St Andrew's Day - The best film from Scotland
Our editors pick highlights from Scottish film through history
Scotland shares Saint Andrew with areas of Russia, Romania, Greece and Malta, though this list is closed to the corruption of arthouse favourites like Theo Angelopoulos and Sergei Bondarchuk with their long names and even longer films. We’re assuming St Andrew would want to rest his dusty sandalled feet in front of some real Scottish cinema beginning with Silent Scream (1990). Actor, writer and occasional director David Hayman’s masterful biopic of convicted murderer, poet and artist Larry Winters boasts Robert Carlyle’s film acting debut and Iain Glen in the role of his career. Glasgow’s Barlinnie Prison’s special unit has been the setting for two fantastic Scottish films, this one and A Sense of Freedom, the Jimmy Boyle story. If part of Scotland’s identity and heritage belongs to drug addicted gangsters, artists and troubled souls then Hayman’s film is seminal.
Scotland and the sectarian dynamic may be a recurring theme but rare is the film that tackles the thistly issue head on. John Mackenzie and Peter McDougall’s fantastic black comedy Just Another Saturday (1975) is the exception. Set in and around the progression of an Orange lodge march in Glasgow, and starring a young Billy Connolly, the film hurdled its TV origins to become celebrated on the international film festival circuit and beyond.
And let’s not forget Highlander (1986). There can be only one. Let’s get off the streets and into the hills. Sean Connery as an Egyptian metallurgist, Christopher Lambert as an immortal Scottish clansman. Soundtrack by Queen. What more do you need?