7.4/10
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39 user 12 critic

The Railway Children (1970)

After the enforced absence of their father, three children move with their mother to Yorkshire, where during their adventures they attempt to discover the reason for his disappearance.

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Writers:

(celebrated novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Mrs. Waterbury (as Miss Dinah Sheridan)
... Albert Perks (as Mr. Bernard Cribbins)
William Mervyn ... Old Gentleman (as Mr. William Mervyn)
... Charles Waterbury (as Mr. Iain Cuthbertson)
... Roberta 'Bobbie' Waterbury (as Miss Jenny Agutter)
Sally Thomsett ... Phyllis Waterbury (as Miss Sally Thomsett)
Gary Warren ... Peter Waterbury (as Master Gary Warren)
Peter Bromilow ... Doctor
Ann Lancaster ... Ruth
Gordon Whiting ... Russian
Beatrix Mackey ... Aunt Emma
... Mrs. Perks
... Bandmaster
Christopher Witty ... Jim
Brenda Cowling ... Mrs. Viney
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Storyline

The film opens in a happy, comfortable upper middle-class home in Edwardian London. One night in 1905, the three children see their father usher two strangers into his study. After an argument he leaves with them and does not return. They and their mother fall on hard times and eventually move to a cottage in the country. Yet they keep their spirits up and find ways to help others. Fascinated by the nearby railway, they wave to the passengers faithfully every day, and their vigilance and courage prevent an accident. Their kindness makes friends of some important people who can help solve the mystery of their missing father. Written by Paul Emmons <pemmons@wcupa.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A film for adults to take their children, too! See more »

Genres:

Family | Drama

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 December 1970 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Aseman lapset  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 2010, a festival was held in Haworth to mark the 40th anniversary of the film. See more »

Goofs

This movie is set in 1905, yet after Perks opens the crossing gates to let an express train through, it's hauled by an 0-6-2 N2 class locomotive, a type of locomotive not built until the early 1920s. See more »

Quotes

Phyllis Waterbury: It's like we're in a besieged castle, the arrows of the foe striking against the battlements.
Peter Waterbury: No, it's more like a great big garden squirt.
Phyllis Waterbury: You're a great big garden squirt.
Peter Waterbury: Thank you.
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the end credit captions are displayed the shot tracks towards a steam locomotive, in front of which are gathered the principal cast. They are surrounded by extras portraying local townspeople, who wave and say goodbye to the audience. All the while, Jenny Agutter is preoccupied with writing something on a slate. As the camera reaches her, she holds it up to display the words "The End". See more »

Connections

Referenced in Big Screen Britain: The Railway Children (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Pretty Polly Perkins of Paddington Green
(uncredited)
Written by Harry Clifton
Performed by Perks at the birthday party
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A truly wonderful film
15 March 2004 | by See all my reviews

This wonderful film has never failed to move me. The colour, convincing cast, and stunning scenery all make big contributions. This production, unlike the later remake by Carlton, is more impressionistic, and presented more from the children's own perspective. It focusses on certain episodes from E. Nesbit's charming story rather than trying to make a somewhat more documentary "warts-and-all" style that Carlton adopts. Above all, the superb musical score of the late Johnny Douglas underpins the story throughout, adding extra emotional depth. The net result is a truly formidable combination of sensory experiences that cumulatively present the poignant story of "The Railway Children".

One uncomfortable factor for the viewer to ponder throughout this film is how things have changed since those times - and in many ways, for the worse! Yes, maybe many of us no longer have to use outside toilets and travel in horse-drawn carts, but what about the quality of life in general? Consider the foul-mouthed celebrities who now "grace" our TV screens. Their language is now apparently considered perfectly acceptable. Consider, too, the fragile "here today, gone tomorrow" aspects of so many of today's "partnerships" plus all the single mothers - whatever happened to that institution called "marriage", when people accepted each others' flaws but still remained together, loving their children? These details add extra piquancy when watching this marvellous film.

I hope that, as generations pass, children will still be able to enjoy this film. Not to mention certain adults!


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