The Edge of the World (2000)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

What happens when the people of a lonely, windswept island can no longer survive as a community ? This Drama/Documentary examines the hardships of such a life and the decisions they must make, whether to stay where their families have worked & died to establish this hard-working community or to leave and give the next generation a better chance. Partly based on a true story (The evacuation of "Hirta" or "St. Kilda").
Classics , Documentary , Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
British Film Institute


John Laurie
as Peter Manson
Belle Chrystal
as Ruth Manson
Belle Chrystall
as Ruth Manson - His Daughter
Eric Berry
as Robbie Manson - Her Brother
Kitty Kerwin
as Jean Manson - Their Grandmother
Finlay Currie
as James Gray
Niall MacGinnis
as Andrew Gray
Grant Sutherland
as John, the Catechist
Campbell Robson
as Dunbar, the Laird
Kitty Kirwan
as Jean Manson
George Summers
as The Trawler Skipper
People of Foula
as Themselves
Frankie Powell
as Mrs. Graham
Michael Powell
as Yachtsman
Sydney Streeter
as Man at Dance
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Edge of the World

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (2)

In this, his first independent feature film, Powell sets the tone for the rest of his career as he packs the narrative with innovations.

Full Review… | February 1, 2011
What Culture

... a must-see for Powell enthusiasts; the visuals are indescribably forceful.

Full Review… | August 15, 2006
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Michael Powell entered the golden age of his career with The Edge of the World.

Full Review… | December 18, 2003
Slant Magazine

A flinty, hard-edged melodrama amidst unforgettable landscapes; an early jewel from Michael Powell.

August 17, 2003
Nick's Flick Picks

Powell's early ability with the camera is readily apparent here

May 12, 2001

Told with old-fashioned simplicity yet avoiding any trace of sentimentality or emotionalism, it's a small-scale masterpiece that shouldn't be missed by anyone interested in cinematic storytelling at its most compelling.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Christian Science Monitor

Audience Reviews for The Edge of the World


I really love Michael Powell more and more. This was his first breakout film. The use of building drama with edits of tight shots, sections of scene, music and tempo...the guy is a genius. I loved this lil film to death. :fresh:

Sookie Sapperstein
Sookie Sapperstein

(DVD) (First Viewing, 5th Powell film) [b]The Edge of the World[/b] is the film that legendary British filmmaker Michael Powell considered his first great film, and it remained one that held significant meaning to him (he even appeared in it in a small role). Though some aspects of the film are rather amateurish, it's a very capably directed film and is a respectable kickoff to a celebrated career. The story involves a small group of people on a tiny Scottish island who are finding their traditional way of life slowly dying off. The young people are leaving the island for better work and wages on the mainland, those who are left are finding it impossible to carry on without their help. This conflict leads to a showdown that results in disaster, tearing a young couple apart in the process. The black and white cinematography is stunning, using the steep rock cliffs and rolling grass to full effect (it definitely hints at the renowned cinematography that would mark later Powell films made in collaboration with Emeric Pressburger). Reviewer comments over at IMDb say that this film is for Powell completists only, but such a pronouncement greatly underestimates the film's quality. Though in some ways [b]Edge of the World[/b] is a slight film, clocking in at a mere 75 minutes, I found it entertaining and would definitely recommend it to anybody interested in giving it a look.

Jesse Last
Jesse Last

Residents of a small Scottish isle come to terms with the fact that their way of life has come to an end. The seas nearby can no longer provide enough fish to make a living, and their land, having been depleted and eroded, can no longer produce the crops they need to survive. Some very touching moments here but I found that the most interesting parts were the shots of actual Scotsmen going about their daily routines. The film is almost as documentary as it is dramatic. Fascinating to see the way islanders collected shed wool from the sheep or the way they got mail to the mainland by sealing letters in small toy boats and casting them into the sea, hoping that fishing vessels would pick them up and post them. There is as much here for history enthusiasts as there is for movie buffs.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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