Rob Roy (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Caton-Jones|
|Produced by||Peter Broughan
|Screenplay by||Alan Sharp|
|Music by||Carter Burwell|
|Cinematography||Karl Walter Lindenlaub|
|Editing by||Peter Honess|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Running time||139 minutes|
Rob Roy is a 1995 adventure film directed by Michael Caton-Jones. Liam Neeson stars as Rob Roy MacGregor, an 18th-century Scottish historical figure who battles with feudal landowners in the Scottish Highlands. Jessica Lange, John Hurt, Tim Roth, Eric Stoltz, and Jason Flemyng also star. Roth was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the villain Archibald Cunningham.
Rob Roy MacGregor (Liam Neeson) is a cattle drover and the leader of a clan in 18th century Scotland. He seeks and receives a loan of £1000 from the Marquis of Montrose (John Hurt). One of the Marquis's henchmen, Archibald Cunningham (Tim Roth), learns about the loan from Montrose's factor, Killearn (Brian Cox). Cunningham kills MacGregor's best friend MacDonald (Eric Stoltz) and steals the money.
Unable to pay his loan, MacGregor is forced to become an outlaw when he refuses to bear false witness for Montrose against the Duke of Argyll (Andrew Keir). He is hunted by Cunningham, who rapes MacGregor's wife Mary (Jessica Lange) to provoke him. Cunningham ultimately captures MacGregor after killing his brother. However when Cunningham presents him to Montrose, MacGregor escapes. Meanwhile, Mary tells the Duke of Argyll that MacGregor fled Montrose because of his refusal to bear false witness against him. Meanwhile, Macgregor persuades Argyll to propose to Montrose a duel between him and Cunningham, leading to a climactic sword duel to the death.
- Liam Neeson as Rob Roy MacGregor
- Jessica Lange as Mary MacGregor
- John Hurt as James Graham, 1st Duke of Montrose
- Tim Roth as Archibald Cunningham
- Eric Stoltz as Alan MacDonald
- Andrew Keir as John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll
- Brian Cox as Killearn
- Brian McCardie as Alasdair MacGregor
- Jason Flemyng as Gregor
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (July 2010)|
The film was shot entirely on location in Scotland, much of it in parts of the Highlands so remote they had to be reached by helicopter. Glen Coe, Glen Nevis, and Glen Tarbert can be seen. In the opening scenes, Rob and his men pass by Loch Leven. Loch Morar stood in for Loch Lomond, on the banks of which the real Rob Roy lived. Scenes of the Duke of Argyll's estate were shot at Castle Tioram, the Marquis of Montrose's at Drummond Castle. Shots of "The Factor's Inn" were filmed outside Megginch Castle. Crichton Castle was used in a landscape shot.
Non-stop Highland rain presented a problem for cast and crew when filming outdoor shots, as did the resulting swarms of midges.
William Hobbs choreographed the swordfights, with Robert G. Goodwin consulting. The quick small sword had replaced the heavier broadsword everywhere south of the Tweed over a century before the story's timeline, but the stylistic contrast mirrored that between the Englishman, Cunningham, and the Scot, MacGregor.
The main composer is Carter Burwell. Beside the film score, the film features a slightly different version of a traditional Gaelic song called "Ailein duinn", sung in the film by Karen Matheson, lead singer in Capercaillie.
Historical accuracy 
In Rob Roy, the Scottish Highlanders and English aristocrats are portrayed in opposite manners. The Guardian wrote, "The baddies are English and queer, the goodies are Scottish and ruggedly hetero." It asserted the Scottish portrayal as American-driven and referenced a subplot where one of Rob Roy's men wants to emigrate to America. In addition, while the film spanned the years between 1712 and 1722, historical events like the rising of the clans, the battles of Sheriffmuir and Glen Shiel were left out of the film.
In the film, the characters Killearn (John Grahame in real life) and Cunningham steal £1,000 that was given to Rob Roy by Montrose as an investment. In reality, Montrose provided Rob Roy £1,000 yearly between 1702 and 1712, and the theft was by one of Rob Roy's men or reportedly by Rob Roy himself. The historical Rob Roy also had an anti-Whig attitude, attacking a kirk in Arngask, stealing the congregation's bibles and forcing its members to strip naked; the attack was not included in the film. In addition, Cunningham (not based on a real person) rapes Mary to provoke Rob Roy, where a legend existed that Grahame (Killearn in the film) was the rapist. Regardless, historians doubt sexual violence took place; Rob Roy captured Grahame but treated him well. Mary, who became pregnant in the film as a result of the rape, was not pregnant at the time in real life. She was only pregnant four years after the supposed rape, giving birth to Robin Og.
Box office 
United Artists gave Rob Roy a limited release in the United States and Canada on the weekend of April 7, 1995, and the film grossed $2,023,272 from 133 theaters. On the weekend of April 14, 1995, Rob Roy had a wide release and earned $7,190,047 from 1,521 theaters. It ranked #2 at the box office after Bad Boys. Rob Roy's widest release during its theatrical run was 1,885 theaters, and the film grossed $31,596,911 in the United States and Canada.
Critical reception 
Rob Roy received a mixed to positive critical response. It currently holds a 72% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film review aggregation website Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, reported that the film received an average score of 55 based on 19 reviews. Roger Ebert, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, opined, "This is a splendid, rousing historical adventure, an example of what can happen when the best direction, acting, writing and technical credits are brought to bear on what might look like shopworn material." Ebert said the film's outline could have led to "yet another tired" historical epic, but he found that the director was able to produce "intense character studies." The critic applauded Tim Roth's performance, calling it "crucial" to the film's success. Ebert was also impressed by the climactic sword fighting scene and called it "one of the great action sequences in movie history."
In contrast, Rita Kempley of The Washington Post compared Rob Roy negatively to the action films Death Wish and Rambo. Kempley disliked the film's violence and wrote, "Frankly, Rob Roy is about as bright as one of his cows. He doesn't even recognize that his obsession with honor will lead to the destruction of his clan." The critic found the protagonist unheroic in his mission for vengeance. Of his enemy, she said, "The villains, played with glee, manage to perk up the glacial pace, but they too grow tiresome."
In The New York Times, Janet Maslin gave a mixed review of the film. She complained of the film's "long, dry stretches" and that the "plot [was] too ponderous and uninteresting for the film's visual sweep." Maslin said one of the film's saving graces was the "robust" presence of Liam Neeson, taller than those who played his enemies, and his character's charismatic exchange with Jessica Lange's character, writing, "Rob Roy is best watched for local color and for its hearty, hot-blooded stars." Maslin acknowledged that Neeson was "a far cry from the dour-looking Scottish drover who was the real Rob Roy" and said that the film failed to convey the figure's importance to audiences. The critic highlighted the scene of Cunningham raping Mary as one of the film's "strongest scenes" which was appropriately responded to by the "cowboy justice" of Neeson's lonesome and avenging Rob Roy.
American Film Institute recognition:
See also 
- Williams, Karl. "Rob Roy". Allmovie. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
- "Rob Roy > Overview". allmovie.com. Allmovie. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- von Tunzelmann, Alex (January 14, 2010). "Rob Roy: a Highland fling where they've flung out the history". The Guardian. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- "Rob Roy (1995)". boxofficemojo.com. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- "Rob Roy". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
- "Rob Roy reviews". metacritic.com. Metacritic. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- Ebert, Roger (April 7, 1995). "Rob Roy". Chicago Sun-Times.
- Kempley, Rita (April 7, 1995). "'Rob Roy' (R)". The Washington Post.
- Maslin, Janet (April 7, 1995). "Film Review: Rob Roy; Liam Neeson: Man in Kilts". The New York Times.
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains Nominees
- Rob Roy at the Internet Movie Database
- Rob Roy at AllRovi
- Rob Roy at Box Office Mojo
- Rob Roy at Rotten Tomatoes
- Rob Roy: Man in the middle by Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media