Swallows and Amazons - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Swallows and Amazons Reviews

Page 1 of 1
May 1, 2014
Adapted from Arthur Ransome's 1930 childrens novel of the same name, and directed by Claude Whatham, (That'll Be the Day (1973) and Hoodwink (1981)), this is a sweet and innocent children's adventure, made for a meagre $250,000. It's a prime example of the kinds of children's film that simply doesn't get made anymore, as the frolics that they play in the film seem so old-fashioned now. Set during the summer of 1929, the Walker family go on holiday to the Lake District, while the mother (Virginia McKenna) stays at home, the Walker children, Susan (Suzanna Hamilton), John (Simon West), Titty (Sophie Neville) and Roger (Stephen Grendon) take a boat out into the middle of the neighbouring lake, and set up a camp on the island, they call their group the Swallows, named after the boat that took them out there. It's not long before they meet two other children, Nancy (Kit Seymour) and Peggy (Lesley Bennett), who are a lot more mischievious, teasing their Uncle Jim (Ronald Fraser), who is staying on a boat nearby, they're the Amazons. It's a very old fashioned film, cut from similar cloth to The Railway Children (1970), and it does highlight the art of children getting out and about and playing. The shoot was an absolute nightmare though, Ronald Fraser was never sober and the weather was very uncooperative, but a charming and precious film emerged from it all.
½ January 29, 2011
Okay, who's for an adventure on the high seas? Alright then, you've got me... an adventure at the Lake District.

This film from 1974, based on the book by Arthur Ransome, follows the adventures of four children growing up in the 1920s who travel to the Lake District with their mother on hoilday and are allowed to sail to a nearby island in their boat, the Swallow, and set up camp.

The four children find their newly discovered island is also the territory of two tomboys, the Amazons.

After a brief "skirmish" and a night-time sailing race, the Swallows and the Amazons join forces to "declare war" on their foe, the "pirate" Captain Flint.

This is a charmingly old fashioned. The children are very much in the tradition of The Railway Children and The Famous Five where children speak in Received Pronunciation, have adventures and make sure they're home in time for tea.

Adults, on the main, take a back seat in this film and are split into three categories - the locals are known as "natives", Mother is known as a "stay at home" and villains and "Captain Flint", based on the evidence that he has a cannon on his boat and is grumpy for the majority of the film are known as "pirates".

The acting by the children is solid, given the requirement of the script to basically be the stereotypes of early 20th century childrens books.

Virginia McKenna plays Mother and is very little more than that. She helps the Swallows prepare for their adventures, visits one of them who looks after the camp whilst the rest of the children engage in their night-time race and delivering a telling off and motherly advice.

Ronald Pickup has the more fun role of Captain Flint from being presented a grumpy "pirate", through a misunderstanding with both the Swallows and Amazons and, finally, as an overgrown child having a game of "war" with the children to capture his houseboat.

The script is simplistic harking back to a more innocent time. It could be seen as bland in comparison with modern children's films, and is pretty much a script by the numbers.

In addition to this, the pacing is slow going in the middle third through the night-race scenes.

What rescues this film is the cinematography which makes full use of the Lake District's locations and the enthusiasm of the actors involved.

Now, anyone up for cake and lashings of ginger pop? Spiffing!!!
Theta Sigma
Super Reviewer
½ January 19, 2011
Okay, who's for an adventure on the high seas? Alright then, you've got me... an adventure at the Lake District.

This film from 1974, based on the book by Arthur Ransome, follows the adventures of four children growing up in the 1920s who travel to the Lake District with their mother on hoilday and are allowed to sail to a nearby island in their boat, the Swallow, and set up camp.

The four children find their newly discovered island is also the territory of two tomboys, the Amazons.

After a brief "skirmish" and a night-time sailing race, the Swallows and the Amazons join forces to "declare war" on their foe, the "pirate" Captain Flint.

This is a charmingly old fashioned. The children are very much in the tradition of The Railway Children and The Famous Five where children speak in Received Pronunciation, have adventures and make sure they're home in time for tea.

Adults, on the main, take a back seat in this film and are split into three categories - the locals are known as "natives", Mother is known as a "stay at home" and villains and "Captain Flint", based on the evidence that he has a cannon on his boat and is grumpy for the majority of the film are known as "pirates".

The acting by the children is solid, given the requirement of the script to basically be the stereotypes of early 20th century childrens books.

Virginia McKenna plays Mother and is very little more than that. She helps the Swallows prepare for their adventures, visits one of them who looks after the camp whilst the rest of the children engage in their night-time race and delivering a telling off and motherly advice.

Ronald Pickup has the more fun role of Captain Flint from being presented a grumpy "pirate", through a misunderstanding with both the Swallows and Amazons and, finally, as an overgrown child having a game of "war" with the children to capture his houseboat.

The script is simplistic harking back to a more innocent time. It could be seen as bland in comparison with modern children's films, and is pretty much a script by the numbers.

In addition to this, the pacing is slow going in the middle third through the night-race scenes.

What rescues this film is the cinematography which makes full use of the Lake District's locations and the enthusiasm of the actors involved.

Now, anyone up for cake and lashings of ginger pop? Spiffing!!!
½ December 18, 2009
A wonderful kids film set in the Lake District during the 1920's.
October 6, 2009
What a lovely, lovely film!! So faithful to the book. Chilled out, full of childish dreams and a real "good old days" feel about it. All the children were charming, in spite of some wooden acting.
October 1, 2009
boring film about english brats pretending to be pirates. i was expecting some kind of charming story but sadly i got a poorly directed mess of a film. some parts was amusing though.
April 20, 2009
Sturdy kids adventure, but down-to-earth getting under the nails of what child's play is like. Perhaps a little idillic but is still a good watch.
½ June 27, 2008
Arthur Ransome's classic novel.
I remember watching this as a kid so when i saw it free in the Daily Mail i bought the paper just for it! lol!
Anyone who enjoyed The Famous Five, The Secret 7 or things like the Railway children will love this too... not only for the funny memories but its also great fun to watch... and also, too cringe (just a little!)
½ June 27, 2008
"Tally-ho old bean" "Come along Titty, lets go to the lake, can we mummy?"
"Oh please say that we may!"

A fun and faithfully adapted little film from Arthur Ransome's classic novel.
I remember watching this as a kid so when i saw it free in the Daily Mail i bought the paper just for it! lol!
Anyone who enjoyed The Famous Five, The Secret 7 or things like the Railway children will love this too... not only for the funny memories but its also great fun to watch... and also, too cringe (just a little!)
May 6, 2008
A wonderful kids film set in the Lake District during the 1920's.
March 19, 2008
wasnt bad, could have been amazing though, had so much potential
October 20, 2007
Massive fan of the books, but was disappointed by this. Some of the acting is dreadful.
October 6, 2007
it was actually 1974 the film, I remember seeing it as an 11 year old, good kids film
September 21, 2007
It's impossible to be unbias about this film. But it works big time for me. Forever interwoven with my childhood and to all who have read Ransome. It's beauty lies within it's innocence. S.A.A.F!!
September 18, 2007
Faithful small-screen adaptation of the first novel of a classic children's series about children on holiday in 1920s Lakes District in England.
½ September 14, 2007
nostalgic, homely. maybe its as i grew up in the lakes. lets go playing on the lake in a boat. what fun!!!
August 22, 2007
I love this film because it is completely about childhood fun!! I love the book too
June 8, 2007
If one is an Arthur Ransome fan, seeing this film is a must. No matter how bad the film is one is obliged to give it a five star rating.
October 27, 2006
It's a fabulous film. You won't be disappointed
½ July 16, 2005
Best in Show: Suzanna Hamilton
One for the future: Suzanna Hamilton
Stand-out scene: Titty's triumph
Brainer or no-brainer: Brainer
Stands up to one viewing or repeated?: One
DVD commentary any good?: n/a

TV
Set in the 1920s this adaptation of Arthur Ransome's childrens' story this 'charming' story tells of the scrapes six kids get into one summer holiday in the Lake District. Their Aunt's house overlooks a lake and the adult allows her four charges (the 'Swallows' because of their boat) to row over to an island and set up camp for several days. There they meet the 'Amazons' - two woolly-hatted girls whose Uncle owns a houseboat moored nearby. Evoking memories of campfires as a youngster (you can't beat a fry-up in the woods!) olde-worldy banter is rife and i'm not sure that Titty is an appropriate name for a youngster (short for Letitia maybe), but this Famous Five-ish adventure is pleasant enough Sunday afternoon fodder. Eldest girl Suzanna Hamilton (who made her debut here) went on to appear in the TV series Wish Me Luck and Nineteen-Eighty-Four and it's a shame that she hasn't been more prolific in her career, reduced to bit parts in the likes of Casualty. Virginia McKenna appears fleetingly as the Aunt and the kids' attempts to requisition each other's vessels takes up a large chunk of the plot, with a robbery on the the bad-tempered Uncle's boat thrown in for good measure. Idiosyncracies of the time such as charcoal burners and ginger beer bottles with cork stoppers make this an interesting period piece and there's little evidence of annoying child star behaviour to mar proceedings (of the children, only Hamilton continued to act). Pleasant enough tish and whimsy.
Page 1 of 1