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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kes is one of Ken Loach's finest films
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...
Published on 9 Aug 2000

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Unsentimental story of a boy and his kestrel
It was a brilliant concept in natural "non-acting" and the whole atmosphere of the film is pure 1960s but now appears very dated.
Published 3 months ago by JanK


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54 of 55 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
This review is from: Kes [VHS] (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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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kes - True to life, 8 Jun 2003
By 
Mr. John C. Murray "johninchester" (Chester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Kes [VHS] (VHS Tape)
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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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of British, 26 Oct 2003
This review is from: Kes [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
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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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, funny and witty, 30 May 2007
This review is from: Kes [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
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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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kes - A British classic, 21 Dec 2002
This review is from: Kes [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
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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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film of power and beauty, 12 Dec 2004
By 
Peter Fenelon - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Kes [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
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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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, touching British film., 30 May 2004
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This review is from: Kes [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
This is possible my favourite film of all time. The characters and story are so real, it is almost like a fly on the wall documentary. The child actors are fantastic. For a long time I was confused as to wether they were actors or children in an actualy school. The boy that takes the part of Billy Casper is brilliant and I often wonder if he was actually acting or if he was playing himself, and I often wonder what happened to him. The adults are equaly well suited to each role, with Brian Glovers PE teacher being the most memorable.
The story is a sad one that I'm sure has happened thousands of times throughout the land. The story of a young boy from a broken home, that the education system has failed and passed by. The interaction with big brother 'Judd,'and the cruel school children is brilliantly played out. Every aspect of the film is just perfect.
When you consider the budget and hype put into such modern film as The Lord of The Rings etc there is just no comparison. Give me Kes any day.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a unique film of great power, 8 April 2007
By 
Mr. Ian A. Macfarlane "almac1975" (Fife, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Kes [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
Interesting to think that this gritty and very moving film faced difficulties of distribution when it first appeared because of the(entirely authentic) Northern accents of the actors. It was thought that Southerners would find it impenetrable. It's an outstanding film from an excellent book, Barry Hines's 'A Kestrel for a Knave' (in fact, the book is possibly even better than the film, which cannot reproduce in filmic terms its slow, sad, nostalgic conclusion, with Billy's visit to the old cinema). Billy Casper has almost nothing going for him - Mum is more interested in her pathetic 'boyfriend', big brother knocks him about, school is irrelevant and is as little interested in him as he is in it. And then he gets Kes, the kestrel and, mesmerised by its beauty and power, displays intelligence, resourcefulness and commitment that no-one knew he had. Mr. Farthing, the English teacher, is sympathetic, but fate intervenes and it all ends unhappily, with Billy sinking back into his lonely hopelessness. Episodes in the film are genuinely funny - a wonderful school P.E. lesson on the football filed with Brian Glover as a marvellous PE teacher such as, perhaps, we all recognise and wish we had never met - but there can be no silver lining in Billy's world. It is beautifully set, acted and directed and is in every way outstanding.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty and Real, 9 July 2011
This review is from: Kes [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
Kes is a 1969 British film, based on the novel A Kestrel for a Knave written by the Barnsley-born author Barry Hines. The film feels almost like a documentary in its style.

The story focuses on Billy Casper, who is a school boy who has very limited options in life and is destined to become a coal miner . He is bullied both at home, by his drunken half-brother, Jud, as well as at school. Billy appears lost and emotionally neglected by his mother (Lynne Perrie), his father is dead.

Billy has no positive interests until he finds an outlet from his pitiful existence through training a kestrel that he takes from a nest on a farm, and so the gritty story and realities of his life unfold.

The film provides a social commentary and is a very accurate portrait of life in the mining areas of Yorkshire in the late 1960s. Set in Barnsley, the cast have authentic Yorkshire accents, and the extras were all hired from in and around the Barnsley area, adding to the films authentic gritty feel. A film that will make you laugh and cry, but is also deeply thought provoking.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Schooldays........., 17 Oct 2007
This review is from: Kes [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
I had to read the book for my school english exams,'A Kestrel For A Knave' by Barry Hines. Thoroughly enjoyed it, and could not wait to see the film.
It is fantastic, as it sums up my school days only too well, I think most people can relate to this film, with fond memories of all that went on in the classroom, and on the football pitch (that bloomin games teacher) played by the late Brian Glover.(brilliant character)
Has to be director Kenneth Loaches best ever film, fantastic!
I can only remember seeing 'David Bradley' in one other film, 'Zulu Dawn'. Shame he could not have made some more, as he played the part of Billy Casper so well.......
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Kes [DVD] [1969]
Kes [DVD] [1969] by Ken Loach (DVD - 2003)
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