Bill Forsyth

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Bill Forsyth
Born William David Forsyth
(1946-07-29) 29 July 1946 (age 68)
Glasgow, Scotland
Occupation Director
Years active 1980–present

William David "Bill" Forsyth (born 29 July 1946) is a Scottish film director and writer best known for his films Gregory's Girl (1981), Local Hero (1983), and Comfort and Joy (1984), as well as his commitment to national film-making.[1]

Early years[edit]

William David Forsyth was born 29 July 1946 in Glasgow, Scotland. After leaving Knightswood School at the age of 17, he spent eight years making short documentary films.[2]

He lives in Scotland on an isolated farm with his partner/girlfriend, a production designer, and their two children.

Film career[edit]

Forsyth first came to attention with a low-budget film, That Sinking Feeling, made with youth theatre actors and featuring a cameo appearance by the Edinburgh gallery owner Richard Demarco. The relative success of the film was carried to a far higher level by his next film Gregory's Girl in 1981. This featured some of the same young actors, in particular John Gordon Sinclair, as well as the acting debut of Clare Grogan. The film was a major hit and won 'Best Screenplay' in that year's BAFTA Awards. In 1983 he wrote and directed the successful Local Hero, produced by David Puttnam, and featuring Burt Lancaster. It was rated in the top 100 films of the 1980s in a Premiere magazine recap of the decade. Forsyth's next film was the 1984 Comfort and Joy, about a Glasgow radio DJ caught in a rivalry between ice cream companies, which again featured Clare Grogan.

The 1987 film Housekeeping, an adaptation of Marilynne Robinson's 1981 novel, was Forsyth's first American work.[3]

Bill Forsyth was a favored director of Sir David Puttnam during Puttnam's term as Columbia Studios chairman. Columbia released the film Being Human (1994) directed by Bill Forsyth, starring Robin Williams and featuring John Turturro. The film was about a man developing throughout his life and had scenes from pre-history, Ancient Rome, 16th-century Spanish conquistadors and modern day New York. It was co-produced by Lucy Fisher. Colin Vaines and Jane Witterkind were script editors. The production came into problems budget wise when they had to relocate the production from Morocco to Kenya due to bad seas (the big raft scene got washed down the coast) and Martha Williams not wanting Robin to work in certain areas due to malaria scares. Being Human was not released fully due to bad reviews. The film had several important 'transitional' editing pieces that were important to Bill Forsyth's vision of the movie but they were edited down by a Warner Bros executive following 'focus groups' - the film ended up a shadow of what Bill Forsyth had imagined. After this experience Bill Forsyth was put off making movies.

In 1999 he made Gregory's Two Girls as a sequel to Gregory's Girl, with John Gordon Sinclair playing the same character, but it received mixed reviews.

In a June 2009 interview on BBC Radio 5 Live, Forsyth stated that he was working on a new film project with the working title of Exile.


Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 1982 BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay (Gregory's Girl) Won
  • 1982 BAFTA Award Nomination for Best Direction (Gregory's Girl)
  • 1984 BAFTA Award for Best Direction (Local Hero) Won
  • 1984 BAFTA Award Nomination for Best Screenplay (Local Hero)
  • 1985 BAFTA Award Nomination for Best Screenplay (Comfort and Joy)[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Bill Forsyth". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "Bill Forsyth". Screen Online. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Awards for Bill Forsyth". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  • Dick, Eddie ed. (1991). From Limelight to Satellite: A Scottish Film Book. London: British Film Institute. ISBN 978-0851702810. 
  • Hunter, Allan; Astaire, Mark (1983). Local Hero: The Making of the Film. London: Ungar Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0804462846. 
  • Murray, Jonathan (2011). Discomfort and Joy: The Cinema of Bill Forsyth. Bern: Peter Lang Publishers. ISBN 978-3039113910. 

External links[edit]