18 user 6 critic

Swallows and Amazons (1974)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Family | May 1977 (USA)
On holiday with their mother in the Lake District in 1929 four children are allowed to sail over to the nearby island in their boat Swallow and set up camp for a few days. They soon realise... See full summary »


Claude Whatham


David Wood (screenplay), Arthur Ransome (book)




Complete credited cast:
Virginia McKenna ... Mother - Mrs. Walker
Ronald Fraser ... Uncle Jim
Simon West Simon West ... John Walker - Swallow
Sophie Neville ... Titty Walker - Swallow
Suzanna Hamilton ... Susan Walker - Swallow (as Zanna Hamilton)
Stephen Grendon Stephen Grendon ... Roger Walker - Swallow
Kit Seymour Kit Seymour ... Nancy Blackett - Amazon
Lesley Bennett Lesley Bennett ... Peggy Blackett - Amazon
Brenda Bruce ... Mrs. Dixon
Mike Pratt ... Mr. Dixon
John Franklyn-Robbins John Franklyn-Robbins ... Young Billy
Jack Woolgar Jack Woolgar ... Old Billy
David Blagden David Blagden ... Policeman


On holiday with their mother in the Lake District in 1929 four children are allowed to sail over to the nearby island in their boat Swallow and set up camp for a few days. They soon realise this has been the territory of two other girls who sail the Amazon, and the scene is set for serious rivalry. Written by J-26

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

rivalry | lake | girl | island | children | See All (18) »


Arthur Ransome's Immortal Story


Adventure | Family


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

May 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Second of three filmed versions of "Swallows And Amazons" after the made-for television black-and-white six episode television series Swallows and Amazons (1963) which had been made and first broadcast about eleven years earlier. The third version, Swallows and Amazons (2016), was made and first released about forty-two years after this 1974 motion picture. See more »


When the children are fishing from the boat the fish that John catches is very clearly already dead when he catches it. See more »


Version of Swallows and Amazons (2016) See more »


Away to Rio
Arranged by Wilfred Josephs
See more »

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User Reviews

A middling film of an alien world.
14 August 2002 | by HenryHextonEsqSee all my reviews

I certainly went into this wanting to like it; I am the kind who can be pray to the odd bout of nostalgia... For days I have seen and for those I have not. I may have seen this film as a child, but I have no strong recollection of it. It can certainly be said, however, that childhood memories are in some sense evoked by watching it, seeing as "Swallows and Amazons" deals with childhood; a decidedly different childhood, of course, but there is a link. I enjoyed mine, as the fine "fellows" here seem to; but it is an oddly regimented, conservative ideal that is espoused by the film, despite the tag of "adventure" and the promise of exploration.

I have not read any of the Ransome series of books based around these children's adventures, so I'm in no position to comment on them as fiction. I can certainly comment, though, on the merits of this film as entertainment. It is perhaps with a degree of sadness that I sense that it could not really appeal to much of today's child population. Times have obviously changed very much. But books like "Cider with Rosie" and "Carrie's War", less oppressively traditional perhaps, may still have a good chance.

The photography is unquestionably very alluring; capturing enough of the visual beauty of a golden English summer of times past. The more metaphorical sides of the "golden summer", or of childhood, are sadly never really delved into. I can see Ransome's work would perhaps read a lot better than this film plays, in this regard. The acting here, of the children, is okay for what it is. The youngest chap is the most amusing; a hapless old chap of a buffer... Roger. And I quote the "I can't see anything!" bit as prime evidence of his endearing, if not all that well played, haplessness. Titty is probably the most endearingly and memorably played, otherwise. The adults make little impression. Not enough of Ronald Fraser's "Captain Flint" figure perhaps... He does engage a bit when on screen. Interesting and perhaps amusing to see that "Zanna" Hamilton, is the same girl who went on to play Julia in "1984" as Suzannah Hamilton...

Anyway, I shouldn't be harsh on this film, but it really is flawed. It has its pleasures, and is inoffensively watchable, but one would have to be very indulgent to fully endorse it as a film. It doesn't have enough, frankly, of the wistful complexity that we all know childhood to be composed of. The past is indeed a foreign country, whereas here it is a rather enclosed, parochial and familiar one.

Rating:- ***/*****

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