In my sickness-induced stupor yesterday I watched the first half of Braveheart, a film which I used to number highly in my list of personal favorites but which I hadn't seen in quite a while. It still holds up pretty well, although the speech Wallace gives to the Scots army just before the Battle of Stirling still rings hollow in my ears, being as it is a scaled-down version of the greatest pep-talk ever written, King Henry's speech before Agincourt in Shakespeare's Henry V. But the battle scenes of Braveheart have proven to be very influential indeed: the tracking shots of armies rushing toward each other, which the "crash" as they collide, the helter-skelter close-ups of combat, and so forth. My favorites are actually the tracking shots of hundreds of arrows as they arc through a blue sky. Those compositions have become commonplace in epic war films since Braveheart; even the arena-battle at the end of Attack of the Clones had stylistic throwbacks to Braveheart.
If memory serves, the second half of the film isn't as good as the first. I'll find out maybe this weekend. (No, I don't watch Braveheart with the kid. My TV viewing choices with her aren't that outlandish!)