Whisky Galore! (1949)

Dir. Alexander Mackendrick / UK / Comedy / B&W / 82m

One of the best loved of classic British cinema’s comedy films, coming out of the stable at Ealing Studios.

It is based on a true story of a real ship, the S.S. Politician, that sunk in bad weather on February 5th 1941 outside Eriskay, in the Outer Hebrides. Onboard was a cargo of 250,000 bottles of whisky. The locals gathered as many bottles as they could, before the proper authorities arrived, and even today, bottles are found in the sand or in the sea every other year.

‘Whisky Galore!’ is a fictional interpretation of that story, predicated on the notion that all Scotsmen are drunks. When the tiny Island of Todday suffers from a wartime whisky shortage, the locals’ prayers are answered when a ship full of the precious liquid is wrecked on a reef. The islanders conspire to smuggle the whisky off the ship right under the noses of the pesky British revenue officials. Numerous clever comic complications occur before the happy ending – which, we are told by the narrator, was not so happy once all the whisky was consumed.

The island of Barra doubles as the fictional Todday and many of the locals appear in the film as extras.

whisky galore

The natural connection

Barra, Eriska, North Uist

Natural Scotland Films is part of the Year of Natural Scotland

year of natural scotland

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