BFI Recommends: Local Hero

Today’s recommendation offers a great escape to the Western Isles in Bill Forsyth’s total charmer Local Hero. It might just be the greatest Scottish film, reckons Douglas Weir.

Douglas Weir

Local Hero (1983)

Local Hero (1983)

Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero could very well be the best Scottish film ever made. Its themes on the value of the natural world and Scotland and its people are as relevant today as they were in 1983.

Oil exec MacIntyre (Peter Riegert) travels from his box-like office in Texas to Scotland with an electric briefcase and millions of dollars in an attempt to buy a village, bulldoze it and turn the land into an oil refinery. Along the way there are great comic turns from Peter Capaldi, Fulton Mackay, Denis Lawson and the great Burt Lancaster as oil baron Felix Happer, a man who has slumped into a technological numbness. It’s not until they reach the idyllic coastal village of Ferness that things quietly unravel, as they are seduced by the beauty of the Western Isles and the charm of their inhabitants.

In a nice flip to the tweeness that can be found in similar films, the locals turn out to be not so homespun as you’d expect. Forsyth’s writing and direction is at its best, and in these uncertain times of lockdowns and isolation, this is the ideal escape film.

Douglas Weir
Technical Delivery Manager

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