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Young Winston (1972)

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Complex family relationships, as well as a combat experience, form the personality of the future world-famous politician.

Writers:

Winston Churchill (based upon "My Early Life: A Roving Commission") (as The Rt. Hon. Winston Churchill K.G. O.M. C.H. M.P.), Carl Foreman (written for the screen by)
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Shaw ... Lord Randolph Churchill
Anne Bancroft ... Lady Jennie Churchill / Lady Randolph Churchill
Simon Ward ... Young Winston / Sir Winston Churchill's Voice (voice)
Jack Hawkins ... Mr. Welldon
Patrick Magee ... General Bindon Blood
Edward Woodward ... Aylmer Haldane
John Mills ... General Kitchener
Peter Cellier ... Captain
Ronald Hines Ronald Hines ... Adjutant
Dino Shafeek ... Sikh Soldier
Russell Lewis ... Winston (aged 7)
Pat Heywood Pat Heywood ... Mrs. Everest
Laurence Naismith ... Lord Salisbury
William Dexter William Dexter ... Arthur Balfour
Basil Dignam ... Joseph Chamberlain
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Storyline

This historical drama is an account of the early life of the future British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill (Simon Ward), including his childhood, his time as a war correspondent in South Africa during the Second Boer War, and culminating in his first election to Parliament. Written by Matt <matt@measham.force9.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Rebel Soldier Hustler Prisoner Fugitive Firebrand [Australia Theatrical]

Genres:

Biography | Drama | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 July 1972 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Churchill Story See more »

Filming Locations:

Morlais Colliery, Dyfed, Wales. See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Open Road Films (II) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | 6-Track Stereo (Western Electric Sound System) (uncredited)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The locomotive featured in the railway scenes was artist David Shepard's BR Standard Class 9 "Black Prince". See more »

Goofs

Just as 'the last ever cavalry charge' is starting, there's a 'cavalry-mans view' towards the enemy lines. The wheel marks of the vehicle carrying the camera are visible, presumably from previous takes. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Captain: Who's that bloody fool on the gray?
Adjutant: Someone who wants to be noticed, I should imagine.
Captain: He'll be noticed. He'll get his head blown off.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Richard Attenborough: A Life in Film (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

March of the Victors
(uncredited)
from The Victors (1963)
Written by Sol Kaplan and Freddy Douglass
See more »

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User Reviews

Rich, if Uneven Tapestry of Churchill's Early Years...
6 September 2003 | by cariartSee all my reviews

YOUNG WINSTON was a film that director Richard Attenborough said was very difficult for him to make...his reputation as a director, in 1972, rested solely on his only previous film, the anti-war cult classic OH! WHAT A LOVELY WAR (1969), and with YOUNG WINSTON, he was expected to tackle a subject that was directly opposite to his point of view. Winston Churchill was the moral center of Great Britain in WWII, staunchly pro-Empire, and anything but anti-war. Yet his early life was an fascinating saga of contradictions, and the director felt that if he could focus on the personal odyssey Churchill experienced, against the backdrop of the dramatic events of the time, it would be a story worth telling. While the end result of Attenborough's labors would not be entirely successful, YOUNG WINSTON is still a rewarding, entertaining movie.

Told as a series of flashbacks, narrated by the older Winston Churchill (mimicked very accurately by the film's young star, Simon Ward), we jump from battlefields in the Sudan to a childhood in Blenhiem Palace, at an occasionally dizzying pace. The son of a brilliant yet self-destructive MP (played, with élan, by Robert Shaw), and his dazzling American wife (the radiant Anne Bancroft), young Churchill worships his parents, but is largely ignored by them, except when the cruelty of a boarding school would become too apparent. Only an average student through most of his youth, he seems destined to a life of mediocrity, at least in his father's eyes, and the parent's cold indifference would only become more pronounced as he experiences the ravages of syphilis, which destroys his career, and would kill him. Too late to win his father's love, Winston blossoms as a student, and determines to win fame, first as a soldier/journalist, then to take up his father's banner in Parliament.

Self-centered, opinionated, and glory-hungry, Winston attracts the animosity of Britain's war staff, yet seems to be anywhere history is being made, from tribal rebellions, to the last cavalry charge in history (seeing Churchill sheath his sword and pull out a pistol as his weapon is a telling sign that the era was ending). Behind the scenes, his widowed mother, trading on her legendary beauty and string of admirers, makes up for her earlier aloofness by using her contacts to help her son 'get ahead'. Yet Winston feels his progress is too slow, and decides to go to South Africa, where the Boer War rages.

As a journalist, Churchill is captured, but, taking advantage of the British prisoners' escape plans, manages to break out of prison, and elude the Boers, while all England watches. By the time he finally reaches safety, the entire world is celebrating him as a hero, and he easily wins his father's seat in Parliament...and takes up the same unpopular issues the elder Churchill had championed, and gone down defending. As Anthony Hopkins, playing Churchill friend David Lloyd George remarks, "A young lion is loose in Parliament."

With an all-star cast (including Jack Hawkins, Patrick Magee, John Mills, Edward Woodward, and a very young Jane Seymour), the greatest credit must go to Simon Ward, the oldest of the three young actors portraying Churchill through his early years. Ward is astonishing, not only physically resembling Winston, but giving the character a humanity that makes his opportunism and ambition far more palpable.

Of note, as well, is Gerry Turpin's cinematography, with it's sweeping vistas of the British army in the field, and Alfred Ralston's rousing score, drawing heavily from Elgar's marches.

While the sheer scope of the story, and flashback approach, ultimately defeat the 'intimacy' Richard Attenborough had hoped for, YOUNG WINSTON is still well worth watching, and helped him prepare for his next film, the even more challenging A BRIDGE TOO FAR.

It is a wonderful film adventure!


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