Scotland, PA

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This article is about the 2001 film. For the community in Pennsylvania, see Scotland, Pennsylvania.
Scotland, PA
DVD cover for the film
Directed by Billy Morrissette
Produced by Richard Shepard, Jonathan Stern
Written by Billy Morrissette
Starring Maura Tierney
James LeGros
Christopher Walken
Music by Anton Sanko
Distributed by Lot 47 Films
Release dates
  • January 22, 2001 (2001-01-22)
Running time 104 min.
Country United States
Language English

Scotland, PA is a 2001 film directed and written by Billy Morrissette. It is a modernized version of William Shakespeare's Macbeth. The film stars James LeGros, Maura Tierney and Christopher Walken. Shakespeare's tragedy, originally set in Dunsinane Castle in 11th Century Scotland, is reworked as a dark comedy set in 1975, based around "Duncan's Cafe", a fast-food restaurant in the small town of Scotland, Pennsylvania, in Greene Township, Pennsylvania. The choice of Pennsylvania was arbitrary, though it coincides with two real towns, one southwest of Harrisburg, on the outskirts of Chambersburg and one just south of Erie, called Edinboro. The film was shot in Nova Scotia.

Macbeth is presented as "Joe 'Mac' McBeth" (LeGros), Lady Macbeth as "Pat McBeth" (Tierney), Duncan as cafe owner "Norm Duncan" (James Rebhorn), Macduff as "Lieutenant Ernie McDuff" (Walken), and Banquo as fry cook "Anthony 'Banko' Banconi" (Kevin Corrigan). The Three Witches are presented as a trio of bohemians (Amy Smart, Timothy "Speed" Levitch, Andy Dick).

The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2001.

The movie's soundtrack is made up of Bad Company songs as, in Morrissette's words, the catalogue "was surprisingly cheap to buy."

Morrissette also stated, on the DVD, that some of Tierney's dialogue are actual idioms she uses. Morrissette, who was married to Tierney at the time, states this is because he heard her saying these words or phrases while writing the script.


In 1975, Duncan’s, a small-town fast food restaurant in Scotland, Pennsylvania, hosts a variety of workers. Joe “Mac” McBeth is passed over for a promotion to manager by Douglas McKenna, who has been embezzling the restaurant’s money. Three stoned hippies, one of whom is a fortune teller, inform McBeth that they see a bank drive-thru style restaurant in his future as management. McBeth and Pat McBeth rat McKenna out, and Duncan recognizes that McBeth has been contributing a lot of time and effort to the restaurant. Duncan shares with the McBeth’s his plans to turn his failing burger joint into a drive-through, and Mac realizes how much money this idea will make. He becomes promoted to assistant manager, and Mac accidentally hits him in the head with the refrigerator door. This gives Pat an idea, and as they are the only two who know about the blueprints for the plan, she decides they need to knock off Duncan through a fake robbery. The two attack Duncan to get his safe combination, and Mac hits Duncan and becomes distracted by a vision of the three hippies, causing Duncan to fall headfirst into the deep fryer, which splatters and burns Pat’s hand. Investigator McDuff comes and arrests a local homeless man, who Pat gave Duncan’s jewelry to, and Malcolm leaves the restaurant to McBeth as he is now wealthy and would rather play in a band than work. The McBeths immediately get to work putting Mac’s ideas into action, and the restaurant takes off. Investigator McDuff returns to Scotland when the homeless man is cleared, and the McBeth’s help to turn attention towards Malcolm. Banko, Mac’s friend, begins to question why he had never talked about the drive-thru idea before. Mac begins to become withdrawn and paranoid, and takes his friends on a hunting trip where he contemplates killing off Banko but sees the three hippies dressed as a deer and becomes distracted. Pat becomes obsessed with the burn mark and buys bottles of ointment and accuses people of staring at her revolting hand, though there is no mark. Mac kills Banko with the released homeless man’s gun, and the body is discovered while Mac gives a press conference on his newfound success to local TV stations. During the interview, Mac calls on his hallucination of Banko to answer a question and has a psychotic break as the town watches. Mac goes back to the woods to look for the hippies, and Pat thinks her hand is falling off. Mac completely loses his sanity, answering the phone and talking when no one is there, and has a conversation with the Hippies where they suggest he kill McDuff’s family. Mac takes the sheriff’s gun and gets him to call McDuff to the restaurant, where he tries to shoot McDuff only to find no bullets in the gun. They wrestle for the inspector’s gun, and both fall off the roof of the restaurant causing Mac to be impaled by the horns on the front of his car. Pat McBeth attempts to self-medicate with alcohol, then decides to cut her hand off, after which she bleeds to death. McDuff takes over the restaurant, fulfilling his dream of working with food.


The man walking his dog in front of the diner at the start of the film is the director, Billy Morrissette.

The press kit for the movie was printed in the form of a Cliff Notes booklet (which is what Morrissette was reading when he was studying Shakespeare).

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