MARK KNOPFLER Local Hero (Soundtrack 1983)

Local Hero (1983)
Charming Score, Charming Film

Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero is one of the more charming and atmospheric films you’ll likely see. The plot details the eccentricities of those involved in the sale of a tiny, Scottish village to Americans intent on building a giant oil refinery on the site. Or, are they? Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler crafts a quiet, Celtic inspired set of instrumental tunes for the soundtrack that echoes the film’s mystically serene vibes. I imagine those that haven’t experienced the film may view this album as little more than a pleasant soundtrack, and leave it at that. But once the softly lilting melodies (fueled sometimes by traditional instrumentation, other times by Knopfler’s crystalline guitar lines) find a place in your cranium, the music will start to work its magic. Unfortunately, being an 80s soundtrack, there are a few disposable songs & sax fueled variations in the mix that fail to enhance the score’s magical spell… but that’s what mix tapes are for. Largely ignored on release, despite the Dire brand name. As a result, they’re reasonably priced by Amazon sellers.

The Rocks And The Water (3:28)
Wild Theme (3:39)
Freeway Flyer (1:49)
Boomtown (Variation Louis’ Favourite) (4:13)
The Way it Always Starts (4:04)
The Rocks And The Thunder (0:51)
The Ceilidh And The Northern Lights (3:35)
The Mist Covered Mountains (4:49)
The Ceilidh: Louis’ Favourite/Billy’s Tune (3:49)
Whistle Theme (0:53)
Smooching (5:01)
The Rocks And The Thunder (0:38)
Going Home: Theme Of The Local Hero (5:01)


  • Willard
    May 30, 2011 - 06:50 | Permalink

    Search HERE

  • danielrubin
    May 30, 2011 - 08:00 | Permalink

    I used to play this when I had to fly. This and “Cal.” Totally transporting, transcendent, and distracting, which I needed.

  • Willard
    May 30, 2011 - 08:25 | Permalink

    Same here. I played a mix tape version (without the 80s stuff) on long, late night drives.

  • Duncanmusic
    May 30, 2011 - 08:39 | Permalink

    one of my favorite movies…it’s such a gentle treat and very satisfying,,,,slow moving but effective…I love the music also, every track

    • Willard
      May 30, 2011 - 08:53 | Permalink

      VERY slow moving, which is part of its charm. Glad you found us Duncan.

  • May 30, 2011 - 17:18 | Permalink

    Thanks for this, one of my favorite films and soundtracks. (Bill Forsyth, however, not David Putnam). Glad to have found you again. Hang in there.

  • Willard
    May 30, 2011 - 17:59 | Permalink

    Thanks for the catch, Hugh.

  • Art Ducko
    May 31, 2011 - 03:30 | Permalink

    Great & slyly funny movie. Burt Lancaster’s character & his scenes involving his therapist are priceless. That’s also the kind of village I’d love to be stranded in. And what about the mermaid?

  • Willard
    May 31, 2011 - 07:18 | Permalink

    Yeah, Lancaster was great and that village is probably what makes the entire film so appealing. Probably my favorite Peter Riegert performance, too. Thanks Ducky.

  • Ace Kefford
    May 31, 2011 - 14:59 | Permalink

    Just a great soundtrack. The motorcycle one interrupts the flow a little, but the Gerry Rafferty sung track fits in beautifully.

    This soundtrack and the charming, funny, quirky movie it goes with meant a lot in my life.


    And good to see you hanging in there, Willard.



  • Pauly
    June 1, 2011 - 01:38 | Permalink

    Cap’n, This was a favourite of mine – saw the film on my first ever trip to London back in the day. Still a satisfying listen which brings back many great memories. Thanks so much. Regards, Your friend Pauly from Down Under.

  • Stephen G
    June 1, 2011 - 21:24 | Permalink

    Willard – Possibly my favorite movie of all time. I even made the pilgrimage to Pennan, one of the filming locations, when my wife and I visited Scotland many years ago. Interestingly, I loved the music first, as several of the selections from the soundtrack were played on a looping tape in the restaurant where I worked in the early 1980s. I have since watched the film many, many times and have enjoyed many discussions with other film buffs about just who the Local Hero really is…

    Great to see the new spot up and running!

  • Bruce
    June 2, 2011 - 23:52 | Permalink

    About a year after the movie and soundtrack came out I travelled to Scotland and hitchhiked my way to Pennan, on the coast north of Aberdeen. One man, hearing I was from Canada, gave me some fresh fish. I stuffed it in my backpack and cooked it that night in Fraserburgh. It was my Local Hero moment.

  • Willard
    June 3, 2011 - 16:21 | Permalink

    Cool, too.

  • Ace K
    August 22, 2011 - 21:19 | Permalink

    My wife and I in our early marriage days loved it (and love it still).

    Even played it on a cassette dub while she was in labor. Good stuff, EXCEPT for that part when the motorcycle comes roaring in. Says the wife, “turn that off” and in that time one is in no position to argue.

    Really, really great music.


    • Willard
      August 22, 2011 - 21:22 | Permalink

      There’s just something alluring about the sound and feel of the music.
      (Besides… women never like motorcycles.)

  • Ace K
    December 3, 2013 - 20:25 | Permalink

    Great movie, and great soundtrack. This soundtrack was on one side of the cassette I had to play in the room as my wife was going through giving birth to our daughter.

    Years later, horribly sadly, but also wonderfully evocative, I had the “Going Home” theme played at the end of the memorial service for my wife after she died this summer. (I’m not really sure if I will ever hear that song again.)

    Ace K.

    • Willard
      December 3, 2013 - 20:45 | Permalink

      Not sure I’ll ever hear the song the same way again after that, Ace.

  • Jakob Gerber
    August 8, 2015 - 21:55 | Permalink

    This film,this music,that time … It is my favourite film. It hit me on every level. I don’t quiye understand some people referring to the film as a comedy. Yes,it absolutely had its comedic moments. Played with a quirky wit.
    ( indeed,the bit with Burt and Moritz ,his shrink,was hilarious )
    However,here we are thirty two years later and the theme is more relevant than ever. This film,was far ahead of its time,without overly being political.
    It’s a masterpiece of writing,acting,cinematography,music and feel.
    If you have not watched it lately,you should do so. I too,after reading the response from Ace,will probably not hear the soundtrack with the same ears. I totally understand how the themes melody could have a universal appeal,and sadly for ones passing.
    I’ve been binging today on the film. Watching all the anecdotal clips from the making of the film.
    There was an interview in I believe 2006 with many of the original cast ( you would not believe where some of these fine actors have gone on to,in respect to huge successes ) , all felt it one of the most memorable in their careers.
    It’s a contemporary Brigadoon. A magical place we would all like to live and possibly die.
    Kudos to all the followers of the film and its music.
    Jake Gerber

    • Willard
      August 8, 2015 - 21:58 | Permalink

      Couldn’t agree more.

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