Kes is one of the most iconic films to come out of Yorkshire and has stood the test of time having been filmed over 50 years ago. It is a great snapshot of the time and shows the gritty truth of what it was like growing up in the North. It tells a beautiful tale of the bond between Billy and Kes. It is widely praised for giving a rare and authentic big-screen portrayal of underrepresented working-class communities and remains one of the finest pieces of British cinema to this day. Enjoy our Kes fun facts.
1. Disney offered to make ‘Kes’ but wanted to change the end of the film so that Kes makes a recovery. Barry Hines was quoted as saying “Should we have sold out? I know which way would always be right for me.”
2. The Yorkshire dialect in the film was so difficult for other English-speakers to understand that some scenes were re-dubbed for the American market release.
3. In a 2013 interview, Ken Loach said that American execs shown the film on its release said they could understand Hungarian better than the dialect in the film.
4. Billy visits a chippy in the film, and it is still open today. It’s named “Casper’s” as a homage to the film.
5. Brian Glover, who plays the PE teacher, had a wrestling match on the first night of the two-day shoot and busted his knee – which is why he has a support bandage in the footage. The first day’s footage needed to be reshot.
6. The premiere of Kes was in Doncaster, close to where it was filmed.
7. The school scenes were filmed in the same school that Barry Hines, the author, had gone to school.
8. The film has a 100% rating on film review site Rotton Tomatoes.
9. In the credits at the end of the film the majority of the crew were listed under the heading “This film was made by…”
10. David Bradley, the main actor, was involved with training the three kestrels during the filming of Kes.
11. In the final scene, the director told David Bradley that one of the Kestrels would be killed for the scene. The look of hatred in the film is real. It was only after the filming of the scene that he was shown the three kestrels alive and well.