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Swallows and Amazons (1974 film) facts for kids

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Swallows and Amazons
Directed by Claude Whatham
Produced by Richard Pilbrow
Written by Arthur Ransome (book)
David Wood
Starring Virginia McKenna
Ronald Fraser
Music by Wilfred Josephs
Distributed by EMI Films
Release date(s) 1974 (1974)
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £250,000

Swallows and Amazons is a 1974 British film adaption of the 1930 novel of the same name by Arthur Ransome. The film, which was directed by Claude Whatham and produced by Richard Pilbrow, starred Virginia McKenna and Ronald Fraser, and a young Zanna Hamilton. Its budget was provided by Nat Cohen of EMI Films who had funded the successful 1970 film The Railway Children.


During the school holidays, the Walker children (John, Susan, Titty and Roger; the Swallows) are staying at a farm near a lake in the Lake District. They sail a borrowed dinghy named Swallow, and camp on an island in the lake that they call Wild Cat Island.

They meet two local girls Nancy and Peggy Blackett, who sail a dinghy named Amazon and live in Beckfoot a house up the nearby Amazon River. The Amazons (the Blackett girls; they call themselves "Amazon Pirates" and fly the "Jolly Roger" on their yacht) have been coming to the island for years, and claim the island as their territory. So the scene is set for serious rivalry.

Eventually they make friends and agree to join forces against a common enemy – the Blacketts' Uncle Jim (Jim Turner) whom they call "Captain Flint" (after the character in Treasure Island). Uncle Jim, normally an ally of his nieces, has withdrawn from their company to write his memoirs and has become decidedly unfriendly.

To determine who should be the overall leader in their campaign against Captain Flint, the Blacketts and the Walkers have a contest to see which can capture the others' boat. As part of their strategy the Walkers make a dangerous crossing of the lake by night, and John is later cautioned by his mother for this reckless act. The Walkers nevertheless win the contest – thanks to Titty who seizes the Amazon when the Blacketts come to Wild Cat Island. Eventually there is a mock battle between "Captain Flint" and the children, after which Uncle Jim is tried for his crimes and forced to walk the plank on his own houseboat. They agree at the post-battle feast to be friends forever.


  • Virginia McKenna - Mrs. Walker
  • Ronald Fraser - Uncle Jim
  • Simon West - John Walker
  • Suzanna Hamilton - Susan Walker (credited as Zanna Hamilton)
  • Sophie Neville - Titty Walker
  • Stephen Grendon - Roger Walker
  • Kit Seymour - Nancy Blackett
  • Lesley Bennett - Peggy Blackett
  • Mike Pratt - Mr. Dixon
  • Brenda Bruce - Mrs. Dixon
  • John Franklyn-Robbins - Young Billy
  • Jack Woolgar - Old Billy
  • David Blagden - Policeman
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