Local Hero

‘It’s not a high concept movie, there’s actually no story there really. It’s what happens in between the story that’s important’ – Bill Forsyth

‘Genuine fairy tales are rare; so is film-making that is thoroughly original in an unobtrusive way. Bill Forsyth's quirky disarming Local Hero is both . . . it demonstrates Mr. Forsyth's uncanny ability for making an audience sense that something magical is going on, even if that something isn't easily explained’ – Janet Maslin, The New York Times 

Local Hero is kind of transcendent. It’s poetic in a way that most films can’t hope to be’ – Frank Cottrell-Boyce 

Local Hero is one my favourite films of all time . . .  A timeless masterpiece’ – Mark Kermode


The story of an American businessman sent to buy the Scottish village of Ferness with the aim of turning it into an oil refinery, Local Hero is one of Scotland’s most beloved, and most misunderstood, films.

When Bill Forsyth’s incredible success with the low-budget That Sinking Feeling and Gregory’s Girl found him collaborating with Britain’s best-known film producer, David Puttnam, he soon found his independent ethos clashing with Hollywood’s desire for superstar actors and a happy ending.

Jonathan Melville checks into the MacAskill Arms and looks back at Bill Forsyth’s career with the help of new and archive interviews, before spending time with the cast and crew, including stars Peter Riegert and Denis Lawson, who made Local Hero on location in Houston and Scotland in 1982. 

With access to early drafts of the Local Hero script (including hand-written notes) that reveal more about Mac and mermaids, excerpts from a previously unpublished interview in which Bill Forsyth explains why he refuses to call his film 'feel-good', and a look at long-lost deleted scenes with exclusive commentary from those involved, this is the definitive history of the Scottish classic.

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