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Waterland is a 1992 British mystery drama film directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal and starring Jeremy Irons, Sinéad Cusack, Ethan Hawke and John Heard. It is based on Graham Swift's 1983 novel of the same name.

Waterland (film).jpg
Directed byStephen Gyllenhaal
Produced byPatrick Cassavetti
Katy Mcguinness
Written byGraham Swift (novel)
Peter Prince (screenplay)
StarringJeremy Irons
Sinéad Cusack
Ethan Hawke
John Heard
Music byCarter Burwell
CinematographyRobert Elswit
Edited byLesley Walker
British Screen Productions
Channel Four Films
Palace Pictures
Pandora Cinema
Distributed byFine Line Features (US) PolyGram Filmed Entertainment (UK)
Pandora Cinema
Release date
August 21, 1992 (UK)
September 12, 1992 (TIFF)
October 30, 1992 (US)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States
United Kingdom
Box office$1,100,218[1]

The film moved the contemporary location from England to Pittsburgh and eliminated many of the extensive historical asides.


The film follows the story of an anguished English-born Pittsburgh high school teacher (Irons) in 1974 going through a reassessment of his life. His method is to narrate his life to his class and interweave three generations of his family's history. The film portrays the history teacher's narrative in the form of flashbacks to tell the story of a teenage boy and his mentally challenged older brother living in The Fens of England with their widowed father. In an opening scene the teacher's childless wife (Cusack) takes a child from a supermarket and believes it to be hers. The teacher explains to his class how he and his wife had a teenage romance which led to a disastrous abortion that left her infertile. The teacher is tortured by the guilt of this as well as the jealousy he demonstrated to his older brother when he suspected his girlfriend's child was his brother's. The girl's flirtation with the older brother sets off events that lead to the older boy's death by drowning. A side-theme is the teacher's grandfather, who was a successful brewer and who fathered with his daughter the narrator's older brother. The film ends with the teacher's dismissal from his school and a possible renewal of his relationship with his wife.



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)". Retrieved 16 May 2013.

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