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Second Best (1994)

PG-13 | | Drama | 30 September 1994 (USA)
2:00 | Trailer

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Graham, a lonely Welsh postal worker, adopts James, a troubled ten-year-old boy. Graham always wanted a son, but James loves his biological father too much to give Graham a chance. Will the two be able to accept each other as family?



(novel), (screenplay)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nathan Yapp ...
Chris Cleary Miles ...
Doris Irving ...
Adoption Shop Volunteer
James Warrior ...
Senior Social Worker
Alfred Lynch ...
Rachel Freeman ...
Gus Troakes ...
Mossie Smith ...
Martin Troakes ...
Graham, age 20
Paul Wilson ...
Colin, age 20


Graham Holt is a lonely middle-aged man who runs a postal substation in a small village in England. He decides to adopt a son. James is the troubled youth he gets with the assistance of social worker Debbie. James has been in an orphanage for years since his mother committed suicide. He adores his outlaw father John, sent to prison not long after the mother's death. Can James learn to love Graham? Can Graham settle for being second best? Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements | See all certifications »





Release Date:

30 September 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Difícil elección  »

Box Office


$86,115 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Last film of Alfred Lynch. See more »


James: Honeymoon's over!
See more »


Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Only You/Second Best/Pulp Fiction (1994) See more »


Saturday Night Forever
Written and Performed by Simon Boswell
Published by Sunfun Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

For man and boy; one is the loneliest number.........
2 February 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If you have a sense of love within you, this movie is for you. There are few things as sad as loneliness. And few things as heart wrenching as seeing it overcome.

This film provides both. though it was not a huge success in the theater, (this film was gravely underrated), it is a wonderful story. A bond of trust and love between child and adult, forged in the pain and fear of emptiness. If you missed it in the theater, take the time to find it, and watch it at home.

I can only hope that a long awaited DVD release is near at hand. there are too many movies with 'created' story lines. This one is as real as it comes. If only there were more like it......

An Update... Here in 2012, this has still not been released on DVD. What a shame. I watched it on Laser Disc yesterday, and it is such a wonderful film. Someone missed the boat on the DVD release. Sad...

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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