Local Hero

A poignant, funny tale of a simpler life.
  • Review Date: May 4, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1983
  • Running Time: 111 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Not applicable

Gordon and his wife have frequent (off-screen) sex; McIntyre uses a mild epithet when he's angry at his former girlfriend.



Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A great deal of social drinking; McIntyre gets drunk.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has the feel of a fairy tale, but there are some odd moments that may bother some kids. Happer hires a "therapist" for a bizarre "abuse therapy." Danny saves a rabbit that is then cooked and served to Danny and McIntyre by Gordon.

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What's the story?

McIntyre (Peter Reigert), an ambitious executive with Texas-based Knox Oil & Gas, is dispatched by Happer (Burt Lancaster), the company's eccentric billionaire chief executive, to a remote corner of Scotland to acquire a fishing village named Ferness and the land surrounding it for an oil refinery and storage facility. Most of the residents are delighted at the prospect of being bought out; the only hitch to finalizing the deal is Ben, a reclusive beachcomber who lives in a shack by the shore. He owns several miles of beach and refuses to sell.

Is it any good?


LOCAL HERO is to be noted less for its messages or themes than its magnificent cast of quirky, delightfully observed characters and gorgeous location photography. There is a touch of magic in the story, with a marine biologist who seems to be part mermaid, and a deus ex machina happy ending for most of the characters.

This movie has the feel of a fairy tale, but there are some odd moments that may bother some kids. Happer hires a "therapist" for a bizarre "abuse therapy." Danny saves a rabbit that is then cooked and served to Danny and McIntyre by Gordon. And the very un-Hollywood resolution, with McIntyre back in Texas by himself, should prompt some discussion of what kids think may happen to him.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how McIntyre's life in Houston is cluttered but empty. What does McIntyre list as the requirements for an excellent life in Houston? Do the villagers agree with him, since all but Ben are anxious to sell? Why does the girl with the punk outfit say that she likes McIntyre? Why didn't Ben want to sell? Why, when McIntyre calls the village pay phone at the end of the film, does no one answer?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 17, 1983
DVD release date:September 21, 1999
Cast:Burt Lancaster, Fulton Mackay, Peter Riegert
Director:Bill Forsyth
Studio:Warner Bros.
Run time:111 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byPelfam April 9, 2008
age 0+

I laughed.... I laughed... and I laughed some more!

This was a great family movie! From the spazzy character Olsen to the hilarious briefcase scene ("Do you have an adapter... I need to charge my briefcase") it was non stop laughs. The movie uses quite a few inappropriate words, but as long as a parent is proctoring the kids watching, it should be okay. There is also a large amount of alcohol consumed when the Russians come to visit, but thats about it for improper behavior. This movie is definitely more fun to watch with friends, or with family than by yourself. I hope you all enjoy Local Hero as much as me and my family did!


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