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Scottish film directors



Scotland has also been the birthplace of many film directors, some of whom have won multiple awards or enjoy a cult reputation.

May Miles Thomas is one of these multi award-winning Scottish directors, having won Best Film, Best Director, Best Writer and Best Performance at the BAFTA New Talent Awards and Best Achievement in Production at the British Independent Film Awards for her film One Life Stand. Thomas also won the prestigious Scottish Screen Outstanding Achievement Award and was recognised as a pioneer of digital cinema for this film, for which she received a NESTA Fellowship.

Bill Forsyth is a director and writer noted for his commitment to national film-making. His best known work is Gregory's Girl, which won an award for Best Screenplay at the BAFTA Awards.

Paul McGuigan is another Scottish director who has won awards for his work. His 2006 thriller Lucky Number Slevin, which featured an all-star cast, received awards for both Best Film and Best Actor (Josh Hartnett) at the Milan International Film Festival. It has since been recognized as a cult film.

Donald Cammell has a cult following due to his work on Performance (1970), which was co-directed by English film director Nicolas Roeg and featured Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones fame.

List of Scottish film directors

Scottish movie & TV actors


There are a significant amount of actors who have been born in Scotland and went on to have international success. Among these is Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA Award winning actor Sean Connery, who famously portrayed James Bond in seven of the earliest Bond movies.

Scottish actor Ewan McGregor has had success in mainstream, indie and art house films. He is perhaps best known for his role as Mark Renton in Danny Boyle's 1996 film Trainspotting, for which he won a BAFTA Scotland Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, or for portraying the young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. In October 1997 he was ranked 36th in Empire magazine’s "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list.

James McAvoy is a BAFTA Rising Star Award winning Scottish stage and screen actor. He has featured in a number of films, including 2007’s BAFTA Award winning The Last King of Scotland and Disney’s highest-grossing live action film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. McAvoy was nominated for a Golden Globe for his work in 2007’s Atonement. He has also made appearances in British TV series such as Shameless and Early Doors.

Actor, comedian and author Robbie Coltrane, widely known for his role as Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter series of films, is another BAFTA Award winning actor from Scotland. He was voted 6th in a poll to find the 'most famous Scot' and placed 10th in ITV’s list of "TV's Greatest Stars."

David Tennant is a multi award-winning Scottish actor best known for his role in Doctor Who as the 10th incarnation of the Doctor. He has also featured in numerous other televion shows, movies, theatre productions and radio dramas.

Kelly Macdonald is a Scottish Emmy Award winning and Screen Actors Guild Award winning actress. She has starred in many notable films, including Trainspotting alongside Ewan McGregor, the Coen brothersNo Country for Old Men and the science fiction comedy The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Brian Cox, CBE is an Emmy Award winning Scottish actor. He is perhaps best known for portaying Habbinal Lecter in the 1986 thriller Manhunter, and has since become a familiar face in film and television. He is also known for his work with the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he gained great recognition for his portrayal of King Lear.

List of Scottish movie & TV actors

Sean Connery in 1988.

Scots Gaelic language films

Scottish films

Scotland’s success as a film industry can also be seen through its national films. Films such as 1982’s BAFTA Award-winning Gregory's Girl have helped gain Scotland recognition. Despite its low budget, it has still managed to achieve success throughout the world. 1983’s Local Hero, which was rated in the top 100 films of the 1980s in a Premiere magazine recap of the decade and received overwhelmingly positive reviews (it holds a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes) shows further signs of the success of the Scottish film industry.

Movies filmed in Scotland


On top of the works created by Scottish directors, there have been many successful non-Scottish films shot in Scotland. Mel Gibson’s Academy Award-winning Braveheart is perhaps the best known and most commercially successful of these, having grossed $350,000,000 worldwide. The film won 5 Academy Awards, including ‘Best Picture’ and ‘Best Director’ and was nominated for additional awards. The film’s depiction of The Battle of Stirling Bridge, which the plot of the film surrounds, is often regarded as one of the greatest movie battles in cinema history.

Other notable films to have been shot at least partly in Scotland include Dog Soldiers, Highlander and Trainspotting and Stardust.

List of movies filmed in Scotland

Award-winning coming-of-age romantic comedy from 1982.

External links


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