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Scotland has produced many films, directors and actors.

Scottish film directors

Scotland has also been the birthplace of many film directors, some of whom have won multiple awards or enjoy a cult reputation.

Bill Forsyth is a director and writer noted for his commitment to national film-making. His best-known works include Gregory's Girl and Local Hero, Gregory's Girl won an award for Best Screenplay at the BAFTA Awards. In the 1980s he re-awkakened interest in the possibilities of a scottish film industry.

Paul McGuigan is another Scottish director who has won awards for his work. His 2006 thriller Lucky Number Slevin, which featured an all-star cast, received awards for both Best Film and Best Actor (Josh Hartnett) at the Milan International Film Festival.

Donald Cammell has a cult following due to his work on Performance (1970), which was co-directed by English film director Nicolas Roeg and featured Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones fame.

May Miles Thomas is an independent filmmaker who won Best Film, Best Director, Best Writer and Best Performance at the 2000 Scottish BAFTA New Talent Awards and Best Achievement in Production at the British Independent Film Awards for her film One Life Stand. Thomas also won a Scottish Screen Outstanding Achievement Award and was recognised as a pioneer of digital cinema for this film, for which she received a NESTA Fellowship.

List of Scottish film directors

Scottish movie & TV actors

Sean Connery
Alan Cumming
David Tennant
Kelly Macdonald

There are a significant number of actors who have been born in Scotland and went on to have international success. Among these is Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, and BAFTA Award winning actor Sean Connery, who famously portrayed James Bond in seven of the earliest Bond movies.

Scottish actor Ewan McGregor has had success in mainstream, indie and art house films. He is perhaps best known for his role as Mark Renton in Danny Boyle's 1996 film Trainspotting, for which he won a BAFTA Scotland Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, or for portraying the young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. In October 1997 he was ranked 36th in Empire magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list.

James McAvoy is a BAFTA Rising Star Award winning Scottish stage and screen actor. He has featured in a number of films, including 2007's BAFTA Award-winning The Last King of Scotland and Disney's highest-grossing live action film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. McAvoy was nominated for a Golden Globe for his work in 2007's Atonement. He has also made appearances in British TV series such as Shameless and Early Doors.

Actor, comedian and author Robbie Coltrane, widely known for his role as Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter series of films, is another BAFTA Award-winning actor from Scotland. He was voted 6th in a poll to find the 'most famous Scot' and placed 10th in ITV's list of "TV's Greatest Stars."

David Tennant is a multi award-winning Scottish actor best known for his role in Doctor Who as the 10th incarnation of the Doctor. He has also featured in numerous other television shows, movies, theatre productions and radio dramas.

Kelly Macdonald is a Scottish Emmy Award winning and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning actress. She has starred in many notable films, including Trainspotting alongside Ewan McGregor, the Coen brothersNo Country for Old Men and the science fiction comedy The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Brian Cox, CBE is an Emmy Award-winning Scottish actor. He is perhaps best known for portraying Hannibal Lecter in the 1986 thriller Manhunter, and has since become a familiar face in film and television. He is also known for his work with the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he gained great recognition for his portrayal of King Lear.

Some of the best-known Scottish actors include:

Main article: List of Scottish actors

Scottish Film Council

The Scottish Film Council was established in 1934 as the national body for film in Scotland. Its founding aim was to 'improve and extend the use in Scotland of films for cultural and educational purposes and to raise the Scottish standard in the public appreciation of films'. A strong focus on film in the service of education, industry and the betterment of society shaped the SFC for a considerable part of its history and it was this that led to the establishment of the Scottish Central Film Library (SCFL), one of the largest and most successful 16mm film libraries in Europe. The Council's strengths in educational film led in the 1970s to its incorporation as a division of the newly created Scottish Council for Educational Technology (SCET).[1]

From the late 1960s, the SFC's central strategy was to take and sustain major initiatives in each of four main areas where the health of a national film culture could most readily be measured: education, exhibition, production and archiving.[2] It made use of the British Film Institute's 'Outside London' initiative to set up Regional Film Theatres (RFT) across Scotland. Established in collaboration with local authorities, these were to become more important in the Scottish context than elsewhere in the UK. A commitment to engage with film producers led to the SFC's involvement in film training, through the setting up of the Technician Training Scheme and later the Scottish Film Training Trust, both of which were joint ventures with the Association of Cinematograph, Television and Allied Technicians and producers.[1]

In the late 1970s, the SFC used Job Creation Scheme funding to establish the Scottish Film Archive. Though initially conceived as a short-term exercise, its value was soon recognised and on the exhaustion of the original funding a Scottish Education Department (SED) grant was forthcoming to secure the Archive as a permanent part of the SFC's work.[1]

During the 1980s, SED funding allowed the SFC to support courses, events, the production of material for media education, Regional Film Theatre operations in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Inverness and Kirkcaldy, film societies, community cinemas, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Celtic Film and Television Festival, the Scottish Film Archive, film workshops, general information services and a range of other initiatives.[2]

Scottish Screen

In April 1997, the Scottish Film Council, Scottish Screen Locations, Scottish Broadcast and Film Training and the Scottish Film Production Fund merged to form the non-departmental government body Scottish Screen. The Scottish Film Archive was renamed the Scottish Screen Archive.

In 2007, Scottish Screen merged with the Scottish Arts Council to form Creative Scotland and the Scottish Screen Archive transferred to the National Library of Scotland. In September 2015, the name of the Scottish Screen Archive changed to the National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive.

Scots-language films

Scottish Gaelic language films

Scottish films

Scotland's success as a film industry can also be seen through its national films. Films such as 1982's BAFTA Award-winning Gregory's Girl have helped gain Scotland recognition. Despite its low budget, it has still managed to achieve success throughout the world. 1983's Local Hero, which was rated in the top 100 films of the 1980s in a Premiere magazine recap of the decade and received overwhelmingly positive reviews (it holds a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes).

Movies filmed in Scotland

Braveheart (1995) was filmed, shot and set in Scotland. It has become one of the highest-grossing films to be associated with Scottish cinema

On top of the works created by Scottish directors, there have been many successful non-Scottish films shot in Scotland. Mel Gibson’s Academy Award-winning Braveheart is perhaps the best-known and most commercially successful of these, having grossed $350,000,000 worldwide. The film won 5 Academy Awards, including ‘Best Picture’ and ‘Best Director’ and was nominated for additional awards. The film's depiction of the Battle of Stirling Bridge, which the plot of the film surrounds, is often regarded as one of the greatest movie battles in cinema history.[citation needed]

Other notable films to have been shot at least partly in Scotland include Dog Soldiers, Highlander and Trainspotting and Stardust.

List of movies filmed in Scotland
























Further reading

See also


  1. ^ a b c Bruce, David, "Developing a Scottish Film Culture", in Parker, Geoff (ed.), Cencrastus No. 19, Winter 1984, p.42, ISSN 0264-0856
  2. ^ a b Brown, John, "Developing a Scottish Film Culture II", in Parker, Geoff (ed.), Cencrastus No. 20, Spring 1985, pp. 13 & 14, ISSN 0264-0856