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The Water Babies (1978)

G | | Animation, Adventure, Family | 1978 (UK)
This children's fantasy tells the story of a 12-year-old boy who discovers a complex underwater world where young children are held prisoner by an evil shark and an eel.



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Complete credited cast:
Mr. Grimes / Voice of Killer Shark
Mr. Masterman / Voice of Eel
Mrs. Doasyouwouldbedoneby / Old Crone / Mrs. Tripp / Woman in Black / Water Babies 'Gate Keeper'
Lady Harriet
Sir John / Voice of Polar Bear
Tommy Pender ...
Samantha Gates ...
Elly / Voice of Ariadne the Water Baby
Paul Luty ...
Sladd / Voice of Claude the Swordfish
Salmon / Jock the Lobster / Kraken (voice)
Olive Gregg ...
Lance Percival ...
Terence the Sea Horse (voice)
Cyril the Walrus (voice)
Cass Allan ...
Liz Proud ...


This story is about a 12-year-old boy who discovers a complex underwater world where young children are held prisoner by an evil shark and an eel. Before he can return to the surface and clear his name, however, he must help the Water Babies leave their enclosed lake and reach the free waters of the ocean. Written by Anthony Pereyra {hypersonic91@yahoo.com}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A magical tale of live-action and animation based on the popular children's story. See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

1978 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Slip Slide Adventures  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


The movie's plot is summarized in a title card during the opening credits which state that the film is "A Story of a Little Chimney Sweep in the year 1850". See more »


When Tom and the lobster are singing "High Cockalorum" for the first time, Tom's mouth is opening and closing when he is not actually saying anything. Likewise, his mouth is shut when he is saying something. See more »


Mr. Grimes: [Tom recalls Grimes' accusation before jumping into the river] The boy's a thief!
See more »


References Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) See more »


High Cockalorum
Music by Phil Coulter
Lyrics by Bill Martin
Performed by Tommy Pender, Paul Luty, Lance Percival
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A memory from childhood
5 August 2001 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

I was wandering through my local library, browsing VHS tapes, when I saw a movie that made my mouth drop--Waterbabies. I have been hoping to see this movie again--it's been over 22 years since I saw it (cable-movie channel around 78-79). I had recalled a good many of the details--Grimes in particular. My son, who is 4, and I watched it.

He agreed with me that Grimes was "Not nice", and the best way for me to describe it was that he didn't love Tom. He accepted that. It was amazing that I still recalled some of the songs, too! They had stuck in my head for 22 years--which means they had to have some memorable-ness, eh?

It's a good child's movie, with parental guidance in case of questions about what children had to go through that were not nobility/society in the time-frame. This is what all the children faced daily (except for a few lucky ones), and while we try to Disney-coat movies, making them more pc for children these days, it doesn't mean that cruelty didn't exist--or even still doesn't. I enjoyed the animation. It wasn't Disney, no. I don't think Don Bluth touched a paintbrush on this movie.

There's a lot going for it, though. David T plays two roles! (I really like him!) James M does too. The waterbabies themselves are cute. You feel sorry for Tom, and root for him. Then Billie herself is extraordinary in the multi-role part she's playing--it's as if her eyes ARE magickal! I'm a huge fan of WoO, TLW&TW, and company (AND LOOKING FORWARD TO HP!), and I filed this along with those kind of movies. Yes, he jumps in the water, but not because of suicide. He jumped because he trusted the lady in black--she'd been appearing to him all along.

I think it's a good movie! If you have kids, pick up a rental copy. If you happen to locate a buy-able copy, let me know where! Ian liked it! :)


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