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Ethel & Ernest (2016)

Not Rated | | Animation, Drama, History | 20 February 2018 (USA)
The life and times of the parents of the hailed British graphic novelist, Raymond Briggs.


Roger Mainwood


Raymond Briggs (graphic novel)
3 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Brenda Blethyn ... Ethel Briggs (voice)
Jim Broadbent ... Ernest Briggs (voice)
Luke Treadaway ... Raymond Briggs (voice)
Macready Massey Macready Massey ... Teenage Raymond Briggs (voice)
Harry Collett ... Young Raymond Briggs (voice)
Roger Allam ... 1930s Doctor (voice)
June Brown June Brown ... Ernest's Stepmother (voice)
Karyn Claydon Karyn Claydon ... Jean (voice)
Simon Day Simon Day ... Alf (voice)
Pam Ferris ... Mrs. Bennet / Aunty Betty (voice)
Gillian Hanna ... Midwife / Aunty Flo (voice)
Alex Jordan ... 1970s Doctor / Fireman (voice)
Virginia McKenna ... Lady of the House (voice)
Peter Wight ... Detective Sergeant Burnley (voice)
Duncan Wisbey Duncan Wisbey ... Tailor / Additional Characters (voice)


In 1928 London milk-man Ernest Briggs courts and marries house-maid Ethel, their son Raymond being born in 1934. When World War II breaks out Ethel tearfully allows him to be evacuated to aunts in Dorset whilst Ernest joins the fire service, shocked by the carnage he sees. As hostilities end they celebrate Raymond's return and entry to grammar school and the birth of the welfare state though Ethel is mistrustful of socialism and progress in general. Raymond himself progresses from National Service to art college and a teaching post, worrying his mother by marrying schizophrenic Jean. However father and son console each other as Ethel slips away but before long Raymond is mourning his father too though both Ethel and Ernest will forever be immortalized by Raymond's touching account of their lives. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Forty years of change. One enduring love. See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Carl Davis composed the original music for this film. The main piano theme in Ethel and Ernest is a reused version of Canon Collins, from his original soundtrack for the 1995 BBC miniseries Pride and Prejudice (1995) (starring Colin Firth). See more »


While the house has French windows from the outside and again through the kitchen/dining room window, from inside the front room of the house they are missing with a wall where the windows should be. See more »


[first lines]
Raymond Briggs: [voice over] There was nothing extraordinary about my Mum and Dad, nothing dramatic, no divorce or anything, but they were my parents and I wanted to remember them by doing a picture book. It's a bit odd really, having a book about my parents up there in the best seller list among all the football heroes and cookbooks. They'd be proud of that, I suppose, or rather probably embarrassed too. I'd imagine they'd say, "It wasn't like that," or, "How can you talk about that?" Well, I have...
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Featured in WatchMojoUK: Top 10 Greatest British Animations (2018) See more »


In the Blink of an Eye
Written by Paul McCartney
Performed by Paul McCartney
[Played over end credits]
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User Reviews

Milkman's Guide to the Universe - (20th Century, Wimbledon)
29 December 2016 | by michael-1151See all my reviews

The notion of 'ordinary people' is perverse, like fingerprints, everyone is different, living in a celebrity culture where appearing on a television reality show can somehow make you special, someone to keep up with or be interested by, it was timely to receive this Christmas antidote to superficial stardom.

Raymond Briggs' endearing depiction of his parents through a tumultuous half of the 20th century was also an excellent history lesson, showing how major, earth-shattering events influenced supposedly ordinary people. Most of all, it showed how class, status, social mobility and home ownership influenced British social history. There are sadly few milkman around now, if there were, neither they nor contemporary equivalents, would be able to afford the spacious terrace house in Wimbledon!

Just as in Robert Tressell's landmark work 'The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists' Edwardian decorators did not think privilege was 'for the likes of us', former ladies maid Ethel, supported the status quo, voted Conservative, did not envisage storming the barricades anytime soon, whilst Ernest aspired to Labour's inspirational message after the travails of Workd War 2 and was an intrinsic part of the ideological spirit that brought the NHS, welfare state and a less class-ridden society.

Raymond is shown eschewing office work, despite having worked as a draughtsman during national service, for the seemingly risky and unstable world of art. How right he was, as we saw, to follow his talent and become one of the world's greatest illustrators. Although his parents were not famous, they showed the extraordinary stoicism that brought this country through. Sadly extreme voices, alienation and dissimilitude have turned true British grit, tolerance and decency upside down with the appalling, self-defeating referendum and disgraceful betrayal of 'Brexit means Brexit'. Whether part of a family (as here), community (partying on VE Day) or country (Ernest reading the paper daily and keeping up with news on the radio), we are part of one Europe and one world; fragmenting it will lead back to Morrison Shelters in the lounge - or worse.

The innate decency of Briggs and his parents, their acceptance of only being able to have one (super) child, Raymond's wife being schizophrenic and unable to have children, was a marker of this warm, life-affirming film which not only brought tears to our eyes, but should lead us to be better people and show a more caring attitude. We may not all be illustrators or artists, but we can all draw our conclusions....

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20 February 2018 (USA) See more »

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Ethel & Ernest See more »


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