Directed by Ken Loach
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The Independent Culture

Kes is a British film from 1969 by director Ken Loach and producer Tony Garnett. The film is based on the novel, A Kestrel for a Knave written by Barry Hines in 1968.

Bullied at school and ignored and abused at home by his indifferent mother and older brother, Billy Casper (David Bradley), a 15-year-old working-class Yorkshire boy, tames and trains his pet kestrel falcon whom he names Kes. Helped and encouraged by his English teacher Mr. Farthing (Colin Welland) and his fellow students, Billy finally finds a positive purpose to his unhappy existence, until tragedy strikes.


Ken Loach


Barry Hines (novel)

Tony Garnett


David Bradley Billy Casper

Lynne Perrie Mrs Casper

Freddie Fletcher Jud Casper

Colin Welland Mr Farthing

Brian Glover Mr Sugden


  • The bird featured, a common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), is a bird of prey belonging to the falcon family, widespread in Europe, Asia and Africa.
  • The child actors who were beaten (actually caned on the hand) by the character of the school headmaster were paid an additional 50 pence for their trouble, according to a BBC Radio 4 interview.