Actor Mel Gibson has revealed the inspiration behind Braveheart was an American western film - and refused to apologise for the infamous historical inaccuracies.

Gibson, 64, brought the story of Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace to the big screen 25 years ago, and was credited with helping to fuel a new wave of nationalism.

But now the Australian actor, who directed the iconic film, has revealed he was inspired by fellow actor-turned-director Kevin Costner’s 1990 western Dancing with Wolves.

READ MORE: Man gets £14,000 in backdated benefits after housing association help with Universal Credit claim

In an interview to mark 25 years since Braveheart's world premiere, Gibson told how he asked Costner for advice on stepping behind the camera.

He was inspired by Costner’s debut as a director in Dancing with Wolves, which he also starred in, as a Civil War soldier who forges a relationship with a band of Lakota Indians.

Speaking to USA Today, Gibson said: "I spoke to him and I was like, ‘That was amazing. I’m so gobsmacked that you did that with your first film.'

"And he said, ‘There’s only one way to go, man. Big.’”

“And I said, ‘OK, I’m going big.'

”This was 3,500 people on (the Braveheart) set, nine cameras and me on a four-wheel motorcycle in costume with blue face, whipping around checking camera positions because I only had like two monitors.

“It was fun."

READ MORE: Woman rushed to hospital with 'serious injuries' after falling from Possilpark flat window

Braveheart went on to be a worldwide box office sensation and scooped five Oscars in 1996.

The blockbuster famously upset historians with its depiction of Wallace and his troops wearing kilts with their faces painted, inaccurate references to bagpipes and a made-up love affair.

There was also the absence of a bridge in any of the scenes during the pivotal Battle of Stirling Bridge - and Gibson admitted he may have 'distorted history'.

Gibson added: "Yes, there was a bridge involved in the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

“We didn’t have a bridge because that would’ve made it too puny.

“I wanted to do it big, so we nixed the bridge.

"I’ll admit where I may have distorted history a little bit.

“That’s OK. I’m in the business of cinema. I’m not a ******* historian.

"History is very interesting to me, and I do appreciate the veracity of true history.

“But I don’t know that history is always true.

“It’s written by the winners all the time."