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The Railway Children (1970) Film Review


The Cast


Jenny Agutter

Roberta 'Bobby' Waterbury

Garry Warren

Peter Waterbury

Dina Sheridon

Mother, Mrs Waterbury

Sally Thomsett

Phyliss Waterbury

Bernhard Cribbins

Albert Perks

Debbie Davies

Nell Perks


About the film

  • Producer - Lionel Jeffries
  • Director - Robert Lynn
  • Running Time - 1 hr 49 mins
  • Genre - Family, Drama
  • Distributed By - MGM - EMI
  • Budget - £300,000

The Film

The film begins in 1905 when the Waterbury family are living in an affluent part of London in an Edwardian Villa with a housemaid and a father and husband who worked at the Foreign Office. On Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, Charles Waterbury is arrested on suspicion of being a spy. When he is led away by the Police, Mrs Waterbury keeps this from their 3 children.

With no income, the family move to Three Chimneys Cottage in Yorkshire, which is close to Oakworth Railway Station. The children find ways to entertain themselves in the countryside while their Mother tries to earn money by writing stories. The children often go to the railway and wave to the passengers on the train. They also become acquainted with 1 of the passengers on the 9:15am train who often waves to them, and also with Mr Perks, who is the Station Porter.

This is an endearing film of a family sticking together through thick and thin. The struggle they went through from having a privileged life to nothing, yet still having the heart to help people who are struggling is heart warming.

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Incidentally, the film is written and directed by Lionel Jefferies, who played Grandpa Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. And I like he he puts the family's fall from middle class to poverty on the back burner. Instead he concentrates the love they have for their mother and also in helping people.


My Thoughts

I absolutely love this film. This is based on the book by E. Nesbitt and we see tragedy, heroism from the children and warmth and kindness from them. It's a heart-warming film that shows how a family can overcome trouble and diversity. The simplicity of the film is what makes it such a well-loved film, I think.

It's just such a simple storyline of where the family is thrown into circumstances beyond their control. Even though they're living in unexpected poverty themselves, the family still help others. Not only do I think that the film is superbly written and acted by the cast members, the filming and cinematography is really good. You get to see the trauma the children go through as they are forced into the reality of the situation their parents are in. People still enjoy watching the film today, even though when you think how far technology has come. I remember watching this as a child, and I still enjoy watching this today.

© 2022 Louise Powles

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