Second Best

Second Best

Chris Menges (1993)

12 Certificate


Our Score
Adapted from his own novel by David Cook, this largely overlooked drama perfectly illustrates the genius for restraint that is the basis of William Hurt's acting talent. As the shy Welsh postmaster who decides to adopt a son, he brilliantly exposes the mixed emotions of a lonely, self-contained 40-something trying to break with the habits of a lifetime and start anew. He's well supported by young Chris Cleary Miles and such familiar faces as John Hurt, Prunella Scales and Jane Horrocks. Director Chris Menges nearly loses control in the scenes featuring Miles's disturbed dad, Keith Allen, but mostly gets the tone exactly right.


Shy Welsh postmaster Graham lives a reclusive life caring for his ailing father. Realising he will soon be alone, he decides to adopt a child, ending up with troubled 10-year-old James, whose mother has committed suicide. Graham believes he can be a good father to the boy, but the youngster's adoration of his imprisoned dad proves an obstacle. Drama, starring William Hurt, John Hurt, Chris Cleary Miles, Jane Horrocks and Keith Allen.

Cast & Crew

Graham Holt William Hurt
Uncle Turpin John Hurt
James Chris Cleary Miles
John Keith Allen
Debbie Jane Horrocks
Elsie Rachel Freeman
Margery Prunella Scales
Maureen Nerys Hughes
Director Chris Menges
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Warner BrothersGuidance: Some violence. Available on: video