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In this 1969 Ken Loach film, a 15-year-old named Billy Casper (played by acting newcomer David Bradley) suffers abuse both at home and at school in Yorkshire, England. At his home in the working-class section of Barnsley, Billy's brother beats him and his family neglects him. At school, most of his teachers ridicule and reject him, especially sadistic Mr. Sugden (Brian Glover. Like other downtrodden children in an outmoded social system favoring the ruling class, Billy appears headed for a menial job with no future. Consequently, he has no motivation and nothing to look forward to, until… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A classic of British social realism."
‑ Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader
"Loach is not a director of notable style, nor can he often refuse the obvious shot, but he seems to have a remarkable talent for handling actors and obtaining performances that are truly memorable."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"Seen today, it still cries its authentic song of rage. It still cuts like a knife."
‑ Sukhdev Sandhu, Daily Telegraph
"A rich film of flesh and blood."
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
"Throbs with a simple truthfulness...Loach shows his complimentary interest in documentary-influenced social realism and the improvisational search for the authentic. [Blu-ray]"
‑ Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews
"Simply, the filmmakers have brought the background of the boy's life vividly into reality."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Kes is Loach at his best."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"A film that captures Loach's ability to find the extraordinary drama in ordinary lives."
‑ Caroline Jowett, Daily Express
"Funny, sad, bitingly authentic, Kes resonates with Loach's anger at the way many kids grow up into narrow, option-free lives."
‑ Philip Kemp, Total Film
"a moving, shattering tragedy - a meditation on the warping powers of human institutions. Kes is beautiful, sad and powerful - one of the best British films ever made."
‑ Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"Terrific performances, illuminated by Chris Menges' naturalistic but often evocative photography."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"The only Loach film I rate more highly is his Spanish civil war picture, Land and Freedom."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"Jaunty, sad, poetic, Kes is so humane it makes you tremble."
‑ Charlotte O'Sullivan, This is London
"Loach and his cinematographer Chris Menges opt for a realistic, grainy, rough documentary look, which makes us in the audience feel as though we are voyeurs, bearing witness to what Godard had famously proclaimed cinema to be: truth 24 times a second."
‑ Dan Jardine, Cinemania
"...a phrase attributed to Truman Capote might well be applied to Billy Casper and his kestrel, as well: The world is not kind to little things."
‑ Sarah Boslaugh, Playback:stl
More reviews for Kes on Rotten Tomatoes