97 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a perfect movie
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...
Published on 3 May 2008 by Mrs. Patricia Bark
3.0 out of 5 stars Dated
Music is great. The theme is current but the film is dated – although, that is no slight on the actors or director. Worth watching. Could make a good remake?
Published 3 months ago by Dr. Michael J. Atkins
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97 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a perfect movie,
This review is from: Local Hero [DVD] (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.
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky,
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.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comfort and joy from this movie,
This review is from: Local Hero [DVD] (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.
58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Home may not be where the heart is,
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. And, the baby that seems to belong to nobody, but is unconcernedly cared for by the town at large. Furness seems just ever so slightly askew - but only if you're an outsider.
The fictional community of Furness is actually Pennan, north of Aberdeen on Moray Firth, and the Furness beach is actually Camusdarach Beach 150 miles distant on the western coast. Notwithstanding the filmmaker's magic in rearranging geography, anyone who has visited the breathtakingly beautiful shores of northern Scotland will understand the changes that occur in MacIntyre as he becomes exposed to the serene grandeur of his environment. What is the allure of Houston, or any other soulless place, when one could walk barefoot on Scottish sands under magnificent sunsets and collect seashells? The ending, which is supremely satisfying, should give anyone involved in a day-to-day rat race second thought about what gives life meaning.
52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warm, Funny, Beautiful!,
This review is from: Local Hero [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (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!
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful film, and an excellent new version on DVD,
By A Customer
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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.
The DVD does the film full justice. Some minor quibbles - the sleeve notes are essentially non-existent, and although the film is marked as "16:9", the aspect ratio is in fact 2.35:1, which is fine. The production companies (and Amazon) could help out the increasing number of us who own widescreen TV's by being more specific about what they mean by "Widescreen". For example, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" in DVD is billed as widescreen, but is a very crude and cropped 16:9 version and quite disappointing.
I suppose the big question must be, given that this is such a good film, why did none of those involved go on to become big-name stars? But maybe that's the point. Final thing - cracking score by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits. Enjoy.
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best,
A film made with huge affection Bill Forsyths Local Hero is an almost uncanny sumliminal tribute to another scottish classic Whiskey Galore.The utopian scots scene versus the misguided outside world.Almost plotless it relies on character and charicature to carry it along.The funniest parts are almost unnoticeble first time around such is the subtlety of wry observation.in one scene a drunk fails to coordinate leaning down to clap a passing dog ...all filmed at the back of another shot in the foreground.
There are quite a few in jokes to spot as well..The ceilidh section has some of the best silent comedy ever and captures the dry quintessence of scottish humour.
The ending is I believe meant to be wistful rather than sad....as the character looks out and listens to depersonalised urban America the music juxtaposes it with the unspoiled idyll of Furness.Its a cracker of a film
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Local Hero,
Local Hero is quite simply one of the most delightful films ever made. From the awesome Scottish scenery to the mesmerising Mark Knopfler soundtrack the story allows you to sit back and watch as the mighty mammon takes on the simple way of life with a view to crushing it and spitting it out. The result is total and unexpected defeat for commercialisation and all it represents. The watcher is left with a feeling of exhilaration and sadness and a realisation that there is so much more to the world than inexorable progress.
Watch out for surprisingly superb acting from Burt Lancaster ("Shoot to kill!!"), the webbed feet of a young Jenny Seagrove and that maniac on the moped!
Local Hero sits easily in my Top Ten and can be watched time and again, with new discoveries on each occasion.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly gentle comedy,
This review is from: Local Hero [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I love this film! Its sumptuous, gorgeous, beautiful, gentle, funny, amusing, sad, poignant... so many words to describe this quirky film set mostly in a Scottish coastal village where the locals want to sell and the potential US purchasers don't realise this fact! The characters are wonderful from Happer, the US oil billionnaire played by Burt Lancaster to the head spokesperson for the locals played by Dennis Lawson (Star Wars' Wedge Antilles). Theres a great minor but important character played by Fulton Macay and many more super characters with lesser but equally as important roles. Nothing here is rip roaringly funny, rather it is a gentle and amusing comedy (look out for the scene by the church where the vicar says he will be as discrete as the next man while the whole village listens from inside the church!). This isn't big budget movie making, theres no loud explosions, no stunning but obvious special effects, no car chases, just exceptional acting and direction telling a terrific story which almost stands still like the life of the villagers. I cannot recommend this film more highly; surely its about time it was re released on DVD.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two local heroes' tender declaration of love to Scotland.,
Knox Oil rules Houston. The Knox headquarters tower over the Houston skyline, and KNOX radio brings Houston its weather and traffic report. Knox Oil is owned by Felix Happer (Burt Lancaster), whose father bought the company from its Scottish-born founder; but unfortunately neglected to change the name to "Happer Oil." Now Knox Oil needs to obtain a location for a refinery in Scotland, and the most appropriate place happens to be a village called Furness, far up on the Northern Scottish coast. And the Knox people don't take no prisoners - they decide to simply go ahead and buy the whole village. The man they're sending to Scotland to negotiate is Mac MacIntyre (Peter Riegert), whose presumably Scottish roots are going to make it easy for him to bond with the locals and close the deal (actually, his family is from Hungary and changed their names to MacIntyre because "they thought that's America").
Reluctantly Mac takes off (he would much have preferred to handle the matter over the wires), bringing an electrically locked briefcase, a watch beeping a signal for "conference time in Houston," pictures of his Porsche 930 ("I got migraine headaches when I was still driving a Chevy") and the tough-nosed, textbook negotiating skills of a Texas oil man. He is not very impressed with the backwater ways of Furness at first - although he does instantly observe that there's "a lotta landscape here." But slowly and inexorably, his attitude changes. Walking along the beach, his steps grow longer and slower, more contemplative. He starts to collect shells. His business suit makes way for a woolen sweater. And his treasured watch dies a slow death as it tries to signal "conference time in Houston" one last time from its underwater grave. Instead of quickly closing the deal and leaving again, Mac has let the place get to him. And he is beginning to regret what this deal is going to mean for this place - nothing other than its total destruction. It will take a surprise visit from Felix Happer himself, prompted not by Mac's reports on the progress of the deal but rather, by his descriptions of the wonders of the Scottish nighttime sky, to bring about a decisive turn of events. For Happer's true love is not the oil business but astronomy; and before Mac left, Happer has charged him with the search for a comet because "the constellation of Virgo is very prominent in the sky right now in Scotland," wherefore Mac needs to "keep an eye on Virgo," to help Happer realize his lifelong dream, the discovery of "Happer's Comet." ("You do know what a comet is?" the tycoon asks, just to make sure. "I feel sure I'd know one if I saw one," a slightly flabbergasted Mac replies.)
"Local Hero" is one of those movies that capture you not because of the intricacies of their plot lines - the story moves along at a languid pace, almost tricking you into believing that there is no plot to speak of at all - nor does it require its participants to display acting skills, Hollywood style. It does, however, require them to be human; no silver screen champions but everyday heroes: "local" heroes, that is; the guys next door, ordinary people. There is, for example, Gordon Urquhart (Denis Lawson), the village's innkeeper, accountant and general spokesperson who, while negotiating a tough deal on behalf of the village population, also hosts Mac and, by introducing him to the "local ways," inevitably has a big hand in changing Mac's attitude. There is Danny Oldsen (Peter Capaldi), Mac's Knox Oil companion from Aberdeen, who falls in love with a local marine biologist (Jenny Seagrove) with her own designs for Furness Bay, which have nothing to do with a refinery and everything with the bay's preservation. There is Viktor (Christopher Rozycki), a fisherman from Murmansk who has discovered capitalism on the remote Scottish North Sea shores and routinely stops by to visit his friends there and check in on the investments Gordon Urquhart has made for him. There is Reverend Macpherson (Gyearbuor Asante), who despite his last name is about as Scottish as the Lone Star in the Texas flag, but whose erstwhile presumably African accent, after years of living in Furness, has nevertheless taken an unmistakably Scottish tinge. And there is the local villagefolk; wily, earthbound, unpretentious and hard working, nevertheless almost over-eager to cash in; and far from stubbornly clinging to their roots, soon finding themselves discussing the relative merits of a Rolls Royce and a Maserrati (measured by the cars' respective utility in transporting sheep) and musing that "it ain't easy being rich." Except, that is, for Ben Knox (!) (Fulton Mackay), who owns an essential piece of the beach and who will not give up the land given to an ancestor of his by the king himself for "turning a thing for him" (killing the king's brother) centuries ago; not even for the promise of a couple of miles of pristine beach in Hawaii.
The movie's dialogue is as unpretentious and understated as it is witty - Glasgow-born director Bill Forsyth was responsible for the script, too, and it shows. But the film's single most outstanding feature is nature itself; the rugged cliffs, endless and ever-changing skies, windswept, forlorn beaches and stormy sea of Scotland's northern coast. And the brooding, melancholy mood of those beaches, cliffs, misty glens and mountains is perfectly captured by the music composed by another son of Scotland, Mark Knopfler (like Forsyth born in Glasgow), whose very first film score remains one of his most poignant and best-known to date - there probably isn't a Knopfler fan out there who doesn't instantly recognize the movie's theme song "Going Home," even if he has never seen the movie itself. "Local Hero" is Forsyth's and Knopfler's declaration of love to their native land; a humble, evocative appeal for its preservation which merits every bit of attention it has received.
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Local Hero [DVD] by Burt Lancaster (DVD - 2008)