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The Rugged O'Riordans (1950)
"Sons of Matthew" (original title)

Passed  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Romance  |  1 June 1951 (West Germany)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 32 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

The story of five brothers who homestead, with other settlers, on the virgin plateaus of the Australian bush country. In addition to being beset with the obstacles and difficulties with the... See full summary »



(novels), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ken Wayne ...
Barney O'Riordan
Tommy Burns ...
Luke O'Riordan
John Unicomb ...
Terry O'Riordan
Mickey O'Riordan
Wendy Gibb ...
Cathy McAllister
John O'Malley ...
Matthew O'Riordan
Thelma Scott ...
Dorothy Alison ...
Rose O'Riordan (as Dorothy Allison)
Diane Proctor ...
Mary O'Riordan
Tom Collins ...
Shane as a Child
Max Lemon ...
Barney as a Child
Rodney Fielder ...
Luke as a Child
Doug Smith ...
Terry as a Child
Jimmy White ...
Mickey as a Child


The story of five brothers who homestead, with other settlers, on the virgin plateaus of the Australian bush country. In addition to being beset with the obstacles and difficulties with the land and nature, another complication arises when two of the brothers fall in love with the same woman. Written by Les Adams <>

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Release Date:

1 June 1951 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The Rugged O'Riordans  »

Filming Locations:


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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


First cinema film of Dorothy Alison. See more »


Featured in 40,000 Years of Dreaming (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

Well, I'll be rugged.
8 November 2005 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Landmark Australian 1949 epic of "How the West Was Won" proportions SONS OF MATTHEW, based on a true family exploration story set in the astonishing beauty of incredible rugged hinterland on the far north coast of Sydney, was a major film in its day. I saw it in 1995 as a new 35mm print screened in a luxury cinema. The impact of this huge cinematic success is undiminished and viewers today will be equally as impressed. Just to film this epic would be a feature in itself rather like Burden Of Dreams is to Fitzcarraldo. Produced by Oz Industry statesman Charles Chauvel, SONS OF MATTHEW was one of many films he created celebrating the Australian pioneering spirit. The major change to tastes and perceptions today would be the horror at the immediate destruction the family wreak on massive trees and forest in their effort to '"tame the land" . This century it is seen as environmental vandalism on an unprecedented and wasteful scale. There are several scenes of absolutely massive ancient trees with buttress roots 50 feet high that are slowly (hand)sawn down that crash violently through pristine mountain forest, destroying acres of breathtaking untouched jungle landscape. This is 'King Kong' looking territory. The men wedged high up the trunk look like ants sawing at an elephant's leg. Apart form that, Australia was not restricted by the same tedious censorship restrictions as the American Hayes code, and in several very revealing scenes, the male and female cast are seen swimming stark naked in waterfalls and mountain ponds. Absolutely nude, as one would do when enjoying some stripped recreation in the lusty throb of taming virgin territory. Chauvel went on to make many other films, the most notable also revealing the brutal ploughing of native Australia is seen in the breathtaking color feature JEDDA in 1956. In 1978 a color and panavision feature was produced by Anthony Buckley called THE IRISHMAN which I also recommend as a bookend to SONS OF MATTHEW.

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