Sunshine on Leith


A musical in which two friends return to Edinburgh after serving as soldiers in Afghanistan and find that life as civilians has its own difficulties.

The film is a musical featuring songs by Scottish band The Proclaimers, adapted from a stage play of the same name and directed by Dexter Fletcher. Fletcher would go on to even greater musical success, stepping in to replace Bryan Singer as the director of the Oscar-winning Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, and later helming Rocketman, a film based on the life of Elton John.

Information about the film's content

The film was first seen by the BBFC in August 2013. The people who made the film had asked that the BBFC give it a 12A certificate. However, the issues in the film were predominantly mild and moderate, so the BBFC rated the film PG. The viewing team noted the the light-hearted, musical context of the film as a whole. To ensure parents were aware of the content of the film, the BBFC noted that it contained “mild bad language, violence and sex references”.

PG stands for parental guidance. A PG film is suitable for general viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children. A PG film should not unsettle a child aged around eight or older. Unaccompanied children of any age may watch, but parents are advised to consider whether the content may upset younger, or more sensitive, children.

This is the BBFC age rating information for the film - which gives details of what issues are in the film and why is was rated PG.

Language: There are occasional uses of 'bloody, 'bloody hell' and 'crap'.

Violence: During an anniversary party an ill-judged joke starts a bar brawl that includes a head-butt to a man's forehead and some punches that are not seen to make clear contact. The violence is quickly brought to a halt and several characters make it very clear that the fighting is unacceptable.

Sex: There are some mild sex references. One man says that sister cannot be expected to 'drop everything' to be with her boyfriend and the other replies 'that's exactly what I expect her to do'. In addition, a woman tells her friend that her brother will be too busy 'staring at your tits' to notice what she is saying. During a musical number a woman sings about losing her virginity and how her 'sex life is all history'. A couple are also seen sneaking into a toilet cubicle together. It is implied that they are going to have sex but this is never seen or heard.

Other: The film also includes a scene in which a man collapses with a heart attack but he's quickly seen to be receiving medical help.

Discussion Points

  • Did you enjoy the film? How did the film make you feel? Were there any bits of the story that you didn't like? Who was your favourite character?
  • Did you learn anything from the film? If so, what?
  • Do you know the band The Proclaimers? How did that affect your experience viewing the film?
  • How well did you think the storyline integrated the songs by The Proclaimers?
  • The characters sing in the film because it is a musical. Do you like musicals and why/why not? Have you seen any before? Do the musical numbers allow the film to explore complicated ideas or difficult emotions?
  • The film explores the theme of soldiers returning home from war. Why do you think Davy and Ally found it difficult to adjust to life back in Edinburgh?
  • After receiving the letter from his daughter, Rab initially hides it from his wife Jean. Do you think it might have been better if he was honest with her? 
  • Yvonne and Davy are together by the end of the film, but Ally and Liz have broken up. What do you think were the issues in the relationship? Were they right for one another or not?
  • Do you think PG is the right age rating for the film? What issues were in it? Were there any you thought might be difficult for younger children?

Further Reading and Viewing

Books: Regeneration (Pat Barker, 1991); The Jack Reacher series (Lee Childs, various); The Jack Ryan series (Tom Clancy, various)

Films: The Best Days Of Our Lives (1946) BBFC U; Rocketman (2019) BBFC 15