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Local Hero (1983)



Average Rating: 9.5/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 7,503

My Rating

Movie Info

Bill Forsyth's whimsical tale of sweet-natured corporate rapacity features standout performances by Burt Lancaster and Peter Riegert. Lancaster plays Texas billionaire Felix Happer, who would rather gaze at the stars than worry about his multi-national oil company. Happer dispatches Mac MacIntyre (Peter Riegert) and Danny Oldsen (Peter Capaldi) to the small Scottish fishing village of Ferness to negotiate buying the entire town so Happer can drill for oil in the North Sea. Much to Mac's


Drama, Art House & International, Comedy

Bill Forsyth

Sep 21, 1999

Warner Home Video

Watch It Now



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All Critics (31) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (31) | Rotten (0) | DVD (6)

The thematics are rather cloying, but the mood -- profoundly relaxed, bemused -- eventually conquers.

September 3, 2010 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[It's] loaded with wry, offbeat humor and is the sort of satisfying, personal picture that is becoming an increasingly rare commodity these days

August 13, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Forsyth cannot quite tease out of his characters the kind of strange sublety that Powell and Pressburger delivered, but it is enough that he and producer David Puttnam succeed in making you realise just how badly this kind of film has been missed.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Here is a small film to treasure, a loving, funny, understated portrait of a small Scottish town and its encounter with a giant oil company.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A poignant, funny tale of a simpler life.

December 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Without question, the most charming British film of the 1980s.

September 3, 2010 Full Review Source: Film4

Bill Forsyth directs the film with wry understatement and has gentle affection for all of his characters.

August 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinemania

It's the feel-good flick of the decade.

October 15, 2005 Full Review Source:

A heartwarming and whimsical comedy of manners.

January 7, 2004 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Charming, whimsical, and practically perfect.

July 30, 2003 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Absolutely wonderful.

February 27, 2003
San Francisco Examiner

Charming cross-cultural tale about some outsiders from a Texas oil company whose visit to a small Scottish town changes everything.

September 1, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Charming little comedy

August 21, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

A whimsical, delightful tale of a stranger in a strange land. It is director Bill Forsythe's best ever.

August 21, 2002
Reeling Reviews

Slighty overrated because of its quirkiness.

August 13, 2002
Your Movies (

For me, the best film of the 1980s.

July 26, 2002
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

It has always been easier to make films about misery than about happiness, for happiness is so un-cinematic, so devoid of conflict. But Local Hero is a rare and welcome exception.

July 30, 2001 Full Review Source:

Life-affirming and often laugh-out-loud funny, this is feel-good movie-making par excellence.

May 12, 2001 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Once over, the mood of the film hits home and a longing develops to visit once again the characters of this warm and deceptively slight comedy.

April 17, 2001 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Local Hero

Local Hero is a funny little film. Whimsical, charming and odd but odd in the best possible way. The leading performances by Peter Riegert, Denis Lawson and a very impressive young Peter Capaldi (who I see on my Train on the way to work most mornings) are fantastic but it's Burt Lancaster who really steals the show in one of my favourite comedy performances of all time. Any predictability is made up for with an exceptionally witty script. Charming as hell and the epitome of likable.
February 6, 2013

Super Reviewer

A taste of the quaint life of rural Scotland back in the early 80s when the oil giants were still considered a necessary evil. This really is a British classic with memorable characters and a signature theme tune in Mark Knopfler's synth score.
March 9, 2011

Super Reviewer

I really cannot praise Local Hero enough; it is simply one of the best films ever made and certainly, without any shadow of doubt, my number one favourite movie of all time. Fans of Ealing Comedy will relate to this film instantly. The humour is extremely subtle, going for the quirkiness of human behaviour rather than prefabricated belly-laughs. For example, the two farmers arguing which is the better vehicle for transporting winter lambs, Massarati or Rolls Royce. And the African preacher who has to explain that he's "not Scottish either" but still has the surname McPhearson. At first glance, the story of Local Hero is hardly one which would engage fevered interest. A big Texan oil company wants to buy a huge chunk of Scottish coastline and a representative is flown over to close the deal. Chosen because it's thought he is of Scottish origin, McIntyre (Peter Riegert) complains to a colleague that he could do the deal over the wires in an afternoon and that his parents chose the surname when they got off the boat from Hungary because they thought it sounded American. But what grabs the attention and is the fundamental beauty to the film is "Mac's" journey from a materialistic Texan yuppie to one who falls in love with the simple things of life and by the film's end, when Mac returns home, has been changed forever by his trip.

Mac plays his part very well from a character who depends on his expensive suits, his Porsche, quad hi-fi and personal health insurance to one who collects shells on a Scottish beach and drinks 40 year-old malt whisky in the bosom of the small community that he suddenly finds himself a part of. Burt Lancaster plays the wonderfully eccentric oil company CEO who is more concerned with dicovering a comet of his own than making millions of dollars. Then of course there is Denis Lawson as the estate agent / taxi driver / hotelier, Peter Capaldi as the bungling company trainee and Jenny Seagrove who prefers being underwater to life on land, along with all the various yokels and locals that give this film its very unique charm. And the plot twist? A fabulously subtle one-liner that gives the whole thing away. But of course, one cannot talk about this movie without mentioning the soundtrack. Many years ago I felt compelled to watch this movie because (being a big Dire Straits fan at the time) i had the soundtrack and was instantly hooked. Mark Knopfler does sterling work in adding musical flavour to the film. Lazy acoustic guitars match perfectly the breath-taking scenary that the director, Bill Forsyth, has captured of the Scottish Highlands. Overall, I would have no hesitation in recommending this film to people. Every recommendation I've made has been met with the same response: a gem of a movie that simply cannot be ignored. Local Hero will be my own personal number one for ever!
February 10, 2011

Super Reviewer

Not a bad flick. We watch a fast moving Texas oil man slow down and appreciate the world around him when visiting Scotland on business and it tries to remind us that we need to slow down as well and take a good look at the things we think are the most important things in our lives.
The acting is solid and the music helps set the mood and speed of the flick perfectly.
March 25, 2010

Super Reviewer

    1. Maclntyre: Give me a 42 yesr old whisky, Roddy.
    2. Roddy: We've none of that tonight Mr. Mac.
    3. Maclntyre: Well give me four eight-year olds and a ten-year old.
    4. Roddy: Aye, that adds up.
    – Submitted by Sounak K (17 months ago)
    1. Maclntyre: We're in the way of acquiring some real estate in the area.
    2. Rev. Macpherson: You want to buy my church?
    3. Maclntyre: Well, not as a going concern.
    – Submitted by Sara M (20 months ago)
    1. Gordon Urquhart: Christman will be earlie this year..
    2. Stella: So what do you want for a Christmas?
    3. Gordon Urquhart: We can get a new mattress..
    – Submitted by Milena K (21 months ago)
    1. Gordon Urquhart: It's never locked!
    2. Danny Oldsen: Nice people.
    3. Maclntyre: And they speak English!
    – Submitted by Milena K (21 months ago)
    1. Gordon Urquhart: The restaurant opens at eight. Seven in the fishing season... It's not the fishing season.
    – Submitted by Vincent M (2 years ago)
View all quotes (5)

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