Film / Apaches

Apaches is a 1977 public information film from the United Kingdom. Intended to show the dangers of playing around with farm equipment, this 26 minute long film was distributed to and screened at schools all over Britain. The film was directed by John Mackenzie, written by Neville Smith, and produced by John Arnold and Leon Clore.

It was shot on 16mm film on a Home Counties farm in February of 1977, with the child cast recruited from a Maidenhead junior school, and was created for the Central Office of Information for the Health and Safety Executive by Graphic Films. It was not only shown in schools, but was also broadcast on television by many ITV companies, especially Southern, Westward, and Anglia, whose regions covered large rural and agricultural areas.

It focuses on six children who pretend to be Apaches (the American Indian tribe) in their make-believe. They play their games on a farm where, one by one, they fall victim to fatal accidents. After that, they continue as if nothing happened, until only one is left.

Oddly, while most of the staff were credited in the film, none of the children who starred in the film were given credit.

Watch Guru Larry's review or, if you prefer, the entire thing here.

Tropes featured in the film:

  • Adult Fear - Pure 100% Concentrated This.
  • Deer in the Headlights - Danny's (the narrator) expression every time one of his friends is killed, or about to be.
  • Dwindling Party: The six friends (Danny, Kim, Sharon, Michael, Tom, Robert) all start dying one by one. In more detail, Kim is run over by a tractor, Tom drowns in shit, Sharon drinks weed killer, Robert is crushed by a fence and finally, Danny is killed by crashing a tractor down a hill. Only Michael lives to tell the tale.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend - Taken Up to Eleven. When one of the kids dies, the rest of them are acting in the next scene as if nothing happened.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg - Four out of the six kids get proper introductions. The last two? "Tom, Robert."
  • Only Sane Man - Michael, the 'daft' one in the bunch, survives everything. He refuses to drink from the bottle found in the tool shed (which contains deadly Paraquat) note , and always seems to be lagging slightly behind all the others. It turns out that he has a reason to be concerned.
  • Posthumous Narration
  • Red Herring Shirt: The lack of a proper introduction for Tom and Robert doubles as this.
  • Scare 'Em Straight
  • Scream Discretion Shot - Poor, poor Sharon.
  • Sole Survivor: Of the six children, only Michael walks out alive.
  • Time-Delayed Death - Sharon unintentionally drinks weed killer and just decides to walk it off. It doesn't kick in until a few hours later, when she wakes up screaming in agony in the middle of the night.
    • She even spit most of it out. Not like it could have saved her though, given the likely ingredients (see the YMMV tab for a bit more elaboration).
  • Too Dumb to Live - Just about all the children. They do stupid things that get them killed, and then keep on doing them.
    • The parents and the farmers count as well, since they keep letting the kids run around the farm without supervision.