The Young Ones (1961 film)

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For the 1960 Luis Bunuel film known in Spanish as La joven, see The Young One.
The Young Ones
The Young Ones UK quad poster.jpg
Original UK quad format poster
Directed by Sidney J. Furie
Produced by Kenneth Harper
Andrew Mitchell
Written by Peter Myers
Ronald Cass
Starring Cliff Richard
Robert Morley
Carole Gray
The Shadows
Music by Stanley Black
Ronald Cass
Cinematography Douglas Slocombe
Edited by Jack Slade
Distributed by Warner-Pathé (UK)
Paramount Pictures (US)
Release dates 13 Dec 1961 (World Premiere, London)
  • 19 December 1961 (1961-12-19) (UK)
  • 3 January 1962 (1962-13-03) (US)
Running time 108 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £230,000[1]

The Young Ones (US title: It's Wonderful to Be Young!) is a 1961 British film musical, directed by Sidney J. Furie and featuring teen idol Cliff Richard, Robert Morley as his character's father, Carole Gray as his love interest, and The Shadows as his band. The screenplay was written by Peter Myers and Ronald Cass, who also wrote most of the songs. Herbert Ross choreographed the dance scenes.

The film was produced by the Associated British Picture Corporation and shot at their Elstree Studios. It had it's World Premiere on December 13th 1961 at the Warner Theatre in London's West End.


The story is about the youth club member and aspiring singer Nicky and his friends, who try to save their club in western London from the unscrupulous millionaire property developer Hamilton Black, who plans to tear it down to make room for a large office block.

The members decide to put on a show to raise the money needed to buy a lease renewal. The twist in the story is that Nicky in reality is Hamilton Black's son, something he keeps keeps secret from his friends until some of them try to kidnap Black senior to prevent him from stopping the show. Although he is fighting his father over the future of the youth club, Nicky can't allow them to harm him, so he attacks the attackers and frees his father.

In the meantime, Black Sr has realised that his son is the mystery singer that all of London is talking about, after the youth club members have done some pirate broadcasts to promote their show. So, although he's just bought the theatre where the show is to take place, in order to be able to stop it, the proud father decides that the show must go one. At the end, he joins the youth club members on stage, dancing and singing, after having promised to build them a new youth club.

Main cast[edit]


This was Cliff Richard's third film, following Serious Charge and Expresso Bongo. Producer Keith Harper hired Sidney J. Furie as director and Ron Cass and Peter Myers as writers, and during a meeting in Harper's flat, the four agreed to pinch the story line of the 1939 film musical Babes In Arms, where youngsters Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland put on a show with their friends to raise money.[1]

The film was originally intended to feature the Shadows in acting roles, but it was decided that the film needed more professional young actors, so roles originally intended for Hank Marvin and Jet Harris were instead given to Richard O'Sullivan and Melvyn Hayes, while the Shadows only appear as non-speaking band members.[1]

A number of actresses were considered as Cliff Richard's co-star. An early suggestion from the Broadway choreographer Herbert Ross was a talented New York girl named Barbra Streisand. Harper flew to New York and saw her in a show, but didn't think that she was suitable and didn't even bother to audition her.[1] Another early consideration was the German actress Heidi Bruhl, while Cliff himself in an interview expressed an interest in engaging the very young Helen Shapiro for the film. In May 1961 it was announced that a 21-year-old actress from London’s East End, Annette Robinson (aka Robertson), would be the female co-star, but within weeks the part was given to Carole Gray, a dancer from Bulawayo in Rhodesia (today's Zimbabwe), while Robinson was given the smaller role of Barbara.[1] When Carole Gray sings in the film, it's actually the voice of Grazina Frame, who also provided the singing voice for Laurie Peters in Cliff Richard's 1963 film Summer Holiday.[1]


see The Young Ones (album)

Reception and legacy[edit]

The film was the second most popular movie at the British box office in 1961, following The Guns of Navarone.[2]

The title of the film was also used for the British television series The Young Ones (1982-1984), which had many references to Cliff Richard throughout its twelve episode run.

Stage adaptation[edit]

The film has been adapted into a stage musical by John Plews, which premiered at Upstairs at the Gatehouse in London in December 2007.[3] The stage adaptation follows the film story closely, but includes several additional Cliff songs. In February 2013 it premiered in Scotland at Eastwood Park Theatre in Giffnock, performed by the EROS Musical Society.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Bill Harry: Cliff - The Young Ones Linked 2014-01-11
  2. ^ "Money-Making Films Of 1962." Times [London, England] 4 Jan. 1963: 4. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 11 July 2012.
  3. ^ Ovation presents The Young Ones Linked 2014-01-08
  4. ^ Noda: The Young Ones Linked 2014-01-08

External links[edit]