Waterland (film)

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Waterland (film).jpg
Directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal
Produced by Patrick Cassavetti
Katy Mcguinness
Written by Graham Swift (novel)
Peter Prince (screenplay)
Starring Jeremy Irons
Sinéad Cusack
Ethan Hawke
John Heard
Music by Carter Burwell
Cinematography Robert Elswit
Edited by Lesley Walker
British Screen Productions
Channel Four Films
Palace Pictures
Pandora Cinema
Distributed by Fine Line Features (US) Polygram Filmed Entertainment (UK)
Pandora Cinema
Release dates
August 21, 1992 (UK)
September 12, 1992 (TIFF)
October 30, 1992 (USA)
Running time
95 minutes
Country United States
United Kingdom
Language English
Box office $1,100,218[1]

Waterland is a 1992 film directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal, based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Graham Swift. The film starred Jeremy Irons, Sinéad Cusack, Ethan Hawke, and John Heard.


Waterland follows the story of a mentally anguished Pittsburgh high school history teacher (Irons) in 1974 going through a complete reassessment of his life. His method for reassessing his life is to narrate it to his class and interweave in it three generations of his family's history. The movie portrays the teacher's narrative in the form of flashbacks to tell the story of a teenage boy and his mentally challenged older brother living on the fens of England with their widowed father. The entire movie is motivated by an opening scene in which the history teacher's barren wife (Cusack) steals a child from a supermarket and believes it to be hers. The teacher explains to his class how he and his wife carried out a teenage romance which led to a disastrous abortion that mutilated the girl's womb and left her infertile. The teacher is tortured by the guilt of this act as well as the jealousy he demonstrated to his older brother when he suspected his girlfriend's child was that of his brother. The girlfriend's flirtation with the older brother sets off events that lead to the older brother's suicide by drowning. A side-theme throughout the narration is of the teacher's grandfather, who was a successful brewer and who fathered with his daughter the narrator's older brother, thus accounting for the older brother's genetic difficulties. The movie ends with the teacher's dismissal from his school and a possible renewal of his relationship with his wife.


Ethan Hawke & Lena Headey starred together in the 2013 film The Purge


Part of the film was filmed at Doddington Place Gardens, near Faversham. The Victorian mansion was used as the ancestral home to Tom Crick.[2]


  1. ^ "Waterland (1992) - Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  2. ^ "Waterland (1992)". kentfilmoffice.co.uk. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 

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