Earlier this year I was reading the kids a children’s book on Scottish history. In it was a chapter on Robert the Bruce and although I had heard of him before and seen statues of him (there’s one in Stirling), I’d never heard his story. At the end of the chapter I was thinking, “Oh my goodness, how have I never heard this story before?”. It has all the ingredients of an epic tale, the sort of thing movie producers would fight over -> man fights for Scottish independence, his brothers are executed, his wife and child are captured and imprisoned, The King of England makes him an outlaw, his army deserts him, and only 40 loyal followers remain.
Things were looking pretty grim for Robert the Bruce at this point. But he manages to claw his way back from absolute despair to eventually defeat a 3,000 strong English army with only 600 men at Loudon Hill. He started by winning small victories through guerilla warfare which brought him new followers and he used his knowledge of the landscape to tactical advantage. He eventually reclaims Scotland from the English to become King, gets his wife and daughter back, and goes on to have three more children. One of his descendents, James VI, eventually becomes King of England, Ireland and Scotland. Isn’t that amazing!
My first thought when I read this was, “Is there a movie?” I Googled it and discovered two movies were currently being made, the first of which is now available on Netflix – Outlaw King – and I’m happy to say I’ve seen it and it’s great. The next one is due for release in 2019.
Here’s the trailer for Outlaw King. My understanding is that it’s more historically accurate than Braveheart which, if you visit Stirling Castle, they will tell you is full of mistakes.
Here’s a photo I took of the King Robert the Bruce statue in Stirling in January 2016.