7.4/10
3,555
40 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.

Director:

Lionel Jeffries

Writers:

E. Nesbit (celebrated novel), Lionel Jeffries (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:
Dinah Sheridan ... Mrs. Waterbury (as Miss Dinah Sheridan)
Bernard Cribbins ... Albert Perks (as Mr. Bernard Cribbins)
William Mervyn William Mervyn ... Old Gentleman (as Mr. William Mervyn)
Iain Cuthbertson ... Charles Waterbury (as Mr. Iain Cuthbertson)
Jenny Agutter ... Roberta 'Bobbie' Waterbury (as Miss Jenny Agutter)
Sally Thomsett Sally Thomsett ... Phyllis Waterbury (as Miss Sally Thomsett)
Gary Warren Gary Warren ... Peter Waterbury (as Master Gary Warren)
Peter Bromilow ... Doctor
Ann Lancaster Ann Lancaster ... Ruth
Gordon Whiting Gordon Whiting ... Russian
Beatrix Mackey Beatrix Mackey ... Aunt Emma
Deddie Davies ... Mrs. Perks
David Lodge ... Bandmaster
Christopher Witty Christopher Witty ... Jim
Brenda Cowling 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:

What's the unexpected secret that turns their world upside down? See more »

Genres:

Family | Drama

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 December 1970 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Aseman lapset See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

EMI Film Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sally Thomsett was 20 when she was cast as 11-year-old Phyllis. Her contract forbade her to reveal her true age during the making of the film and she was not allowed to be seen smoking, drinking, going out with her boyfriend or driving the sports cars that were her passion. Even the film crew did not know her true age. See more »

Goofs

A bed-knob on Bobbie's bed is loose and changes positions between shots when she and her mother discuss the newspaper report on her father's sentence. See more »

Quotes

[as the smoke on the station platform clears, Bobbie sees her father who has just been released from prison. Diffidently, she runs towards him]
Bobbie Waterbury: Daddy! My Daddy!
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

Featured in The 100 Greatest Family Films (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Pretty Polly Perkins of Paddington Green
(uncredited)
Written by Harry Clifton
Performed by Perks at the birthday party
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"It's perfect - more perfect than you'll ever know"...
13 July 2006 | by ozmy21See all my reviews

This is a film that I love above all others. I try to revisit the main film locations in Oakworth and Oxenhope whenever I can, which help to re-establish those magical qualities that this film seems to embody so uniquely - recalling a gentler and more mannered age, with its unspoken assertions that people really do matter, that family life is not just another disposable, and that life really is worth living (though sometimes, we may doubt that). In short, a film that soon brings tears to my eyes, helped perhaps by the deeply evocative music - some tunes are jaunty (like the Perks' tune, played on a trombone, sometimes with spoons), the stirring melody when the family first set off for Yorkshire not knowing what lies ahead, and the haunting little tune played on a solo clarinet (or is it an oboe?) that precedes sudden child-felt changes in fortune.

This is as much a film for adults as for children, appealing to the eternal child in us all - a key that effortlessly reactivates those deep and apparently long-lost values and feelings buried inside us, which are normally swept aside by the demands of modern everyday life. This is a film about basic human goodness and decency in which we the viewers are left to make of it what we will, and there are welcome touches of humour sometimes added for good measure, such as the arrival of the aunt or, on a more earthy level, the bedroom scene on Perks' birthday - "All right Bert - as it's your birthday!" I must know every scene, every line of this film, and yet so great is the magic that each time I watch, it is like I am opening a box of delights for the first time, savouring each moment - sometimes humorous, sometimes....well, very different. As Peter says in the film: "it's perfect - more perfect than you know". And so it is!!!


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