228 user 56 critic

Local Hero (1983)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 17 March 1983 (UK)
An American oil company sends a man to Scotland to buy up an entire village where they want to build a refinery. But things don't go as expected.


Bill Forsyth


Bill Forsyth
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Lancaster ... Felix Happer
Peter Riegert ... Mac
Fulton Mackay ... Ben
Denis Lawson ... Urquhart
Norman Chancer Norman Chancer ... Moritz
Peter Capaldi ... Oldsen
Rikki Fulton Rikki Fulton ... Geddes
Alex Norton ... Watt
Jenny Seagrove ... Marina
Jennifer Black Jennifer Black ... Stella
Christopher Rozycki Christopher Rozycki ... Victor
Gyearbuor Asante Gyearbuor Asante ... Rev Macpherson (as Christopher Asante)
John M. Jackson ... Cal (as John Jackson)
Dan Ammerman ... Donaldson
Tam Dean Burn Tam Dean Burn ... Roddy


Oil billionaire Happer sends Mac to a remote Scottish village to secure the property rights for an oil refinery they want to build. Mac teams up with Danny and starts the negotiations, the locals are keen to get their hands on the 'Silver Dollar' and can't believe their luck. However, a local hermit and beach scavenger, Ben Knox, lives in a shack on the crucial beach which he also owns. Happer is more interested in the Northern Lights and Danny in a surreal girl with webbed feet, Marina. Mac is used to a Houston office with fax machines but is forced to negotiate on Bens terms. Written by Matthew Stanfield <mattst@cogs.susx.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A beautiful coastline... A rich oil man wants to develop it. A poor beach bum wants to live on it. An entire town wants to profit by it. And a real-live mermaid wants to save it... Only one of them will get their way.


Comedy | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The building Happer leaves for Scotland from is the former Texas Commerce Bank Tower (JP Morgan Chase Tower as of 2006). In the background is the Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Perfoming Arts. See more »


Just before the first RAF Jaguar flies over the car, raindrops can be seen in the inside of the open door as they are feeding the rabbit. They stand up to look at the jet, and the car's roof has no raindrops on it. See more »


[Morris is still doing abuse therapy despite Happer's wishers]
Morris: [on phone] You're an asshole, Happer! You love it! Craphound!
[Happer hangs up. He goes back to his omelette, pauses and slowly picks up phone]
Morris: [gleefully] I'm still here, Happer! And you're still a useless mother -...
[Happer slams the receiver back on the phone]
See more »

Alternate Versions

CBS edited 14 minutes from this film for its 1987 network television premiere. See more »


Featured in Mark Knopfler: A Life in Songs (2011) See more »


Wild Theme
Written by Mark Knopfler
Performed by Mark Knopfler and Alan Clark
See more »

User Reviews

I bought my couch based on this film.
19 June 2001 | by dcs84See all my reviews

Yes, the summary line has been used in an attempt to qualify this entry as upbeat and interesting. But it is true, I did purchase a modular couch unit because the hero in Local Hero has a scene where he reclines in a couch while on the phone (his is cream, mine, mindful of stains is blue). This little anecdote symbolises the effect this film has had on me. I first saw it at the impressionable age of 14, and have watched it pretty much on an annual basis ever since.

I don't know how, or why it has proved such an hypnotic film, maybe it is due to the fact that there is not a sordid event in sight, that every scene reamains soft and innocent, without becoming fantasy. It could all happen, to me, or you and it is totally unthreatening. Not a fist fight, mugging, or domestically violent vision to behold. The film is like a memorable weekend where you know you've experienced something special.

You have to set the right mood, this film is definately a red wine with candles film, not one of the beer and pizza variety.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | Russian | Japanese

Release Date:

17 March 1983 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Local Hero See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,567, 21 February 1983

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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