Tommy's Honour

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Tommy's Honour
Tommy's Honour Poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Jason Connery
Screenplay by Pamela Marin
Kevin Cook
Based on Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
by Kevin Cook
Gutta Percha Productions (U.S.)
Tommy's Honour Productions/
SellOutPictures (UK)
Distributed by Roadside Attractions (U.S.) Timeless Films (International)
Release date
Running time
117 minutes
Country United States
United Kingdom[1]

Tommy's Honour is a 2016 historical drama film depicting the lives and careers of, and the complex relationship between, the pioneering Scottish golfing champions Old Tom Morris and his son Young Tom Morris. The film is directed by Jason Connery, and the father and son are portrayed by Peter Mullan and Jack Lowden. The film won Best Feature Film at the 2016 British Academy Scotland Awards.

The screenplay, written by Pamela Marin and Kevin Cook, is based on Cook's 2007 book, Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son.[2] The book won the Herbert Warren Wind Book Award as the best golf book of 2007,[2] was one of the five books that Sports Illustrated selected as the "Books of the Year" in 2007,[3] and was #32 of "the 50 best sports books ever written" selected by The Telegraph.[4]

The film opened the 2016 Edinburgh International Film Festival on 15 June 2016. It went into theatrical release in the U.S. and internationally beginning in the spring of 2017.


In St Andrews, Scotland in 1866, 15-year-old Tommy Morris (Jack Lowden) is an avid golfer like his legendary and pioneering father, Tom Morris (Peter Mullan). "Old Tom" is greens-keeper for The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, as well as the town’s club- and ball-maker. He is the two-time winner of the first major golf tournament, The Open Championship, which he founded in 1860. He also established golf's standard of 18 holes per round. But young Tommy is beginning to chafe at his father's dictates, especially in the rapidly changing world they live in.

Tommy soon outshines his father, winning The Open three times in a row while still in his teens. The "dashing young man of golf", he draws flocks of spectators to the sport and becomes its first touring professional.

Father and son repeatedly clash over the unwritten rules of social class, and this culminates when Tommy marries his sweetheart Meg (Ophelia Lovibond), a woman of lower standing with a shameful secret in her past. As the story concludes, Old Tom makes a fatal misjudgement that strips Tommy of everything he holds dear. Following the results of that fateful choice, Old Tom takes on a personal mission that carries him through the final decades of his life: that of honouring his son Tommy.

Main cast[edit]


In 2010 producer Jim Kreutzer happened to read Kevin Cook's Herbert Warren Wind Book Award–winning 2007 book Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son, and immediately obtained the film rights for it.[5][6] The project remained in development for several years, while Kreutzer did further research and interviewed people in Scotland who knew the story well.[7][5][8] The author Cook's wife Pamela Marin, an accomplished journalist and memoirist, adapted the book into a screenplay along with Cook.[9][10][11][12]

In January 2014 Jason Connery, son of Sean Connery, was announced as the film's director.[13] He stated:

I am so incredibly passionate and excited to tell this story. It is a story that is truly close to my heart as I grew up with my father on a golf course, and I have a home an hour from St. Andrews. This is an extraordinary and intimate tale of love and family at the beginning of the great game of golf. This story has to be told![13]

Connery also noted that his father, a serious golfer in addition to being a renowned actor, gave him ideas and insight about making the film.[5][14]

Kreutzer, along with venture capitalist Keith Bank, established Gutta Percha Productions for the sole purpose of financing and producing Tommy's Honour.[15] The film's additional producers are Bob Last, Tim Moore, and Kenneth C. Whitney.[15] In June 2015 the production received a £400,000 grant from National Lottery Funding through Creative Scotland's Screen Production Fund.[8][16][17]

The two lead actors, Peter Mullan and Jack Lowden, were cast in July 2015.[18] Neither had prior experience with golf,[2] although Lowden had done several leading roles as an athlete or soldier, in Black Watch, Chariots of Fire, and The Passing Bells.

Filming began in mid August 2015,[2] and was completed in late September 2015.[19] All filming took place on location in Scotland, in over 50 locations including in St Andrews and surrounding areas, Edinburgh and Musselburgh, and towns such as Peebles and Falkland.[20][21][22][23] The shoot lasted six weeks, but there was rain on only one day, which is unusual for Scotland.[24]


Tommy's Honour was selected to open the 2016 Edinburgh International Film Festival on 15 June 2016, which was the film's premiere.[25][26][27] At the festival it was also nominated for the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film.[28] It continued screening at the festival through 26 June.[29] The film also screened at London Screenings at BFI Southbank, an international film-marketing conference for British films which lasted from 20–23 June 2016.[30] Sean Connery, who was unable to attend the EIFF debut of his son's film, screened Tommy's Honour in a cinema near his home in the Bahamas in July 2016.[20]

The film showed at the Dinard British Film Festival in Dinard, France from 28 September to 2 October 2016.[31] It screened at the Haifa International Film Festival in mid-October 2016,[32][33] and at the BBC First British Film Festival 2016 in Australia, which began in late October 2016.[34]

Roadside Attractions acquired the U.S. rights to Tommy's Honour in September 2016.[35][6] It opened nationwide in the U.S. on 14 April 2017.[36][37][38][6] It was released internationally in the spring of 2017,[6] and international sales of the film are handled by Timeless Films.[35][39] The film was released via streaming video and DVD in June and July 2017 in the U.S.


Initial reviews immediately following the film's debut at the Edinburgh International Film Festival were generally positive.[40][41][42][43] The performances of the two leads, Mullan and Lowden, were widely praised.[42][44][45][46] A few reviewers felt that the film may have tried to do too much due to having several themes,[45][47] and a few felt that some of the golfing sequences were repetitive.[48]

Screen Daily, while acknowledging the film's central father-son drama, also noted the portrayal of the class conflicts of 19th-century golf – played by the lower classes, attended by unruly crowds, and owned and bet on by aristocrats who controlled and profited from the sport. The review also opined that "As the principals play across the film's varied locations, in all weather, viewers get a true sense of golf's real grit, a more essential and raw essence of the sport than is achieved in most coverage today."[49]

Kate Muir in The Times concluded that the film is "fairly conventional, and your pleasure in it will probably be predicated on your love for the game."[50] Conversely, Ross Miller in The National called the film "emotional, inspiring and deeply heartfelt" and wrote "You don’t have to be a golf fan to be taken in by this engrossing, quietly passionate film that not only brings something new to the sports biopic table but also serves as a poignant, often heartbreaking portrait of paternal love and pursuing your passion with everything you have."[42] In January 2017, Justin Lowe in The Hollywood Reporter said the film "offers an engrossing and accessible celebration of the game’s modern origins, enhanced by striking locations and a standout cast."[51]

In November 2016 Tommy's Honour won Best Feature Film at the 2016 British Academy Scotland Awards (BAFTA Scotland Awards).[52][53] Jack Lowden was nominated for Best Film Actor for his performance as Tommy Morris.[54]


Year Award Category Recipient Result
2016 Edinburgh International Film Festival Michael Powell Award for
Best British Feature Film
Tommy's Honour Nominated
2016 British Academy Scotland Awards Best Feature Film Tommy's Honour Won
Best Film Actor Jack Lowden Nominated


  1. ^ Tommy's Honour at the British Council. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Strege, John. "Tommy’s Honour begins filming in Scotland, but with actors unfamiliar with golf". Golf Digest. 20 August 2015.
  3. ^ Silverman, Jeff. "Books of the Year". Sports Illustrated. 10 December 2007.
  4. ^ Corrigan, James. "The 50 best sports books ever written: Tommy's Honour". The Telegraph. 15 November 2015.
  5. ^ a b c McEwan, Michael. "‘My dad is excited about my new movie’". Bunkered. 12 February 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d "Tommy’s Honor Nominated For ...". Daily North Shore. 19 October 2016.
  7. ^ Jarvi, Jake (5 April 2017). "Kreutzer's Honor". Forest Bluff Magazine. Retrieved 10 June 2017. 
  8. ^ a b Southwell, Tim. "Tommy's Honour – The Movie". Golf Punk. 5 August 2015.
  9. ^ Salmon, Lori. "Kitty Genovese: The Girl Next Door That Everyone Knew". New York Public Library. 27 August 2014.
  10. ^ "Tommy’s Honor". 21 January 2014.
  11. ^ Criss, Jean. My Pain Woke Me Up – Legal Injustice: A Survivor's Tale of Legal Injustice in Today's Social Society. AuthorHouse, 2012. p. ix.
  12. ^ Cook, Kevin. Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son. Penguin, 2007. p. 321.
  13. ^ a b Williams, Martin. "Film to tell story of golf legend Morris". The Herald. 13 January 2014.
  14. ^ Brown, Craig. "Sir Sean Connery’s tips for son Jason’s golf film". The Scotsman. 18 January 2014.
  15. ^ a b "About Us". Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  16. ^ Lottery Grants with no geographic location. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  17. ^ Miller, Phil. "Golfing drama directed by Jason Connery to open Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2016". The Herald. 27 April 2016.
  18. ^ Wiseman, Andreas. "Peter Mullan, Jack Lowden to star in golf drama Tommy’s Honour". Screen Daily. 17 July 2015.
  19. ^ 26 September 2015. Tommy's Honour on Facebook. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  20. ^ a b Ferguson, Brian. "Sir Sean Connery to get Bahamas screening of son’s film". The Scotsman. 15 June 2016.
  21. ^ Ferguson, Brian. "Trainspotting 2 awarded £500k windfall from Creative Scotland". The Scotsman. 26 April 2016.
  22. ^ Filmed Here: Tommy's Honour. Film Edinburgh. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  23. ^ "What an Honour". St Andrews Golf Magazine. May/June 1016. p. 68.
  24. ^ "Tommy's Honour at the 70th Edinburgh International Film Festival" (video). Into Film. 20 June 2016.
  25. ^ "Book Now: Edinburgh International Film Festival Announces the World Premiere of Tommy's Honour as the 2016 Opening Night Gala". Edinburgh International Film Festival. 27 April 2016.
  26. ^ White, James. "Tommy's Honour will open the 70th Edinburgh International Film Festival". Empire. 27 April 2016.
  27. ^ Films 2016 – Events at EIFF 2016 on Wed 15 June. Edinburgh International Film Festival. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  28. ^ 2016 Award Nominees. Edinburgh International Film Festival. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  29. ^ Pringle, Fiona. "Stars flock to premiere for St Andrews golf movie". Fife Today. 15 June 2016.
  30. ^ "Titles unveiled for UK’s only export market for British film". 2 June 2016.
  31. ^ Devy, Camille. "Tommy’s Honour". Dinard British Film Festival. 7 September 2016.
  32. ^ Tommy's Honour. Haifa International Film Festival. October 2016.
  33. ^ Brown, Hannah. "The Best of the Haifa International Film Fest". The Jerusalem Post. 13 October 2016.
  34. ^ "2016 BBC First British Film Festival Announces First Selections!". The Lowdown Under. 12 September 2016.
  35. ^ a b McNary, Dave. "Golfing Origins Movie Tommy’s Honour Lands at Roadside Attractions". Variety. 22 September 2016.
  36. ^ "(Trailer) Sam Neill in Historical Drama Tommy’s Honour The Story of Golf’s Founding Father and Son". 5 January 2017.
  37. ^ Tommy's Honour – Official website. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  38. ^ N'Duka, Amanda. "Roadside Attractions Picks Up Tommy’s Honour; Golf Pic Set For March Release". Deadline. 22 September 2016.
  39. ^ "Tommy's Honour, dramatic film about the founding father and son of modern-day golf to begin shooting in Scotland in August". 20 July 2015.
  40. ^ Pulver, Andrew. "Tommy's Honour review – well-pitched performances bring golf biopic up to par". The Guardian. 24 June 2016.
  41. ^ "The EIFF 2016 has begun and Edi Stark discusses the opening film, Tommy's Honour" (6:00–12:00). The Janice Forsyth Show. BBC Radio Scotland. 16 June 2016.
  42. ^ a b c Miller, Ross. "Film Review: A plot full of holes". The National. 17 June 2016.
  43. ^ Tommy's Honour at Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  44. ^ Anderson, Matthew. "Edinburgh 2016: Tommy's Honour Review". Cine Vue. June 2016.
  45. ^ a b Macnab, Geoffrey. "Tommy’s Honour, Edinburgh International Film Festival, review: A period drama, sporting biopic and tragic love story in one". The Independent. 15 June 2016.
  46. ^
  47. ^ Gosney, Kieran. "The 70th Edinburgh International Film Festival: Day One". The 405. 15 June 2016.
  48. ^ Rowat, Alison. "Alison Rowat film review: Tommy's Honour". The Herald. 16 June 2016.
  49. ^ Halligan, Fionnuala. "Tommy's Honour: Edinburgh Review". Screen Daily. 15 June 2016.
  50. ^ Muir, Kate. "Film: Tommy’s Honour at Edinburgh Film Festival". The Times. 16 June 2016.
  51. ^ Lowe, Justin. "Tommy’s Honour: Film Review | Palm Springs 2017". The Hollywood Reporter. 11 January 2017.
  52. ^ "Crime drama Shetland triumphs at Bafta Scotland". BBC News. 7 November 2016.
  53. ^ Kyle, Gregor. "Jason Connery breaks down in tears as he takes Scottish Bafta for best feature film". Glasgow Live. 7 November 2016.
  54. ^ British Academy Scotland Awards: Nominees in 2016. 2016 BAFTA Scotland. Retrieved 10 October 2016.

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