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"You can fight for God, for country, for family. I do not care, so long as you FIGHT!"
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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 Edward I. 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 Johnson as Black Douglas, Tony Curran as Angus MacDonald, Stephen Dillane as Edward I, 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.

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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. In Real Life, the Bruce was ten years older than his wife, who was eighteen when they married.
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  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Robert the Bruce really was crowned by a woman. Kings of Scotland were traditionally crowned by a representative of Clan MacDuff, but the head of the clan was in enemy hands and underage. The Scots held an initial crowning without him, but re-did it a day or two later when Isabella MacDuff arrived to ensure that Robert was crowned by a MacDuff. Interestingly, her own husband was fighting on the English side.
  • 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.
  • Artistic License – History: While the film clearly wanted to avoid 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Boisterous Bruiser: James Douglas and Angus MacDonald sure are loud when fighting.
  • Boisterous Weakling: Prince Edward of Wales has shades of this. See Paper Tiger.
  • 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 Loudon 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.
  • 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 vs. 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 Loudon Hill.
  • 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/Posthumous Character: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Holy Ground: 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.
  • Hollywood Tactics: The Battle of Loudon Hill both averts this and plays it straight for the Scottish and the English respectively. Robert the Bruce, knowing his enemy has five-to-six times his numbers and an overwhelming advantage in their heavily-armed-and-armored knights, 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 they are butchered by the more lightly-armored Scottish infantry. This is a significant change in geography from reality (where the Scots were on the hill the battle is named for and the English were forced by the bog 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: Clearly Prince Edward feels this way when compared to his father Edward Longshanks. Compounding matters is that Longshanks clearly feels exactly the same way, and even his last words are a reflection of 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..."
  • In the Back: In a Missing Trailer Scene, Robert throws an ax in the back of an enemy rider during a horse chase.
  • 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.
  • 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 recieve 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 sort of sacred ground. He then leads the army to Loudon Hill, where his reward is his defeat and utter humiliation.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: At first Robert thinks he can win using the honorable way. It all changes when De Valence ambushes and almost destroys his army, then De Bruce turns into a Combat Pragmatist.
  • 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 is playing while the survivors are seen taking themselves together.¨
  • 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, and he fails to recognize that for all his own 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.
  • 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 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 name of the main character, his father, his grandfather, and his great grandfather.
    • This is potentially the reason for Edward Bruce not making an appearance in the film, as three main characters called Edward might have been a bit much.
  • Overprotective Dad: 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.
  • 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 a number of 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) basically 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.
  • Rousing Speech: Before the Battle of Loudoun Hill, both Edward II and Robert do one for their men. Edward's is a bit long-winded, while Robert's is more straightforward.
  • Say My Name: Douglas loves to remind his enemies that his clan is still alive, and screams his family name when fighting. He even forces Robert of Clifford to say it before he kills him.
    "WHAT'S MY FUCKIN' NAME?!"
  • 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 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 anulling her marriage to Robert. Despite her parents' insistence, Elizabeth refuses.
  • Shown Their Work: The film aims at avoiding Braveheart-type fantasies, by showing era-accurate attires and weapons for the most part, looking far more realistic than most films in this regard. In fact, there are very small, specific details of medieval life that the movie goes out of its way to showcase:
    • The idea of "raising the dragon," a reference to showing no quarter to the enemy.
    • The scene in which Prince Edward swears by two swans actually happened in a famous event known as the Feast of the Swans.
    • Robert and Elisabeth are married underneath a shroud.
    • During dueling scenes, the characters always step forward or backward or twist their hips with a strike, an aspect of pre-modern fencing that many fight choreographers often overlook.
    • Robert Bruce often fights with a one-handed axe, as he is noted to have done in historical records.
    • The armies of both England and Scotland do not march under national flags, but banners depicting the personal heraldry of the nobles leading them. To wit: Robert initially marches under the Bruce's emblem (a red saltire on a yellow field) but after his coronation he switches to the Royal Standard of Scotland (a red lion rampant on a yellow field, bordered by red fleur-de-lis, as seen on the page image).
    • Likewise the characters who are nobles tend to bear shields and tabards displaying their personal heraldry, which is also represented accurately. This includes Douglas's "Captain America" shield with three white stars on a blue top stripe, as surprising as it may be.
    • Robert was indeed crowned by a woman, as unusual as it may seem (and was) for the period.
    • Prince Edward briefly talks to one "Piers" at the start of the film. This is Piers Gaveston, the Prince's alleged lover in medieval accounts and the inspiration for the guy Longshanks infamously throws out of a window in Braveheart. While Edward II's sexuality is debated by modern historians (they may just have been Heterosexual Life-Partners who got slandered by their enemies, and both fathered children, in any case), it simply isn't brought up in this film, unlike his Camp Gay portrayal in Braveheart.
    • King Edward did by one account call for his bones be brought into battles against the Scots, though there are other stories of what he asked to be done with his remains.
  • 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 walks out of 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.
  • Spiritual Successor: The historical events that are depicted mostly come directly after those of Braveheart, some time between the execution of William Wallace in 1305 and the battle of Bannockburn (which concluded the latter film after a Time Skip) in 1314. Robert the Bruce became king of Scotland in 1306. Although Outlaw King aims at much less Artistic License – History than Braveheart.
  • Tagalong Kid: Drew, the youngster who was 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.
  • 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, and 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 first before Scotland's freedom itself, 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 a lot of Edward's actions which instead 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.
  • 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.

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