Young Adam (2003)

NC-17  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  26 September 2003 (UK)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 11,104 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 115 user | 107 critic | 32 from

A young drifter working on a river barge disrupts his employers' lives while hiding the fact that he knows more about a dead woman found in the river than he admits.


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7 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Therese Bradley ...
Ewan Stewart ...
Daniel Gordon
Pauline Turner ...
Alan Cooke ...
Bob M'bussi
Ian Hanmore ...
Freight Supervisor
Andrew Neil ...
Arnold Brown ...
Bowler Hat Man
Meg Fraser ...
Stall Woman


Joe, a rootless young drifter, finds work on a barge travelling between Glasgow and Edinburgh, owned by Les and his wife Ella. One afternoon they discover the corpse of a young woman floating in the water. Accident? Suicide? Murder? As the police investigate and suspect is arrested, we discover that Joe knows more than he is letting on. Gradually we learn of Joe's past relationship with the dead woman. Meanwhile an unspoken attraction develops between Joe and Ella, heightening the claustrophobic tensions in the confined space of the barge. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated NC-17 for some explicit sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

26 September 2003 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

El joven Adán  »

Box Office


£4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£228,692 (UK) (26 September 2003)


$767,240 (USA) (13 August 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This was the first film which Mcgregor did not take his family along for the shoot. See more »


In a wide shot of the skyline of Glasgow from Kelvingrove Park, the Glasgow Tower can be seen on the horizon. The tower wasn't built until 2000. See more »


Les Gault: What'd you do that for?
Joe Taylor: I had no use for it.
Les Gault: Must be worth something, though.
Joe Taylor: Not to me.
See more »


References L'Atalante (1934) See more »


Written & Performed by David Byrne
Published by Moldy Fig Music (BMI)
See more »

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User Reviews

A jewel at the coal face
13 August 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Dark, bleak and brooding, Young Adam is a film charged with unexploded tension throughout. Ewan McGregor and Tilda Swinton are superb in the lead roles, conveying much in unspoken guilt as barge hand McGregor engages in an ill-advised affair with his boss's wife. The body of a dead woman appearing in the Clyde leads to a trail of unravelling that leaves a queasy feeling in the stomach right to the very end of the film (and only then do we realise the significance of the title).

Set in 1950s Glasgow this sombre recreation is a testament to Scottish art house film making (even if they did have to go abroad for much of the funding). The raw sexuality in the grittiest of surroundings is transformed by aesthetic cinematography into explosive beauty as we explore the innermost drives of the characters and work through their dilemmas with them.

22 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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