Boorman's autobiographical film about family life during the Blitz is subversively light on the blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice, and a joy throughout. Seen through the eyes of nine-year-old Bill Rohan (Rice Edwards), the war was a wonderland of superior fireworks displays every night, and adventure playgrounds of rubble and ruined houses. Dad joins up and Mum starts to see a lot of Dad's best friend Mac, while teenage sister Dawn runs wild with GIs. 'They know we're mad on jam' warns Mum, regarding a captured tin of German jam with deep suspicion; a barrage balloon breaks free of its moorings, bumps about the rooftops, and has to be shot down by a Home Guard firing squad. Tragedy is touched upon only in the episode of an orphan who refuses to leave her bombed home, and is offered a shrapnel collection by a sympathetic child. When the Rohan family are burned out, they take refuge with eccentric Granddad (Bannen, astonishingly good) at Shepperton on the river. The wind in the willows and the willow on the cricket ball - Boorman's long-lost England communicates its affectionate poetry.
Cast and crew
Sebastian Rice Edwards