spit: During their parley, Aymer de Valence spits to the side at Robert's proclamation as King of Scots.
  • Tagalong Kid: Drew, the youngster tasked with handling and protecting Robert's crown. His role is also deconstructed when he, out of Robert's major members of his entourage, ended up dying in the Battle of Loudoun Hill.
  • Thrifty Scot: Played with but only due to the circumstances of war. When retaking his castle, Robert's men can be seen piling up chainmail - perhaps the most valuable piece of armor at the time - from the fallen English.
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet: Done by Black Douglas to Edward on Robert's behalf when he encounters the English army approaching Loudoun Hill. He throws down Robert's glove and declares that they shall have their battle the next day.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Neither Aymer de Valence nor Edward of Wales seem to take Bruce all that seriously in the run-up to Loudon Hill. Valence, in particular, considers him little more than a Godless murderer and an outlaw. It appears to think Bruce's army will fold just as easily against him as it did at Methven (apparently forgetting that a major factor in his victory there was him attacking the Bruce in the dead of night while the Scots were unprepared). This attitude ends up playing right into Bruce's hands and costs the English dearly.
  • The Unfought: King Edward I is ready to ride out and meet the Bruce in battle himself, but succumbs to illness before he makes it there.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Edward of Wales isn't exactly calm and collected during the film, but losing his duel against Robert at the battle of Loudon Hill appears to trigger a full-blown panic attack wherein he cries hysterically, vomits, and screams for someone to help him.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Scottish clans are feuding and Robert aims at uniting them against the English. John III Comyn calls the Bruces out on putting their ambitions to the Scottish crown before Scotland's freedom, but he himself is a rival claimant.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Edward, Prince of Wales, yearns for his father's respect and gets none. This drives many of Edward's actions, which makes the king even less impressed.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Invoked by Edward I to the Scottish nobles when they sue for peace. It's pointed out that the elder Robert and Edward I went on Crusade together, were friends, and Robert even saved Edward's life once. Edward I arranging a marriage between his goddaughter and Robert emphasizes this. The younger Robert and Prince Edward were also friendly once.
  • Worthy Opponent: At the start of the film Edward I respects the younger Robert both for both standing up to him and then standing down. This changes when Robert begins another rebellion.
    Edward I: I’m proud of you, Robert. You had the courage to stand up to me. And the wisdom to stand down.
  • You Killed My Father: The initial reason Aymer de Valence sides with Edward I is because Robert dishonorably killed his brother in-law John III Comyn in an abbey. This is the same reason Lord MacDougall refuses to aid Robert (Comyn was his cousin) and eventually attacks Robert.