(aka "Loving Walter" or "Walter and June")


directed by Stephen Frears
UK 1982

A well-paced examination of a mentally-handicapped adult as he copes with the failing British social services system of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher;s era. Walter (played by Ian McKellen) keeps pigeons, works when he can and spends time at home. He is seen to have very little quality of life. Eventually after the death of both his parents he gets thrown in the worst hospital in England, and comes to love someone with similar afflictions to himself (Sarah Miles).

Originally made for TV this is a difficult film to watch with such an uncomfortable, yet socially responsible, subject matter. I found that it started quite slow before building speed as we bond with Walter and come to have sympathy for his condition. Interesting to see directors Stephen Frears early work as he later went on to have success with "The Grifters" and "High Fidelity". Excellent performances throughout and a blueprint for future films like "I Am Sam". Efforts that expose injustice should be recognized. I wouldn't say it was my favorite film, but it was a good way to spend 2 hours.
 out of    

Gary W. Tooze

Premiered: November 2nd, 1982 - British Television - Channel 4

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DVD Review: BFS Video -  Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution BFS Video -  Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 2:05:44  
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.26 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo) 
Subtitles None

Release Information:
Studio: BFS Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1


DVD Release Date: December 2nd, 2003
Keep Case
Chapters: 12

Edition Details:

  • Interviews (non-anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1) with Director Stephen Frears (7:10), Ian McKellen (24:11) and David Cook (14:02)

  • Bios, filmographies (text screens

  • Futile Treatment of the Mentally Ill (11 text screens)


This is the first DVD I have seen from BFS Video, who seem to hold the Region 1 rights to a lot of excellent British television series and made-for-TV films. The picture quality was somewhat 'dull' but I have a strong suspicion that the source print was of similar quality as it was made for TV. Although I assume it was broadcast in PAL I didn't notice any 'ghosting' from the conversion to NTSC. That is not to say that it was not converted from a PAL source, just that I didn't notice it. There appears to be a greenish tinge to the image, but it did not distract from the viewing experience. The sound was audible but fairly quiet.  There are some nice Extras Features supplied by BFS with an extensive interview with star McKellen and more brief chats with director Frears and writer Cook. There are some text screens as well. Subtitles on the main Feature would have been an expected feature as we are listening to a fairly broad English accent at times, so its omission is a failing. Overall I am hoping for equally good and superior offerings from BFS. I give this DVD  out of   .              

Gary W. Tooze

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