Are you planning to visit Scotland and want to learn more about the country or are simply looking for some travel inspiration? In this article discover 19 of the best movies set in Scotland which will have you planning that Scottish itinerary in double-quick time!
Don’t miss our selection of the best books (fiction and non-fiction) set in Scotland or if you are planning your trip our selection of the best UK guide books.
19 movies set in Scotland
Our first choice of the best films set in Scotland is Skyfall. With Daniel Craig as the iconic British secret service agent, Skyfall is widely considered one of the best Bond movies ever made.
The action sequences are stunning and it has that classic James Bond charm that all fans adore.
Scotland’s stunning landscape is on full display throughout this movie and there are some memorable scenes in the Scottish Highlands when James Bond returns to his childhood home.
This cult-classic action movie is another fantastic entry into the best movies set in Scotland list.
Starring Sean Connery and Nicola Cowper, Highlander is a story about an immortal (Connery) who must confront and fight other immortals in order to win ‘The Prize’.
The movie was filmed in various locations around Scotland and the Scottish Highlands make for a particularly atmospheric setting.
This adventure comedy film tells the story of two best friends who decide to dress up and rob tourist coaches in the Highlands.
Much of the movie was filmed in the West Highlands with the soundtrack by Big Country.
The 39 Steps
This Alfred Hitchcock classic is set in London but many of the scenes were shot in Scotland, including at Edinburgh’s Waverley train station.
The story follows Richard Hannay, an innocent man accused of murder who is forced to go on the run.
Well known in Scotland, Whisky Galore! tells the story of the inhabitants of a small Scottish island who become desperate after their whisky supply is accidentally sunk by a ship.
The movie was filmed on the Scottish islands of Eriskay and Barra in the Outer Hebrides and provides a great glimpse into traditional Scottish life.
No list of Scottish films is complete without the 1983 comedy-drama Local Hero which tells the story of an American oil executive who is sent to Scotland to buy up land for his company.
Much of this movie was filmed in the fishing village of Pennan on the Aberdeenshire coast and there are also some great scenes shot in Edinburgh.
The Wicker Man
This horror thriller, starring Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee, is set on the fictional Scottish island of Summerisle.
The story follows a policeman who is sent to investigate the disappearance of a young girl and soon uncovers the dark secrets of the island’s inhabitants.
The movie was shot on location in various locations around Scotland including the Isle of Skye and is definitely one not to be missed if you’re interested in Scotland’s darker side.
This 1995 historical epic tells the story of Rob Roy MacGregor, a Scottish outlaw who fought against the English in the 18th century.
The movie was shot in various locations around Scotland, including stunning scenery around Glencoe and Loch Lomond, and provides an interesting overview of Scottish history.
Released in 2012, Brave is Pixar’s first-ever Scottish animated movie.
The story follows Merida, a young princess who rebel against the traditions of her family and kingdom.
Many of Scotland’s beautiful landscapes are represented in this animated movie including Dunnnottar Castle and the Forest of Bruar.
Outlaw King is a Netflix original released in 2018. Starring Chris Pine and Stephen Wallace, the movie tells the story of Robert The Bruce who went from defeated nobleman to outlaw hero during a time of war and chaos in 13th century Scotland.
Outlaw King was filmed in various locations around Scotland, including Edinburgh and Doune Castle.
The movie is roughly based on the life of Robert The Bruce so many scenes will feel familiar to those with a keen interest in Scottish history.
Trainspotting 1 & 2
This classic comedy-drama based on the book by Irvine Welsh follows a group of heroin addicts living in Edinburgh during the 1980s. The movie provides an insight into the drug addiction epidemic that affected Scotland during this time.
Starring Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle and Ewen Bremner it tells the story of Mark Renton who tries to escape the world he knows after his best friend dies from a heroin overdose.
Both Trainspotting films were shot in Scotland around Edinburgh, Leith and Glasgow.
This cult classic was originally released in 1986 and is set in New York City. It follows Connor MacLeod as he discovers he’s not human after he’s an immortal warrior who has lived for five centuries. Conner then joins forces with other immortals in a battle to win an ancient prize.
Many scenes are shot in Scotland, including the opening scene which is set at Glencoe. Highlander was filmed all over Scotland, including many locations around Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands.
This movie is hugely popular with fans of fantasy movies so it’s definitely one to check out if you’re interested in Scotland’s film history.
This 1995 historical epic starring Mel Gibson tells the story of William Wallace, a Scottish warrior who fought against the English in the 13th century.
The movie was filmed in various locations around Scotland, including Stirling Castle.
This romantic comedy-drama tells the story of Dexter and Emma, who meet for the first time at their graduation in Edinburgh.
Much of One Day was filmed in Scotland, particularly around Edinburgh’s old town, Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat.
This 2018 horror movie tells the story of a group of scientists who are sent to investigate strange goings-on in Loch Ness. The group soon discover that they are not alone and must work together to save themselves.
Loch Ness was filmed around Scotland, including Stirling Castle, Urquhart Castle and Torridon.
This classic Scottish romantic comedy was released in 1981 and tells the story of Gregory, a schoolboy who is hopelessly in love with his classmate Dorothy.
The majority of Gregory’s Girl was shot in Scotland, around Glasgow and Falkirk.
The film is based on the novel by Bill Craig and provides a humorous insight into life in Scotland during the 1970s.
Mary Queen of Scots
This 2018 historical drama tells the story of Mary Stuart, a 16th-century Scottish queen who is being pursued by her half-brother because she shares a claim to the English throne.
Mary Queen of Scots was filmed all over Scotland, including Linlithgow Palace and Tantallon Castle.
Harry Potter movies
Scenes for many of the Harry Potter movies were shot in various locations in Scotland. The most famous and recognisable is the Hogwarts Express (or the Jacobite) crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
The real steam train – the Jacobite – travels between Fort William and Mallaig. It is a popular service running twice daily from April to October for fans of the films or those simply seeking to enjoy the scenic views along the train route.
More to read – How to visit Harry Potter Studios in London
More UK travel inspiration
Whether you’re interested in historical epics, comedies or horror thrillers there are many famous films set in Scotland to enjoy.