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Daily Record
Daily Record
Sean Murphy

The stunning seaside village that was used as a background for one of Scotland's greatest films

In the early 1980s, the cast and crew of a new film arrived in a quaint village on the northeast coast of Scotland, to begin work on an exciting new project. Despite the fact the movie starred a Holywood heavyweight in the form of Burt Lancaster and rising Scottish stars such as Peter Capaldi, Alex Norton and Denis Lawson, it was the village of Pennan that would go on to become the true star.

Directed by the legendary Bill Forsyth, Local Hero was released in 1983 and became a hit with audiences before going on to secure its status as a cult classic. The film, which tells the tale of an American oil company exec coming to Scotland to buy up an entire village, is now considered to be one of the best Scottish films of all time.

The beautiful coastal village of Pennan, which lies between Banff and Fraserburgh on the northeast coast, sits beneath a high cliff and features a small stone harbour and a single row of homes lapped by the waves of the North Sea and hidden beneath dramatic cliffs.

Local Hero is a 1983 Scottish comedy-drama film written and directed by Bill Forsyth and starring Peter Riegert, Denis Lawson, Fulton Mackay and Burt Lancaster. (Warner Bros.)

Read more: 7 cosy Scottish villages and towns that are just wonderful for an autumn wander

Doubling as the fictional village of Ferness in the film, Pennan serves as the incredible backdrop which star Pater Reigert (Mac) falls in love with – and it's easy to see why.

Not only is the village stunning in itself, thanks to its idyllic buildings and thrilling location, but the film adds in the spectacle of the Northern Lights and the beautiful white sand beaches found in abundance in the area.

Another key feature of the village is the classic red phonebox at the seafront which Mac uses to regale his boss in the USA (Burt Lancaster) with tales of the magical place he's discovered.

And you can still find the phonebox there to this day, with Aberdeenshire Council confirming in 2021, that it would be kept in use, much to the relief of both residents and tourists who flock there every year to follow in the footsteps of 'Mac'. It's since been granted listed building status

Pennan is particularly beautiful on a warm, sunny day – there are few better places in Scotland to be when the weather is good than the Aberdeenshire coast – but even on wet and windy days, when the waves lashes against the sea walls and pebble beaches, you can find refuge in the popular and welcoming Pennan Inn, a stunning B & B that was recently re-opened in the town that also featured in the film.

Not only is the village popular with film lovers, it also offers a lot for those who love wildlife, with both dolphins being spotted in the waters in front of Pennan and grey seals being spotted lounging on the rocks close by.

Scots author Jonathan Melville's new book, which tells the Local Hero story, is set to be released next month.

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