Top Ten Scottish Films
Braveheart: Mel Gibson's Oscar winning, if historically inaccurate, account of William Wallace remains, to this day, Scotland's most famous cinematic contribution. The film charts his rebellion against King Edward I until his execution, Braveheart serves up spectacular battle scenes, mixed in with a compelling love story and lots of men in Kilts. It may not be the most accurate account of Wallace's life, but it really is a dramatic and enjoyable one!
Fun Fact: While the film pays great attention to the different Scottish families, depicted wearing their own tartan, the use of clan tartans was brought about in Victorian times, much later than when this film was set.
Local Hero: Director Bill Forsyth's 1983 comedy drama, about an American oil company representative trying to buy an entire Scottish Village to build an oil refinery, really is a joy to behold. Slowly, Mac falls in love with the place and its rather quirky residents. All ends well and the village is saved, spared by the head of the oil company (Burt Lancaster), and we are given an amazing send off with Mark Knopfler's outstanding 'Going Home' theme tune.
Fun Fact: Local Hero is American Ex-Presidential candidate Al Gore's favourite film.
Rob Roy: Liam Neeson stars in this tale, from the Scottish Highlands, of a man trying to improve life in his village by borrowing money from the local nobleman to set up a farm. When the money is stolen from him, Rob must turn to a 'Robin Hood' lifestyle to attempt to pay off his debt, while fending off dastardly villain Archibald Cunningham (Tim Roth).
Fun Fact: The film was shot entirely on location, in the Scottish Highlands, with some parts being so remote they could only be accessed by helicopter.
Highlander: Immortal Scottish swordsman, Connor Macleod, must do battle with other Immortals in 1980s New York, whilst having flashbacks to his past in the Scottish Highlands. The ultimate goal is to kill all the other immortals, and become the last one standing, receiving all the power of the immortal race. It's a crazy premise and fully delivers an 80's fantasy classic, with an outstanding soundtrack by Queen.
Fun Fact: Christophe Lambert, who plays the lead role, is actually french. Playing the role of a Spanish immortal is none other than Scottish acting legend Sean Connery!
Trainspotting: A jet black comedy, Trainspotting follows Renton (Ewan McGregor) as he battles to escape the Edinburgh drug scene. As he struggles to get his life back on track, he is constantly hindered by his useless friends who seem hellbent on keeping him in the gutter with them. Popping with cool dialogue, and an amazing soundtrack equal to anything Tarantino has produced, this is a film that doesn't pull it's punches and is a must see.
Fun Fact: Although set in Edinburgh, most of the exterior shots were filmed in Glasgow.
The Eagle: In Roman Britain, twenty years after the unexplained disappearance of the entire Ninth Legion in the Scottish mountains, centurion Marcus Aquila, played by Channing Tatum, arrives from Rome to solve the mystery; and restore the reputation of his father, the commander of the Ninth. Marcus heads across Hadrian's Wall, into the uncharted highlands of Caledonia, to retrieve the lost legion's golden emblem, the Eagle of the Ninth.
Fun Fact: The scenes set in England were filmed in Hungary and the scenes set in Scotland were filmed in Scotland, mostly around Ullapool and Loch Lomond.
Dog Soldiers: A platoon of British Army soldiers are on a training exercise, in the highlands of Scotland, when they are attacked by persons unknown. The mystery deepens when they discover a woman alone in the woods, who claims to be a zoologist, studying the existence of werewolves in the area. Things get stranger, and infinitely more gory, in this Horror comedy. This is truly one of the craziest films ever to be set in Scotland.
Fun Fact: Although the film is set in Scotland, it was filmed entirely in Luxembourg.
The Wicker Man: The story of a policeman, played by Ed Woodward, who travels to a remote Scottish Hebridean island to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. The community, worshipers of the old Celtic Pagan gods, claim she never existed. This eerie 1970's film is a strange mix of horror and thriller, which culminates in one of the most iconic shots in cinema history.
Fun Fact: Although set on a Hebridean island, most of the filming was done in Dumfries and Galloway, in the south west parts of Scotland.
Brave: Disney Pixar's take on a Scottish fairytale, Brave, is an astonishing piece of animation cinema. It is the story of a rebellious Scottish princess, Merida, who would rather spend time in the forrest shooting her bow and arrow than be married off, to keep peace between the clans. Things takes a mythical twist when a witch grants the young princess one wish. Things, unsurprisingly, do not go well and it is a race against time for her to undo the damage she has done.
Fun Fact: Pixar created three original tartan patterns for the film, for three of the four clans in the film- DunBroch, Dingwall, and MacGuffin. (Clan Macintosh wears a red tartan similar to the non-fictional Clan Mackintosh.)
The Walt Disney Company registered the Clan DunBroch tartan, with the official Scottish Register of Tartans, upon release of the film.
Macbeth: The classic William Shakespeare play was brought to the screen by Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. The trailer for the film played upon the more gritty and dramatic aspects of the story and the adapted screenplay makes the, sometimes daunting, world of Shakespeare much more accessible to the average movie goer.
Fun Fact: Shakespeare's Macbeth has actually very little to do with the real King Macbeth, who was one of Scotland's better kings.