Official Guide to Edinburgh

Top 5 Edinburgh Film Locations

30 May 2014

Sunshine 1

Top 5 Most Popular Edinburgh Film Locations

8th June marks the start of Film in the City in Edinburgh.  With a fantastic feast of fabulous film festivities designed to thrill and entertain us we will be able to boogie on down with friends and family or spread out woolly rugs and share a picnic as we sit back, relax and catch up with some wonderful movies at outdoor screenings across the capital. Running over three weekends, this will lead us into the 68th Edinburgh International Film Festival which co-incides with the production of an Edinburgh Film Map.

All this talk of films in the city has caused us to reminisce about our favourite Edinburgh film moments. So why not join us as we take a look at our top 5 favourites?

Sunshine on Leith 

Video: Sunshine on Leith Trailer

Vibrating to the catchy beat of The Proclaimers, this heart-warming story reaches the parts that other movies fail to reach. In a joyous tale of home, family and love it tells the story of a close-knit family and the experiences and bonds which keep them together. 

There are some fabulous shots of Edinburgh in this film from stunning aerial cityscapes to walks down some of our favourite city streets. However, the one which caps it for us has to be the fabulous finale which sees hundreds of people gather in an upbeat sing-along to the Proclaimers “I would walk 500 Miles” situated outside the National Galleries near the bottom of the Mound.  Who wouldn’t feel great after watching this?

Filmed in the middle of winter, in an interview with the Evening Times, Director Dexter Fletcher talks about how fortunate they were with the Scottish winter weather, "We would've taken whatever weather we got but it just so happened the week we were shooting outside, it shone. It was one of those happy accidents."

If you haven’t seen the film yet, be sure to catch it at St Andrew Square during the weekend of 14th and 15th June.  Keep your eye on our website for all the updates.


One of the most iconic Scottish films which put writer Irvine Welsh on a global platform, it couldn’t fail but leave a lasting impression on audiences.  Not renowned for displaying the picturesque side of our city, audiences will always remember the classic scene as Renton (Ewan McGregor) and Spud (Ewan Bremner) flee down Princes Street with the local bobbies in hot pursuit to the powerful beat of Iggy Pop’s anthemic Lust for Life.

The film received critical acclaim and has been ranked 10th in the list of Top 100 British films of all time by the British Film Institute.  In 2007, the film soundtrack was ranked 7th best motion picture soundtrack in history by Vanity Fair.  

One Day

Starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess this beautiful love story follows the lives of Emma and Dexter, two University of Edinburgh graduates, who spend a memorable evening together following their graduation and agree to remain friends.  The film spans 23 years and reconnects them on the same day every year, telling the story of how their lives have progressed.

There are some terrific shots of the capital with scenes shot in the colourful Grassmarket, Cockburn Street at Warriston Steps and Moray Place. One of the most poignant locations has to be Arthur’s Seat which appears at various stages throughout the film and for those who have not yet seen it, we are saying no more. We would not wish to give away a good story line. This is definitely a film for the ladies.

Chariots of Fire

Video: Chariots of Fire.

This classic film and inspirational soundtrack has attained longevity for audiences of all ages. It tells the fact-based story of two athletes aiming for Olympic glory in 1924 and the struggles they endure based on their religious beliefs.

Produced by David Puttnam and directed by Hugh Hudson it stars a wealth of British talent including Ian Charleson, Ben Cross, Nigel Havers and Sir John Gielgud.

Shot at various locations in Edinburgh it depicts the capital in a bygone era with stirring scenes filmed at Inverleith Park and Broughton Place.

The British Film Institute rank it no. 19 in their list of top 100 British films.  The instrumental theme tune by Vangelis was recognised with an Academy Award for Best Original Score.


This Scottish black comedy based on Irvine Welsh’s book sees  corrupt and scheming policeman, Bruce Robertson, played by James McAvoy, stop at nothing to progress his career and ultimately try and win back his estranged wife and daughter.

The ever majestic Edinburgh Castle introduces our main character as he walks across the castle bridge before marching down the Royal Mile and turning into the vibrant Grassmarket.

This gritty tale, it made £250,000 in its opening weekend at the box office and grossed over £842,000 the following weekend when it went on national release throughout the UK.