Local Hero (1983) - Rotten Tomatoes

Local Hero (1983)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Bill Forsyth's Local Hero stars Burt Lancaster as Texas oil baron Felix Happer, who sends employee MacIntyre (Peter Riegert) as an emissary to a Scottish fishing village to negotiate for the rights to the town's oil reserves. Surprisingly, the Scots are more than anxious to sell, and MacIntyre's trip becomes progressively stranger as time wears on.more
Rating: PG (adult situations/language)
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Bill Forsyth, Bill Forsyth
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 21, 1999
Warner Home Video


Peter Riegert
as Maclntyre
Burt Lancaster
as Felix Happer
Denis Lawson
as Gordon Urquhart
Christopher Asante
as Rev. Macpherson
Dan Ammerman
as Donaldson
Karen Douglas
as Mrs. Wyatt
Harlan Jordan
as Fountain
John Poland
as Anderson
Ian Stewart
as Bulloch
Alan R. Clark
as Ace Tone
Alal Darby
as Ace Tone
Roddy Murray
as Ace Tone
Brian Rowan
as Ace Tone
Edith Ruddick
as Old Lady
Sandra Voe
as Mrs. Fraser
Betty Macey
as Switchboard Operator
Michele McCarel
as Switchboard Operator
Kimberly Anne Thomps...
as Switchboard Operator
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Local Hero

Critic Reviews for Local Hero

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (5)

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

Full Review… | September 3, 2010
Chicago Reader
Top 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

Full Review… | August 13, 2008
Top 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.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top 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.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top 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.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

A poignant, funny tale of a simpler life.

Full Review… | December 25, 2010
Common Sense Media

Audience Reviews for Local Hero

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.

Ross Collins

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!

Cassandra Maples

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.

Jason Spencer

Super Reviewer

Local Hero Quotes

– Submitted by Sounak K (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Sara M (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Milena K (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Milena K (2 years ago)

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