9 Greatest Movies Set In Scotland

On Wednesday 19 June 2013 all eyes turned to Scotland as this year’s edition of the Edinburgh International Film Festival got…

Francesca Street



On Wednesday 19 June 2013 all eyes turned to Scotland as this year’s edition of the Edinburgh International Film Festival got underway. Established in 1947, the festival can lay claim to being both the longest running film festival in the world and one of the most successful. The EIFF has acquired a reputation for showcasing an acclaimed mix of international hits and home-grown gems: Oscar-nominated crowd-pleaser Billy Elliot premiered here. This year, from 19-30 June, festival highlights include Glasgow-set romantic comedy Not Another Happy Ending, the reimagining of Henry James’ What Maisie Knew and the UK premiere of Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring.

The EIFF’s location, the Scottish capital of Edinburgh, has been the setting for many celebrated movies. Edinburgh’s seventeenth-century cobbled streets, wide Georgian boulevards and iconic extinct volcano make it a pretty spectacular setting, yet it’s not the only popular filming location in Scotland. A wide variety of successful movies have been filmed across the country, from Hollywood blockbusters to lesser-known independent movies. Wondering which of these films are worth a watch? Join us as we shortlist nine of the best movies set in Scotland:

9. One Day (2011)

one day

David Nicholls’ international best-selling novel got the big screen treatment in the shape of this 2011 film by An Education director Lone Scherfig, for which Nicholls also wrote the screenplay.

Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess) meet upon their graduation from The University of Edinburgh on 15 July 1988. Polar opposites, the two nevertheless find themselves attracted to one another and spend just one day together in the city before they go their separate ways. The film follows the novel’s structure by then proceeding to check in on the protagonists each 15 July for a period of twenty years. Chronicling Emma and Dexter’s successes, failures, moments of happiness and tragedies, the movie’s unique form ensures viewers cannot help but grow attached to the two would-be lovers and become engrossed in their story.

Whilst only a small part of the film is set in Scotland, any viewer will tell you that Edinburgh’s role in the story is both memorable and absolutely crucial. Nicholls purposefully highlights the romance, nostalgia and beauty of the Scottish capital; notable scenes filmed in Edinburgh include those in which Emma and Dexter climb extinct volcano Arthur’s Seat and run down steps at the Royal Mile. The city is what brings the two together and is an important part of the film. One Day is not just a must-see for fans of romantic dramas, it is also perfect for movie fans wishing to see Scotland depicted on the big screen.