This film is often compared with the famous comedies made by the Ealing studios (in west London) in the 1940s and early 50s: films such as Passport to Pimlico, Whisky Galore! and The Ladykillers. Local Hero has much of the same charm, sly humour and affectionate portraits of a range of eccentric characters, but it also reflects the period in which it was made in its themes of the power of American oil companies and the early stirrings of ecological awareness. The director, Bill Forsyth (who is Scottish, of course) had one previous success to his name, which was Gregory’s Girl. This had some success in the USA, attracting finance to his next project and enabling him to hire the services of Burt Lancaster who was then still a major Hollywood star.