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The Flying Scotsman

The Flying Scotsman (2007)



Average Rating: 5.5/10
Reviews Counted: 53
Fresh: 26 | Rotten: 27

The Flying Scotsman's too-brisk pacing reduces the scale of cyclist Graham Obree's accomplishments while not uncovering what makes him tick.


Average Rating: 5.6/10
Critic Reviews: 17
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 7

The Flying Scotsman's too-brisk pacing reduces the scale of cyclist Graham Obree's accomplishments while not uncovering what makes him tick.



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Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 83,803

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Movie Info

An amateur Scottish cyclist determined to become the world's fastest rider struggles against his own mental illness and the resentful hostility of sports authorities unwilling to accept his remarkable innovation in this inspirational biopic from director Douglas MacKinnon. When Briton cyclist Chris Boardman took home the gold at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, the world was caught off guard; no one had ever suspected that Britain was capable of producing world-class cyclists, yet there was no



Simon Rose, Declan Hughes, John Brown

Sep 18, 2007


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All Critics (56) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (26) | Rotten (27) | DVD (4)

It's an underdog story with teeth.

August 22, 2007 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's much to admire here, even if you're not into cycling. Douglas Mackinnon's made a fine fist of a great little underdog story.

June 28, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Never quite manages to whip its disparate story elements into an emotionally moving whole.

May 14, 2007
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A classic tale of the heroic little guy that goes beyond the sport of cycling, told with elegant restraint in this sensitive and beautifully rendered film.

May 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For all its dramatic manipulation, The Flying Scotsman succeeds, in a modest way, because it's true.

May 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[The] cinematography provides a unique perspective on a racing cyclist's view as Obree goes round and round, monotonously, on a slanted track. But an equally compelling look from the inside of Obree's illness offers the film's most stunning moment.

May 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Cycling drama doesn't quite race to the finish.

October 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Business-as-usual for a sports movie.

September 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Competently made and reasonably interesting, but The Flying Scotsman lacks the kind of exhilaration that inspirational true-life sport films generally need to carry them to cinematic gold

August 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

It is a straightforward biography but it treads so gingerly around his mental troubles that you feel something is missing.

June 29, 2007 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

Why pay to see someone cycling when they do it on the pavement for nothing?

June 29, 2007 Full Review Source: thelondonpaper

It moves, but it never flies.

June 29, 2007 Full Review Source: Independent

It's stirring stuff from start to finish which will make our friends from north of the border proud to be Scottish. Go See.

June 29, 2007 Full Review Source: Sun Online
Sun Online

The underdog plot has been done umpteen times before, of course, but there's something Miller brings to the screen that transcends the familiarity.

June 29, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

A paucity of pedal power and an abundance of cliché make this Jock-on-a-bike yarn an uphill climb from false start to weak finish. Miller's brooding hero may well be Flying, but the film never gets off the ground.

June 29, 2007 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Still, there's useful support from Brian Cox as a pep-talking priest, and Gavin Finney's long-take velodrome cinematography is frequently rather excellent.

June 29, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

The sinking Scotsman is more like it.

June 29, 2007 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

What cripples the film's success as a sporting movie is the fact that its director, Douglas Mackinnon, struggles to find a way of making the climactic cycle races interesting.

June 29, 2007 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

An engaging mix of sports movie and psychological drama that rises above the routine enough times to excuse some of its more predictable moments.

June 29, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4

A typically engaging performance from Johnny Lee Miller takes this slightly above the usual underdog movie cliche.

June 29, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Engaging, impressively directed and superbly acted drama that succeeds as both an inspirational sports flick and a darkly observed study of mental illness.

June 28, 2007 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

Fails to get under the character's skin.

June 26, 2007 Full Review Source: BBC

Manages to be both an unsatisfying human drama and a confusing sports movie at the same time. Fans of both genres will be disappointed.

May 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Audience Reviews for The Flying Scotsman

I remember watching Graeme Obree breaking the world record in the early 90's and subsequently reading about his hand made bike in the papers. It's a great underdog story of passion, determination and perseverance through adversity. It is shame then that it has been made into what is essentially, an underwhelming film that is devoid of passion or excitement. The cast do a good job, although I can't stand Billy Boyd, the facts are there but it is laden with cliches, dodgy background actors, and rubbish direction. Watch it for the story (obviously) but as a film, it's very amateurish.
March 4, 2011

Super Reviewer

I normally avoid sports films because they're very predictable and essentially all the same; let's face it, if they'd f**ked it up, nobody would've made a film about them. The story of Graeme Obree however, is quite an interesting one. A former bicycle courier from a working class Scottish town, Obree went on to become double world champion on a bike he made himself out of old washing machine parts. He did this despite suffering from an intense depression that caused him to attempt suicide and the interference of the sport's governing body who repeatedly changed the rules to specifically try and stop him competing because his DIY attitude threatened the big money manufacturing concerns within the sport. As such it is a facinating combination of the usual triumph of the human spirit sports movie, human psychological drama and battle of the individual against overwhelming odds. As such it is much more interesting than your average sports film and rather better than the similar biopic of Ian Curtis, Control.
February 1, 2011
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

trying to be both a sports movie and biopic and failing at both. Some interesting side charactors (Brian Cox, wonderful as usual) make this watchable, but the film takes way too much for granted; never fully investigating the bi-polar disorder that should have been at the center of the film - so in the end you feel like a passive viewer to someone's life, and not invested in its outcome.

The direction did have some nice touches of levity - too bad it couldn't find a coherent voice in the screenplay.
November 7, 2008
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

Underwhelming by the numbers biopic which sketches over the protagonists mental illness unconvincingly.
March 27, 2008
Gordon A

Super Reviewer

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