Box art for The Last King of Scotland

The Last King of Scotland


Set in Uganda in the 1970's, The Last King of Scotland is a compelling mix of fact and fiction that depicts Idi Amin (Whittaker) as one of the most powerful dictators of our time.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
3 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
5 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Brutal look at the consequences of absolute power. No kids.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie is based on the real life of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin and includes references to massacres, revenge killings, torture, and abuse. Some scenes depict such violence explicitly, including bloody bodies, shooting, knifing, and grisly torture. There are also some scenes of sexual activity, including a one-night liaison between the protagonist and an unknown woman and the protagonist's dangerous adulterous affair. Women appear in revealing or little clothing (some dancers are topless). Characters use foul language (especially "f--k") in anger. It's the 1970s, so characters also drink liquor and smoke cigarettes as emblems of class comfort.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the cycles of violence that afflict developing nations. How are these cycles supported by outsider money and exploitation of resources? Who's to blame for what happens in these cases? Families can also talk about the story of Amin, a former heavyweight boxer and British colonial army sergeant who declared himself president of Uganda following a military coup and ruled for eight years. What effect does having a fictional character tell his story have on the movie and what viewers take away from it?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: See the movie for Whitaker alone: He's possessed by evil and possesses it wholly, rendering the film (and everyone in it) his plaything.

- Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle, Friday, October 13, 2006

Fresh: Mr. Whitaker and Mr. McAvoy head a first-rate cast that helps The Last King of Scotland to illuminate one of the many dark chapters in recent African history.

- Andrew Sarris, New York Observer, Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Fresh: Rare is the actor who can accomplish an instant transformation from beast to buddy, but Whitaker makes it look easy.

- Bill Muller, Arizona Republic, Thursday, October 12, 2006

Audience Reviews

3 stars

The good thing about this movie is that is based on real facts .But the bad thing is that is also violent.It seems like life can write such unpredictable scripts.

- MrsInsomnia, Tuesday, June 30, 2009

4 stars

Forest Whitaker's performance here is truly all it's cracked up to me, and he masters the bipolar switches from terrifying to charming that dictators like Amin are often known for. And as regards the story, it's a bit predictable, but the plot keeps twisting and the action is generally steady, the stakes always high; the point of view of the outsider who's been let in (Amin's personal doctor, played by James McAvoy) is a great one from which to tell the story. Fine, competent film-making, but elevated to rarefied air by the quality of the leading man's performance; Whitaker puts what could be a ho-hum movie on his back and carries it. Great stuff.

- danperry17, Sunday, January 19, 2014

4 stars


- aquateen2, Saturday, May 17, 2014