Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rob Roy: A Highland Adventure

Over the past month I have been recovering from foot surgery. This meant weeks spent in a recliner watching movies to keep my mind occupied. One of the films that I watched was Rob Roy starring Liam Neeson and Jessica Lange. When one thinks of Scotland, movie audiences almost immediately think of BraveHeart. I happen to think Rob Roy is superior to Braveheart in many ways.

Rob Roy is a 1995 historical drama film directed by Michael Caton-Jones. Liam Neeson stars as Robert Roy MacGregor, an 18th century Scottish historical figure who battles with feudal landowners in the Scottish Highlands. The villains in this movie were perfectly casted. John Hurt, famous for his portrayal of Caligula in the 1976 BBC television production of I Claudius, plays the part of Marquis of Montrose who lends Rob Roy £1000 only to have Montrose’s conniving factor Killearn (Brian Cox) and evil henchmen Archibald Cunningham (Tim Roth) conspiring to take the money for themselves.

Together John Hurt and Tim Roth portray the greed that can befall men who hunger for nobility and power. Tim Roth was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the villain Archibald Cunningham.

(Tim Roth as Archibald Cunningham)

(John Hurt as Marquis of Montrose)

(Liam Neeson as Robert Roy MacGregor)

Breathtaking landscapes of the Scottish highlands, steamy love scenes and non-stoping, riveting action together make this film a must see. Rob Roy had excellent cinematographers in Karl Walter Lindenlaub and Roger Deakins and costume designer Sandy Powell.

The realistic sword fighting scenes in this movie can be attributed to fencing master and choreographer William Hobbs who also choreographed Othello (1965), Excalibur (1982) and The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) among many other great films.

Click below to view the final duel between Rob Roy and the infamous Archibald Cunningham in addition to a montage of the movie with Celtic music performed by Scottish folk singer Karen Matheson.


  1. Excellent article, Pat. I had almost forgotten how powerful that fight is! Of course, with Hobbs' choreography, considering his incredible work in the movies you mentioned, it just had to be. I agree totally that Tim Roth is just fantastic in this movie. He is one of my favorites.

    Rob Roy and Braveheart are both about Scotland, but otherwise very different. Braveheart is about battle and action and legendary love. Rob Roy is about people, character studies, and love as it really is. It is just a beautiful movie too, as you said.

    I need to watch the other clip too, and will do so, but I just had to watch the swordfight right away. Kudos, Pat!

  2. Thanks Becky, I think you'll like the montage. You will recognize the song as it was used in the film.