The Selfish Giant (2013)

 |  Drama  |  25 October 2013 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 7,952 users   Metascore: 83/100
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A contemporary fable about two scrappy 13-year-old working-class friends in the UK who seek fortune by getting involved with a local scrap dealer and criminal, leading to tragic consequences.



, (inspired by 'The Selfish Giant')
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Shaun Thomas ...
Mick Brazil
Everal Walsh ...
Railway Man (as Everal A. Walsh)
Martin Fenton
Rebecca Manley ...
Michelle 'Shelly' Fenton
John Wall ...
School Nurse
Mohammed Ali ...
Jamie Michie ...
'Price Drop' Swift
Mrs. Swift
Bailey Clapham ...
Swift Child


An official selection at the Cannes Film Festival, The Selfish Giant is a contemporary fable about 13 year old Arbor (Conner Chapman) and his best friend Swifty (Shaun Thomas). Excluded from school and outsiders in their own neighborhood, the two boys meet Kitten (Sean Gilder), a local scrap dealer. Wandering their town with just a horse and a cart, they begin collecting scrap metal for him. Swifty has a natural gift with horses while Arbor emulates Kitten - keen to impress him and make some money. However, Kitten favors Swifty, leaving Arbor feeling hurt and excluded, driving a wedge between the boys. As Arbor becomes increasingly greedy and exploitative, tensions build, leading to a tragic event that transforms them all. Written by Sundance Selects

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 October 2013 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Az önző óriás  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,589 (USA) (20 December 2013)


$10,531 (USA) (3 January 2014)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Clio Barnard based Arbor and Swifty on two children she met while filming The Arbor (2010) who worked as scrappers. See more »


Policeman: This is a formal interview under caution. Do you understand that, Fenton? Hey, do you understand?
Arbor: Yeah.
Policeman: A witness saw two youths burning railway or communications cable.
Michelle 'Shelly' Fenton: That's nowt to do with him.
Policeman: Cable theft is a very serious crime, Mrs. Fenton. Trespass on the railway is £1,000 fine.
Arbor: I ain't been on railway.
Policeman: Vandalism, endangering lives, maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Michelle 'Shelly' Fenton: He's just a kid. He ain't nicked no cable. You're looking at wrong place.
Policeman: He is, as you say, Mrs. Fenton, a minor. ...
See more »


Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2014) See more »


by Bill Brown
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User Reviews

Depressing yet must-see film about a way of living that is insufficiently covered in newspapers and magazines
20 January 2014 | by (Amersfoort, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

I saw this film at the Leiden film festival (LIFF) 2013. Two main characters Arbor (13 years old) and Swifty (15 years old), both played by unexperienced actors, make this movie rise above the story that in itself is not that spectacular, though the authors certainly intended it as social commentary. The working class environment, the poor neighborhood, the shady business where these two boys get themselves involved in, many people living together in small houses, and so on, it all provides for the perfect context to explain why these people do what they do. The only silver lining in this story is that Swifty proves to Kitten that he has his way with horses, and thus is allowed to prepare his best horse for the races. The remainder is depressing all over, but nevertheless a must-see, if only to observe a way of living that is insufficiently covered in newspapers and magazines.

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