Long before The Full Monty
there was this lovely fish-out-of-water comedy by deft Scots writer-director Bill Forsyth (Gregory's Girl
). Set in the 1980s during a period of controversy over North Sea oil drilling, Local Hero
follows a likeable, woolly American junior executive (Peter Riegert) dispatched from Texas by his blustering boss (a high-spirited Burt Lancaster) to a small fishing village on the coast of Scotland for the purpose of swindling the presumably simple-minded locals out of their drilling rights. The surprise isn't that the villagers turn the tables on the American schemers, but that they do so without displaying a hint of malice. They get a kick out of flummoxing the city slickers. Even Lancaster's greed-head Felix Happer eventually has a change of heart. In outline, this may sound more ordinary than it feels as you're watching it. The fine young British actor Denis Lawson, who had a tiny role as one of the fighter pilots in Star Wars
plays Riegert's UK contact, Gordon Urquhart, a sad sack with a noble soul. --David Chute
Mac (Peter Riegert) is a young executive who flies to Scotland to purchase an entire town on behalf of the oil company he works for, which is run by near-psychotic Happer (Burt Lancaster). The townsfolk seem happy enough to part with their town, although they drive a hard bargain. Meanwhile Mac, who was wrongly thought by his boss to be of Scottish descent, begins to take a liking to the little village. Bill Forsyth directs - in his usual quirky manner - this gentle comedy.