Archive of films The Navigators / The Navigators

United Kingdom
2000, 95 min

Section: Focus on British Film (2000-2005)
Year: 2006

Another of Ken Loach’s social-realist films which focuses on five men who run and maintain a railway in Yorkshire. Their lives and work change when the state-run rail network is privatised and left in the hands of several private operators.


Ken Loach, Britain’s justly celebrated premier auteur of social-realist cinema, brings his trademark human warmth to The Navigators, which follows five Yorkshire railway maintenance men whose lives and working practices change when Britain’s state-owned national railway network is broken up into a number of separate private companies. Based on a screenplay by Rob Dawber, a former railway worker who died of asbestos-related cancer before the film premiered at the Venice Film Festival, The Navigators is a stinging indictment of the compromised safety standards wrought by privatisation. But, in the tradition of the director’s earlier depiction of male-worker camaraderie Riff-Raff, Loach eschews clumsy preachifying, and extracts much wry humour from the trials and tribulations of its characters. A made-for-TV film in Loach’s native UK, this little-seen gem stands comparison with the director’s more celebrated recent work such as Sweet Sixteen and Ae Fond Kiss.

About the director

Ken Loach (b. 1936, Nuneaton) studied law at university, spent a brief spell in the theatre, and was recruited in 1963 by the BBC as a trainee television director. He made a huge impact with his TV play Cathy Come Home (1966), and his first two feature films, Poor Cow (1967) and Kes (winner of the Crystal Globe at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 1969). Loach spent the next two decades working in television and making poorly distributed feature films before Riff-Raff (1991) occasioned a gear shift, with a string of exceptionally powerful, award-winning cinema releases, including Hidden Agenda, Raining Stones (1993), Land and Freedom (1995), My Name Is Joe (1998), Sweet Sixteen (2002), Ae Fond Kiss (2004) and new feature The Wind That Shakes The Barley (2006), set in 1920 revolutionary Ireland. Loach’s films have garnered numerous nominations and prizes at all the major international film festivals, including Cannes, Venice and Berlin, and at Britain’s BAFTA Awards.


British Council
10 Spring Gardens, SW1A 2BN, London
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 207 389 3067
Fax: +44 207 389 3175
E-mail: [email protected]

The Works Film Group
5th Floor, Fairgate House, 78 New Oxford Street, WC1A 1HB, London
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 207 612 1080
Fax: +44 207 612 1081
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Focus on British Film (2000-2005)
Director: Ken Loach
Screenplay: Rob Dawber
Dir. of Photography: Mike Eley, Barry Ackroyd
Music: George Fenton
Editor: Jonathan Morris
Producer: Rebecca O’Brien
Production: Parallax Pictures, Road Movies Filmproduktion
Cast: Dean Andrews, Tom Craig, Joe Duttine, Steve Huison, Venn Tracey, Sean Glenn
Contact: British Council, The Works Film Group


Geraldine Higgins


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