The Railway Children (1970)

G  |   |  Family, Drama  |  26 December 1970 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 2,709 users  
Reviews: 36 user | 13 critic

After the enforced absence of their father, three children move with their mother to Yorkshire, where during their adventures they attempt to discover the reason for his disappearance.



(celebrated novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Waterbury (as Miss Dinah Sheridan)
Albert Perks (as Mr. Bernard Cribbins)
William Mervyn ...
Old Gentleman (as Mr. William Mervyn)
Iain Cuthbertson ...
Charles Waterbury (as Mr. Iain Cuthbertson)
Roberta 'Bobbie' Waterbury (as Miss Jenny Agutter)
Sally Thomsett ...
Phyllis Waterbury (as Miss Sally Thomsett)
Gary Warren ...
Peter Waterbury (as Master Gary Warren)
Peter Bromilow ...
Ann Lancaster ...
Gordon Whiting ...
Beatrix Mackey ...
Deddie Davies ...
David Lodge ...
Christopher Witty ...
Brenda Cowling ...


The film opens in a happy, comfortable upper middle-class home in Edwardian London. One night in 1905, the three children see their father usher two strangers into his study. After an argument he leaves with them and does not return. They and their mother fall on hard times and eventually move to a cottage in the country. Yet they keep their spirits up and find ways to help others. Fascinated by the nearby railway, they wave to the passengers faithfully every day, and their vigilance and courage prevent an accident. Their kindness makes friends of some important people who can help solve the mystery of their missing father. Written by Paul Emmons <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Railway, the Children . . . and the wonderful secret they'll share with you ! [UK] See more »


Family | Drama


G | See all certifications »




Release Date:

26 December 1970 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Aseman lapset  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Producer Lionel Jeffries chose to use the real name Oakworth (the station where most of the film was shot), changing the name from Meadow Vale as used in E. Nesbit's original novel. See more »


When the children are walking along the railway line it clearly has modern concrete sleepers which were not used in 1905. See more »


Phyllis Waterbury: I O N. There; 'Look out at the station'.
Bobbie Waterbury: One of your finest works, Michaelangelo.
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the end credit captions are displayed the shot tracks towards a steam locomotive, in front of which are gathered the principal cast. They are surrounded by extras portraying local townspeople, who wave and say goodbye to the audience. All the while, Jenny Agutter is preoccupied with writing something on a slate. As the camera reaches her, she holds it up to display the words "The End". See more »


Featured in I Love a 1970's Christmas (2000) See more »


The Man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo
Written by Fred Gilbert
Performed by Cook and the children
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Lionel Jeffries' Greatest Achievement
5 October 2004 | by (Manchester, England) – See all my reviews

I avoided this film as a boy because I thought it would be boring…no fights or shooting, cops, robbers, cowboys or Indians. It was definitely not a cool film to like. So I didn't see TRC until I was in my twenties and found it one of the most beautiful, captivating films I have seen. All the actors deliver the characterisations perfectly and each emotion is drawn from the viewer scene by scene. The filming and direction are deceptively simple but feel so natural and drew me completely into the story. My two favourite scenes are Bobbie's birthday party and the scene on the station platform near the end, directed and edited to perfection. The quality and phrasing of Jenny Agutter's voice when she calls: 'Daddy! My Daddy!' wrenches emotion from the viewer. Tears are welling in my eyes as I think of it.

This adaptation isn't just a movie it is a piece of precious art, as well as being the perfect example of what all film makers should be striving to achieve…creation of an emotional experience.

25 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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