Terry is sent to an Outward Bound Centre. Alex disappears, hours pass, and to Terry's shock, when Alex finally returns he has no recollection of having been absent. Terry suspects something sinister is taking place.
Bullied at school and ignored and abused at home by his indifferent mother and older brother, Billy Casper (David Bradley), a 15-year-old working-class Yorkshire boy, tames and trains his pet kestrel falcon whom he names Kes. Helped and encouraged by his English teacher Mr. Farthing (Colin Welland) and his fellow students, Billy finally finds a positive purpose to his unhappy existence, until tragedy strikes.Written by
The majority of the crew were listed simply under the heading "This film was made by..." without each person's specific job title (director of photography, sound recordist, editor etc) being given. See more »
Some copies of the film have a few extra minutes in the scene where Billy explains his hobby to his class, when a ginger-haired child asks an extra question about laying eggs. Why this scene was removed is unknown. Copies that include it are very rare and usually from home-recordings made from a 1980s BBC broadcast. See more »
"New Every Morning Is the Love'
Lyrics by John Keble
Music by Samuel Webbe
Hymn sung at school See more »
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The beauty of this film lies in the simplicity and purity of its message. If you want to get along, especially in a Northern English mining town in the 60's, do not ever hope for anything better. If you do, the world's gonna come and kick you in the teeth. Discuss.
Billy Casper has an empty life. In trouble with the police for theft, he shares a bed with his brother (a discontent miner willing to take out his frustrations on just about anyone nearby), goes to a school with some dispiriting and brutally repressive teachers, and has nothing to look forward to but the day when he to descends into Hades to work the coalface.
Until Kes comes along. Kes is a kestrel that Billy rears and trains. Kes soars where Billy can only dream. Kes is hope.
Ken Loach is the master of social commentary and I think this is probably his best film. This film embodies what it means to be working class in all the best traditional ways. You work, you do not have ambition, you are surrounded by people who have accepted their lot in life, you cannot hope for better, you won't be allowed to hope for better. If that sounds brutal, it is and so is this film. You aren't told right and wrong, you are told what is. It is thrust in your face for you to deal with.
The best thing about this film are all the characters that surround Billy. All have had all spirit hammered out of them at an early age and are damned if any one else is going to have any. The teachers casual and resigned brutality living what remains of their dreams by playing against the boys on the football field and imagining they are Bobby Charlton (and still losing) is perfectly displayed. The shop keeper's humouring of childish enthusiasm because he knows it ain't going to last. And most of all Billy's brother's spiteful depression. His spirit has been freshly crushed and it still rankles.
And amidst this gloom shines Billy and Kes. They soar above this nightmare like Andy Dufrense soars when he plays opera to the Shawshank inmates. Ken is telling us hope is a jewel to be treasured especially when it is surrounded by those wishing it crushed and buried.
You must see this film, especially if you've seen the Shawshank Redemption. Be warned though, there is no redemption here. Don't be afraid of the accents you non-Yorkshire folk. Just think of it as Wallace and Gromit without the cheese.
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