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Kes (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

4.6 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Named by the British Film Institute as one of the ten best British films of the century, Kes, from Ken Loach (Hidden Agenda, The Wind That Shakes the Barley), is cinema’s quintessential portrait of working-class Northern England. Billy (an astonishingly naturalistic David Bradley) is a fifteen-year-old miner’s son whose close bond with a wild kestrel provides him with a spiritual escape from his dead-end life. Kes established the sociopolitical engagement and artistic brilliance of its filmmaker, and pushed the British “angry young man” film of the sixties into a new realm of authenticity, using real locations and nonprofessional actors. Loach’s poignant coming-of-age drama remains its now legendary director’s most beloved and influential film.

Special Features

  • New, restored digital transfer, approved by director Ken Loach and director of photography Chris Menges, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition

    Making “Kes”, a new documentary featuring Loach, Menges, producer Tony Garnett, and actor David Bradley

    The Southbank Show: “Ken Loach” (1993), a profile of the filmmaker, featuring Loach, Garnett, directors Stephen Frears and Alan Parker, and other Loach collaborators

    Cathy Come Home (1967), a feature directed by Loach and produced by Garnett, with an introduction by film writer Graham Fuller

    Original theatrical trailer

    PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by Fuller


  • Product Details

    • Actors: David Bradley, Freddie Fletcher, Lynne Perrie, Colin Welland, Brian Glover
    • Directors: Ken Loach
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
    • Language: English
    • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
      PG-13
      Parents Strongly Cautioned
    • Studio: Criterion Collection
    • DVD Release Date: April 19, 2011
    • Run Time: 110 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B004JPJHLK
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,316 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    By Steven Aldersley on May 4, 2011
    Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
    Kes
    Directed by Ken Loach
    Starring David Bradley, Colin Welland, Brian Glover

    Criterion | 1969 | 110 minutes | Rated PG-13

    Video:
    Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
    Video resolution: 1080p
    Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

    Audio:
    English: LPCM Mono
    English: Dolby Digital Mono

    Subtitles:
    English SDH

    Disc:
    Single 50GB Blu-ray Disc
    Region A locked

    The film contains brief nudity and scenes which may disturb young children.

    Kes is a very British film, winning two BAFTA awards from its five nominations. Colin Welland won for best supporting actor and was the only professional actor in the film. David Bradley won for most promising newcomer.

    The story deals with a troubled young boy, Billy Casper (Bradley). He is bullied by his older brother at home and similarly treated by his peers in school. He's insolent, not above lying or stealing and does little to encourage people to like him. He's a loner.

    The setting is Barnsley, Yorkshire, in the north of England. If you have ever seen this part of England depicted in other films, you'll know that it's a poor area populated largely by working class people. In the 1960s, that was very much the case. Billy's brother worked in a coal mine, as did most of the town. The two had to share the same bed, so you can imagine how poor they were.

    Anyone unfamiliar with British accents may find the thick Yorkshire dialect hard to follow. It's the main reason that Kes wasn't given a wide release outside England. I'm completely at home with the accent because my grandfather came from Barnsley. He often talked about his tough upbringing and it gives the film additional meaning for me.
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    By Moggi on August 26, 2008
    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    I enjoyed this story when I read it at school in the 70's and this is the fourth or fifth time I have watched the movie.

    Very realistic socially (I grew up just a few miles from where this is filmed) and don't doubt that the PE teacher is based in reality.

    Touching and emotional.
    1 Comment 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    A beautiful and tender story that turns around a 15 year-old Yorkshire boy who tames and trains his pet. One of the most remarkable films of that decade directed by that young and raising promise. Ken Loach.
    Comment 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
    Though it was made in 1969, Kes is entirely within the tradition of the British New Wave, "kitchen sink films" that were a major force in British cinema in the late 50's and early 60's. These films departed from the past by illustrating the lives of working class people, often living in the industrial north and usually focusing on an "angry young man". Their black and white photography often added to the gritty realism they portrayed. Kes, unusually, was shot in color, a must by 1969, but it's rather cool color that does not take away from the realism of the film. Why the DVD box is in black and white is a mystery; perhaps to note it's link with the earlier British films. It should hopefully convey that this is a bleak story that takes place in the coal mining region of South Yorkshire and is not a pastoral North Yorkshire story like All Creatures Great and Small.

    Billy Casper is an early to mid teen who is not so much an angry young man (his older half-brother Jud fits that description better) but an almost totally ignored kid, even by his classmates, who doesn't really relate to anything in school or at home. His mother mostly ignores him, his brother is hostile to him and in school no one much knows him. When he adopts and raises a baby kestrel hawk, whom he names Kes, his life suddenly becomes more meaningful and fulfilling. Unlike many of the protagonists of these films, Billy is presented in a sympathetic way with only a bit of petty stealing to hold against him.

    Meanwhile life goes on around him in a generally harsh environment where most everyone is in a bad mood, the teachers hate their students and the principal canes students for coughing during a school assembly.
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    Format: DVD
    This film is so beautiful-i saw it in the U.K.I really wish they would release in U.S format so i could have it to keeeep!!It is very realistic real film that gets right under your skin and into the little boy's head.Life is stark and hard for him but when he flys or handles that bird ,it sets his soul free.Not much time left-he's soon going to grow up and have to work in the mine and be smothered by mundane grind like folks around him.Heartbreaking without an once of sentimentality so this film gets you.Somewhat upsetting.But so goddam beautiful.
    1 Comment 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: Blu-ray
    "Kes," named one of the ten best films of the century by the British Film Institute, is director Ken Loach's portrait of working-class Northern England. Using real locations and non-professional actors, "Kes" is a touching coming-of-age drama. Fifteen-year-old Billy Casper (David Bradley) lives in a ramshackle house with his emotionally remote mother and physically abusive half-brother, Jud. At school, Billy is mistreated by his teachers, who regard him as a hopeless case. His close bond with a wild kestrel provides him with a spiritual escape from his dead-end life.

    "Kes" will remind viewers of "Billy Elliot," since both films are set in the same location and feature young protagonists from blue-collar backgrounds. "Kes" is beautifully directed and young Mr. Bradley turns in a moving, believable performance.

    The newly restored Blu-ray edition's extras include a making-of documentary, a 1993 profile of director Loach, a 1966 television feature by Loach, the alternate internationally released soundtrack, and a booklet with a critical essay.
    Comment 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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