The Battle of Stirling, depicted in Braveheart, is a real departure from the real life Battle of Stirling Bridge, which occurred in 1297 during William Wallace’s War for Scottish Independence. In real life, the heavily outnumbered Scots were able to fight the numerically superior English army piece mail on a bridge, where they used superior fighting tactics to defeat them.
The battle depicted in the film is admittedly a bit more epic. The Scots are outnumbered nearly five to one, and after taking a barrage of arrows that inflict heavy losses, withstand an English cavalry charge with sharpened poles and then sweep forward to engage the English army. The two armies crash into one another, and while no side initially has the advantage, the Scottish cavalry then outflank the English and attack the archers and commanders from the rear. The English army flees and the survivors are quickly cut down. The Battle of Stirling as shown in the film is well known for the rousing speech Wallace gives, the stunning cinematography, and the close and personal bloody combat.