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The Railway Children [1970]/Swallows and Amazons [1974] [DVD]

Dinah Sheridan , Bernard Cribbins , Claude Whatham , Lionel Jeffries    Universal, suitable for all   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: 9.64
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Frequently Bought Together

The Railway Children [1970]/Swallows and Amazons [1974] [DVD] + The Secret Garden [DVD] [1993]
Price For Both: 13.22

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  • The Secret Garden [DVD] [1993] 3.58

Product details

  • Actors: Dinah Sheridan, Bernard Cribbins, William Mervyn, Iain Cuthbertson, Jenny Agutter
  • Directors: Claude Whatham, Lionel Jeffries
  • Writers: Lionel Jeffries, Arthur Ransome, David Wood, E. Nesbit
  • Producers: Neville C. Thompson, Richard Pilbrow
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Warner
  • DVD Release Date: 14 April 2003
  • Run Time: 190 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008IARQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 34,881 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



The Railway Children (1970) and Swallows and Amazons (1974) are perfect bedfellows: two classic children's novels, simply and faithfully adapted for the big screen. Together they evoke a poignant nostalgia for the periods in which they are set--Edwardian and 1920s England, respectively--and for the childhood of anyone who has grown up watching them. Sentimentality reigns, of course, but it's never cloying. The truthfulness of the juvenile performances, balanced with restrained sympathy from the adults, sees to that.

Flourishing under Lionel Jeffries' delicate direction, Jenny Agutter dominates The Railway Children as the oldest daughter of a family thrown on hard times when their father is wrongly sent to prison. They avert a train disaster, save an imperilled steeple chaser and reunite an exiled Russian with his wife, all with equal enterprise. Happy endings prevail after every crisis. And no number of repeat viewings can ever diminish the impact of father's return. One of the most expert tear-duct work-outs in film history, it hits the spot every time.

Perhaps the lack of such a pivotal scene has kept Swallows and Amazons in the relative shade. But its gentle appeal survives with equal charm, not least in the resourcefulness of the eponymous children and the period detail. Together this pairing makes a double bill to treasure, and a piquant reminder that Disney doesn't have a complete monopoly on the rich heritage of children's cinema.

On the DVD: The Railway Children and Swallows and Amazons is presented in standard 4:3 picture format, from so-so prints, and with acceptable mono soundtracks. Both films envelope the viewer in a comforting Sunday-afternoon haze. There are no extras, apart from scene indexes. --Piers Ford

Product Description

A children's classic double bill. An adaptation of E. Nesbit's children's classic, 'The Railway Children' follows the fortunes of a group of Edwardian children whose father is wrongly jailed for treason. Exiled with their mother to a life of genteel poverty on the Yorkshire Moors, they are soon drawn to the railway at the bottom of the garden, and all kinds of adventures. 'Swallows and Amazons' is a classic children's adventure yarn based on the Arthur Ransome book. The story recounts the adventures of a group of children who call themselves the Swallows, after their boat, as they holiday in the Lake District during the 1920s. There, they meet two piratical sisters, known as the Amazons, who have already claimed the waters for themselves.

Customer Reviews

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect, simply perfect! 10 Aug 2005
By A Customer
There can be few people who have not been enthranced by The Railway Children. If you are one of those - shut the door, curl up in front of the fire and be transfixed by what is quite simply the best children's film there will ever be. Everything about the production is as perfect as a film can be.
Of course, the film is dominated by the divine (then and now) Jenny Agutter who stole everyone's hearts as Bobbie and made the part as much hers as Judy Garland had with Dorothy for a previous generation.
There will not be a dry eye in the house as the film reaches its climax and Bobbie's immortal words echo down the station platform - even as I think of it, I can hear that voice like dripping honey and a lump comes into my throat.
The end of civilisation will be nigh if the time ever comes when this masterpiece is no longer available.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Glorious! 28 Jan 2004
By pacem et amorem TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
I really bought this for 'The Railway Children' and couldn't have been more pleased with it! It's like pulling on an old comfy sweater and gives you a warm, cosy feeling inside!
This is one of the best children's films around and you really get a sense that you know the family inside out by the end. You feel for them and follow them through their struggles, hardships and triumphs - from losing their father and having to move away from everything that they knew to a strange place (one certainly not as luxurious as the world they had been used to), to having their mother fall ill and the ways they help people in their new community! You can almost imagine you are with them as they run through fields, clamber up hillsides and sit on fences waving to people on the trains. You can feel your heart thumping at the moment a train thunders along the track they are standing on waving red petticoats in the air to stop it running into the landslide and your panic mounting as it gets closer and closer to Bobby as she stands her ground. You also share their immense joy at the close of the film - when everything is as it should be!
All this excitement plus another movie on the disc as well! Can you really believe your luck?
If you like a well-made film that makes you remember your childhood fondly, then this is the DVD for you!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Superb films, zero extras 13 Jun 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
As the other reviewers have remarked, neither film can be faulted, they are both good old-fashioned adventure yarns which are sadly lacking in the present day. Zero sex or violence, just lashings of ginger beer, steam engines and good old public schoolboy accents.

What lets this release down is presentation. The Railway Children boasts an anamorphic widescreen print which, generally free of dirt, is lacking the full restoration it deserves. Where are the commentaries by the original children, or documentary on how the film was made? This film cries out for supplementary material but doesn't get it.

Swallows and Amazons features a full frame print, coverd in scratches, compression artifacts and is generally very grotty looking, clearly this has had no restoration since the video release in the 1990s.

I expect a better presented DVD will be released at some stage as Studio Canal have ended their distribution licence with Warner, meaning they are free to find another company that will give these films the visual and supplementary presentations they deserve.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great viewing 14 Mar 2014
By john
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
family viewing at its best. great cast and storyline. I will watch this again and again. this is what family entertainment is about.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Yesteryear 5 Jun 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Always liked the book and the film, and Swallows and Amazona also. Good adaptations! Will enjoy over and over again.
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