31 user 9 critic

The Water Babies (1978)

G | | Animation, Adventure, Family | 1978 (UK)
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


Charles Kingsley (book), Michael Robson (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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From $4.99 (SD) on Prime Video

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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Poland | UK



Release Date:

1978 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Slip Slide Adventures See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In 2003, the film's source "Water Babies" book was produced on the stage for the first time as a straight play, adapted by Jason Carr and Gary Yershon. 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...
See more »


References Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) See more »


Luli Lu Li
Music by Phil Coulter
Lyrics by Bill Martin
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Captures children's imagination but NOT adults.
28 December 2004 | by cinema-louiseSee all my reviews

I was 12 when this film was released and adored it. The song's were inspiring and it made me feel good, watching it several time's at the cinema. I actually had the soundtrack album and played the song's over and over.

26 years later...I'm ashamed. Just sat and watched it with my 2 daughters who enjoyed it lot's but my cynical older grown up eyes hated it. It's very poorly directed in many places and considering it was Lionel Jeffries directing I really wanted to enjoy it. The character animation was so rough yet the backgrounds were quite good. I remember the critics at the time saying that it was a poor film and was horrified but now I agree.

It is an old film yes, compared to what can be achieved now, maybe that's why I thought it was good then. But that does not excuse it for it's poor acting, directing and sloppiness. The main child actor's voice seem's dubbed which is very distracting too. Can't quite see what they were trying achieve when it was being made, all that it become was a weak film.

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