Local Hero 1983

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(158) IMDb 7.5/10
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Bill Forsyth's whimsical tale of sweet-natured corporate rapacity features standout performances by Burt Lancaster and Peter Riegert. Lancaster plays Texas billionaire Felix Happer, who would rather gaze at the stars than worry about his multi-national oil company. Happer dispatches Mac MacIntyre (Peter Riegert) and Danny Oldsen (Peter Capaldi) to the small Scottish fishing village of Ferness to negotiate buying the entire town so Happer can drill for oil in the North Sea. Much to Mac's surprise, the entire town is happy to sell itself for big money, and the local innkeeper, Gordon Urquhart (Denis Lawson) -- who is also the town's accountant and mayor -- works with Mac on the negotiations. But a wrinkle appears in the deal when Ben Knox (Fulton Mackay), an old man who lives in a shack on the beach which has been owned by his family for centuries, refuses to sell. His reasons? Who'd look after the beach then? It would go to pieces in a short manner of time. The deal stalls so seriously that Happer travels to Ferness to oversee negotiations as Mac and Danny are seduced by the charm of the Scottish town.~ Paul Brenner, All Movie Guide

Starring:
Burt Lancaster, Jenny Seagrove
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature parental_guidance
Runtime 1 hour 47 minutes
Starring Burt Lancaster, Jenny Seagrove, Fulton MacKay, Denis Lawson, Peter Riegert
Director Bill Forsyth
Genres Comedy
Studio FILM 4
Rental release 12 May 2007
Main languages English
Hearing impaired subtitles English

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

97 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Patricia Bark on 3 May 2008
Format: DVD
Now and again there comes a film that leaps into your heart, a film to take to your desert island and a film that becomes a life long friend. Local Hero is one such film. It's an unashamedly, brilliantly British comedy following in the footsteps of the Ealing Comedies, yet like the Ladykillers etc still has universal appeal. It's the tale of loneliness, of wanting to belong somewhere and finding that place. It looks magnificent (the Scottish scenery will have you on the next train to the Highlands) and it sounds... oh the music!!!! A glorious score and what an ending. If your not smiling back the tears as Mark Knopfler's guitar sweeps you into the end credits then some thing's wrong.
Films don't get much better than this.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Pimento on 10 Aug 2004
Format: DVD
This film is gorgeous. If you want to roar with laughter it might not be your cup of tea, but it's a real giggle right the way through and actually gets funnier with repeat viewing as you begin to notice all the little quirky moments.
If you remember the red telephone box, watching the American, Mac, trying to make a transatlantic call with a fist full of ten pence pieces will amuse. It's gentle observational comedy of the highest order, interspersed with moments of pure slapstick.
Well worth a watch, even if at times it seems a bit dated.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Wowbagger the Infinite on 29 Jun 2008
Format: DVD
Where to begin? This is almost the perfect feel good movie. It's gentle whimsical way is so resonant of earlier Ealing comedies, but I personally think lifts that genre to another level. Always keep an eye out in the background in this movie - there always seems to be something going on. Then you have the running gag about the young punk lad on his motorbike - "Ricky's on the road tonight, you have to look both ways...", even down to the scraggy old dog that always seems to be asleep in the middle of the road - it is all here in subtle glory.
Peter Riegert is wonderful as the American fish out of water who grows to love the place he has been sent to. Peter Capaldi looks like the disjointed man - how can anyone look that ungainly? Fulton MacKay is a real treasure as old Ben Knox and Dennis Lawson is subtly hilarious as amorous hotel owner, accountant and occasional taxi driver Gordon Urquhart. Even Burt Lancaster is not too stilted as Felix Happer.
For me, the finest moments come during the ceilidh, and not from the major characters. Just watch out for the two old farmers discussing their futures. Brilliant.
And to cap it all off, you have Jenny Seagrove in a swimsuit. How could I not give it five stars? Cuddle up with someone special and just let it wash over you.
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Haschka HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 Jan 2003
Format: DVD
Before the relative spate of British comedic films recently appearing on American screens - THE FULL MONTY, WAKING NED DEVINE, and SAVING GRACE - there was the 1983 release LOCAL HERO, a gentle fable of big city, corporate avarice meeting its match when pitted against rural backwater shrewdness.
Peter Riegert is cast as MacIntyre, a young Houston exec of Knox Oil, packed off by CEO Felix Happer, colorfully played by Burt Lancaster, to Furness, a remote Scottish coastal village. His mission - to buy the town and adjacent beach, thus acquiring the land upon which Knox Oil plans to build a sprawling facility to receive North Sea crude. On site, MacIntyre finds himself dealing with a canny townsman named Urquhart, delightfully portrayed by Denis Lawson. (Urquhart, with his wholesomely sexy wife, owns the town's only hotel and only pub, and is apparently the local gentleman of influence when arranging matters of such great import.) Unforeseen complications in the negotiations arise, necessitating Happer's clattering arrival by helicopter late in the game. As it turns out, title to the village is of no use without the beach, and the latter is owned by a crusty, old beachcomber named, as luck and bloodlines would have it, Knox.
LOCAL HERO exhibits that quirkiness of characters and circumstance that has made British comedies so appealing. Eccentricities abound. Take, for example, the sleepy hamlet's only street, which is always deserted except whenever MacIntyre needs to cross it, at which time he is almost run down by a yokel whizzing by on a motor scooter. Or, the Soviet fishing boat captain that makes periodic, illegal landfall at Furness to check on his very non-communist financial investments made through Urquhart.
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52 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Nigel S Jones on 21 May 2006
Format: DVD
I will be the fist to admit that not every one is going to "get" this film - nor does it leave you rolling in the aisles. But for me personnally, this is an absolute gem of a movie! The music is wonderful - including Mark Knopler and Gerry Rafferty, the scenery truly beautiful and the cast superb - even if the talents of John Gordon Sinclair are slightly wasted. I have watched this movie numerous times and never tire of this. This is one of my favourite movies! If you enjoy subtle warm comedies - you will love this movie! Make sure when you buy this you also buy a good single malt to go with it - a perfect companion!
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Feb 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The English film critic Barry Norman once listed his top ten films to include Bill Forsyth's "Gregory's Girl" at number 2. Given some of the competition this was heady praise indeed. I would say that "Local Hero", by the same director, has the better claim to be in many people's top ten. This is not a film for those looking exclusively for sex, violence and the substitution of special effects for any semblance of plot, dialogue, characterisation or subtlety. For those of who want a change, it's a real gem.
The basic premise, of efficient and aggressive US businessmen coming up against the slower tempo and local quirkiness of the Europeans, has been worked several times before. (If you enjoy Local Hero you really ought to see Avanti, a much under-rated film in a similar vein by Billy Wilder).
In Local Hero, the format is applied to an American oil company who despatch a clever young executive to negotiate the purchase of a small Scottish fishing village so that it can be destroyed to build an oil terminal. Trying to complete his deal, he is gradually entranced and absorbed by the community, discovering his own true values in the process.
There are many wonderful characters and marvellous moments - I must have seen this over a dozen times and I discover something new in every viewing. The final long shot in the film, in which nothing happens at all, is one of the most moving I have seen in the cinema - I won't say more!
A rare treat and highly recommended. When you feel that the inanity of corporate life has got you down and caused you to lose your way, send the children out to walk the dog, pour a glass of single malt, put on the DVD, put your feet up, and you will restore the balance - it should be available on NHS prescription.
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