Films & Schedules

  • Stone of Destiny

  • Charles Martin Smith

Canada/United Kingdom
96 minutes

Production Company:
Infinity Features Entertainment/The Mob Film Company
Executive Producer:
William Vince, Charles Martin Smith, Terrence Yason, Carole Sheridan, Victor Loewy, Michael Murphey
Rob Merilees, Andrew Boswell
Charles Martin Smith, based on the book The Taking of the Stone of Destiny by Ian Hamilton, Q.C.
Production Designer:
Tom Sayer
Glen Winter
Fredrik Thorsen
Bill Sheppard, Chris Duesderdick
Mychael Danna
Principal Cast: Charlie Cox, Kate Mara, Robert Carlyle, Billy Boyd, Stephen McCole, Ciaron Kelly

Canadian Distributor:
Alliance Films
International Sales Agent:
Arclight Films

Saturday September 1306:00PM VISA SCREENING ROOM (ELGIN) Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 1308:00PM ROY THOMSON HALL Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

As political debate in this and other countries continues to involve the tricky business of national pride, this fun-loving film reminds us that a sense of humour can sometimes help navigate these complex waters. Filmmaker Charles Martin Smith, creator of the Farley Mowatt adaptation The Snow Walker, is fascinated by national myths. Here, he looks across the pond for inspiration, finding a fast-paced and fascinating true story about an extraordinary caper, a rising nationalist tide and a crucial symbol of Scottish independence. It happened in 1950, when a couple of Scottish friends took it upon themselves to steal back a symbol of their people. But it all began centuries earlier.

In 1296, England's Edward I claimed Scotland's Stone of Scone as part of his spoils of war, and took the three-hundred-pound block of sandstone to Westminster Abbey. It remained there for centuries as part of St. Edward's Chair, upon which English monarchs were crowned – a not particularly subtle symbol of England's rule over Scotland. That is, it remained there until Christmas Day 1950, when a group of Scottish students set out to reclaim the stone from the Abbey.

Stone of Destiny recreates this historic heist with humorous charm and a universal sense of patriotism. Ian Hamilton (Charlie Cox) hopes to enflame some national pride among his fellow students, and the Stone is his answer. His infectious enthusiasm persuades several friends, including Kay (Kate Mara), Alan (Ciaron Kelly), Gavin (Stephen McCole) and Bill (Billy Boyd), to help. Hamilton's zeal even manages to convince prominent Scottish nationalist John MacCormick (Robert Carlyle) to assist with the scheme.

As an adventure comedy that is as funny as it is hair-raising, Stone of Destiny provokes cheers. The heist itself is recreated in thrilling detail, as the would-be thieves bumble their way into Westminster Abbey, trying to shake the foundations of English power by amateur means. The bright young cast is rounded out by the legendary Brenda Fricker as a motherly and wise housekeeper and Peter Mullan as Ian's father. Smith's light touch lends the theme of independence, both personal and political, an easy resonance that transcends nationality. Stone of Destiny is about the love of country and self, about the symbols that connect a culture, and about how a nation's independence could be defined by a chunk of rock.

Charles Martin Smith was born in Van Nuys, California, and received a B.A. in theatre from California State University, Northridge. He has worked extensively as an actor both in television and film.After directing the features Trick or Treat (86), Boris and Natasha (92), Fifty/Fifty (92) and Air Bud (97), he wrote and directed the films The Snow Walker (03) and Stone of Destiny (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award