Scotland, PA

Director: Billy Morrissette
Screenwriters: Billy Morrissette

Institute History

  • 2001 Sundance Film Festival


The works of William Shakespeare have inspired numerous filmmakers throughout the years. Two of the more prominent adaptations are Kurasawa's Ran and Robbins and Wise's West Side Story, which masterfully rework King Lear and Romeo and Juliet to sixteenth century Japan and late fifties New York City, respectively. Scotland, PA follows suit with its contemporary adaptation of the bard's classic Macbeth, yet takes even more outrageous liberties by comically setting the tale in the burgeoning empire of fast food in early 1970s rural Pennsylvania.

Mac (James Legros) and Pat (Maura Tierney) McBeth are stuck in their dead-end jobs at Duncan's Restaurant. Restless and a bit delusional, they hear about the boss's idea for revolutionizing the fast-food industry and hatch a plan that will solve all their woes. As events unfold, it seems the happy couple has attained the American Dream of fame, fortune, and french fries. However, as bodies start dropping, Mac begins to break down further, and Pat becomes more than a little obsessed with a nasty burn "spot" on her hand. These incidents arouse the suspicions of coworker, Anthony "Banko" Banconi (Kevin Corrigan) and police lieutenant Ernie McDuff (Christopher Walken).

Making great use of the soundtrack to help capture the time period, writer/director Billy Morrissette turns in an extremely clever debut. With the aid of an experienced cast that lend their wonderfully idiosyncratic talents to an ageless tale of desire, greed, and murder, he has created a film that is wickedly funny and incisive.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

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