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

4 stars

Even though it was an oscar winning movie, it still doesn't get enough praise for the right reasons. Forest Whitaker is very breathtaking in his role as Idi Amin, but I feel that James McAvoy turned in the better performance and really became overshadowed for no reason. The look of the movie is beautiful and a surreal look at Uganda. The story is well written and a unique way to tell the story of a presidential reign.

- ythelastman89, Friday, June 4, 2010

3 stars

People should not think this is a Idi Amin biography, he is a main character, but the story is told from the point of view of his doctor, a Scottish hotshot who loves women a little too much for his own good. And therein lies the problem of the film, Dr. Garrigan is not as likable as he should be. It takes a while for him to realize what country and mess he has gotten himself into and up until that point, the movie is a tad too friendly and harmless. The second half more than makes up for it, as the noose tightens around the protagonist's neck things are getting really exciting. That's when Whitaker starts to shine the most as well, giving a terrific performance as Ugandan dictator.

- ironclad1609, Monday, April 5, 2010

3 stars

Wow Forrest Whitaker was awesome in this movie

- dukeakasmudge, Friday, October 23, 2009