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Black Jack (1979)

A rediscovered classic from director Ken Loach (THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY, KES) and one of the inspirations for Wes Anderson's MOONRISE KINGDOM, BLACK JACK is a dark and complex ... See full summary »


(as Kenneth Loach)


(novel), (adapted by) (as Kenneth Loach)

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Stephen Hirst ...
Louise Cooper ...
Jean Franval ...
Black Jack
Phil Askham ...
Pat Wallis ...
Mrs. Gorgandy
John Young ...
Dr. Hunter
William Moore ...
Mr. Carter
Doreen Mantle ...
Mrs. Carter
Russell Waters ...
Dr. Jones
Brian Hawksley ...
Parson Hall
Dave Daniels ...
Michael Hinchcliffe ...
Packie Byrne ...
Dr. Carmody
Joyce Smith ...
Mrs. Carmody
Andrew Bennett ...


A rediscovered classic from director Ken Loach (THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY, KES) and one of the inspirations for Wes Anderson's MOONRISE KINGDOM, BLACK JACK is a dark and complex adventure film set in the 18th century and based on Leon Garfield's novel for children. When French thief "Black Jack" kidnaps young Tolly, a journey begins that includes traveling fairs, murder and the rescue of a young girl from a private insane asylum. While shot primarily in 16mm and on a modest budget on location in Yorkshire, Chris Menges' photography, the enchanting performances by its young cast and Loach's gentle, observational style all shine through. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Adventure | Comedy


R | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

12 February 1981 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Black Jack, der Galgenvogel  »

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Did You Know?


The last film of Russell Waters. See more »


Featured in Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

Can anyone believe it?
30 November 2016 | by (Spain) – See all my reviews

We all know that in the years that the film is represented, people grew very fast and soon they had to be older. But in this movie is too. Apart from the headline this confused and leads you to expect things that do not happen. The whole movie I've been thinking that if they really thought we'd believe the script.


It must be the dubbing, which is very bad, to the fullest of evils. But I'm sorry, I do not believe any characters except Louise Cooper, yes. But of course he could not be less and puts a few dialogues at times like when he tells Stephen Hirst that he wants nobody to believe them.

Does anyone believe the bribe sequences? Knowing above that at that time, a child would have been given two cakes and would have been thrown out of the house. When he comes back and asks for money and they bargain and give it to him. Only I have told myself, and you give it to him? And when he catches the house after killing the father. Does it help you? I must be very weird but I find the whole script incredible.

Why is the title so named? If it is a secondary role that does not paint anything. And it presents him as if it were to be very important. Of course, anyone would have jumped to see the dead rise. The boy does not clear, why? And it turns out that the boy paints us very responsible, but leaves his job and goes with the resurrected, well.

It turns out that the child who is proving to be very successful, but that yes, when he goes to look for the girl to the asylum, does not try and enter in any way, is going and will return, I do not understand.

I do not like photography, as is normal in Ken Loach, who always does it as if it were a video camera, as if it were a fake documentary. That's if there are false documentaries that go photograph have. And let's not say the address. He is a specialist director putting the camera a hundred meters from the action and leaving everything to the free choice of actors. I guess he thought that's the way to go. At least if there is something good, make-up, hairdresser and wardrobe.

Anyway during the whole movie I wondered if this movie was seriously shot or if they were laughing at all

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