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Top Thirteen Local Film Locations

Posted by Beppo Buchanan-Smith on Nov 29, 2013 12:27:00 PM

Destination film location!

On hearing about the reforming of Monty Python last week our thoughts immediately turned to the Holy Grail Film, which was shot close to Eriska so we thought it would be appropriate to highlight some of the local locations used in well known films- some you may be aware of and others may be news to you but if you see the films again you may be able to look out for local sights and panoramas!


We have listed some of the local films although we must also stress that they are in no particular order- some involved Eriska others simply had us watching the final results and spotting locations!


Highlander (1986)

Director: Russell Mulcahyhighlander resized 600

Starring: Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, Clancy Brown

Synopsis: An immortal medieval Scotsman, Conor MacLeod, must face his fellow immortal peers in battle until only one remains to claim “The Prize”

Locations: Some of this was shot at the head of Loch Creran - indeed I remember seeing a sign in the local shop for extras - £5 per day or £10 if you had a horse! It may have seemed like easy money but I am told it invoved hordes running down a hill in the battle at the start of the movie where Connor and Kurgan first meet but it took several takes so also involved several trudges back up the hill to start the sequence again. 


Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

monty python and the holy grail resized 600Director: Terry Gilliam & Terry Jones

Starring: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle

Synopsis: A comical slapstick take on the tale of King Arthur and his Knights, as they embark on a quest for the holy grail

Locations: Castle Stalker, Appin (Castle of Aaargh) which is now a well visited site for pilgrims on the Monty Python circuit.




Braveheart (1995)


Director: Mel Gibsonbraveheart resized 600

Starring: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan

Synopsis: A take on the story of William Wallace as he leads Scotland against the English, based loosely on historic fact.

Locations: Aonach Eagach (opening sequence) this is a stunning walk- but not for the fainthearted as there were no special effects used to highlight the drop on either side of the ridge. A lot of the film was then shot in Glen Nevis behind Fort William and indeed the village scenes were all sited here.


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

HP resized 600Director: Alfonso Cuaron

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint

Synopsis: The best story ever told. The third in the series, Harry Potter enters his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry while the convicted Murderer Sirius Black, who escapes from the wizard prison, Azkaban, is coming after him

Locations: This was shot in Glen Coe especially the long vistas looking towards Hagrids Hut and indeed Hagrid and many of the grown ups were based here at Eriska; However the most memorable images are probably of Glenfiddan Viaduct and  Loch Shiel (Hogwarts Lake – most notably the Dementor Scene at the end)


 Ring of Bright Water (1969)

Director: Jack Coufferring of bright water resized 600

Starring: Bill Travers, Virginia McKenna

Synopsis: A fictional adaptation of the autobiography by Gavin Maxwell, about a man and his pet otter.

Locations: A very local film based in story line about Oban and shot on the Isle of Seil (Ellenabeich & Easdale) and in Oban (North Pier).


Eye of the Needle (1981)

eye of the needle1 resized 600Director: Richard Marquand

Starring: Donald Sutherland,  Kate Nelligan, Stephen McKenna

Synopsis: Set during WW2, about a German Spy trying to flee Britain with key information about D-Day who gets involved with the wife of a crippled man on a Scottish Island off the west coast as he waits to be collected. Adapted from the novel by Ken Follett

Locations: This was shot in the area but the most notable land mark is Connel Bridge which features quite heavily .


Morvern Callar (2002)

Director: Lynne Ramsaymorvern caller resized 600

Starring: Samantha Morton, Kathleen McDermott

Synopsis: Following the death of her boyfriend, a shop clerk – Morvern Callar – passes off his unpublished novel as her own and uses the money  he saved for his funeral to escape her dreary life Scotland

Locations: Oban was transformed into a winter wonderland in March for the filming however it also coincided with the Foot and Mouth epidemic so as we had no cows or livestock on the island and the film crew had been restricted for movement much was shot actually here on the island!


Entrapment (1999)

entrapment resized 600Director: Jon Amiel

Starring: Sean Connery, Catherine Zeta-Jones

Synopsis: After a priceless piece of art goes missing, an insurance agent, “Gin” is sent to go after and capture the thief, “Mac” by trying to entrap him, Claiming to be a thief too and promising to help him go after a valuable Chinese Mask from a well-guarded palace.

Locations: Although much was based overseas there was a section shot at Duart Castle (Mac’s hideout), and the main characters were based here at Eriska for the shoot.



 Enigma (2001)

Director: Michael Aptedenigma resized 600

Starring: Dougray Scott, Kate Winslet, Saffron Burrows, Jeremy Northam

Synopsis: During WW2, a young genius is recruited to help crack an enemy code that will help solve the mysterious disappearance of the woman he loves.

Locations: It was shot in and around Oban with the climax being at Tigh Beg Croft (Loch Feochan). the main cast were based here at Eriska.




Local Hero (1983)

local hero resized 600Director: Bill Forsyth

Starring: Burt Lancaster, Peter Piegert, Fulton Mackay, Peter Capaldi

Synopsis: An American Oil company send a representative to a small Scottish village in the hopes of securing rights to build an oil refinery, however things don’t go as planned when a local hermit, Ben – who owns a beach which is crucial to the plans – is unwilling to sell his property, leading the company representative to negotiate with Ben on his own terms.

Locations: Although not entirely local as it was on knoydart it remaisn a favourite scottish film for us so had to be included. Morar Beach, Mallaig was famous for beach scenes and northern lights- which we can see from Eriska too- occasionally


When Eight Bells Toll (1971)

Director: Etienne PerierWhen 8 bells toll resized 600

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Jack Hawkins, Robert Morley

Synopsis: A british secret agent, Philip Calvert, is sent on a mission to investiage the disappearance of a ship carrying £8 million in gold near the coast of Scotland.

Locations: although  back in the earlier days this did establish Duart Castle and Tobermory as film locations as well as  Fingal’s Cave (Staffa )


SkyFall (2012)

skyfall resized 600Director: Sam Mendes

Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris

Synopsis: Bond's loyalty to M is tested when her past comes back to haunt her. Whilst MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost. It sees him return to his childhood home and reaffirm his love of Scotland although the house was never here! 

Locations: Glen Coe and Glen Etive are linked to the car drive and very apt as he was again back in his Aston Martin



From Russia with Love (1963)

Director: Terence Youngfrom russia with love resized 600

Starring: Sean Connery, Robert Shaw, Lotte Lenya

Synopsis: James Bond willingly falls into an assassination ploy involving a naive Russian beauty in order to retrieve a Soviet encryption device that was stolen by SPECTRE. 

Locations: Several locations in Argyll& Bute with sea scenes south of Oban in particular the finale helicopter & Boat chase scene although you have to feel for the poor crew who get thrown overboard into the sea.


Topics: James Bond Package, Otters, castle, James Bond Escape