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Ring of Bright Water (1969)

Whoever said dog is man's best friend never met Mij! Mij is a cute, cuddly pet shop otter who captures the heart of Graham Merill (Bill Travers). It doesn't take Graham long to realize that... See full summary »



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

On Disc

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1 win. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Helena Gloag ...
Willie Joss ...
Lighthouse Keeper (as W. D. Joss)
Roddy McMillan ...
Jean Taylor Smith ...
Sarah (as Jean Taylor-Smith)
Kevin Collins ...
Archie Duncan ...
June Ellis ...
Philippa Gail ...
Pet stall girl
Tommy Godfrey ...
Ticket seller
Walter Hall


Whoever said dog is man's best friend never met Mij! Mij is a cute, cuddly pet shop otter who captures the heart of Graham Merill (Bill Travers). It doesn't take Graham long to realize that London is no place to raise a slippery otter. So he takes Mij to live in a ramshackle cottage on the coast of Scotland. Together they set out to explore the curious and magnificent natural wonders that surround their seaside home--from orphaned geese to tooth-less sharks. While Mij spends his days frolicking in the icy cold sea, Graham finds himself falling in love with the beautiful town doctor, Mary (Virginia McKenna). Before long, the three become inseparable friends. Written by Rone Barton Lokarr <sandbox2@netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

otter | dog | doctor | cottage | pet shop | See All (16) »


the stars of BORN FREE in a new adventure with a mischievous otter See more »


Comedy | Drama


G | See all certifications »






Release Date:

14 May 1970 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

A Baía do Homem Solitário  »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Virginia McKenna who plays the female lead turns up 35 mins in. See more »


Bill Travers's character is supposed to be going to Scotland by train. He enters Victoria station and is then seen buying a ticket at Marylebone. To travel to Scotland he would need to travel from either Euston or King's Cross. See more »


Mary MacKenzie: [They are out hunting whale sharks] I thought you said it wasn't dangerous!
Graham Merrill: Well, it has teeth. That's what they said in the book.
See more »


Referenced in Ideal: The Future (2008) See more »


Ring of Bright Water
(Title Song)
Sung by Val Doonican
Lyric by Betty Botley
Music by Frank Cordell (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the best animal films. ever.
12 February 2009 | by See all my reviews

Absolutely one of the films that defined a generation - Ring Of Bright Water was a huge success worldwide and is considered by many to be the best animal film.

The true story of a divorced insurance actuary who trades London and the 9-5 for Scotland because he bought an otter from a pet shop is simply brilliant. Based on Gavin Maxwell's excellent autobiography it translated very successfully to film.

Director Jack Couffer already a long career making classic animal films for Disney and had obviously never heard W C Field's famous line about never working with animals of children...here he adapted to a British sensibility and we end up with a film that is not sappy but rather genuinely magic. The cinematography by Walter Suschitsky is outstanding. Suschitsky went on to film the original Get Carter (....And not a lot of people know that ) The humans are great, but the otter (and other wildlife: the geese!) are truly amazing and lift this from ordinary to extraordinary. Maxwell actually bought the otter back from Iraq and it was discovered to be new subspecies which named by the London Zoological Society in his honour Lutrogale perspicillata maxwelli.

If you vaguely remember seeing this first time round you'll definitely want to see it again, if you haven't I promise you'll see something you won't easily forget - it is charming in the best sense with Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna at their understated British best. Both heartwarming and heartbreaking: it is the otter and the beautiful settings that you'll remember.

One of our favourites ever.

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