The Phantom of the Open: Is the film based on a true story, cast, plot, and who is Mark Rylance’s character based on?

The Phantom of the Open is a new golf film starring Mark Rylance showing in cinemas in Sheffield from Friday, March 18.

Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 1:46 pm

The film premiered at the BFI London Film Festival on October 12, 2021 and is rated at PG-13, with a runtime of 1 hour 46 minutes.

The film has left a lot of people wondering whether the plot is based on a true story, and whether there was a living individual the movie was inspired by.

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Mark Rylance (pictured) plays Maurice Flitcroft in golf comedy The Phantom of The Open - which opens in Sheffield cinemas on Friday, March 18. (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images)

We’ve got the lowdown on where the film is showing in Sheffield, the movie’s plot, and its connection to the real life world of golf. Hold onto your flat caps…

Which Sheffield cinemas are showing The Phantom of the Open?

The film will be released in UK cinemas by Entertainment One on Friday, March 18.

There are currently screening times available for the film at the city’s cinemas, including Curzon Sheffield, Odeon LUXE Sheffield, Light Cinema Sheffield, Showroom Sheffield, Cineworld Sheffield, and Vue at Meadowhall.

Christian Lees, Jake Davies, Simon Farnaby, Mark Rylance, Craig Roberts and Jonah Lees attend "The Phantom Of The Open" World Premiere during the 65th BFI London Film Festival at The Royal Festival Hall on October 12, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Lia Toby/Getty Images for BFI)

What is The Phantom of the Open about?

In The Phantom of the Open, amateur golfer Maurice Flitcroft achieves his late-in-life goal of participating in the British Open Golf Championship, much to the ire of the staid golfing community.

Is there a trailer for The Phantom of the Open?

You can watch the trailer for The Phantom of the Open on YouTube.

The trailer hints at Flitcroft’s attempts to compete at the highest level of professional golf, drawing the ire of the golfing elite but becoming a British folk hero in the process.

Is The Phantom of the Open based on a true story?

The film is based on the remarkable true story of Maurice Flitcroft, who managed to gain entry to the 1976 British Open qualifying, despite never playing a round of golf before. He did so with the help of his family and friends.

When he discovered that any amateurs entering competitions had to have an official handicap - something he lacked - he simply declared himself to be a professional.

Flitcroft notoriously hit a score of 121 - the highest score recorded at the Open Championship - which led to widespread media attention and the nickname ‘the world’s worst golfer’.

Some of the other ‘professionals’ playing with him were so angry that they successfully demanded a refund of their entry fees.

The rules were subsequently changed to prevent him entering again, but he regularly attempted to enter the Open and other golf competitions - either under his own name or pseudonyms such as Gene Paycheki, Gerald Hoppy, and James Beau Jolley.

Who is Mark Rylance’s character based on?

Mark Rylance plays Maurice Flitcroft, who was a crane operator and optimistic dreamer from Barrow-in-Furness. He was born on November 23, 1929, and died on March 24, 2007.

Who else stars in the film?

As well as Academy award-winner Mark Rylance, the film stars Sally Hawkins as his wife, Jean Flitcroft; Rhys Ifans as R&A secretary Keith MacKenzie; Jake Davies as Mike Flitcroft; Christian Lees as Gene Flitcroft; Jonah Lees as James Flitcroft; and Mark Lewis Jones and Johann Myers.

Who is The Phantom of the Open directed by?

The film is directed by Craig Roberts, based on a screenplay by Simon Farnaby.

Craig Roberts is also an actor, known for his work in the 2010 film Submarine - written and directed by Richard Ayoade, which features Sheffield’s Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner on the soundtrack.