My Favourites

Scotland - Articles

Scotland Meets Hollywood - Top 5 Film Locations

Hollywood loves Scotland and no wonder. This epic land of towering mountain, tumbling glen and raging river, peppered with silvery lochs and sweeping white sand beaches, could have been sculpted with the movies in mind. Take a prime seat now and join us as we take you on a celluloid tour of Scotland, matching the films with the locations, so you can head out on your very own Hollywood adventure…

© Robin McKelvie
Macbeth
– Very much the new kid on the Scottish Hollywood block. Released in Autumn 2015 this ravaging epic adaptation sees man of the moment Michael Fassbender rampaging (at times ‘taps aff’) through the misty wilds. And what wilds they are as Skye and Applecross were chosen as the deeply dramatic backdrop. Shakespeare himself would no doubt have been pleased with the result as the ‘Isle of Mist’ does not disappoint with swirling mists and an ever-changing palette of moody light. Much of the action swirls around the otherworldly Quiraing and the Old Man of Storr, which you too can hike around. Look out too for appearances by Glen Brittle Forest, the Fairy Pools and Sligachan.

© Robin McKelvie
Local Hero – Burt Lancaster was certainly a Hollywood hero and one of his most memorable roles was in the film Local Hero, where this Hollywood action man certainly got local. His company and employees became seriously frustrated with the intransigent locals in fact, but not to worry as he still got to enjoy some epic scenery while he was filming. The hyper cute village used as the film’s star (easily usurping Lancaster) was Pennan in Aberdeenshire, a whitewashed fishing village that sits at the foot of spectacular cliffs. That beach was at the other end of Scotland, though. The White Sands of Morar have seldom looked as enticing as they do in Local Hero. Watch it and you will be packing your suitcase.

© Robin McKelvie
Braveheart – It is, of course, illegal to compile any list of movies shot in Scotland and not mention this epic about Mel Gibson, sorry William Wallace. It may have been released as far back as 1995, but it is still pulling people to the hills and glens. Ok, so some of it was shot across the Irish Sea, but for us the most dramatic scenes were filmed right where they should be in Scotland. If you want to choose one location that sums up the spirit and drama of the film we recommend Glen Nevis. Here in the shadow of Scotland’s highest mountain you can easily imagine the diminutive bekilted Australian striding around trying to emulate Scotland’s famously tall and manly warrior.
© Robin McKelvie
Trainspotting – At the other end of the romantic scale from Braveheart is fellow 1990s film Trainspotting. This hugely popular, but relatively low budget, success propelled the careers of actors Ewan McGregor and Kevin McKidd, as well as that of director Danny Boyle. Although the action is set firmly in a gritty Edinburgh much of the filming was down the M8 in Glasgow. Saying that perhaps the most iconic scene, when McGregor’s character Renton runs along to Iggy Pop’s ‘Lust for Life’, was most definitely filmed in Edinburgh. If you want to replicate it just sprint along Princes Street (at a suitably quiet time of day) with your headphones on and burrow down the steps on to Calton Road. We don’t recommend getting hit by a car as Renton does in the film.
© Robin McKelvie
Brave - Disney-Pixar’s 2012 animated epic Brave boasted a stellar cast, with such luminaries as Emma Thompson and Scotland’s very own Robbie Coltrane doing the voiceovers. Although all the locations are imaginary the production team trawled Scotland looking for inspiration. Using our own research and a little creative licence we’ve picked a few locations. The Braemar Gathering is a definite for the Highland sports scenes as we know they attended, Glen Affric may have been the inspiration for the wooded glens, it’s Edinburgh Castle over Stirling for us for the Great Hall scene, then Dun Carloway on Lewis for the broch. Lastly, for the all-important castle of Dunbroch, we reckon a composite of Dunottar, Urquhart, Kilchurn and Eilean Donan. So you can just visit them all!

 

© David Hayes