Big Gold Dream

Big Gold Dream is a 2015 film documenting the story of Scotland’s post-punk scene, focusing on record labels Fast Product and Postcard Records. Directed by filmmaker Grant McPhee, the film’s name is taken from the 1981 Fire Engines single of the same name, the final release on the Pop Aural label.[1]

Big Gold Dream
Directed byGrant McPhee
Produced by
  • Grant McPhee
  • Wendy Griffin
  • Erik Sandberg
  • Innes Reekie
  • Angela Slaven
Written byAngela Slaven
Narrated byRobert Forster (musician)
  • Grant McPhee
  • Martin Parry
  • Garry Torrance
Edited byAngela Slaven
Distributed byTartan Features
Release date
  • June 19, 2015 (2015-06-19) (Edinburgh International Film Festival)
Running time
94 minutes

The film won the 2015 Edinburgh International Film Festival Audience Award.


Using a combination of interviews, archive material and specially-shot footage, the film traces the development of a post-punk scene in Scotland, tracing its roots in the punk explosion of 1977 and its effect on the Edinburgh music scene, with the emergence of bands such as Scars and The Dirty Reds and the appearance of record label Fast Product, which went on to release records by The Human League, The Mekons and Gang of Four. The film goes on to chart (and contrast) the rise and fall of Glasgow's poppier Postcard Records, home to Orange Juice and east-coast defectors, Josef K.

While primarily regarded as a music documentary, McPhee has stated that he sees Big Gold Dream as a study of creative autonomy and DIY culture:

“Despite its billing, this film is not a history of Scottish punk or independent music. It’s not really even that much about Scotland. It’s about young people taking control and expressing themselves creatively, without seeking permission from anyone in authority first – it just happens that those young people in our films chose post-punk music.”[2]


Big Gold Dream took nine years to produce, with the first interviews filmed in 2006.[3] McPhee attributes this to a dearth of available resources, stating that "in the early days things moved very slowly, equipment and time were expensive so we had to save up for a while to do each interview – and that was frustrating. Even a dozen interviews could take a couple of years."[4] So much footage was captured over this period that a second documentary, Teenage Superstars, followed, following the story of the Scottish music scene from the mid-eighties to early nineties, including interviews with Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake and Eugene Kelly of The Vaselines.[4]


Big Gold Dream premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on 19 June 2015, going on to show at Raindance, Belfast Film Festival, Leeds International Film Festival, Doc'n Roll Film Festival and Cambridge Film Festival. It was also included in the schedules of music festivals including The Great Escape, Indiepop NYC and Electric Fields.

Big Gold Dream received a television premiere on BBC Two on 15 April 2016.


The film was roundly well-received, including 8/10 in Uncut,[5] 4* in Mojo,[6] 4* in Record Collector Magazine[7] and 5* in Musikexpress,[8] as well as positive reviews in the Scotsman[9] and Louder than War.[10]

Dazed and Confused named it one of the best music documentaries of 2015[11] and it was included in Sight & Sound's best of 2015 list.[12]


Big Gold Dream won the Edinburgh International Film Festival Audience Award in 2015.[13]


  1. "The Quietus | Film | Film Features | Och Aye The Noo Wave: Big Gold Dream - Scottish Punk 1977-82". The Quietus. Retrieved 2018-04-02.
  2. "Chasing a Big Gold Dream: the Scottish music documentary that took 10 years to make - iNews". iNews. 2017-04-13. Retrieved 2018-04-02.
  3. "Big Gold Dream (documentary) – THE NEW VINYL VILLAIN". Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  4. "Teenage Superstars – An Interview with Grant McPhee". For Malcontents Only. 2016-09-10. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  5. Dream, Big Gold. "Lovely 8/10 Review For Our Film In Uncut". Archived from the original on 2018-04-05. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  6. Dream, Big Gold. "A Vivid Piece Of Cultural Archaeology". Archived from the original on 2018-04-05. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  7. "Big Gold Dream: Scottish Post-Punk And Infiltrating The Mainstream - Record Collector Magazine". Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  8. Dream, Big Gold. "★★★★★ Review In Musikexpress". Archived from the original on 2018-04-05. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  9. "Documentary explores birth of Edinburgh indie scene". Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  10. "Film Preview - Big Gold Dream: Scottish Post-Punk and Infiltrating the Mainstream- 1977-82". Louder Than War. 2015-06-15. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  11. Dazed (2015-12-03). "The best music documentaries of the year". Dazed. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  12. "Every Film Receiving Votes in Sight & Sound's 2015 Best Films Poll". Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  13. "EIFF 2015 Awards: Audience Award Goes to "Big Gold Dream" | Edinburgh Guide". Retrieved 2018-04-04.
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