The cult Scottish films you might not know about but really should

With the Scottish thriller Calibre slipping under many people’s radars but still managing to win critical acclaim and some top awards for both the film itself and its cast, it might be time to check it out.

Joining a list of other movies filmed in Scotland that deserve more attention, there are plenty of reasons to go back and take a look at some of those cult films you might have missed the first time around.

Sure, everyone will have heard of the likes of the popular offerings Gregory’s Girl and the Wicker Man or the blockbusters Braveheart and the Outlaw King but there are also some smaller films, like Calibre, that don’t have big budgets or a well-known cast.

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The tense but gripping Calibre (Jack Lowton as Vaughn)
The tense but gripping Calibre (Jack Lowton as Vaughn)

Currently available on streaming site Netflix, this tense thriller sits alongside other indy British films such as Dead Mans Shoes or the Kill List as one of those films you just can’t tear your eyes away from.

An uncomfortable but intensely gripping look at how quickly things can spiral out of control when you are forced to make tough decisions.

A tight plot revolving around two friends going on a hunting expedition in the Highlands, Jack Lowden, who stars as Vaughn, and the excellent Tony Curran as Logan, really shine as part of this brilliant cast.

Try to avoid any spoilers and go in with fresh eyes, and you’ll be rewarded with one of the most intense films you’ll have watched in years.

Small Faces

Small Faces explored the stories of three brothers in the gang-ridden schemes of 1960s Glasgow
Small Faces explored the stories of three brothers in the gang-ridden schemes of 1960s Glasgow

Before Peter Mullen’s Neds burst onto the scene, Gilles MacKinnon’s coming-of-age classic Small Faces also explored the dangers of growing up as a teenager in Glasgow’s gang-ridden schemes.

Starring a young Iain Robertson, Laura Fraser and Joe McFadden, the 90s film looks at the story of three very different teenage brothers trying to survive the violence of gang warfare in the 1960s.

A harsh look at the claustrophobic lives the brothers are forced to endure, and what they are forced to do to escape their own trials.

Another great film with a great cast, including a very menacing Kevin McKidd, it’s well worth a viewing if you didn’t see it when it first came out.

Restless Natives

The brilliant but underappreciated Restless Natives
The brilliant but underappreciated Restless Natives

Combining beautiful Scottish scenery and a soundtrack by Big Country in a mash-up with Dick Turpin and Robin Hood, this uplifting comedy really is an enjoyable watch.

Becoming modern highwaymen, two young Scots leave their lives in Edinburgh to head north armed with a motorbike, two comic wolf and clown masks and toy guns to embark on a campaign of robberies that will see them become famous in their own right.

Funny, smart and infinitely enjoyable, this cult classic will have you smiling from ear to ear.


The haunting Ratcatcher
The haunting Ratcatcher

A poignant look at the poverty that affected many Glaswegians in the 70s, Ratcatcher was well received by critics when it was released in 1999 by writer and director Lynne Ramsay, winning numerous awards it was even shown at the Cannes Film Festival.

Haunting and beautifully shot and written, the story can be a little uncomfortable to watch at times but is all the more rewarding for it.

Following 12-year-old James, who is growing up in a poverty-ridden and rat-infested scheme, the story tells the tale of James and his family as they wait to be rehoused.

Dear Frankie

A much younger Gerard Butler in Dear Frankie
A much younger Gerard Butler in Dear Frankie

Filmed on location in Glasgow, Dear Frankie is the endearing film that could be argued launched Gerard Butler’s career.

Focussing on a single mum and her young son, it shows the lengths mothers will go to, to protect their children, shielding them from the harshness of the realities of life.

Heartwarming and brilliantly written, alongside some brilliant performances from Butler and Emily Mortimer, it really will take you on an emotional ride that will leave you feeling warm inside.

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