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The Bargee (1964)

Not Rated | | Comedy | 1 May 1964 (UK)
Hemel Pike is a canal barge casanova, aided and abetted by his illiterate cousin, Ronnie. Hemel has a girl in every town along his route, and each one is intent on marriage. He is finally ... See full summary »


Duncan Wood


Ray Galton (original story), Alan Simpson (original story) | 2 more credits »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Harry H. Corbett ... Hemel
Hugh Griffith ... Joe
Eric Sykes ... The Mariner
Ronnie Barker ... Ronnie
Julia Foster ... Christine
Miriam Karlin ... Nellie
Eric Barker Eric Barker ... Foreman
Derek Nimmo Derek Nimmo ... Doctor Scott
Norman Bird ... Waterways Supervisor (Albert Williams)
Richard Briers ... Tomkins
Brian Wilde ... Policeman
George A. Cooper ... Official In Office
Grazina Frame Grazina Frame ... Girl In Office
Jo Rowbottom Jo Rowbottom ... Cynthia (as Jo Rowbotham)
Edwin Apps ... George (Barman)


Hemel Pike is a canal barge casanova, aided and abetted by his illiterate cousin, Ronnie. Hemel has a girl in every town along his route, and each one is intent on marriage. He is finally caught when one of the girls, Christine, falls pregnant. Her protective father, a 'larger than life' character, who holds the canal record for drinking 29 pints of 'Brown & Mild' in a single session, is understandably upset by his daughter's situation... Written by Stephen Parkin <stephen@spcap.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

1 May 1964 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Barcagiul See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


At one point George A Cooper says to Harry H Corbett "if he were a young man like you" in point of fact is that Cooper was YOUNGER then Corbett and only by one week. See more »


Several times the boats are seen traveling breasted up between locks, but when the crew are standing on the back talking, there is no propeller wash behind them. See more »


[Christine has collapsed and Doctor Scott has been examining her]
Joe: How is she?
Doctor Scott: She's resting. Can we have a little chat?
Joe: Well, is it anything serious?
Doctor Scott: Depends on your point of view, really. Medically she's A1 - she can get up whenever she wants to.
Joe: Well what's wrong with her, then?
Doctor Scott: There's nothing wrong with her, really. She's a very healthy girl... Very attractive, too. Damned attractive.
Joe: [sternly] Look, you're not here to judge a beauty contest. What's wrong with her?
Doctor Scott: Your daughter didn't tell ...
See more »

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User Reviews

Highly under-rated.
20 June 2004 | by david-697See all my reviews

This is very much a star vehicle for Harry H. Corbett, fresh from the success of 'Steptoe And Son'. Indeed, the 'Steptoe' associations do not end there, as the presence of Ray Galton, Alan Simpson and Duncan Wood suggest.

Like 'Steptoe', this movie is based around a traditional but dying industry (by the end of the film it has only 18 months), that of commercial narrow boat trading. The difference is that in 'Steptoe' the totting is very much a grim existence, but here it is a pretty much idyllic life and you can readily understand Hemel Pike's reluctance to give it up. The Technicolor helps provide a dream-like tone.

Galton and Simpson's script is strong, mixing comedy and drama as Corbett's 'Casanova of the canals' succumbs to the charms of the winsome daughter of the fiery Hugh Griffith. There is an equally strong cast to match, notably Eric Sykes as an incompetent amateur mariner and Miriam Karlin as a vengeful woman who discovers that she is not the only woman in Corbett's life. In my eyes Ronnie Barker steals every scene he is in.

This is possibly Corbett's best screen outing as star and is far better than its general reputation suggests. I first saw it around ten years ago and it failed to make an impression, re-watching it today, I fell in love with it.

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