34 user 11 critic

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.


Lionel Jeffries


Michael Robson (screenplay by), Charles Kingsley (based upon the book by) | 2 more credits »
1 win. See more awards »




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)


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


A magical tale of live-action and animation based on the popular children's story. See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Final film directed by Lionel Jeffries. See more »


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 »


The Kraken: [as his sphere drifts away from Tom] I shall be watching you, boy! I shall be watching! I shall be...
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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 »


Referenced in Mary Poppins Returns (2018) See more »


High Cockalorum
Music by Phil Coulter
Lyrics by Bill Martin
Performed by Tommy Pender, Paul Luty, Lance Percival
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User Reviews

10 November 2003 | by gbenSee all my reviews

Wonderful songs, sprightly animation and authentic live action make this a classic adaptation of a classic tale. A nice British feel which sets it apart and above from the standard, saccharine sweet Disney cartoons.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Poland | UK



Release Date:

15 June 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Water Babies See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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