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SCOTNOTES Study Guides

Directed by
Bill Forsyth:

David Manderson & Alistair Scott

Published in: Paperback.
By: Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 2011
Price: £5.95
ISBN 978-1-906841-04-1

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At the time of its release in 1983, Local Hero, starring Burt Lancaster and Fulton MacKay, was the most expensive film ever to be made in Scotland. It remains as important and influential today as it was then.

This Scotnote considers the impact of Local Hero on the Scottish film industry and the rest of the world, while evaluating the film’s influence on Scottish filmmakers. This study guide explores important aspects of the film, including the story of its production, inspirations for the plot, characters, themes and critical reception. It also examines the language of film and includes a guide to cinematography and a glossary of technical terms. These notes are suitable for media studies students, senior school pupils and students of all levels.


  • Introduction
  • Bill Forsyth: The Apprenticeship of a Director
  • Local Hero: The Making of a Film
    • How the project started
    • The script
    • Getting the movie made
  • Local Hero: Style and Influences
  • Local Hero: Film Language and Mise-en-Scène
    • The camera
    • Mise-en-scène: a storyboard
    • The visual language of Local Hero
    • The sound
    • The aural language of Local Hero
    • The soundtrack: Mark Knopfler and Local Hero
  • Local Hero: Narrative
  • Local Hero: Characters
  • Local Hero: Themes
    • The environment
    • Displacement and loss
  • Local Hero: The Actors
    • The star: Burt Lancaster
    • Happer and Knox: Lancaster and MacKay
    • The other actors
  • Local Hero: Critical Reception and Legacy
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Select Filmography
  • Glossary of Technical Terms


Last updated 26 May 2011.