Best 5 Scottish Actors and Worst 5 Scottish Accents

To celebrate Burns Night, we decided to compile not one but two lists for you lucky people; The Top 5 Scottish Actors of all time and The Worst 5 Scottish Accents. Oh yes, because the first celebrates the country of good ol’ Robert Burns, and the second will have him spinning in his grave!

Top 5 Scottish Actors

Number 5- John Laurie
In at a respectable 5 is John Laurie. For you young whippersnappers out there, you might know him from Dad’s Army, but before that he was in a whole host of films alongside such greats as Laurence Olivier (in As You Like It) not to mention being in Alfred Hitchcock’s original The Thirty-Nine Steps. Ok, so not many of us have seen his films but he was one of the all-time Scottish greats and was one of the best at reading Burns that has ever lived. So there.


Number 4- James McAvoy
Now, one you will have definitely heard of- James McAvoy. From Shameless to Atonement, via Starter for Ten and Narnian lands, McAvoy has impressed with his range, his dedication and that sex scene with Keira Knightley. Not to mention the fact he managed to look cool whilst half nakedly playing a fawn. Huh. The Last King of Scotland might be his best film to date, but here is a young actor who is going places.


Number 3- Robert Carlyle
For playing a supremely evil Bond villain with such aplomb, in goes Robert Carlyle. From baddie to lovable geezer in The Full Monty, Carlyle has won the heart of many a housewife, and even though his recent films have been a bit, well, dodgy (the less said about Eragon the better) Carlyle still goes down as a great Scottish actor. After all, anyone in Trainspotting has to be good right?


Number 2- Ewan McGregor
Which leads on nicely to Ewan McGregor. Starring in not one but two Danny Boyle films, McGregor launched his career in the nineties and continues to go from strength to strength. A man with many talents, he seduced Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge, was bizarrely fantastic in Big Fish and has now diversified into gay prison films (I Love You Phillip Morris) and frankly weird war films (The Men Who Stare At Goats). If only he hadn’t been involved in the shocking Star Wars Prequels, McGregor might have pushed his way into the top spot.


Number One- Sean Connery
But this was not to be! How could anyone come close to James Bond himself, Sean Connery? The king of suave, the master of the thickly veiled line, the man with the bewitching look that can undress a woman in five seconds flat. Entrapment saw him score with a much younger lady, whilst being devilishly charming and slightly sinister in equal measure. The Untouchables was brilliant, as was The Hunt For Red October. But, Bond aside, does anything compare to him playing Harrison Ford’s dad in Indiana Jones? Twelve years is the age gap, but putting this scary biological calamity aside, who didn’t enjoy Connery and Ford hamming it up as they were chased through a dessert by Nazis?


So folks, there you have it. As Robbie Burns would say ‘Inspiring bold Sean Connery! What dangers thou canst make us scorn!’ Or you know, something similar.

Now, the above shows that there are a fair few talented Scottish actors. I haven’t even mentioned Dr Who-Tennant, or lovely lovely John Hannah, or Hagrid. But for some unknown reason, some directors keep casting non-Scots in their films, leading to the complete bastardisation of the Scottish accent. Here are the worst offenders- be warned, it makes grim reading indeed.

Worst 5 Scottish Accents

Number 5- Simon Pegg in Star Trek
Perhaps a little harsh, but Pegg’s Scotty does have a slightly lisping accent, tending towards the insane. Although deemed worse in the original trailer than the film by people who judge such things, he still props up our list for well, not being Scottish. And for wearing a stupid hat.


Number 4- Robin Williams in Mrs Doubtfire
It is testament to how good Robin Williams is at voices that this film works in the first place, but unfortunately for one so gifted his Scottish accent is bloody awful. So bad in fact, that is turns into an English one half way through, then back to Scottish and so the trend continues. Can we forgive him? He is preoccupied with other things, what with being dressed as a big fat woman and all. Hmmm. It might be English, it might be Scottish, either way it goes on the list.


Number 3- Mike Myers in everything
Shrek, Austin Powers, where do I start. The problem is Myers can actually do an ok accent, but then he gets so excited by this fact that he shoots his mouth off and the result is a mash of Scottish and Canadian vowel sounds closer to Martian than any Scottish dialect. Plus he loses points for playing the most disgusting character ever created in Fat Bastard.


Number 2- Christopher Lambert in Highlander
Ouch. There is little to say, as he only attempted the accent every fifth word. But an American pseudo European accent is never ever going to sound Scottish. So bad many people had to put subtitles up when watching.


Number 1- Mel Gibson in Braveheart
Wrong on every level- Mel, never ever ever enter Scotland or you may be flayed alive. Years on, we still look back and cringe. Even if you could ignore the awful historical inaccuracies (you’d think they would have checked that the term ‘Brave Heart’ actually referred to William Wallace, being as how the film is bloody titled that, but noooo) no one in their right mind could ignore the accent. Arise, Gibson, for the award of complete bastardisation of the Scottish tongue. And now slink back under a rock and stay there.


So there you have it. Go forth, drink whiskey, eat haggis and argue over the selections amongst yourself. But most of all- enjoy this fine wee Burns Night.

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