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The Water Babies (1978)

This children's fantasy tells the story of a 12-year-old boy who discovers a complex underwater world where young children are held prisoner by an evil shark and an eel.

Director:

Lionel Jeffries

Writers:

Charles Kingsley (book), Michael Robson (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Adaptation of Russell Hoban's novel about two mechanical toy mice, and their quest to become "self-winding".

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Mason ... Mr. Grimes / Voice of Killer Shark
Bernard Cribbins ... Mr. Masterman / Voice of Eel
Billie Whitelaw ... Mrs. Doasyouwouldbedoneby / Old Crone / Mrs. Tripp / Woman in Black / Water Babies 'Gate Keeper'
Joan Greenwood ... Lady Harriet
David Tomlinson ... Sir John / Voice of Polar Bear
Tommy Pender Tommy Pender ... Tom
Samantha Gates Samantha Gates ... Elly / Voice of Ariadne the Water Baby
Paul Luty ... Sladd / Voice of Claude the Swordfish
Jon Pertwee ... Salmon / Jock the Lobster / Kraken (voice)
Olive Gregg Olive Gregg ... (voice)
Lance Percival Lance Percival ... Terence the Sea Horse (voice)
David Jason ... Cyril the Walrus (voice)
Cass Allan Cass Allan ... (voice)
Liz Proud Liz Proud ... (voice)
Una Stubbs ... (voice)
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Storyline

This story is about a 12-year-old boy who discovers a complex underwater world where young children are held prisoner by an evil shark and an eel. Before he can return to the surface and clear his name, however, he must help the Water Babies leave their enclosed lake and reach the free waters of the ocean. Written by Anthony Pereyra {hypersonic91@yahoo.com}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

An enchanting children's tale featuring a superb blend of live action and delightful animation See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Poland | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 June 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Slip Slide Adventures See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Charles Kingsley wrote "The Water Babies" book for his son, it being a children's fairytale novel, in the vein of Charles Dickens and a part satire supporting Charles Darwin's "The Origin of the Species". See more »

Goofs

When Tom and the lobster are singing "High Cockalorum" for the first time, Tom's mouth is opening and closing when he is not actually saying anything. Likewise, his mouth is shut when he is saying something. See more »

Quotes

Tom: [running back and forth on the roof] Me brush! Where's me brush! I'll get clouted if I can't find me brush!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The movie's opening credits summarizes in illustrations of "A Story of a Little Chimney Sweep in the Year 1850". While the chimney sweeper is climbing:
  • The live-action cast members is portrayed in oval picture frames.
  • For the "animated sequences" credits, it shows the design of Tom ( Tommy Pender ), in his underwater design, and the design of the Otter.
The credits end at the top of the chimney, in which it cuts to the real chimney for the opening shot. See more »

Connections

References Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Luli Lu Li
Music by Phil Coulter
Lyrics by Bill Martin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

"Oh no, not me bum, sir!"
18 December 1999 | by The_Movie_CatSee all my reviews

How times have changed. When this film was made in 1978 its content was deemed perfectly acceptable for children.

Set in the Victorian age, it features a young child, Tom, who is beaten and forced into slavery by his two masters, most notably Bernard Cribbins as Masterman, and is often to be heard uttering exclamations such as the one above. His life is so horrific that as he passes through a town square (with a bare-knuckle fist-fight in full flow), his only escape is to drown himself. That's right, a children's film where suicide is seen as an acceptable form of salvation.

Once underwater things get a little less entertaining, as the voices of David Jason, Una Stubbs and Jon Pertwee combine with an unconvincing animation to tell the story of Tom's destiny as a "water baby". There are four or five songs throughout this segment, though they are chiefly forgettable, with only "Hicocalorum" managing - just - to remain in the cerebrum a day after viewing.

Tom emerges from the lake and it all comes to an end, with the revelation that a deformed old bag woman was his guardian angel. Well, at least it didn't adhere to traditional stereotypes and managed a PC characterisation ahead of its time. And the film? Hopelessly dated, and with vastly inappropriate elements for a family movie, it contains a perverse sort of enjoyment.


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