5 user 1 critic

Akenfield (1974)

As the young man, Tom, prepares to leave the Suffolk village of his birth, voices and experiences from his family's past crowd in on his mind, weaving a poetic tapestry of the love of home and the longing to get away from it.





Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Five centuries ago a mural was created in a country church in the north of England and then hidden under layers of white paint. Looking at it again will be a distraction, the Rev. Mr. Keach... See full summary »

Director: Pat O'Connor
Stars: Colin Firth, Kenneth Branagh, John Atkinsons
Housekeeping (1987)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In the Pacific Northwest in 1955, two young sisters, abandoned by their mother, wind up living with their Aunt Sylvie, whose views of the world and its conventions don't quite live up to ... See full summary »

Director: Bill Forsyth
Stars: Christine Lahti, Sara Walker, Andrea Burchill
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The story covers eighty years in the lives of a pair of Welsh identical twins with an unusual bond, as they go through war, love affairs, and land disputes.

Director: Andrew Grieve
Stars: Aled Baker, Rhys Baker, Iona Banks
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A priest is put in a dilemma when the serial killer who has been murdering priests and nuns confesses to him.

Director: Fred Walton
Stars: Donald Sutherland, Charles Durning, Belinda Bauer
Air Cadet (1951)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A group of cadets have assorted problems at the U.S. Air Force Pilot Training Academy.

Director: Joseph Pevney
Stars: Stephen McNally, Gail Russell, Alex Nicol
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When Jo Morris' marriage turned sour and heartless, she found sympathy and companionship with widower Larry Ellis. After Jo's husband is accidentally killed in a struggle over a gun with ... See full summary »

Director: Clifford Odets
Stars: Rita Hayworth, Anthony Franciosa, Gig Young
All at Sea (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A seasick sea captain commands an amusement pier despite local opposition.

Director: Charles Frend
Stars: Alec Guinness, Harry Locke, Frederick Piper
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A married writer has an affair with his secretary.

Director: Albert Finney
Stars: Albert Finney, Colin Blakely, Billie Whitelaw
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Explores the creative process of Nick Cave and his band as the singer struggles an unspoken personal tragedy.

Director: Andrew Dominik
Stars: Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Marshal Cass Silver has to deal with his old nemesis, a corrupt gambler, and his hired guns come to town as well as recurring bouts of blindness.

Director: Robert D. Webb
Stars: Robert Ryan, Virginia Mayo, Jeffrey Hunter
The Lawless (1950)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A newspaper editor in a small agricultural town finds himself going against the people in the town when he gets involved in the plight of the area's fruit pickers, who are mostly Mexican.

Director: Joseph Losey
Stars: Macdonald Carey, Gail Russell, Johnny Sands
Face of Fire (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A local handyman saves a child in a fire, but the burns he receives disfigure his face so much that the townspeople avoid him.

Director: Albert Band
Stars: Cameron Mitchell, James Whitmore, Bettye Ackerman


Cast overview, first billed only:
Garrow Shand ...
Tom Rouse
Peggy Cole ...
Dulcie Rouse
Barbara Tilney ...
Jean Quantrill
Lyn Brooks ...
Charlotte Rouse
Ida Page ...
Aunt Ida
Ted Dedman ...
Mollie Dedman ...
Charlie Cornish ...
Charlie Whiting ...
Robin Buckingham ...
Alan Wright ...
Young Tom Rouse
Mary Hammond ...
Young Dulcie Rouse
Ronald Blythe ...
The Vicar
F.O. Staddon ...
The Minister
Bob Wilson ...


As the young man, Tom, prepares to leave the Suffolk village of his birth, voices and experiences from his family's past crowd in on his mind, weaving a poetic tapestry of the love of home and the longing to get away from it.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

November 1974 (UK)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Made over a year so they could include all the seasons. See more »


Charlie: He said "Now what sort of husband was he"? "Oh", she said "one of the best. You couldn't wish for a better one". She said, "We used to lie in bed, Sunday mornings, and hear the church bells ringing. We used to go up with the ding and come down with the dong". And she'd say "if it hadn't been for that fire engine going by, at the bloody time, he'd be alive now".
See more »


Fantasia concertante on a theme of Corelli
by Michael Tippett
Played by The Academy of St.Martin-in-the Fields
Conducted by Neville Marriner
recorded by Argo Record Company
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A lost British gem
14 March 2007 | by (Norwich, England) – See all my reviews

13 million people saw Akenfield on television when it was simultaneously broadcast on LWT and premiered at London's Paris Pullman cinema (a move that is still seen as forward-thinking today - see Soderbergh's Bubble). It was chosen to open the 1974 London Film Festival. It was critically acclaimed across the board and has been shown in festivals in Los Angeles, Moscow and Tehran. It is truly a beautiful, elegiac little film. So, why has it been so totally forgotten?

Based on Ronald Blythe's 1969 book of the same name, Peter Hall (the famous theatre director) was brought on board to adapt it for the screen. It follows the story of Tom, a farmer seeking to escape the suffocating traditions and ways of country life. His tale is intercut with those of both his father and grandfather, revealing just how little has changed in the village in almost a century. A portrait of a rural English village over the changing eras and seasons, the film was shot entirely in the real Akenfield. The shoot lasted one year, with work only undertaken on weekends.

Seeking the authenticity of rural life, Hall made his cast up of local people from Akenfield and the surrounding villages. This angered Equity, the actor's union, who placed the film on a blacklist. In order to appease their strict rules, it was decided the cast would largely play themselves and could not work to a script. Instead they improvised their lines on camera and were never allowed to repeat the same words verbatim. Thus, it was deemed, this could not be construed as "acting" and would therefore not fall under Equity's jurisdiction. The result is unfailingly understated performances that have a ring of truth so lacking in many larger budget films.

Ivan Strasburg, the cinematographer, shot only with available light, even when indoors. He was forced to pioneer a new diffusion technique from behind the lens. Whilst this was almost as much an economic decision as an aesthetic one, it lead to the film's sumptuous painterly quality. Some of the sun-drenched harvest sequences, for example, are as instantly beautiful as anything Vadim Yusov photographed for Tarkovsky at the peak of his powers.

A brilliant film that, had it been made in the canonised era of Italian neo-realism, would have been accordingly recognised as a classic. As it is, it is a forgotten gem that few people remember and even fewer are likely to see in the future. It is available on DVD through the Ipswich Film Theatre, and I highly recommend you hunt down a copy before it completely disappears.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: