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Kes [DVD] [1969]

David Bradley , Brian Glover , Ken Loach    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
Price: 4.22 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Kes [DVD] [1969] + A Kestrel for a Knave (Penguin Modern Classics)
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Product details

  • Actors: David Bradley, Brian Glover, Freddie Fletcher, Lynne Perrie, Colin Welland
  • Directors: Ken Loach
  • Writers: Ken Loach, Tony Garnett, Barry Hines
  • Producers: Tony Garnett
  • Format: PAL, Dolby, Mono, Widescreen, Colour
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Turkish, English, German
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: German, English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 20 Jan 2003
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007DWR1
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,874 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



This was only Ken Loach's second cinema feature but it still ranks as one of his finest and most moving films. Billy, a disaffected young lad living on a soulless Barnsley estate, finds a fledgling kestrel and, for the first time in his life, feels his imagination gripped. With infinite patience--and a book on falconry nicked from a local bookstore--he starts to train the bird.

There's no boy-and-his-pet sentimentality here: the relationship between Kes the bird and the puny, taciturn Billy is the kinship, full of wary respect, between two wild creatures, and when Kes for the first time flies free and returns to Billy's wrist, the sense of exhilaration is overwhelming.

Although Loach never rams his message home, it's clear that Billy stands for a whole generation of youngsters whose potential, barring some such chance event, will never be even fractionally realised. Chris Menges' photography brings out all the austere beauty of the Yorkshire locations, and Loach draws believable performances from his largely non-professional cast--especially the 14-year-old David Bradley, stunningly convincing as Billy. And anyone who has ever suffered under a bullying, self-satisfied sports teacher will squirm with recognition at the brilliant cameo from the late Brian Glover. --Philip Kemp

Product Description

Actors: David Bradley, Brian Glover, Freddie Fletcher, Lynne Perrie, Colin Welland
Director: Ken Loach
Manufacturer: Twentieth Century Fox

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kes is one of Ken Loach's finest films 9 Aug 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Kes tells the remarkable story of Billy Casper and his relationship with a falcon that he finds, nurtures and trains to fly. But before you dimiss this as a kid's flick- the relationship between Billy and Kes acts as a metaphor. Billy gets more respect from the falcon than he does from his school teacher, his peers or his family. Billy is an outcast, a poor lad who is intelligent beyond his years but no-body is willing to give him a chance.
The scenes featuring Billy and the falcon are quite remarkable. Other standout scenes feature the late Brian Glover as a Sport teacher from hell whose bullying tactics send all the lads at the school reeling.
If you have ever wanted to see a film that recaptures your childhood, the humourous moments, the sad moments and the moments when adults treat you as if you are 5 years old when in reality you are 14/15, see Kes.
A British film to be proud of and definitely one to cherish.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kes - True to life 8 Jun 2003
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
I was brought up in Barnsley, where this film was made, in the 1960's and 1970's. The film is so true to life and accurately depicts the lifestyle of the time. The choice of a boy trying to escape his environment by befriending a bird is heart rending, but totally plausible.
Kes is my favourite film of all time and a testament to the best of British low budget film making.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of British 26 Oct 2003
This is my favourite film of all time. It's gritty and earthy, ultimately a very sad film, for sure, and there are some shocking moments, but its social drama is heightened because it is juxta-posed against some of the funniest scenes ever made in British cinema. The games lesson with Brian Glover, doing his best to humiliate his class, is enshrined in folklore - and anyone who's ever experienced a PE lesson in a British school will relate to it. But all the school and home scenes are equally as realistic at least in part due to the improvised nature of much of the dialogue and the fantastic casting. Forget her drunken performance on Shooting Stars, Lynne Perrie is on top form here.
An american blockbuster Kes certainly aint and fans of such a genre might like to like to carry on lining the pockets of Arnie. But anybody with half a brain will surely not fail to be moved by this exceptional film.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kes - A British classic 21 Dec 2002
Kes, starring the 14-year-old David Bradley must be one of the very best British movies ever made. A combination of earthy, compelling scriptwriting, and brilliant casting, has ensured that this movie will be enjoyed by generations to come.
Set in the north of England, about a boy (Billy casper) who adopts and trains a young Kestrel, Kes is a gritty portayal of life in a 1960's mining village. Constantly at war with older brother Jud, the movie revolves around Billy's obsession with his pet, and his struggle to just get by. Unfortunately, Jud is there to make sure that life is far from easy for young Billy.
Lynn Perrie (Coronation street's Ivy Tilsley) is brilliant as the mother, constantly keeping the sons apart, whilst looking for a man to replace the absent father.
To anyone who doubts our ability to produce home-grown movies of quality, I'd say buy this film, if you only buy one this year.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, funny and witty 30 May 2007
Plenty as been said about this film, but sometimes the humour is overlooked.

Some of the scenes in the school, with the kids filmed naturally talking the way they do, and improvising, and of course the classic football sequence, all add to the depth and fun of this classic.

All the themes stand the test of time and are always relevant: the battle between the individual and the needs of society, and the tragic neglect of talent brought about by dogmatic and unimaginative thinking.
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film of power and beauty 12 Dec 2004
In the days before Ken Loach made obscure socalist parables he made this wonderfully accessible tale of childhood alienation in the North.
Billy (an astonishingly powerful performance by David Bradley) is a misfit at home and at school, a boy more drawn to the rugged Pennine landscape that surrounds his dreary hometown than to the drudgery of school and to the eventual horrors of working down the pit.
Billy's only friend is Kes - the young kestrel with whom he forms a real bond. Billy falls foul of brutal PE teacher Sugden (the legendary Brian Glover), but younger and more understanding Farthing (the equally excellent Colin Welland) realises that Billy has found his own variety of freedom, happiness and success.
Naturally for any "kitchen sink" drama, Billy's happiness cannot last and the prospect of a crushing non-future in the mines is all that's left to Billy...
Everything about this film is near-perfect. Cinematography, acting, direction, script, location, pacing. You really sense the freedom Billy craves in his relationship with Kes; the suffocating deadness of Barnsley contrasted with the beauty of the Yorkshire landscape; the casual brutality of the school system; the hopelessness of his environment.
And yet despite the ultimately bleak ending there is a grain of hope in the film - you can't take Billy's love of nature away from him, and even if the system tries to crush him there's always the magnificence of nature close by....
A wonderful and unmissable film.
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