is a 1981 coming-of-age
romantic comedy film
and directed by Bill Forsyth
of Forsyth's movies, it is set in his native Scotland.
is set in and around a state secondary school in the Abronhill district of Cumbernauld.
It features John Gordon Sinclair, Dee
Hepburn, Clare Grogan, among others. Grogan's role helped promote
her career, as she was in the band Altered Images
at the time of the film's
was ranked 30th in the British Film Institute
's list of the
top 100 British films
29th on Entertainment
s list of the 50 best high school movies.
Gregory Underwood (John Gordon Sinclair) is an awkward teenager who
. His team is not
doing very well, so the coach (Jake D'Arcy) holds a trial to find
new players, with Gregory being moved to goal. Dorothy (Dee
Hepburn), turns up and, despite the coach's sexist misgivings,
proves to be a very good player. She subsequently takes Gregory's
place as centre forward and Gregory in turn replaces his friend
Andy (Robert Buchanan) as goalkeeper.
Gregory is all for her making the team, as he finds her very
attractive. However, he has to compete for her attention with all
the other boys who share the same opinion. Gregory initially
confides in his best friend Steve (Billy Greenlees), the most
mature of Gregory's circle of friends, and asks him for help in
attracting Dorothy. Steve, however, is unable to assist him.
Acting on the advice of his 10-year-old sister, Madeleine (Allison
Forster), he awkwardly asks Dorothy out on a date. She accepts.
However, Dorothy's friend, Carol (Caroline Guthrie) shows up at the
rendezvous instead and informs Gregory that something had come up;
Dorothy will not be able to make it. He is disappointed, but Carol
talks him into taking her to the chip shop
. When they get
there, she hands him off to another friend, Margo (Carol Mccartney)
and leaves. By this point, he is rather confused, but goes for a
walk with the new girl. On their stroll, they encounter a waiting
Susan (Clare Grogan), another of Dorothy's friends, and Margo
leaves. Susan confesses that she had wanted to date Gregory and
that it was all arranged by her friends, including Dorothy. She
explains, "It's just the way girls work. They help each
They go to the park and talk. At date's end, Gregory is more than
pleased with the girl he ended up with and the two kiss on his
doorstep before calling it a night and arranging a second date.
Madeleine, Gregory's sister quizzes him on his date.
Gregory's friends Andy and Charlie (Graham Thompson), who are even
more inept with girls, see him at various times with no less than
three beauties, and are envious of his seeming success.
to hitchhike to Caracas, where Andy
has heard the women greatly outnumber the men, but fail at that as
- John Gordon Sinclair as
Gregory Underwood, an awkward high school football player
- Dee Hepburn as Dorothy, the first
girl on the high school football team, despite the coach's
- Clare Grogan as Susan
- Jake D'Arcy as Coach Phil Menzies, the sexist football
- Robert Buchanan as Andy, Gregory's friend/goalkeeper
- Graham Thompson as Charlie
- Allison Forster as Madeline Underwood, Gregory's wise
10-year-old sister who convinces him to ask Dorothy out
- William Greenlees as Steve, Gregory's mature cookery-loving
- Carol Mccartney as Margo
- Allan Love as Eric
- Caroline Guthrie as Carol
- Chic Murray as
Headmaster, the high school's laconic headmaster
As the film had a small budget, the actors supplied many of their
own clothes. Dee Hepburn's white shorts were borrowed from her
The film was re-dubbed with rather Anglicised Scottish accents
for the original American
theatrical release. Both versions are available on the American DVD.
Many of the young actors were members of the Glasgow Youth Theatre,
and had appeared in Forsyth's earlier film, That Sinking
(1980), including Robert Buchanan, Billy Greenlees,
and John Gordon Sinclair.
A person in a penguin costume is seen at various points in the film
for no apparent reason. Inside the suit was Christopher Higson, son
of production manager Peter Higson.
Film critic Roger Ebert
liked the film's
direction, and wrote "Bill Forsyth's Gregory's Girl
charming, innocent, very funny little movie about the weird
kid...The movie contains so much wisdom about being alive and
teenage and vulnerable that maybe it would even be painful for a
teenager to see it...Maybe only grown-ups should see this movie.
You know, people who have gotten over the pains of unrequited love
The staff at Variety
liked the work of the young cast and Forsyth's able direction, and
wrote, "Filmmaker Bill Forsyth, whose friendly, unmalicious
approach recalls that of Rene Clair
concerned with young students (in particular, a soccer team goalie,
Gregory) seeking out the opposite sex...As Gregory, John Gordon
Sinclair is adept at physical comedy. Hepburn is properly enigmatic
as the object of his desire, with ensemble approach giving Greg's
precocious 10-year-old sister played by Allison Forster a key
Critic Richard Skorman wrote, "...Forsyth does a good job of making
light of the tender part in [Gregory's] teenage psyche, and his
friends and little sister in particular are quirky and lovable.
Unlike the film's American counterparts, Gregory's Girl
refreshingly free of mean-spirited characters and horny young studs
bemoaning their virginity."
The review aggregator Rotten
reported that 92% of critics gave the film a positive
review, based on thirteen reviews."
A sequel, Gregory's Two
, was released in 1999
with Sinclair reprising the role of Gregory, who by then was a
35-year-old teacher in his former secondary school. It received
mixed reviews and has yet to be released in the US either in
theatres or on DVD.
- Ebert, Roger. Chicago
Sun-Times, film review, January 1, 1981. Last accessed:
December 3, 2007.
- Variety, film review, January 1, 1982.
Last accessed: December 3, 2007.
- Skorman, Richard. Off-Hollywood Movies, film review of
Gregory's Girl, page 162. New York: Harmony Books, 1989.
- Gregory's Girl at Rotten Tomatoes. Last
accessed: March 25, 2008.