Bill Forsyth

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Bill Forsyth
A photo of Bill Forsyth being interviewed on a radio show
Forsyth in 2009
William David Forsyth

(1946-07-29) 29 July 1946 (age 74)
Glasgow, Scotland
OccupationDirector, screenwriter
Years active1980–present

William David Forsyth (born 29 July 1946) — known as Bill Forsyth — is a Scottish film director and writer known for his films Gregory's Girl (1981), Local Hero (1983) and Comfort and Joy (1984).


William David Forsyth was born on 29 July 1946 in Glasgow, Scotland. After leaving Knightswood School at the age of 17, he spent eight years making short documentary films, having formed Tree Films with fellow Scotsman Charles Gormley.[1][2][3]

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.[4]

Forsyth would team with Warner Brothers on Being Human (1994), 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 City. The film was not released fully due to bad reviews. After this experience Bill Forsyth was put off making films.

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


Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 1981 BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay (Gregory's Girl) – Won[5]
  • 1981 BAFTA Award Nomination for Best Direction (Gregory's Girl)
  • 1983 BAFTA Award for Best Direction (Local Hero) – Won[5]
  • 1983 BAFTA Award Nomination for Best Screenplay (Local Hero)
  • 1983 New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screenplay (Local Hero) – Won[5]
  • 1984 BAFTA Award Nomination for Best Screenplay (Comfort and Joy)

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Bill Forsyth". Screen Online. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  4. ^ Canby, Vincent (25 November 1987). "Forsyth's 'Housekeeping'". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  5. ^ a b c "Bill Forsyth: Awards". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. 2016. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  • Dick, Eddie, ed. (1991). From Limelight to Satellite: A Scottish Film Book. London: British Film Institute. ISBN 978-0851702810.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  • 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]