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Brave poster
Final release poster
Film information
Directed by: Mark Andrews
Brenda Chapman
Steve Purcell (co-director)
Produced by: Katherine Sarafian
Written by: Brenda Chapman
Music by: Patrick Doyle
Editing by: Nicholas C. Smith
Studio: Pixar
Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures
Release Date(s): June 22, 2012 (United States & Canada)
August 3, 2012 (Scotland)
Running time: 93 minutes
Language: English
Gross Revenue: $535,379,132

Brave is a 2012 American computer-animated adventure fantasy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. It was written by Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman, and Irene Mecchi, directed by Andrews and Chapman and co-directed by Purcell. The film's voice cast features Kelly Macdonald, Julie Walters, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, and Robbie Coltrane. To make the most complex visuals possible, Pixar completely rewrote their animation system for the first time in 25 years. It is the first film to use the Dolby Atmos sound format.

In the film, set in the Scottish Highlands during the Medieval period, a skilled archer named Merida defies an age-old custom, causing chaos in her kingdom and angering her mother Elinor. After consulting a witch for help, Merida accidentally curses her mother and is forced to undo the spell herself before it is too late. Brave premiered on June 10, 2012, at the Seattle International Film Festival, and was released in North America on June 22, 2012, to both positive reviews and box office success. The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film and won the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film. The film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film up against other Disney films such as Wreck-It Ralph and Frankenweenie .

Preceding the film is a short film entitled La Luna, directed by Enrico Casarosa.


The movie takes place in Scotland sometime in the Medieval Ages. Princess Merida is an incredibly skilled archer and princess living in the Scottish kingdom of DunBroch with her mother, Queen Elinor, and her father King Fergus. On Merida's sixth birthday, King Fergus gives Merida a bow and arrow as a birthday present. After retrieving an arrow accidentally fired into the woods, Merida's family are attacked by an ancient bear, Mor'du. Elinor and Merida flee, while Fergus stays to battle the bear. Later, Fergus loses his left leg and vows to find Mor'du again and finish what he started.

Ten years later, despite Elinor's intention of having sixteen-year old Merida become a proper, royal, ladylike princess, Merida is determined to seek freedom and live her own life with no expectations, duties or responsibilities. One day, Lords Macintosh, MacGuffin, and Dingwall present their sons to marry Merida. After an argument, all three armies get into a brawl, which Elinor stops. She states that the challenge which the sons would compete in would be decided by the fair maiden, so Merida chooses archery. Lord Dingwall's son wins by accident. Merida decides to shoot the three targets herself over Elinor's objections, and Merida and Elinor have a falling out. Merida slashes the family tapestry in anger and Elinor throws Merida's bow into the fireplace. Merida runs away on her horse in tears as Elinor quickly retrieves the bow from the fire in regret. Merida comes across Will O' the Wisps, these small blue fairies that are said to lead you to your fate. Merida follows a trail of them to an old hut, where she finds a witch. The witch said she wouldn't help Merida unless she bought some of her wooden carvings that she'd made. Merida buys the lot with a necklace, but says she wants a spell that changes her fate as well. Merida asks for a spell that would change her mother, which she assumes will change her fate. The witch conjures a tart for Merida to give to her mother. On Merida's way out, the witch thinks she forgot to tell Merida something about the spell, but she and her cottage disappear when Merida turns around to ask what the witch was saying.

Back in DunBroch, Fergus is entertaining the lords, while Merida finds Elinor who was worried and says that she's making decisions about what to do with the marriage. Merida presents the tart to her mother, who takes a bite of the tart, and all of a sudden starts to feel sick. Merida takes Elinor up to her room, where she rolls off her bed and Merida finds she's been turned into a bear. Fergus all of a sudden thinks he smells a bear, and leads the lords up to where he thinks the bear is. Merida, with the help of her brothers Harris, Hubert, and Hamish, manages to escape the castle without Fergus finding them, and she and her mother retreat into the forest, back to the witches cottage. The witch isn't present, but there is a cauldron where the witch appears and has left a message for Merida. She tells Merida that by the second sunrise, the spell would be permanent, and it wouldn't be able to be undone. She does leave Merida a riddle to remember, mentioning a bond must be repaired. Merida and her mother exit the cottage and find shelter for the night, wondering how they'll be able to fix the curse.

In the morning, Merida and Elinor try to find breakfast. Elinor finds some berries, which turn out to be poisonous. Merida finds a river, and takes the time to teach her mother how to catch fish. The two bond over that period of time, seeing different sides of each other. While in the forest, Elinor suddenly prowls up to Merida, and acts as if she's about to attack her but soon gains consciousness, and is horrified by what Merida tells her. They then come across some wisps and are lead to ruins of an old castle. Merida falls down a pit into an old throne room, where she finds that she's in the palace that the four brothers who were in Elinor's story lived. She finds a old stone engraved with the four brothers, but finds a part with a brother had been cut off, just like when Merida had cut her mom apart from family, on the sewn blanket. She realizes that the curse had happened before, and that the brother who'd gone on his own path was Mor'du. Then Merida is attacked by Mor'du, who lives in the ruins and barley escapes with the help of her mother.

Merida realizes Elinor will become just like Mor'du, like a real bear, if they don't break the spell. They travel back to DunBroch to sew the family tapestry back together, thinking that will break the spell. To get Elinor upstairs without letting her get seen, Merida distracts her father and the lords, who are fighting and thinking of starting war on each other. With Elinor's help by using sign language, Merida gives a speech that brings the kingdoms back together, and she states that her mother had rewritten the ways of the kingdoms, that the sons could marry whoever they wanted. Everyone rejoices and travels outside, leaving Merida and Elinor to make it up to the tapestry room. While trying to sew the tapestry, Fergus goes into his room, and finds Elinors ripped clothes and broken bed when she'd turned into a bear. Fergus, believing Elinor had been murdered, bursts into the tapestry room to tell her the news, and finds Merida and Elinor as a bear. Elinor loses conscious and attacks Fergus who battle it out. When Elinor gains conscious again, she finds that she's harmed Merida and Fergus and retreats.

Merida tries to convince Fergus that the bear is Elinor, but Fergus says Merida is talking nonsense and locks her in the tapestry room to protect her. Fergus then sets off with the lords to capture Elinor, while Merida is stuck in the tapestry room. Then she finds that her brothers had also been turned into bears, after they'd taken bites of the tart. Merida asks them to retrieve the key from their nursemaid Maudie, whom Fergus had giver the key to. The three retrieve the key and unlock Merida.

All four ride on Angus while Merida sews the tapestry at the same time. They follow wisps to where Fergus has captured Elinor and tied her up. Fergus attempts to slay the bear, but Merida defends Elinor by fighting off Fergus, who still doesn't believe Merida. Then Mor'du encounters Merida, and fights off Fergus and all the other soldiers who attempt to kill him. He then lunges for Merida but is fought off by Elinor who breaks free of the ropes. Mor'du and Elinor duel each other, until Elinor smashes Mor'du into a rock, but wounds Elinor in the process. Mor'du gets up and is about to attack Merida, until the rock falls on top of him and he dies. Merida sees a wisp emerge from Mor'du's body, and it shows the human body of the brother that'd become the bear. He then flies away to live with all the other wisps.

Then Merida rushes over to Elinor, and puts the sewn tapestry on top of the bear. Then the sun starts to rise, and Elinor doesn't turn back into human form. Merida throws herself around Elinor and reconciles, apologizing for what she had done and telling her she loves her, as everyone is watching. When the sun fully rises, Merida finds that Elinor is back in human form, and they both hug. the family and everyone rejoices, and they all celebrate. The kingdoms become friends and they go their separate ways. Meanwhile Merida and Elinor ride out on their horses around Scotland, making their mother-daughter relationship stronger and closer now.  

In the post-credits scene, the witch's crow and broom delivers the wood carvings to the castle and asks a stunned guard to sign the delivery note.


Voice cast

Non-Speaking Characters


Brave was first announced under the title of The Bear and the Bow. Other titles that had been considered include, among others The Bear King and his Daughter, Brave and the Bow and Bravehair. The film, Pixar's first fairy tale, is a combination of Brenda Chapman's love of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, as well as a reflection on raising her daughter.

The film departs from the traditional fairy tale storyline, neglecting the romance that has been associated with these stories. It focuses on the relationship between Merida and her mother Queen Elinor, which was inspired to Chapman by her own relation with her daughter.

Chapman was supposed to be the film's sole director - and Pixar's first female director. But last October, it was reported that Pixar had replaced Chapman with Mark Andrews. Now, although Andrews is presently in charge of guiding Brave across the finish line, both Andrews and Chapman will be credited as the movie’s directors, according to a Disney spokesman.

Following his involvement as director, Mark Andrews did a heavy lifting to the story, to focus down on the core story. Among others, he cleared away many magic elements, which he found affected the environment. The film was initially set for release on June 15, 2012 but was later changed to June 22, 2012.

Although the production of the film started in 2008, Brenda Chapman had already began work years earlier. As early as in 2006, several members of the crew made a research trip in Scotland. They made a total of two trips to Scotland for the film.> Among others they visited the Eilean Donan and Dunnottar Castles, as well as the Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis, which inspired the circle of standing stones that appears in the film.

To reproduce the lush and texture look of the landscapes of the Highlands, Pixar animators and designers created around 350 custom brushes in Photoshop, so that they could layer different designs, patterns and shapes in layers other to achieve a realistic and invisible look to all of the environments.

Animators were introduced to the weapons used in the film, in order to understand their working: some went into archery classes, while Mark Andrews taught sword fighting to animators. Originally, Reese Witherspoon was planned to voice Princess Merida, but she was unable to work on the film due to scheduling issues and was replaced by Kelly Macdonald as a result.

Celtic and Pictish design and patterns have been integrated everywhere throughout the film, on Merida's bow, on clothing, walls, as well as to natural elements like snowflakes, moss or tree branches.

The original idea had 80% of the scenes taking place in the snow. In the final movie however, very few snow scenes remain. John Ratzenberger, who is Pixar's "good luck charm", having been in every Pixar film to date, has been cast in Brave, and will voice a guard in a Scottish accent. The end credits will include a special tribute to Steve Jobs. Chapman later stated that her “vision came through in the film” and that she remains “very proud of the movie, and that I ultimately stood up for myself.


Brave is rated PG by the MPAA for some scary action and rude humor, making it the third Pixar film to receive this rating, the first being The Incredibles and the second being Up.


The film was initially set for release on June 15, 2012, but was later changed to June 22, 2012. On April 3, 2012, Pixar screened the first 30 minutes of the movie, and it received a positive reaction by its screeners. It had its Australian premiere on June 11, 2012, at the Sydney Film Festival, and had its domestic premiere on June 18, 2012, at the new Dolby Theatre in Hollywood as part of the Los Angeles Film Festival, its European premiere was at the Taormina Film Festival in Sicilly on June 23, 2012 and its British premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on June 30, 2012.

In the United States and Canada, Brave is the first feature-length film to use the Dolby Atmos sound format. Almost half of the 14 theaters set up to show the film in Atmos are in California (Burbank, Century City, Fremont, Hollywood, San Francisco, and Sherman Oaks), with the others located in seven states (Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Kansas City, Missouri, Paramus, New Jersey, Las Vegas, Nevada, Chicago, West Plano, Texas, Vancouver, Washington) and in Toronto, Ontario. It was released in other theaters with Dolby Surround 7.1. In total, it was released in 4,164 theaters, a record-high for Pixar, which was previously held by Cars 2 (4,115 theaters). 2,790 of the theaters will include 3D shows.


Critical response

Brave has received mostly positive reviews from film critics. On April 3, 2012, Pixar screened the first 30 minutes of the movie, and it received a positive reaction by the screeners.

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 78% of critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 6.9/10 based on 210 reviews, with 80% of 150,187 people liking it. The consensus statement reads, "Brave offers young audiences and fairy tale fans a rousing, funny fantasy adventure with a distaff twist and surprising depth." Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a score of 69 based on 37 reviews, or "Generally favorable."

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 out of 4 stars and wrote, "The good news is that the kids will probably love it, and the bad news is that parents will be disappointed if they're hoping for another Pixar groundbreaker." He said that the film had an uplifting message about improving communication between mothers and daughters.

Peter Debruge of Variety gave a positive review of the film, remarking that the film "offers a tougher, more self-reliant heroine for an era in which princes aren't so charming, set in a sumptuously detailed Scottish environment where her spirit blazes bright [sic] as her fiery red hair." Debruge also said that "Adding a female director [Brenda Chapman] to its creative boys' club, the studio [Pixar] has fashioned a resonant tribute to mother-daughter relationships that packs a level of poignancy on par with such beloved male-bonding classics as Finding Nemo."

Conversely, Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter said that the film "diminishes into a rather wee thing as it chugs along, with climactic drama that is both too conveniently wrapped up and hinges on magical elements that are somewhat confusing to boot."


The film score to Brave was composed by Patrick Doyle. To bring some of Scotland's native flavor to the music, Doyle used native Scottish instruments such as bagpipes, a solo fiddle, Celtic harps, flutes and the bodhrán, with an electronically treated dulcimer and cimbalom to give it a more contemporary feel. "I employed many classic Scottish dance rhythms such as reels, jigs, and strathspeys, which not only serve the action but keep it authentic," said Doyle. Doyle had also written a drinking song for King Fergus and was traveling back and forth to Scotland for research. The composer has also been recording "unaccompanied Gaelic psalm singing." In addition to Patrick Doyle's music, the film features three original songs. "Touch the Sky" (music by Alex Mandel, lyrics by Mark Andrews & Mandel) and "Into the Open Air" (music and lyrics by Alex Mandel) are both performed by Julie Fowlis. Mumford & Sons contributed the song "Learn Me Right" with Birdy to the film soundtrack.

Box office

As of January 17, 2013, the film had earned $237,283,207 in North America, and $298,100,000 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $535,379,132. Worldwide, it is the 21st highest-grossing animated film and the 91st highest-grossing film. It is also the seventh highest-grossing Pixar film, the third highest-grossing 2012 animated film in worldwide gross (behind Ice Age: Continental Drift and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted), and the eighth highest-grossing film of 2012.

In North America, pre-release tracking suggested the film would open between $55 million to $65 million in North America, which is slightly below average for a Pixar film. Trackers suggested that the film might not appeal to the male demographic, whereas the female protagonist was expected to draw females of all ages, and 3D was expected to boost earnings.

It opened on June 22, 2012, with $24.6 million. It finished its opening weekend with $66.3 million at the upper end of the numbers analysts predicted. This was the fourth-largest opening weekend in June and the fifth-largest for a Pixar film. Despite pre-release tracking indications, the audience was estimated to be 43% male and 57% female. In North America, it is the eighth highest-grossing Pixar film, the highest-grossing 2012 animated film, and the eighth highest-grossing film of 2012.

Outside North America, the film earned $14.0 million from 10 markets on its opening weekend, finishing in third place behind Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted and Snow White and the Huntsman. Overall, its largest openings occurred in France and the Maghreb region ($6.50 million), Mexico ($5.53 million), and Russia and the CIS ($5.37 million). In total earnings, its highest-grossing countries were the UK, Ireland and Malta ($34.9 million), France and the Maghreb region ($26.8 million), and Mexico ($21.6 million).

Home Media

Brave was released on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, and digital download on November 13, 2012. It will be accompanied with La Luna and a new short film The Legend of Mor’du. Exploring the history of antagonist Mor’du, the direct-to-video short will give fans the chance to delve deeper into the legend behind Mor'du, as told by the eccentric witch who transformed him.

Video game

A video game based on the film was published by Disney Interactive Studios on June 19, 2012, for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC and Nintendo DS. A mobile video game Temple Run: Brave, a Brave variation of Temple Run, was released on June 14, 2012, for the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android.


List of awards and nominations
Award Category Winner/Nominee Result
85th Academy Awards Best Animated Feature Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman Won
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Best Animated Female Merida - Kelly Macdonald Won
American Cinema Editors Best Edited Animated Feature Film Nicolas C. Smith, A.C.E. Won
Annie Awards Best Animated Feature Nominated
Animated Effects Feature Production Bill Watral, Chris Chapman, Dave Hale, Keith Klohn, Michael K. O’Brien Nominated
Character Animation Feature Production Dan Nguyen Nominated
Jaime Landes Nominated
Travis Hathaway Nominated
Music in an Animated Feature Production Patrick Doyle, Mark Andrews, Alex Mandel Nominated
Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Steve Pilcher Won
Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production Kelly Macdonald as Merida Nominated
Writing in an Animated Feature Production Brenda Chapman, Irene Mecchi, Mark Andrews and Steve Purcell Nominated
Editorial in an Animated Feature Production Nicholas A. Smith, ACE, Robert Graham Jones, ACE, David Suther Won
BAFTA Awards Best Animated Film Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Best Animated Feature Nominated
Cinema Audio Society Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Motion Pictures Animated Won
Critics' Choice Awards Best Animated Feature Nominated
Best Song Mumford & Sons and Birdy for Learn Me Right Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Animated Feature Film Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman Won
Grammy Awards Best Song Written for Visual Media Mumford & Sons and Birdy for the song Learn Me Right Nominated
Houston Film Critics Society Best Animated Film Nominated
Best Original Song Lean Me Right
Touch the Sky
Online Film Critics Society Best Animated Feature
Phoenix Film Critics Society Best Animated Film
Producers Guild of America Animated Theatrical Motion Picture Katherine Sarafian Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Best Animated Film Nominated
Satellite Awards Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media
Original Song Learn Me RightBirdy and Mumford & Sons
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Best Animated Film
Toronto Film Critics Association Best Animated Feature
Visual Effects Society Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Mark Andrews, Steve May, Katherine Sarafian, Bill Wise Won
Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Travis Hathaway, Olivier Soares, Peter Sumanaseni, Brian Tindall Won
Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Tim Best, Steve Pilcher, Inigo Quilez, Andy Whittock Won
Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Chris Chapman, Dave Hale, Michael K. O'Brien, Bill Watral Won
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Best Animated Feature Nominated
Women Film Critics Circle Best Animated Females Won


Scottish publication The Scotsman asked director Mark Andrews on the notion of a sequel. Andrews said, "I don't know if there will be another one. We never make a film at Pixar to have a sequel. It is always nice when you do and we kind of have a philosophy that if we find the right story then we will. Surely the marketing and success of Brave says that you can have one and they will come."


  • This is the first Pixar movie to have a female protagonist and Pixar's first fairy tale. All previous Pixar films' leading ladies (if there were any) were less important than the leading men.
  • This is the eighth Pixar film to have more than one song, the first being Toy Story, the second being Toy Story 2, the third being Monsters, Inc. (counting the song Put that Thing Back Where It Came From in clips during the credits), the fourth being Cars, the sixth being Toy Story 3, and the seventh being Cars 2.
  • Brave is set in the kingdom of DunBroch, during the 10th century.
  • Brave is the first (and so far only) Pixar movie in which the villain has no dialogue at all.
  • Mark Andrews confirmed that the Pizza Planet truck, as well as Pixar's other traditional Easter eggs will appear in Brave: "All the typical things, those little insider jokes are all in the movie." It was reported that Tia Kratter, art director of the film, has hinted during her presentation at the D23 Expo that the truck would be in the Witch's house.
  • On Fridays, the animators had to wear kilts as part of their work routine.
  • During the Brave Press Event (held April 3-5, 2012), it was stated that 111,394 storyboards were created for the film. This compares to 80,000 for Cars 2 and 92,854 for Toy Story 3.
  • There are more than 100 unique hair/facial hair combinations used in “Brave” for human characters and animals. Each variant can appear in any of nine different colors, creating more than 900 hairstyle/color variants.
  • Brave is the second Disney musical film in which only two songs are sung by characters, while the rest are in the background, the first being Tarzan. Neither The Emperor's New Groove nor Brother Bear nor Home on the Range count because each have only one song sung by characters (counting a reprise of the one such song in the first of those films).
  • Brave is the third Pixar film to be rated PG, after The Incredibles and Up.
  • Brave's logo include a stylised representation of Merida in the "B" and of Queen Elinor in the "E."
  • This is the fourth Pixar film to take place in a country other than the United States, after Finding Nemo (Australia), Ratatouille (France) and Cars 2 (multiple locations like Japan, Italy and the United Kingdom, though the United States was shown at the very beginning and end of that film).
  • The end credits of the movie include a special tribute to Steve Jobs, who died on October 5, 2011 of pancreatic cancer.
  • John Ratzenberger, having appeared in every Pixar film to date, was the only all-American voice actor in Brave; all other voice actors were British or Scottish, though Craig Ferguson is partially American.
  • Robbie Coltrane and Julie Walters (the respective voices for Lord Dingwall and the Witch) had previously both appeared in the Harry Potter film series as Rubeus Hagrid and Molly Weasley, respectively.
    • Also, the final movie had the Grey Lady played by Kelly Macdonald, and three of the movies had the character Prof. Trelawney played by Emma Thompson.
  • Brave is the first Pixar film in which any of its songs (in the body of the film) are sung by characters; Merida and her mother sing "Noble Maiden Fair" in a flashback scene of when the former was a little girl, and King Fergus and other men sing "Song of Mor'du".
  • Brave is somewhat similar to Brother Bear because they both have to do with characters being turned into bears by magic, the differences being that Elinor cannot speak as a bear, there are no talking animals and Elinor stays human in the end.
  • The tapestry of Merida, Elinor, and Fergus is seen in car version in Cars 2.



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Start a Discussion Discussions about Brave

  • Marshmallow vs Mor'du

    11 messages
    • Tdt2003 wrote:Wolf 91 wrote:Heinz Ketchup wrote:I think Marshmallow would destroy Mor'duNo no no If Marshmallow and Mor'du fought each othe...
    • In all seriousness, though, you are pitting a giant ice monster against a bear. A very ferocious bear, but a regular bear nonetheless. If t...
  • The Bear and The Bow

    2 messages
    • Brave was originally titled after the fairytale it was based, the bear and the bow. So the trivia is wrong and needs to be corrected.
    • Brave isnt based on a fairytale. 
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