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


(as Kenneth Loach)


(book), (adaptation) | 2 more credits »

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Won 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Freddie Fletcher ...
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 ...
Agnes Drumgoon
George Speed ...
Billy's Friend
Desmond Guthrie
Zoe Sutherland ...


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


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


Drama | Family

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 April 1970 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

'Kes' - falken  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


After getting caned the boys the boys enter the classroom, the teacher greets them: 'Good morning, "Entry of the Gladiators".' This is "Entry of the Gladiators" 1897 by Julius Fuchic, marching music popular with colliery brass bands. See more »


Member of crew visible (with a beard) in the scene where Mr. Sugden is selecting the football teams. See more »


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


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


Written by Bobby Russell
Performed at the club
See more »

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User Reviews

A fine early Loach
8 July 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

SPOILER We hear a lot about the great French New Wave of the late '50's and '60's but what must not be forgotten is that in Britain at approximately the same time we were experiencing a New Wave that for us was no less exciting, even if, in retrospect, the directors that led it, Lindsay Anderson, Tony Richardson and Karel Reisz did not quite possess the iconic genius of giants such as Francois Truffaut, Claude Chabrol and Jean-Luc Godard. Nevertheless under the collective umbrella of a company named Woodfall they produced some pretty exciting stuff. I remember thinking Richardson's "A Taste of Honey" one of the most life-affirming films I had ever seen. If time has been a little less kind to it as one became more and more aware of its dependence on the use of melancholy industrial landscapes to underline its excitement, one film that understated this element, Anderson's "This Sporting Life" (not actually a Woodfall film but very much a part of this movement) has not diminished its power and remains in my opinion as seminal a work as Godard's "A Bout de Soufflé". Towards the end of the Woodfall era a new figure, Ken Loach emerged on the scene with early works such as "Kes", that were to carry forward the spirit of the British New Wave from the late '60's to the present day, a body of work without parallel in its consistency in our native cinema. "Kes", the story of an unloved streetwise adolescent, Billy Casper, living in Barnsley breaks dramatically away from the cinematic tradition of cute kids in much the same way as Truffaut had done in "Les Quatre Cent Coups". Billy, grubby and not beyond the odd bout of petty pilfering, lives in a council estate with a single mum and a loutish elder brother. School is a drudge to somehow get through each day. It's a place peopled by largely unsympathetic teachers who keep the kids down by barrages of verbal abuse and the odd swish of the cane. Somehow Billy holds his own. In the meantime he finds his inner strength and salvation in training a kestrel from the wild. When in the closing scened he loses the bird through the uncaring machinations of his brother, the effect is nothing short of heart wrenching. I would not quite go along with those reviewers who consider this to be Loach's finest film. It is somehow too loosely focused and concentrates a little too much on peripheral social issues such as the parlous state of education in a Northern secondary school and unsympathetic career guidance. The football match in the middle, although gently funny, goes on for rather a long time, deflecting our interest away from Billy. Loach was later to develop his vision of the human condition more single-mindedly and to greater effect in works such as "The Gamekeeper", "Ladybird, Ladybird" and what I believe to be his greatest work, "My Name is Joe", which is not to diminish a film with many wonderful moments provided mainly by David Bradley in his unforgettable performance as Billy Casper.

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