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The Wind in the Willows (1983 film)

The Wind in the Willows is a 1983 British stop motion animated film produced by Cosgrove Hall Films for Thames Television and aired on the ITV network. The film is based on Kenneth Grahame's classic story The Wind in the Willows. It won a BAFTA[1][2] award and an international Emmy award.[2]

The Wind in the Willows
The Wind in the Willows FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed byMark Hall
Chris Taylor
Produced byBrian Cosgrove
Mark Hall
John Hambley
Written byRosemary Anne Sisson (Screenplay)
Based onThe Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
StarringDavid Jason
Richard Pearson
Ian Carmichael
Michael Hordern
Beryl Reid
Una Stubbs
Music byKeith Hopwood
Malcolm Rowe
Edited byJohn McManus
Cosgrove Hall Films
Distributed byIndependent Television (ITV)
Release date
27 December 1983 (UK)
Running time
79 min.
CountryUnited Kingdom

Between 1984 and 1990, Cosgrove-Hall subsequently made a 52-episode television series[2], with the film serving as a pilot for the series. The film's music and songs are composed by Keith Hopwood, late of Herman's Hermits, and Malcolm Rowe.[3] The Stone Roses guitarist John Squire worked on the series as a set artist. Voice actors include David Jason, Ian Carmichael, and Michael Hordern.[3]



Fed up with spring cleaning, Mole (Richard Pearson) ventures out of his underground home. He goes for a walk in the countryside and soon comes to a river where he meets and befriends Ratty (Ian Carmichael) (who lives there). Rat takes Mole on a picnic where they notice Badger (Michael Hordern) (who appears behind the bushes) and ask him to join them, but he just mutters "Hmmm! Company!" and walks off home (though he still is their friend). Rat starts to warn Mole of the Wild Wood and its inhabitants, but they are interrupted by the arrival of the Chief Weasel (David Jason) and his henchman. While the Chief distracts them, his henchman steals a jar of potted meat and they make their getaway. Ratty then takes Mole to visit Toad (also voiced by David Jason) at Toad Hall. Toad invites them to join him on a caravan trip along the Open Road, with his horse Alfred pulling the caravan. On the group's first camp out for the night, Ratty misses his home on the river but does not want to disappoint his friends. The following day, disaster strikes as a passing motorcar spooks Alfred and sends the caravan into a ditch. Toad suddenly decides motor cars are the only way to travel. Rat and Mole can do nothing but look on as Toad buys and then almost immediately crashes his cars one after another. By winter, Rat and Mole decide to call on Badger to see if he can curb Toad's enthusiasm for dangerous driving. Before they can leave, Rat falls asleep.

Mole then decides to go alone to the Wild Wood to see Badger. He asks a weasel for directions to Badger's house, but is sent the wrong way and becomes lost and scared when the weasels stalk him. His cry for Rat echoes back to the river bank and wakes him up. Ratty reads a note written by Mole, telling him where he has gone. Rat takes some pistols and a cudgel and hurries along to the Wild Wood. After Rat finds Mole, they literally stumble across Badger's house (Mole hurts his foot on Badger's door scraper buried in the snow). Annoyed at being disturbed, Badger is then pleased to see Rat and ushers him and Mole inside. They warm themselves by the fire and Badger offers them a hot drink. They discuss Toad's reckless driving. The next morning they visit Toad Hall. Toad refuses to take Badger's advice to stay away from motorcars, so the three lock Toad in his bedroom, guarding him day and night. The next day, Toad feigns illness and asks Ratty to fetch a lawyer. Toad then escapes and stops a motorist, Reggie (Jonathan Cecil) (who consistently mistakes him for a frog), and his wife Rosemary (Una Stubbs). Toad steals their car and insults a policeman, calling him a "Fat face!" after nearly running him over. Meanwhile, Mole becomes homesick and he and Ratty visit Mole End, and spend Christmas there. Some Caroling field mice turn up and after they have finished their song, Rat and Mole invite them inside for a Christmas feast. When the field mice tell Rat and Mole that Toad has been arrested, the pair become consumed with guilt for their friend.

In the court, the magistrate Mrs. Carrington-Moss (Beryl Reid) sentences Toad to "twelve months for the theft, three years for furious driving, and fifteen years for the cheek", with another year added for "being green" which makes "twenty years" in jail. The Jailer's Daughter (also voiced by Una Stubbs) feels sorry for Toad and helps him escape by disguising him as a washerwoman. Toad tricks a train driver (Edward Kelsey) into giving him a free ride home, but it isn't long until another train with the Police, Reggie, Rosemary, Mrs. Carrington-Moss, and the Clerk are after him. Toad is found out but the engine driver still lets him escape by throwing him off the train and into a field. Toad calls in at Ratty's and learns the weasels have overthrown Badger and taken over Toad Hall. Toad is upset, but Badger has a plan. The next night, the friends sneak through a secret tunnel and fight the weasels. Toad spends most of the battle swinging on his chandeliers but manages to fall on the Chief Weasel, knocking him unconscious. After victory, Badger, Mole, and Ratty settle down and think of a peaceful future, until Toad flies by in his new "Flying Machine". Toad's plane stalls and crashes into the river. During the end credits, the river bankers are pulling Toad out of the river.

Behind the ScenesEdit

The main banqueting hall and grand staircase of Toad Hall were inspired by the ones in Leap Castle in Ireland.[4]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "BAFTA Awards - Television - Children's Programme - Entertainment/Drama in 1984". BAFTA. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Priebe, Ken A. (26 January 2011). "The Advanced Art of Stop-Motion Animation: History of Stop-Motion Feature Films: Part 2". Animation World Network. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "The Wind in the Willows". Britmovie. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  4. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)

External linksEdit