In the iconic Battle of Stirling Bridge scene in the film Braveheart, English heavy cavalry knights charge with a lance in their right hand and a shield in their left hand.

I recently watch this battle scene again and noticed one particular thing: English knights should have carried close quarter melee weapons.

I understand for heavy cavalry, they are supposed to charge towards their enemy over and over again on their horses, but should they not consider taking a melee weapon with them, for example, a mace, a sword or a dagger so that they can defend themselves when they become dismounted.

I think it is a detail Mel Gibson overlooked when making this movie.

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    An even bigger detail Mel overlooked when making this movie was at the battle of Stirling Bridge he didn't include the bridge.... the Scots were able to win, thanks in no small part to the presence of the bridge reducing the number of english they had to fight in one go Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 10:25
  • @CearonO'Flynn, yeah, Mel Gibson's Scottish accent was pretty bad too, as I was told.
    – Yu Zhang
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 22:47

1 Answer 1


It's hard to say because most of the camera angles in that scene are taken from the lance side of the knights. Any sheathed weapons, such as swords, would be on the shield side for a crossdraw, and thus away from the camera angle. There is one shot from a falling horse late in the scene where the hilt of a sheathed sword becomes briefly visible. Whether this sword is strapped to the horse (a common means of keeping secondary weapons), or belongs to one of the Scots on the ground, is difficult to determine.

On the other hand, non-sheathed weapons such as maces, warhammers and battleaxes tended to be attached via a strap to the belt or trousers on the right hand side. These were common secondary weapons for knights, and we should be able to see some of them in the scene, but none are visible.

Chances are you are correct, and these weapons were not included as part of the cavalry equipment. Most likely this was done to reduce the cost of filming. After all, the knights get slaughtered in the scene and we don't see any scenes where they get to fight back after falling from their horses, so these weapons are redundant from a filming standpoint.

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