Rob Roy

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"I shall think on you as dead until my husband makes you so. Then I shall think on you no more."
—Rob Roy's wife to the man who rapes her

Rob Roy is a 1995 film (based vaguely on the 1817 novel by Sir Walter Scott) starring Liam Neeson, Tim Roth, Jessica Lange, Brian Cox, and John Hurt. It tells the heavily fictionalized story of Scottish folk hero Robert Roy MacGregor, and his part in the Jacobite Rising. While it was overshadowed by that other 1995 movie about Scottish rebellion against the English, the climactic Sword Fight is held up as one of the best in film.

Robert Roy MacGregor is a chieftain in the Scottish Highlands. He borrows £1,000 from the Marquess of Montrose, but it's stolen by Montrose's protege, a deadly fop named Archibald Cunningham (played by Tim Roth, who earned an Oscar nomination).

Montrose agrees to forgive the debt if MacGregor frames his enemy, the Duke of Argyll. He refuses, has his farm burnt and his wife raped, and is forced to go into hiding. He must find a way to clear his name in court, or failing that, war against those who come after him.

Tropes used in Rob Roy include:
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Montrose and Cunningham are sneeringly evil villains. The Duke of Argyll is the one exception, as a reasonably honourable guy.
  • As You Know: Montrose explains what a "Jacobite" is to Rob, though he probably considers Rob to be a country bumpkin who doesn't know what the term means.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Rob delivers one in the final duel, seriously slicing open his hand, but winning the fight nonetheless.
  • Bastard Bastard: Archibald is the bastard of a wealthy noblewoman. He's accustomed to living in court, but has no money or inheritance to support himself.
  • Bonnie Scotland
  • The Brute: Guthrie
  • Coitus Uninterruptus
  • Combat Pragmatist: Rob repeatedly uses tricky and surprising moves to win fights, which juxtaposes his otherwise honorable behavior.
  • Defiled Forever: Averted. Rob is plenty angry about Mary getting raped, but it's all directed at the rapist; toward Mary he is, if anything, more loving than before.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: One of Rob's special moves, used twice: once to prevent a fight, and once to win a fight. In the first example, he slices his own hand on Guthrie's blade to declare him the "winner" of their duel. In the final duel, Rob grabs onto Archibald's blade before dealing a death blow.
  • The Dragon: Archibald to Montrose.
  • Driven to Suicide: Betty Sturrock.
  • Duel to the Death: The final duel, with seconds and a referee.
  • Fatal Flaw: Arrogance.
  • Fake Nationality: Liam Neeson is actually Irish, and not Scottish. Jessica Lange and Eric Stolz are both American.
  • Fragile Speedster: Cunningham is repeatedly out-muscled by his enemies, but is incredibly quick and skilled with a rapier.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Argyll
  • Hide and No Seek: Rob does this.
  • Honor Before Reason: MacGregor. Lampshaded by his wife Mary, who doesn't want to tell him about her rape because she knows he'll go ballistic and do something stupid trying to avenge her.
  • Karma Houdini: Montrose. At least his plans are foiled.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Alasdair.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen:
    • Humorously averted between MacGregor and a drunken Guthrie in a duel to "the first cut": Rob cuts his hand on Guthrie's extended sword.
    • Played straight between the two later when Guthrie stands in MacGregor's way to Killearn. Rob wins.
    • And, of course, the climactic duel between MacGregor and Cunningham.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Montrose is strongly implied to be Archie's father. Well, he's definitely one of the top three contenders, anyway.
  • Man in a Kilt: Obviously.
  • Name's the Same: Archie and Betty, eh?
  • Oh Crap: Rob gets a gradually increasing one during the final duel, where he begins to see that, despite seeming like a fop and a coward who will only fight with an army at his back, Cunningham is a superb swordsman. The OhCrapness increases when he realises that Argyll was not exaggerating Cunningham's prowess with a sword, and that he is totally outmatched in skill.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Rob starts to sound noticeably Irish at several points throughout the film.
  • The Power of Hate:
    • Name-dropped when Archie musters up the voice to agree to the duel after being badly choked.
    • Also invoked as the reason Mary will come out of the burning house to live and hate rather than proudly let herself burn with it.
  • Rape as Drama
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Argyll.
  • Shown Their Work: The swords used in the film are quite period-appropriate, with the English aristocrats favoring gentlemanly dueling smallswords and the Scottish men using the basket-hilted heavy claymores of the period.
  • Sissy Villain: Cunningham, the fop, whose motivation for his villainy is buying expensive clothes. However, his mincing behavior is mostly a ruse. In private, he behaves much differently.
  • Smug Snake:
    • Cunningham, who sneers and smirks throughout the movie, having apparently developed his personality from a serious case of inferiority complex, being a bastard at court.
    • Montrose is also an example. Look at that smirk on his face whenever he's talking to Argyll.
  • Sword Drag: Rob, at the end of the duel, when he's almost completely out of strength.
  • Sword Over Head
  • Too Dumb to Live: Shooting at redcoats when you're in hiding? Not smart.
  • The Worf Effect: Guthrie. Again, and again, and again.