Flight of the Doves

Flight of the Doves is a 1971 Eastmancolor British film based on the novel by Irish writer Walter Macken. The film was written by Frank Gabrielson and Ralph Nelson, and Nelson directed the film.

Flight of the Doves
Flight of the Doves Movie Poster 1971 LowRes.jpg
Directed byRalph Nelson
Produced by
Written byFrank Gabrielson
Ralph Nelson
Based onThe Flight of the Doves
1967 novel
by Walter Macken
Music byRoy Budd
CinematographyHarry Waxman
Edited byJohn Jympson
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • April 2, 1971 (1971-04-02)
  • August 1, 1971 (1971-08-01)
Running time
101 minutes


Two Liverpool children (Londoners in the original book) set out in search of love after many years of receiving abuse from their Uncle Toby Cromwell. Cromwell is not a blood relation to the Dove children; their mother had married Cromwell after their birth, and he was granted custody after her death. Finn Dove and his sister Derval are tired of their stepfather's constant abuse and neglect, and they run away to County Galway, Ireland, where Finn and Derval's grandmother lives. The children are unaware that they are heirs to their grandfather's estate and stand to inherit a large fortune, around $10,000 each, upon his death. However, if the children are either dead or missing, the money would go to their uncle "Hawk" Dove, an unsuccessful actor known for his temper, and he will do about anything to get what he wants. When Hawk discovers their fortune, he wants to make sure the Dove children never are seen again. The Dove children's journey across Ireland isn't easy, and they are discovered missing. Their stepfather had been informed of the inheritance (by Hawk Dove disguised as a lawyer). Toby decides to bring in the police, and Uncle Hawk and Uncle Toby are close on their trail. The chase takes them to a holiday parade, a synagogue, Dublin's Ha'penny Bridge, a tinkers' encampment, and other places.



The film was scored by Roy Budd, who had made his film soundtrack debut in Ralph Nelson's previous film Soldier Blue. His score contains two songs: "You Don't Have to Be Irish to Be Irish", which is sung as the St. Patrick's Day Parade song, and "The Far Off Place". The latter is sung by Dana, who plays the role of Sheila, a tinker, and the song is half in Irish and half in English. Both songs are about having dreams, reaching goals, and seeing "the far off place".


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