Robert the Bruce

Movie review by
Danny Brogan, Common Sense Media
Robert the Bruce Movie Poster Image
Ponderous Braveheart "sequel" has sporadic graphic violence.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 124 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Patriotism is a key theme. Recognizing that your actions can inspire, influence, and impact others. Violence is often used to settle disputes. Characters betray others for money, but others show kindness to those in need.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Following defeat in battle, Robert is initially ready to give up the fight. But he eventually finds strength and inspiration from others and recognizes how important he is to others. While many characters are willing to betray Robert in his hour of need, a family of peasants show him much kindness, despite the dangers it puts them in. Women and girls are shown just as capable at fighting as their male counterparts.


Sporadic rather than relentless, the violence is brutal and viscous. Characters are killed by swords, arrows, and axes -- often with much blood spatter. Fight scenes include kicking and head-butting. Two characters have their throats slit. A young child is killed with an axe. A church cross is used as a weapon. There is a brief shot of a hanging. Other graphic scenes include a foot being impaled on a spike, a face being bitten, and a character's head being held under water. A piece of broken arrow is removed from someone's back and the wound is sealed with a hot knife. A number of animals are killed either for food or target practice. A character forcibly kisses someone against their will before slapping them.


Some kissing. Two characters briefly discuss being in bed together.


One example each of "bloody," "bastard," and "s--t." "Arse" is used on several occasions.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters behave boisterously after drinking ale in a tavern. Wine is offered but not drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Robert the Bruce is a historical drama about the future King of Scotland with occasional, but brutal violence. There are a number of fight scenes, with characters killed by being stabbed and slashed with swords, and shot with bows and arrows. In one scene, a young boy is killed after being struck repeatedly with an axe. Two characters have their throats slit and one man is hanged. A woman is forcibly kissed by her brother-in-law and is then slapped to the floor. Despite the historical context, the movie is set around a period of Robert the Bruce's life that not much is known -- and is therefore open to interpretation. There is little profanity with "bloody," "bastard," and "s--t" only heard once each, while "arse" is used on a couple of occasions. Despite the sporadic violence, the movie is for the most part slow, with Robert the Bruce (Angus Macfadyen) spending much of the time recovering from his injuries. Due to the setting of the movie and the fact that Macfadyen reprises the role he played in Mel Gibson's Braveheart, some have called Robert the Bruce an "unofficial sequel" to the 1995 Oscar-winning movie.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byfritho July 31, 2020

Dont listen to the nay sayers, this movie is excellent

Many have commented about this movie vs the outlaw king. I can only say that the other movie outlaw king appears(I am not going to watch it) to be explicit, unh... Continue reading
Adult Written byCarolhirschi May 1, 2020

Smart, sensitive and enriching

This film hits the mark on many levels. It is historically accurate and therefore educational,
It’s compelling and intriguing, entertaining and carries an posi... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 18, 2021

Very Disappointing Sequel To An Awesome Movie

This movie is very disappointing especially after braveheart. there was barely any violence. i walked into this thinking it would be awesome and walked out not... Continue reading

What's the story?

After suffering a number of defeats at the hands of the English, ROBERT THE BRUCE (Angus Macfadyen) informs his men that the rebellion is over. But with a bounty on his head, Robert is soon attacked. Injured and with nowhere to go, a family of peasants find him and take him home to nurse him back to health. Once recovered, Robert must decide whether he has the strength to once again take to the battlefield and deliver Scotland its independence.

Is it any good?

For a movie that centers around one of Scotland's most iconic historical figures, this plods along. Robert the Bruce was touted by some as an unofficial sequel to 1995's Braveheart -- not least because Macfadyen reprises the role of Robert the Bruce as he did in Mel Gibson's epic. But whereas Braveheart was a chest-thumping ride of a movie, here we're left with navel-gazing interspersed with occasional but brutal violence. Most of the movie centers around Robert's recovery -- both physical and mental -- as he must determine whether he has the strength and resolve to lead a rebellion of troops that are dwindling in numbers and belief.

The movie was co-written and co-produced by Macfadyen, but despite also taking the title role, he spends much of the movie hiding in a cave or recovering in bed. And it's to the movie's detriment. Instead we're left with a family setup that could have been condensed into a few scenes rather than stretched out for much of the movie. Jared Harris' appearance as John Comyn is fleeting and Anna Hutchison's narration is annoying -- only highlighting her patchy Scottish accent. With the Outlaw King -- starring Chris Pine -- covering the same material but far more entertainingly, it's difficult to see why you'd opt for this inferior telling of Robert the Bruce's story.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Robert the Bruce. Did it feel realistic? Did that affect how you felt about it? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • What was Robert the Bruce fighting for? Discuss patriotism. Is it a good thing? Can it be a bad thing?

  • How did this movie compare to other movies that tell a similar story, such as Braveheart and Outlaw King?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love history

Themes & Topics

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