7.8/10
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76 user 65 critic

Kes (1969)

PG-13 | | Drama, Family | 3 April 1970 (UK)
Trailer
1:47 | Trailer

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ON DISC
A young, English working-class boy spends his free time caring for and training his pet falcon.

Director:

(as Kenneth Loach)

Writers:

(novel), (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Won 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Freddie Fletcher ...
Jud
Lynne Perrie ...
Mrs. Casper
...
Mr. Farthing
...
Mr. Sugden
Bob Bowes ...
Mr. Gryce
Bernard Atha ...
Youth Employment Officer
Laurence Bould
Joey Kaye ...
Comedian at Pub
Ted Carroll
Robert Naylor ...
MacDowell
Agnes Drumgoon
George Speed ...
Billy's Friend
Desmond Guthrie
Zoe Sunderland ...
Librarian (as Zoe Sutherland)
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Storyline

Bullied at school and ignored and abused at home by his indifferent mother and older brother, Billy Casper (David Bradley), a 15-year-old working-class Yorkshire boy, tames and trains his pet kestrel falcon whom he names Kes. Helped and encouraged by his English teacher Mr. Farthing (Colin Welland) and his fellow students, Billy finally finds a positive purpose to his unhappy existence, until tragedy strikes. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They beat him. They deprived him. They ridiculed him. They broke his heart. But they couldn't break his spirit.

Genres:

Drama | Family

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language, nudity and some teen smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 April 1970 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

'Kes' - falken  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Yorkshire dialect used in the film is difficult for some other English-speakers to understand. Some scenes in the recent DVD and VHS releases have been dubbed (e.g. the opening scene) to reduce the dialect, and the film was entirely dubbed when released in the USA. See more »

Goofs

In the first scene, when Billy Casper gets up to switch the light off, his hand misses the light switch on his first attempt to switch it off, and has to try again to turn the light off. See more »

Quotes

Billy: [training his falcon] C'mon Kes!
[whistling]
Billy: C'mon Kes!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The majority of the crew were listed simply under the heading "This film was made by..." without each person's specific job title (director of photography, sound recordist, editor etc) being given. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 100 Greatest Films (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

The Marrow Song (Oh! What A Beauty)
Written by Edrich Siebert
Performed by Joey Kaye at the club
See more »

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User Reviews

 
At times clunky, but an outstandingly powerful social commentary.
29 September 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Kes is the story of a few weeks in the life of a schoolboy, Billy Casper, against the backdrop of social disintegration that was the north of England in the late 1960s. Billy finds and trains a kestrel, investing in it all the latent energy that his school and rough home life have suppressed, and finding in it a release from the all too present reality of the rest of his existence.

An outstanding performance from David Bradley as Billy glues together the sometimes shaky portrayals of the other characters. As a contemporary social commentary this is a film that has many of the elements you might expect. Billy has an impoverished family with an elder brother working down the pit and a single mother struggling to cope with the situation in which she finds herself. His school is staffed by teachers who react to their part in a failing system with aggression towards the pupils. And he's quite at home with petty crime, stealing a pint from the milkman and a volume to help him train the kestrel from the second hand bookshop. But the film is saved from cliché by the honesty of the acting and the quality of the direction; it seems at times as if we're watching a fly on the wall documentary. The reactions of the boys to the rant and the caning they receive for being caught smoking is entirely natural. Brian Glover as the sadistic games master is all too credible. And the employment interview is too close to my own experience to be fiction.

The film moves to its inevitable and unforgettable conclusion and we're left wondering what happened to Billy Casper after the filming finished.


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