The Road Builder

The Road Builder

Alastair Reid (1971)

X Certificate


Our Score
Based on Joy Crowley's novel Nest in a Falling Tree, the script for this subtle British psycho-thriller was written by famous children's author Roald Dahl. Handsome Nicholas Clay (making his film debut) is a serial killer who buries his victims under a road construction site. How the homicidal handyman sexually manipulates frustrated spinster Patricia Neal (Dahl's wife) and fools her blind mother (Pamela Brown) is the thrust of Dahl's obsessively dark look at the demented grotesquerie lurking beneath suburban normality. It's a brave, stark and sympathetic study in neuroses and madness that ultimately becomes too restricted by its horror trappings. Brown's mannered acting doesn't help either. Yet director Alastair Reid's neo-Grand Guignol chamber piece exudes a peculiar fascination.


A lonely middle-aged spinster leaps at the chance to involve herself with a rapist on the run from the police, hoping she can spice up her dull life by probing him about his illegal activities. Psychological thriller, starring Patricia Neal, Pamela Brown, Nicholas Clay and Jean Anderson.

Cast & Crew

Maura Prince Patricia Neal
Mrs Prince Pamela Brown
Billy Jarvis Nicholas Clay
Mrs McMurtrey Jean Anderson
Mr Bolton Graham Crowden
Dr Robinson Sebastian Breaks
Mrs Palafax Yootha Joyce
Rev Palafox Peter Sallis
Director Alastair Reid
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColour