7.4/10
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37 user 13 critic

The Railway Children (1970)

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.

Director:

Writers:

(celebrated novel), (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
2,733 ( 6,878)

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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

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 ...
Doctor
Ann Lancaster ...
Ruth
Gordon Whiting ...
Russian
Beatrix Mackey ...
Deddie Davies ...
David Lodge ...
Bandmaster
Christopher Witty ...
Jim
Brenda Cowling ...
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Storyline

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 <pemmons@wcupa.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A film for adults to take their children, too! See more »

Genres:

Family | Drama

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 December 1970 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Aseman lapset  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lionel Jeffries bought the film rights to the novel himself. See more »

Goofs

The rail-level shot of the train approaching the children in the 'landslide sequence' is a different location to the remainder of the scene, having been shot at the northern portal of the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway's Mytholmes Tunnel, with the parapets of Mytholmes viaduct visible in the middle-distance - the remainder of the scene was filmed several hundred yards further along the line in visibly different surroundings. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Waterbury: May I borrow your lamp please.
Cart Man: I dare say.
Mrs. Waterbury: If you say 'I dare say' once more I shall have hysterics, I dare say.
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 »


Soundtracks

Pretty Polly Perkins of Paddington Green
(uncredited)
Written by Harry Clifton
Performed by Perks at the birthday party
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A truly wonderful film
15 March 2004 | by (North Yorkshire, England) – See all my reviews

This wonderful film has never failed to move me. The colour, convincing cast, and stunning scenery all make big contributions. This production, unlike the later remake by Carlton, is more impressionistic, and presented more from the children's own perspective. It focusses on certain episodes from E. Nesbit's charming story rather than trying to make a somewhat more documentary "warts-and-all" style that Carlton adopts. Above all, the superb musical score of the late Johnny Douglas underpins the story throughout, adding extra emotional depth. The net result is a truly formidable combination of sensory experiences that cumulatively present the poignant story of "The Railway Children".

One uncomfortable factor for the viewer to ponder throughout this film is how things have changed since those times - and in many ways, for the worse! Yes, maybe many of us no longer have to use outside toilets and travel in horse-drawn carts, but what about the quality of life in general? Consider the foul-mouthed celebrities who now "grace" our TV screens. Their language is now apparently considered perfectly acceptable. Consider, too, the fragile "here today, gone tomorrow" aspects of so many of today's "partnerships" plus all the single mothers - whatever happened to that institution called "marriage", when people accepted each others' flaws but still remained together, loving their children? These details add extra piquancy when watching this marvellous film.

I hope that, as generations pass, children will still be able to enjoy this film. Not to mention certain adults!


29 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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