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There is nothing like a sweeping shot of a remote Scottish location--whether it be a rocky cliff on the Shetland Islands or the Hebrides, or a desolate, abandoned castle, or a quaint cobbled street in Edinburgh--that can establish mood and atmosphere in a film. Below are ten films that, through their variety alone, demonstrate how versatile Scotland has been seen by filmmakers and audiences everywhere.
It's a little hard to reconcile Scotland with Stanley Kubrick's sci fi classic, but some of this film's more "psychedelic" sequences were filmed here, near the foot of Ben Nevis, the biggest mountain peak in Britain. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone also included scenes filmed in Glen Nevis.
Director Michael Powell's 1937 film chronicles the lives of the residents of Foula, a remote town on the Shetlands; Powell actually cast many of the local citizens in the significant parts. Powell's movie expertly catches the painful transition of a small community, as their way of life is affected by the outside, more modern world.
All Harry Potter films have had location shoots in Scotland, but this one appears to have been shot most extensively in the country.
The cool, almost Stonehenge-like ruins of this 17th century castle, as well as its grounds, provided effective and haunting scenery for this 1971 cult classic horror film.
This quirky and dark 2002 Scottish indie film was filmed around Oban, one of Scotland's biggest coastal areas--heavily reliant on tourism, Oban is often used as launching point for further exploration of the Hebrides.
Monty Python utilized a lot of great scenic locations for this movie, including this castle, located north of Oban, which is used for the setting of "Castle Aaargh" at the end of the film.
The upcoming movie version of Dan Brown's bestseller caused tourism at this Edinburgh attraction to spike! And despite whatever you may think of the book or the movie, this is a good thing.
For many viewers, the bleak beauty of the Hebrides was the saving grace for this controversial 1996 feature by Lars von Trier.
Another great old Michael Powell film, made in 1945, a romantic comedy-drama that is hundred times more sophisticated, intelligent, and entertaining than most films in that genre today. As he did in The Edge of the World, Powell uses his remote Scottish locales to create a wonderful, romantic vista of a world gone by.
Maggie Smith's defining (and Oscar-winning) role was filmed on location in Edinburgh and included this famous churchyard.