The Englishman who Went up a Hill but Came down a Mountain

The Englishman who Went up a Hill but Came down a Mountain is a 1995 film with a story by Ifor David Monger and Ivor Monger, written and directed by Christopher Monger. It was entered into the 19th Moscow International Film Festival[1] and was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival.[2]

The Englishman who Went up a Hill but Came down a Mountain
Englishman who went up a hill but came down a mountain.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byChristopher Monger
Produced byBob Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein
Sarah Curtis
Sally Hibbin
Robert Jones
Scott Maitland
Paul Sarony
Written byIfor David Monger
Ivor Monger
Christopher Monger
Music byStephen Endelman Gwalia Male Choir
CinematographyVernon Layton
Edited byDavid Martin
Miramax Films
Parallax Pictures
Distributed byMiramax Films
Release date
  • 12 May 1995 (1995-05-12) (US)
  • 4 August 1995 (1995-08-04) (UK)
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
United States
Box office$10,904,930

The film is based on a story heard by Christopher Monger from his grandfather about the real village of Taff's Well, in the old county of Glamorgan, and its neighbouring Garth Hill. Due to 20th century urbanisation of the area, it was filmed in the more rural Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant and Llansilin in Powys. The Welsh Male Voice Choir used to provide background music throughout the film was the London-based Gwalia Male Choir.


The film is set in 1917, with World War I in the background, and revolves around two English cartographers, the pompous George Garrad and his junior, Reginald Anson. They arrive at the fictional Welsh village of Ffynnon Garw ([ˈfən.nɔn ˈɡ] "Rough Fountain" or "Rough Spring" in Welsh) to measure its "mountain" – only to cause outrage when they conclude that it is only a hill because it is slightly short of the required height of 1000 feet (305 m).

The villagers, aided and abetted by wily local, Morgan the Goat, and the Reverend Mr Jones who, after initially opposing the scheme, grasps its symbolism in restoring the community's war-damaged self-esteem, conspire to delay the cartographers' departure while they build an earth mound on top of the hill and make it high enough to be considered a mountain.



The Garth

In regard to its humorous and affectionate description of the locals, the film has often been compared with Waking Ned, a comedy film written and directed by Kirk Jones. The movie has resulted in a stream of visitors climbing to the summit of The Garth, and the Pentyrch History Society and the local community council have erected a notice on the mountain to explain its real historical significance.[3]

Welsh languageEdit

One joke in the film which may not be obvious to non-Welsh speakers occurs when a mechanic is asked about a nondescript broken part he has removed from a car, and replies "Well I don't know the English word, but in Welsh we call it a be'chi'ngalw." In Welsh, be'chi'ngalw is a placeholder name, like "whatchamacallit" or "thingamajig" in English.[4] and literally means "what [do] you call" and is a contracted form of "beth dych chi'n galw". The joke is made obvious in the novel on which the film is based.

In popular cultureEdit

The 13th episode of Veggie Tales, "King George and the Ducky," contained a brief parody of The Englishman Who Went up a Hill but Came down a Mountain entitled The Englishman Who Went up a Hill and Came Down with All the Bananas.

See alsoEdit

  • Mount Massive in Colorado - Contention arose over whether Massive or its neighbor, Mount Elbert, which have a height difference of only 12 feet (3.7 m), was the highest Rocky mountain and second highest mountain in the contiguous United States, after Mount Whitney. This led to a dispute which came to a head with the Mount Massive supporters building large piles of stones on the summit to boost its height, only to have the Mount Elbert proponents demolish them.[7][8]


  1. ^ "19th Moscow International Film Festival (1995)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 22 March 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  2. ^ "The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain". Festival de Cannes. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
  3. ^ "A book was written about 'Ffynnon Garw' which was made into a film 'The Englishman who went up a hill and came down a mountain'. The location of Ffynnon Garw rather implies it is The Garth. This story is a good one but fictional. To set the record straight the Pentyrch History Society and Community Council have put up an information notice near the summit."
  4. ^ Geiriadur yr Academi / The Welsh Academy English-Welsh Dictionary, University of Wales Press, p. 1661.
  5. ^ "Survey turns hill into a mountain". BBC News. 19 September 2008. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  6. ^ Wainwright, Martin (19 September 2008). "The Welshmen who went up a hill, but came down a mountain". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  7. ^ Stewart Green, Fast Facts About Mount Elbert
  8. ^ Ken JENNINGS, Why the Tallest Mountains in the U.S. Are Almost the Same Height

External linksEdit