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Loch Ness (1996)

A scientist tries to prove the existence of the Loch Ness monster.


John Henderson


John Fusco
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ted Danson ... Dempsey
Joely Richardson ... Laura
Ian Holm ... Water Bailiff
Harris Yulin ... Dr. Mercer
James Frain ... Adrian Foote
Keith Allen ... Gordon Shoals
Nick Brimble ... Andy Maclean
Kirsty Graham ... Isabel
Harry Jones Harry Jones ... Wee Wullie
Philip O'Brien ... Dr. Abernathy
Joseph Greig Joseph Greig ... Guideon
John Dair John Dair ... Macleish
John Verea ... Tow Truck Driver
Debora Weston Debora Weston ... Dr. Hunter (as Deborah Weston)
Wolf Kahler ... Dr. Muller


Dr. Dempsey, an American scientist who has become a skeptic after a disastrous wrong call, isn't exactly enthusiastic to be sent by his well-funded employer to Scotland to (dis)prove the existence of the Loch Ness monster, but has no choice. He finds the locals stubborn, "primitive" and all but hospitable, not in the least because the Nessie legend is the only tourist attraction, but still gets romantically attracted by his independent inn-keeper Laura, and both her kid and his enthusiastic local assistant end up making him face a small family of Nessie-dinosaurs, but is this to be made public? Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


for 1500 years one legend remains undiscovered undisturbed until now LOCH NESS See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language, mild sensuality and a fist fight | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

20 September 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El misterio de Loch Ness See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Ted Danson enjoyed being in Scotland. In an interview with The Daily Record, he stated that it was a pilgrimage to see the place of his maternal grandfather's birth. See more »


In the outdoor village scenes seaweed can be clearly seen, this indicates that they were shot next to tidal sea water. Loch Ness is a fresh water loch and hence has no seaweed. See more »


Dr. Jonathan Dempsey: Don't make the same mistakes I did.
See more »


Referenced in Frank Skinner Live in Birmingham (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

it's a sweet and delightful family movie
8 December 2009 | by TheUnknown837-1See all my reviews

To those who have not seen this movie: I am going to give you a fair warning. If you are looking for a creature feature, if you are looking for a monster movie, if you are looking for the cheap thrills that are stereotypically imagined coming from a movie with a title such as "Loch Ness", you are not going to get any of these. If who want to see the Loch Ness monster plucking people from docks and boats and gorging on them, don't even bother to start, because "Loch Ness" isn't even remotely along those lines. This is not a low-budget horror movie.

By contrast, this is a pleasantly sweet, low-key, lighthearted movie magic family's entertainment best suited for audience members between the ages of six and thirteen and with some appeal to limited members of the older generation. As an adult, I enjoyed this delightful, if somewhat flimsy, little independent film.

"Loch Ness" is, to a certain extent, not even about the Loch Ness monster. It's really more of a docudrama about the loch itself and the legend of the prehistoric creatures that supposedly dwells beneath its murky surface. The movie stars Ted Danson as a discredited American scientist who has come to Scotland to not find the monster, but, to quote his boss "use the latest technology to prove it's a hoax." Danson himself doesn't believe in the monster even though he's made a name for himself chasing Sasquatch in the Pacific Northwest. While in Scotland, he picks up a research assistant (James Frain) and forms a friendship with the local pub owner (Joely Richardson) and her ubiquitous daughter (Kirsty Graham) who seems to know a little more about the loch than anybody else does.

"Loch Ness" is, all in all, a family movie. There is some peril in the movie, but not enough to terrify the younger audience members. It's got the same spirit as "Free Willy" (1993) if "Free Willy" was set on a lake and the whale merely speculated to be there. Again, if you're a monster movie fanatic, stray away, for the attacks and blood and gore and shiny teeth you seek will not be found. The movie really boasts the question many people have: does the monster even exist? And that is the attitude of the picture. If it were a serious monster movie, we'd know right from the start. But it keeps that question going and going and for that reason, I enjoyed it, for it wasn't just another monster tale, because I personally have seen that movie over and over again, such as in another Loch Ness monster tale called "Beyond Loch Ness" in which the creature was revealed to be real after only five minutes of speculation.

Performances are quite good. Ted Danson is effective as the troubled, doubtful scientist who feels that he's just driving another nail into his credibility's coffin. James Frain is also good, although he does at times overplay his character, but it is refreshing to see the mentor-student relationship between him and Danson whereas it typically would be a tag team. I also liked Joely Richardson and was especially fond of Kirsty Graham as the mysterious little girl with a secret. And the screen is also aided by the presence of veteran actor Ian Holm as a water bailiff who always seems to watching Danson with a suspicious eye.

"Loch Ness" doesn't reach its full potential because of a somewhat flimsy screenplay, with some scenes ending before we hardly even realize they've started. Some of the dialogue is rather poor, some supporting characters just time-wasters, and such, but all in all, it's a simply fine family movie although it will not ring the bells for everybody. I liked it for its sense of wonder and mystery about the loch where this creature may/may not exist (the movie plays that note), I liked it for the performances, I liked it for the beautiful, ear-warming music score by Trevor Jones, the crystal clear cinematography by Clive Tickner, the unique and seldom-explored nature of the ending, and just an overall enthusiastic tone that director John Henderson instilled into this delightful, if flawed family movie.

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