Soft Top Hard Shoulder

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Soft Top Hard Shoulder
2013 on demand movie release poster
2013 on demand movie release poster
Directed byStefan Schwartz
Produced byRichard Holmes
Screenplay byPeter Capaldi
Music byChris Rea
Release date
  • 15 January 1992 (1992-01-15) (general release)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Soft Top Hard Shoulder is a 1992 British comedy drama film directed by Stefan Schwartz, produced by Richard Holmes, written by and starring Peter Capaldi and also starring Elaine Collins, Frances Barber, Jeremy Northam and Richard Wilson.[1]


Gavin Bellini is a Glaswegian artist who left home to live in London seeking his fortune as a children's illustrator. Seven years later, he has not found the success he desired, but lives on the brink of starvation with a friend who is too kind to insist on the rent being paid. As his fortunes have declined, Gavin has been avoiding phone calls from his family back home in Glasgow. Gavin's family were ice-cream makers who had a factory in Glasgow and have recently sold it as Gavin's father is in poor health. By chance, his Uncle Salvatore - the head of the Bellini family - is down in London for the Ice Cream awards, and happens across Gavin in an Italian restaurant. He sits Gavin down to talk to him about his absence and gives him the ultimatum that he needs to be in Glasgow in 2 days time at 7:30pm sharp for his father's 60th birthday party. Gavin is reluctant, but Salvatore lets him know that the recent sale of the ice-cream factory has netted a profit which is to be shared amongst the children of the family - and if Gavin fails to show up, he will not receive his share of the profits. Salvatore gives him £30 to cover the petrol.

Emboldened by the prospect of some much-needed cash, Gavin decides to drive up to Glasgow in his 1971 Triumph Herald, a car given to him by a Country & Western group for doing the graphics for their album. With just the £30 given to him by his uncle, Gavin begins a momentous comedy road trip from London to Glasgow, meeting a mysterious attractive hitchhiker with a story to tell along the way.



The score and title track were composed by Chris Rea.


The film was a surprise hit,[2] and won two Scottish BAFTAS. Critics noted its similarities to Bill Forsyth films.[3]

A re-mastered version was released in December 2013 on Vimeo On Demand.[4]


Year Awards Category Recipient Result
1992 London Film Festival Audience Award Stefan Schwartz Won
1993 BAFTA Scotland Award Best Film Richard Holmes Won
Best Actor Peter Capaldi Won
Best Actress Elaine Collins Nominated


  1. ^
  2. ^ McLean, Marc. "Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi : My wife has been the foundation for my career". Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  3. ^ A, G. "Soft Top, Hard Shoulder". Time Out. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
  4. ^ "Soft Top, Hard Shoulder - double BAFTA-winning comedy starring Peter Capaldi". Vimeo. Retrieved 29 December 2013.

External links[edit]