The Last King of Scotland (DVD)

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The Last King of Scotland (DVD)

The Last King of Scotland is a 2006 historical drama film directed by Kevin Macdonald from a screenplay by Peter Morgan and Jeremy Brock. Based on Giles Foden s 1998 novel, it depicts the dictatorship of Ugandan President Idi Amin through the perspective of a fictional Scottish doctor. The film stars Forest Whitaker and James McAvoy in these respective roles, with Kerry Washington, Simon McBurney, and Gillian Anderson in supporting roles. The title of the film refers to Amin s claim of being the King of Scotland.

A British and German co-production, the film was released in the United States on 27 September 2006 and in the United Kingdom on 12 January 2007. It grossed $48.4 million on a $6 million budget and received positive reviews, with acclaim for Whitaker s performance. Whitaker won an Academy Award for Best Actor, among other accolades.


In 1970, Nicholas Garrigan graduates from medical school at the University of Edinburgh. With dull prospects at home, he decides to seek adventure abroad by working at a Ugandan missionary clinic run by Dr. David Merrit and his wife, Sarah. Garrigan becomes attracted to Sarah, who enjoys the attention but refuses to engage in an extramarital affair.

Meanwhile, General Idi Amin overthrows incumbent president Milton Obote in a coup d état. Sarah has seen past corruptions and warns it will repeat itself, but Garrigan sincerely believes Amin will help the country.

Garrigan is called to a minor car accident where he treats Amin s hand. During the incident, Garrigan takes a gun and shoots a mortally wounded cow because no one else has the presence of mind to put it out of its misery. Amin is impressed by his quick action and initiative. Fond of Scotland as a symbol of resilience and admiring of the Scottish people for their resistance to the English, Amin is delighted to discover Garrigan s nationality and exchanges his military shirt for Garrigan s Scotland shirt. Later, Amin invites Garrigan to become his personal physician and take charge of modernising the country s healthcare system.

Garrigan soon becomes Amin s trusted confidant and is relied on for much more than medical care, such as matters of state. Although Garrigan is aware of violence around Kampala, he accepts Amin s explanation that cracking down on the opposition will bring lasting peace to the country.

Garrigan discovers that the polygamous leader has ostracised the youngest of his three wives, Kay, because she has given birth to an epileptic son, Mackenzie. When treating Mackenzie, Garrigan and Kay form a relationship and have sex, but Kay tells him he must find a way to leave Uganda.

Eventually, Garrigan begins to lose faith in Amin as he witnesses the increasing paranoia, murders, and xenophobia. Amin replaces Garrigan s British passport with a Ugandan one to prevent him from escaping, which leads Garrigan to frantically seek help from Stone, the local British Foreign Office representative. Garrigan is told the British will help him leave Uganda if he uses his position to assassinate Amin, but Garrigan refuses.

Kay informs Garrigan that she has become pregnant with his child. Aware that Amin will murder her for infidelity if he discovers this, she begs Garrigan for a secret abortion. Delayed by Amin s command that he attend a press conference with Western journalists, Garrigan fails to meet Kay at the appointed time. She concludes she has been abandoned and seeks out a primitive abortion in a nearby village, where she is apprehended by Amin s forces. Garrigan finds her dismembered corpse on an autopsy table and falls retching to his knees, finally confronting the inhumanity of Amin s regime, and decides killing him will end it all.

A hijacked aircraft is flown to Entebbe Airport by pro-Palestinian hijackers seeking asylum. Amin, sensing a major publicity opportunity, rushes to the scene, taking Garrigan along. At the airport, one of Amin s bodyguards discovers Garrigan s plot to poison Amin under the ruse of giving him pills for a headache. Garrigan is beaten by Amin s henchmen before Amin arrives and discloses he is aware of the relationship with Kay. As punishment, Garrigan s chest is pierced with meat hooks before he is hanged by his skin.

Amin arranges a plane for the release of non-Israeli passengers, and the torturers leave Garrigan unconscious on the floor while they relax in another room. Garrigan s medical colleague, Dr. Junju, takes advantage of the opportunity to rescue him. He urges Garrigan to tell the world the truth about Amin s regime, asserting that the world will believe Garrigan because he is white. Junju gives Garrigan his own jacket, enabling him to mingle unnoticed with the crowd of freed hostages and board the plane. When the torturers discover Garrigan s absence, Junju is killed for aiding in the escape. While Amin is being informed of Garrigan s escape, which he is too late to prevent, Garrigan boards the plane and tearfully remembers the people of Uganda.

An epilogue reveals that the Entebbe incident ruined Amin s reputation in the international community, and in 1979 he made a foolhardy decision to invade Tanzania, which promptly counterattacked and captured Kampala, overthrowing him. He lived the rest of his life in exile in Saudi Arabia until his passing in 2003.


  • Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin
  • James McAvoy as Dr. Nicholas Garrigan
  • Kerry Washington as Kay Amin
  • Gillian Anderson as Sarah Merrit
  • Simon McBurney as Stone
  • David Oyelowo as Dr. Junju
  • Stephen Rwangyezi as Jonah Wasswa
  • Abby Mukiibi Nkaaga as Masanga
  • Adam Kotz as David Merrit
  • David Ashton as Garrigan Sr.
  • Barbara Rafferty as Mrs. Garrigan
  • Sam Okelo as Bonny
  • Sarah Nagayi as Tolu
  • Chris Wilson as Perkins
  • Apollo Okwenje Omamo as Mackenzie Amin
  • Louis Asea as Campbell Amin
  • Joanitta Bewulira-Wandera as Malyamu Amin
  • Consodyne Buzabo as Nora Amin
  • Shabir Mir as Zumba
  • Cleopatra Koheirwe as Joy
  • Michael Wawuyo as Andrew Mukooza
  • Martina Amati as Italian Journalist
  • Angela Kalule as Nightclub singer

Historical accuracy

While the character of Idi Amin and some of the events surrounding him in the film are mostly based on fact, Garrigan is a fictional character. Foden has acknowledged that one real-life figure who contributed to the character Garrigan was English-born Bob Astles, who worked with Amin. Another real-life figure who has been mentioned in connection with Garrigan is Scottish doctor Wilson Carswell. Like the novel on which it is based, the film mixes fiction with real events to give an impression of Amin and Uganda under his rule. While the basic arc of Amin s rule is followed, the events in the film depart from both actual history and the plot and characters in Foden s novel.

In real life and in the book, Kay Amin was impregnated by her lover, who was a Ugandan physician (given a different name in the book than in real life). She died during a botched abortion performed by him, who subsequently committed suicide. Astles said in a lengthy interview for The Times with the journalist Paul Vallely that her body was dismembered by her lover so it could be hidden and was then sewn back together on Amin s orders. Amin never had a son named Campbell.

Contrary to the wording of the film s coda stating, 48 hours later, Israeli Forces stormed Entebbe and liberated all but one of the hostages , three hostages died during Operation Entebbe. The body of a fourth hostage, 75-year-old Dora Bloch, who was killed by Uganda Army officers at a nearby hospital in retaliation for Israel s actions, was eventually returned to Israel. The murder of Dora Bloch is depicted accurately in the book but not mentioned at all in the film. Also when the non-Israeli hostages were released, they are seen being flown out of Entebbe, Uganda to Paris, France on an Antonov An-12 aircraft, but in real life the non-Israeli hostages were flown to Paris on a chartered Air France Boeing 747.

According to Foden, the film s depiction of Amin is comparable with the Shakespearean character Macbeth, whom he had in mind when writing the novel.


The Last King of Scotland received a limited release in the United States on 27 September 2006, a UK release on 12 January 2007, a French release on 14 February 2007, and a German release on 15 March 2007. In the United States and Canada, the film earned $17,606,684 at the box office. In the United Kingdom, the film took $11,131,918. Its combined worldwide gross was $48,362,207.


Critical response

The Last King of Scotland has an approval rating of 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 185 reviews, with an average score of 7.3/10. The website s critical consensus states: Forest Whitaker s performance as real-life megalomaniac dictator Idi Amin powers this fictionalized political thriller, a blunt and brutal tale about power and corruption . At Metacritic, the film has a score of 74 out of 100 based on 36 critics, indicating generally favorable reviews .


Academy Awards record
Best Actor (Forest Whitaker)
Golden Globe Awards record
Best Actor - Drama (Forest Whitaker)
BAFTA Awards record
Best British Film
Best Actor (Forest Whitaker)
Best Adapted Screenplay

Whitaker won in the best leading actor category at the 79th Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the BAFTAs. Whitaker also won awards from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, National Board of Review, National Society of Film Critics, and many other critics awards, for a total of at least 23 major awards, with at least one more nominations. As of 2022, Whitaker from The Last King of Scotland and Mirren from The Queen are the only two lead performances for portraying real-life leaders, and is the only lead actor to ever sweep the rarest achievements known as The Big Four critics awards (LAFCA, NBR, NYFCC, NSFC) as well as win the Oscar, Globe, BAFTA, SAG, and Critic s Choice at the same year.

The film received a 2007 BAFTA Award for Best British Film and the BAFTA award for Best Adapted Screenplay, in addition to receiving nominations for Best Film (lost to The Queen also written by Peter Morgan). McAvoy was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, but he lost to Alan Arkin from Little Miss Sunshine (which was directed by music video directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris).

The film was received well in Uganda, where it premiered two days before Whitaker won the Best Actor Academy Award.




Fox Searchlight

Age Group


Rating MPA

Not Rated

Recording Studio

Fox Searchlight




Fox Searchlight

Amazon ASIN











2h 3min


Won 1 Oscar, 49 wins & 32 nominations total


Kevin Macdonald


Peter Morgan, Jeremy Brock, Giles Foden


James McAvoy, Forest Whitaker, Gillian Anderson

Produced by

Ros Borland, Lisa Bryer, Andrea Calderwood, David Fox, Andrew Macdonald, Vicki Patterson, Allon Reich, Tessa Ross, Christine Ruppert, Charles Steel, Suzanne Warren, Andrew Wood

Music by

Alex Heffes

Cinematography by

Anthony Dod Mantle

Film Editing by

Justine Wright

Casting By

Jina Jay

Production Design by

Michael Carlin

Art Direction by

Mags Horspool, Lynne Huitson, Joanna Stutchbury

Set Decoration by

Tina Jones

Costume Design by

Michael O'Connor

Makeup Department

Suzanne Belcher, Barrie Gower, Giacomo Iovino, Dianne Jamieson, Keloy Kemigisha, Sharon Martin, Irene Nabuuma, Vivienne Simpson, Helen Speyer

Production Management

Jonathan Haren, Angela Murray, Clare St. John, Chris Wilding

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Jonathan Bloom, Ben Burt, Emile Dinneen, George Every, Simon Rwemba Iyarwema, Ashley Jackman, Raymond Kalisa, Eliot Mathews, Praem-Marie Metha, Michael Muganga, Andrew Mutungi, Isabel Pike, Derek Ritchie, Sande Philip Sengi, Richard Tooro

Art Department

Rebecca Alleway, Gill Andrae-Reid, Apollo Asea, Alan Ballany, Joshua Barraud, Brian Boyne, Catherine Carruthers, Liam Collins, Hazel Crampton, Stewart Cunningham, Edmond Etyang, Kimberley Fahey, Derek Fraser, Christine Gibson, Muffin Green, Jane Harvie, Mohammed Hatibu, Kathy Heaser, Mags Horspool, John Hughes, Frederick Kago, David Kalemera, Stanley Chege Kariuki, John Njoroge Kimani, Stephan Mwenda Kimani, Paul Muiga Kinajui, Euan Kinghorn, John Mwangi Maina, Gustavas Matovu-Wasswa, Jim McCallum, Samson Meitamei, Frederick Mpuuga, Keneth Mugabi, Musa Mugera, Heron Mwangi, Macharia Naftali Mwangi, Paul Njonjo, Elizabeth Nyagah, Joseph Oketch, David Roy, Elijah Serwanja, Tony Sheridan, James Shovlin, John Silva, Vittoria Sogno, James Stilly, Eva Tumwesigye, Lawrence Umon, David Weatherstone, Gary Lock

Sound Department

Courtney Bishop, Stuart Bruce, Fiona Carlin, Christian Conrad, Anthony Faust, Alan Freedman, Noemi Hampel, Larry Hopkins, Daniel Iribarren, Hosea Jemba, Joanna Lee, Tim Maxwell, Michael Miller, Jordan O'Neill, Fred Pietzner, Carsten Richter, Nele Schinz, Dominik Schleier, Fabian Schmidt, Martin Steyer, Lionel Strutt, Marcus Sujata, Roman Volkholz, Hanse Warns, Michael Wollmann, John Soukup

Special Effects by

Sebastian Bulst, Perry Costello, Rick Jotle, Dirk Lange, Waldo Mason, Simon Rose

Visual Effects by

Louie Alexander, Rodrigo Bernardo, Philip Bland, Jason Burnett, Andy Burrow, Jessica Catalan, Matthieu Chatelier, Joe Cleave, Oliver Deen, Jerome Dewhurst, Paul Doogan, Mike Fischer, Joe Godfrey, Charlie Habanananda, Alistair Hamer, Adam Hawkes, Jan Hogevold, Anouk L'Heureux, Aaron Lear, John Lockwood, Kevin Lowery, Maria Michalopoulou, Mike Morrison, Paul Nilsson, Stuart Nippard, Collette Nunes, Dominique Ortoli, Enrico Perei, Dan Perry, Dave Robinson, Aatesh Shah, Lyndall Spagnoletti, Nick Stanley, Hayley Easton Street, Steve Street, Fabiola Trejo, Stephen Willey, Annabel Wright


Gary Connery, Eddie Stacey

Camera and Electrical Department

Joe Alexander, Telfer Barnes, Francis Bbosa, Chris Belcourt, Julie Bills, Jan Brun, Eigil Bryld, Stuart Bunting, Timothy Serwada Byakatonda, Derek William Carlow, Tim Critchell, Neil Davidson, Ross Grainger, Stuart Howell, Andrew Kalyango, Peter Keith, Khalied Manuel, Harun Gitau Mbochi, Callum Milne, Gabriel Nduati Mugo, Allan Samuel Mwanja, Scott Napier, Thomas Neivelt, Francis Wanyandeh Ouma, Won-suk Park, Philip Rath, Philipp Rath, Julia Robinson, Julius Senteyo, Julius Ssentongo, Simon Surtees, Pim Tjujerman, Mohamed Wafula, Markus Wiebecke, Billy Wilson

Casting Department

Joanitta Bewulira-Wandera, Consodyne Buzabo, David Fox, Robin Hudson, Irene Kintu, Kaya Kagimu Mukasa, Andy Williams, Dixie Chassay

Costume and Wardrobe Department

Tim Aslam, Elizabeth Chepkurui, Arnalie Harper Gow, Georgina Gunner, Graham Hunter, Carol Kabatanya, Shane Kingdon, Sandra Kyomugisha, Juliet Mbabali, Alison Mitchell, Phiona Mucho, Ali Mutebi, Tony Mutengu, Farouk Myombi, Elizabeth Nakawungu, Janet Nalujja, Brenda Nanyonjo, Craig Walker, Kevin Zziwa, Liz Boulton, Dana Shangerey

Editorial Department

Marcus Alexander, Fred Chandler, Ted Guard, Stephen Haren, Neil Hurford, Adam Inglis, Mike Morrison, Asha Radwan, Donna Smith, Mark Wright

Location Management

Alistair Baggaley, Crispin Buxton, Kennedy Forsyth, Ayuub Kasasa Mago, Emily Mabonga, Mark McGhee, Amelia McNeil, Neil Murray, Wilberforce Musolo Mutya, Ibrahim Senfuma, Michael Wawuyo

Music Department

Dirk Campbell, Paul Clarvis, Geoff Foster, Vic Fraser, Alex Heffes, Larry Hopkins, David Juritz, Kawesa, Julian Kershaw, Abi Leland, Tom Pigott Smith, Andy Richards, Tom Silvester, Hilary Skewes, Sam Southwick, Helen Vollam, Dach Zziwa, Thomas Cavanaugh

Script and Continuity Department

Cathy Doubleday, Clare Saxby

Transportation Department

Isa Abiriga, Fred Bbossa, Augustine Bigirimana, Harvey Damulira, Jim Gangel, Patrick Gataama, Celestine Harelimana, David Hategeka, Muhamadi Ibrahim, Canada Jahwila, Patrick Kabengwa, Stephan Waigumba Kamya, Simon Katongole, Musa Kawoya, John Kiggundu, Sinaani Kitaita, Jerry Komagum, Bob Kyazze, Frank Lubowa, Moses Lubowa, Will Lugolobi, Faizal Lule, Fred Male, Herbert Masembe, Godfrey Matangi, Innocent Matete, Prim Mbabazi, John McKay, Eriya Mubiru, Ramathan Mubiru, Jjuko Mugaga, Ramathan Mugalu, Asuman Mugulusi, Yassin Mukasa, Alan Murray, Milton Mwesigye, Jackson Ndyomugenyi, Bob Nsereko, Adrian Ntirengwa, Kimuli Nurudini, Les Quinn, Dan Roberts, Ismael Salim, Jason Sandy, Colin Sendaula, Abby Shalif, Nasser Ssenyondo, Kinarwa Swaibu, Joseph Tamale, Arthur Tuhumwire, Arthur Twine, Edwin Muhanguzi Twine, Sam Wanabwa, Mick Ward, Wayne Wright, Edward Yiga, James Zamukoreka, Paul Zziwa

Additional Crew

Tinkamanyire Absolom, Docus Acan, Chris Bagana, Jackie Bazan, Carey Berlin, Helga Binder, Stefi Brachman, Mary Brehony, Livia Burton, Katherine Butler, Shanti Butteri, Claire Chapman, Brian Coffey, Michael Connor, Anita Cox, Matt Curtis, Mark Davitt, John Dunning, Robert Easton, Clare Gerard, Fiona Gillan, Bill Godfrey, Louise Gow, Paul Grindey, Brigitte Harriman, Franziska Hoch, Malcolm Holt, Tracey Josephs, Michael Kanyamunyu, Richard Kawesa, Kate Lee, Moses Masaba, Mike Mayeku, Sharron McGuire, Claire Mckay, Jacob Melton, John Miles, Debbie Moore, Natalie Moore, Charles Mulekwa, Sara Mutamba, Sheleena Naidoo, Elizabeth Florence Naigaga, Chris Nsubuga-Mugga, Gerardine O'Flynn, Louise Orr, Jeremy Page, Tanya Phegan, Moses Baba Rukundo, Stefan Rüll, Christopher Sanderson, Rolf Schmid, Samantha Sheridan, Joanne Smith, Godfrey Ssali, Daniel Ssettaba, Moyra Statham, Shaw Statham, Hassy Tebugulwa, Helen Varty, Gioia von Thun, Sarah Wheale, Walter Wißmann, Christian Wöltche, Gero Brugmann, Daniel Budd


Simon Channing Williams


Biography, Drama, History


Fox Searchlight Pictures, DNA Films, FilmFour


UK, Germany


English, French, German, Swahili





ImDb Rating Votes


Metacritic Rating


Short Description

The Last King of Scotland is a 2006 historical drama film directed by Kevin Macdonald from a screenplay by Peter Morgan and Jeremy Brock. Based on Giles Foden s 1998 novel, it depicts the dictatorship of Ugandan President Idi Amin through the perspective of a fictional Scottish doctor. The film stars Forest Whitaker and James McAvoy in these respective roles, with Kerry Washington, Simon McBurney, and Gillian Anderson in supporting roles. The title of the film refers to Amin s claim of being the King of Scotland.

A British and German co-production, the film was released in the United States on 27 September 2006 and in the United Kingdom on 12 January 2007. It grossed $48.4 million on a $6 million budget and received positive reviews, with acclaim for Whitaker s performance. Whitaker won an Academy Award for Best Actor, among other accolades.

Box Office Budget

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Box Office Opening Weekend USA


Box Office Gross USA


Box Office Cumulative Worldwide Gross



1970s,ugandan,doctor,police state,sexual compulsion