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Local Hero [VHS]
List Price: $19.98

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Product Description

When Mac MacIntyre (played with deadpan perfection by Peter Riegert) is sent by his star-gazing, slightly insane Knox Oil and Gas boss (Burt Lancaster) to Scotland's West Coast to buy the rights to a seaside town slated to be the site of an oil refinery, Mac embarks on his journey reluctantly. "Why do I have to go to all the way to Scotland?" Mac complains to a coworker. "I'm really more of a Telex man." But on the way to closing the deal, a funny thing happens: the place takes root in Mac. The town's eccentric inhabitants, eventful night sky, and stunning scenery soak into his psyche and combine to bring a very different Mac to the surface, a Mac who collects seashells, walks on the beach in his jeans instead of his suit, and throws his calendar watch, beeping "meeting time in Houston," into the sea.

Mac eventually vies to switch places with Gordon Urquhart--accountant, bartender, innkeeper, and community representative in the land deal. After an evening spent drinking 42-year-old scotch ("old enough to be out on its own," Mac chirps, and then laughs smugly at his own joke) and negotiating the real estate deal, Mac tries to negotiate a deal for himself--to trade his high-rise Houston apartment, Porsche, and oil-company job for Urquhart's less traditional, but more fulfilling, life.

The plot runs along almost as if behind the scenes, and the characters are intriguing, but the real appeal here is the incisive yet gentle humor. During a visit to a Knox Oil lab, Mac is shown into a room that contains a miniature of the town he has been sent to purchase. The head of the lab says, "Welcome to our little world," and then gives Mac the plastic replica of the town as a souvenir. "Dream large," he intones. The irony's easy to miss and is just one example of the intelligent presence--in the form of writer and director Bill Forsyth--working behind the scenes here.

Mark Knopfler's delicate, haunting soundtrack complements the sometimes melancholy, sometimes hilarious currents of Local Hero to perfection. --Stefanie Durbin

Customer Reviews:

  • Charming, quirky movie
    This is one of the few movies that, after I first saw it in a theatre, I went back and saw it again. And liked it just as much if not more the second time.

    When you see a review of a movie and the words "quirky" or "charming" are in there it's not a bad idea to stay away from it. One person's charming is another person's treacly. But this film doesn't hit you over the head while trying to charm. It works its magic slowly and draws you in. It's well worth the time and by the end you'll know why Mac wants to leave the spectacular apartment in Texas and run a little inn in Scotland. You'll want to join him and do the same....more info
  • Wish I could give this more than 5
    One of my all-time favorite movies. Very funny, great characters, and a town I would like to live in. First DVD I bought when I got a player...more info
  • You can go home again.
    A very charming movie that bears up well under repeated viewings. Bill Forsyth has done so many good movies over the years, but I think this remains his best. Certainly, it is the closest to home, as he beautifully plays off the American-Scotland theme and the sense of misplaced identity.

    Peter Riegert is great as Mac, a representative of a large Houston oil company who has been chosen to close a deal on a harbor village in the north of Scotland, because of his presumed Scottish ancestry. Turns out Mac is of Hungarian, not Scottish descent, as his parents thought MacIntyre was an American name. Nevertheless, Mac soon finds himself adapting to the rugged North Sea coast, picking seashells from the tidal pools and adopting a rabbit his driver had inadvertantly hit on the road.

    Forsyth introduces the viewer to a wonderfully eccentric cast of characters in the small village, led by the amicable Gordon Urquhart, mayor, innkeeper, accountant and jack of all trades. Mac finds himself falling in love with Gordon's wife, but the playful romance is treated more in jest than in an attempt to foil the plot. It is in a grizzled beachcomber that we find the perfect foil to the land deal, which eventually brings the head of the oil commpany, Mr. Knox (played to perfection by Burt Lancaster) to Scotland.

    You will fall in love with this movie, as I did, carried along by its charm and beautifully poignant moments. Forsyth doesn't miss a beat in this playful movie....more info

  • difference of opinion
    This is one of those movies that you watch and finally when the credits roll you kick yourself for wasting the time and effort to do so.
    The bomb dropping jets? The guy on the motorcycle? The briefly hit on relationship between Mac and the other guy's wife? The marine biologist turning into a mermaid? Please, some one explain the relivance.
    The ending seemed as though the writer needed a quick way out of a poorly written movie. I'll bet Burt Lancaster turns in his grave (is he dead?-if he isn't he should be after making this dud) every time some one waist their time trying to watch this movie.
    The main reason I watched the movie was because of the soundtrack that was written by Marc Knopfler-great music, terrible movie....more info
  • A brilliant, flawless gem
    As close to perfect as any movie i've ever seen, funny, absurd, winsome, and with real warmth throughout. Be warned: if you don't have a taste for the absurd, you're not going to like this. But if you're looking for some real magic on the screen, give it a try and you'll find yourself watching it over again and thinking about it even more.
    It's sad that Forsyth was never quite able to build on this and his successor (which i loved), Housekeeping. At his peak, there wasn't much of an alternative to the big studios, but they could never really find much use for him. If he were making films today, he'd be an indie king like Alexander Payne -- making small, gentle, brilliant movies with little interference from the suits....more info
  • Roles reversed
    My history with this film is rather bizarre. My father was an American oilman who married a Scottish woman (East coast though), but were in New Orleans at the time it was released. And also as a Scot I now find myself in Texas. This film and are inextricably linked somehow reflecting both sides of my family.

    For the actual description of the film and the soundtrack there's little if any i can say that hasn't be said already. Other than that having a family that represents both sides of the divide, it holds special meaning for me....more info

  • It is written in the stars
    What do you get when you have an oil tycoon and a young businessman wanting to change a sleepy village into the "petrol capital of the free world?" The 1983 enchanting film, LOCAL HERO, written and directed by Bill Forsyth and produced by David Puttnam who is best known for CHARIOTS OF FIRE. This film is not as epic as the previous, but rather a contemporary and quiet respite from all the extravagance displayed in FIRE.

    Burt Lancaster plays the executive of Knox Oil and Gas, Felix Happer, and sends Mac MacIntyre (Peter Riegert) to help negotiate with the people of a Scottish seaside village that the piece of land in which they live and dwell in will be detrimental to the global economy for an oil pipeline. The most interesting aspect of the film is how subtle turn of events occurs the longer MacIntyre spends time in the village. The people as well as nature, the Northern Lights and the Scottish coastline, have an affect on both MacIntyre and Happer when the final decisions are made to turn the small village into a refinery.

    LOCAL HERO will touch a nerve as well as the funny bone. With its quaint characters, good storyline, and an exceptional soundtrack from legendary guitarist, Mark Knopfler, the film will sure to please viewers looking for a film that simply entertains without a big production.
    ...more info
  • Scotland The Brave
    In my carefree 20's I took my bicycle over to the British Isles and rode all through England, Wales, and Scotland. I spent almost all that summer of '77--Queen Eliz' silver anniversary year--on my red Swallow ten-speed "pushbike", as the Brits called it, slogging it up and down and all around that sceptred isle. Though I saw a ghost in a lonely churchyard above Lynton, hit a sheep outside of Chester, saw authentic gypsies near Malton, and heard a concert in the King's College chapel in Cambridge, my fondest memories of the entire trip remain my rambles through the highlands and isles of northern Scotland. They say that many a wistful Scot longs for his homeland, as he drinks a toast in a bar somewhere in the US, or Australia, or Spain, or anyplace that's got a bit less rain and wind than Scotland! Takes a stout heart to survive the rugged weather and harsh terrain of that wild and lonely place!
    If you've ever been there, or want to go there, then you should see this movie. It's got everything I love in a film: humor, quirkiness, romance, unexplained actions and unresolved situations, lovely music, magnificent scenery, magic, diversity of all types and the magnanimity and acceptance that must accompany it. You cannot put this film in any easy category; it's totally unique. For that alone it deserves five stars. Knopfler went on to do many soundtracks, but this is still his best. His music is so perfectly evocative of the true nature of Scotland and indeed, this film itself: defiantly independent, far-reaching, fiercely proud, deliberately out of step with the fads and trends. ...more info
  • After 20+ years, never fails to make me smile
    Like some of the other reviewers, when this movie came out I was fresh out of college with that misguided sense of ambition that characterized our generation. We were supposed to admire and emulate people like MacIntyre, the stereotype 80s corporate over-achiever, although like him, many of us also figured out that there were more important things in life. However, this is one of my very favorite movies for several reasons beyond the generational aspect: the dry Gaelic wit, the understated performances, the breathtaking landscapes, etc. all factor into it, but what puts it over the top for me is that it is an unequivocally hopeful story. No matter how many times I've watched it, when the phone rings in the last scene, I'm left with a warm heart and a smile on my face.

    One parting shot: in a way, I was surprised (and dismayed) to discover that Al Gore cites it as one of his favorite movies. The environmental message in this story is made gently, a seamless part of the story quite the opposite of the heavy-handed approach of Gore and company. I wonder if he learned that this method works infintely better than scare tactics and scolding, but the skeptic in me doubts it. Fortunately the idealist in me enjoys this story too much to be bothered and is waiting for the day when I can travel the out-of-the-way corners of Scotland, perhaps finding a MacIntyre tending the bar in my little hotel....more info
  • the sleeper!
  • Local Hero Movie
    A fun little movie from the past. Makes us think of what's really important, but doesn't club you with it. Glad I bought it. I'll view it several times and share with friends and family. ...more info
  • Where's Bill Forsythe when we need him?
    This movie really did inspire me. I got up the nerve to make a solo trip around Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.

    The scenes, characters and sounds of this movie are simply unforgettable. For sure, it's a cold heart that won't come out speakin' with a Scots accent with a touch of Russia....more info

  • great movie, poor value as a dvd
    This is one of my top ten favorite movies of all time. I'm not going to add to what others have said in that regard.

    But as a dvd, it is pretty poor value. The transfer is downright appalling. Grainy. Soft focus. Sound that is generally dull and lifeless. No special features or commentary.

    So three stars for content alone. I still love this flick. But the studio is not doing right by consumers with this digital version. Possibly the worst I've ever seen....more info
  • Terrific Movie
    This is an excellent movie, nice simple plot with great music and scenery, which works perfectly. It is a shame it is no longer available for Region 2, still, most of us are lucky enough to have DVD Players which will play any. Whatever, just get a copy of this movie and watch it, totally brilliant....more info
  • Al Gore's favorite!
    Now that doesn't sound like a glowing recommendation necessarily, and I don't think it helped DVD sales during the 2000 campaign any more Dukakis helped MY DINNER WITH ANDRE (his favorite.) But I must say that I agree with Al on this one. From Mark Knopfler's moody soundtrack to the uncommonly well-rounded characters, LOCAL HERO is a jewel of a movie, depicting an oil man's trip to an eccentric Scottish village, while attempting to buy the place for a future refinery. He grows to love the town, while the villagers are secretly dying to sell the place. The irony is charming, and never heavy-handed. The comedy and subtle and patient. And the landscapes are as inviting as advertised. The end effect is a rare thing in this day and age: a comedy that's actually intelligent, calm, and pleasant. Al Gore may have lost the recount--but he's got an unexpected eye for cinema....more info
  • Worth a look...
    This little-know bit of surrealist deconstruction remains poignantly relevant. Especially as the debate over the ANWR heats up, here in the US....more info
  • Mixed reviews
    Lent this to a friend, and she said after watching it, "What was that about?" It hit me on the deepest level, but apparently the eye of the beholder has much to do about how one enjoys this. This is one of my favorite films, but the DVD is a pretty poor transfer. The late scene where the female biologist/geologist departs is nearly invisible. Still, the sense of finding something one didn't even know they wanted, then losing it, is the heartbreaking conclusion of this extremely funny film....more info
  • Scotch Whimsy
    "Local Hero" is a sweet film that falls short of greatness through overlength and a self-consious cutesiness. The story is a good one. An Texas oil acquisitions man named MacIntyre (Peter Riegert) goes to Scotland to purchase unspoiled coastal land from the populace and they want to sell! This is more of a character piece and there's plenty of good ones. Burt Lancaster delivers another classic performance as Felix Happer, the stargazing petroleum company president who subjects himself to abuse therapy to keep his ego in check. I was also enchanted by Jenny Seagrove as the amphibious marine biologist. Director Bill Forsythe introduces to many cute elements that detract from the film most notably an African town minister and a lovable Russian fisherman(this came out during the Cold War) with an affinity for cowboy songs. The film is sumptuously photographed by Chris Menges who later won Oscars for "The Killing Fields" and "The Mission". Charmer that just falls a wee bit short. ...more info
  • Local Hero -- Next generation?
    I see that Amazon is temporarity out of stock and hope the ratings will tell the industry to fix up the next iteration for us Local-Hero-phyles. I've only seen it on square-TV and can't imagine the impact of the fog, the coast, and the lights on full screen. I've only heard the transistor radio sound quality. Still, I rent this every four years or so, just to see if the deep gut chuckles are still there-- and they are. There will always be the divide between the five and the one-star reviews for any film, but I'm reassured by the ratio on the bar chart here....more info
  • save your money
    After reading all the 5 star reviews, I bought this for my movie buff daughter but then decided to watch it before giving it to her. I'm glad I did. Lame is the first word that comes to mind. I can't see what all the other reviewers are talking about. The acting is mediocre, the story not that original. The characters that are meant to be memorable are just silly and many of the actors seems to be trying too hard. Save your money....or watch it somewhere first and be sure you want to spend it on this. I can think of plenty of other movies I would rather have. ...more info
  • The chill behind the warmth.
    I have read around thirty of the reviews written for this film and all of them describe it as warm, witty, endearing, and gentle. All of which is, on the surface, true. The film can be appreciated for those qualities. But there is also a real darkness at the heart of this movie that seems to have somehow escaped most viewers. It is suggested most blatantly at the beginning in the short publicity film we see for Knox Oil. It is suggested further by the power Happer is demonstrated to have by virtue of his wealth when he orders his nutcase psychiatrist to be shot off his building. "Shoot to kill." It is suggested by the reassurance the minister of the town feels when he sees the jets flying overhead on their practice bombing runs. It's reassuring because their practicing means they aren't doing it for real somewhere else. It is suggested by the visit of the Russian "fisherman". The "fishing" that Soviet trawlers engaged in was often a cover for spying. It is suggested by the resort of the townsfolk to the "church road" when it appears that the sale is going to be blocked by the fellow Knox who lives on the beach. It looked to me like the prelude to a lynching which was only interrupted by Happer's deux ex machina arrival.
    All the characters, as apparently appealing and gentle as they seemed on the surface, were motivated by the lure of riches or power and were held blameless for it by one another. "You can't eat scenery." The ending with the phone ringing in a scene that looked more like a picture post card than a live shot left me wondering if that place with all its beauty still existed or was the phone ringing in a place that had changed? We were left with the postcard, a memory, and not the place itself, much as Mac was, and with a troubling sense of participation in something wrong at its very foundations.
    The main reason I love this movie is that I consider it a very moral piece of work....more info
  • Marvelous, quirky and fun movie
    "Local Hero" is a story about beating the odds. When a huge oil corporation decides that they need to build a refinery off the coast of a Scottish town, MacIntyre (Peter Reigert in a marvelous deadpan performance) becomes the can-do guy sent to negoiate with the people of the town to turn their lovely village into another eyesore. He's send because he has a Scottish name although he's clearly NOT Scottish.Mac doesn't count on the charm of the locals. While many are happy to go along and follow the almighty dollar, there are those that just won't deal including Ben (Fulton MacKay) a scavenger that lives in a shack smack dap in the middle of the beach property the oil company needs. Happer (Burt Lancast)the head of the company must eventually come out to see the town that has stopped one of his top men dead in his tracks. Delightful and quirky, "Local Hero" captured everyone's attention for good reason. This off-beat and charming comedy will keep a smile on your face throughout its two hour run.

    Writer/Director Bill Forsyth keeps the pace moving at first glance at a glacial speed but, ultimately, it's the pacing and the environment of the town that wins you over. Mark Knopfler's (of Dire Straits fame) wonderful film score is lyrical and full of melodic guitar playing. Filled with marvelous dialogue and a storyline laced with ironic wit, "Local Hero" may not be everyone's cup of tea but it sure was mine. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it in theaters and became an instant fan of Bill Forsyth. Although he hasn't been busy of late, his films remain, for the most part, remarkably funny, vital and focus on the off-beat moments in life.

    The DVD transfer is quite clean with sharp images and good clarity. While there isn't much in the way of extras provided, the movie by itself makes this all worthwhile. Pick it up and see how the world could be....more info