36 user 19 critic

The Sundowners (1960)

Unrated | | Drama, Adventure | 28 February 1961 (Japan)
In Australia's Outback during the early 20th century the impoverished Carmody family lives a nomadic life out of their wagon but the mom and son want to settle while the dad is against it.



(screenplay), (novel)

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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Firth
Jean Halstead
Chips Rafferty ...
Lola Brooks ...
Liz Brown
Herb Johnson
Bluey Brown
Gerry Duggan ...
Leonard Teale ...
Peter Carver ...


In the Australian Outback, the Carmody family--Paddy, Ida and their teenage son Sean--are sheep drovers, always on the move. Ida and Sean want to settle down and buy a farm. Paddy wants to keep moving. A sheep-shearing contest, the birth of a child, drinking, gambling and a race horse will all have a part in the final decision. Written by Jeanne Armintrout <jeannee@uwyo.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


HERE COME "THE SUNDOWNERS"! They're real people, fun people, fervent people. They have a tremendous urge to keep breathing. Their rousing story comes roaring across six thousand miles of excitement... See more »


Drama | Adventure


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

28 February 1961 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Tres vidas errantes  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The man who offers to buy the horse at the end of the film is played by Jon Cleary, the author of the book. See more »


After Ida and Sean cross the bridge to escape the fire, they look into the flames for Paddy. Through the smoke, you can see a man tending the fire. See more »


Ida Carmody: This is a good country for sheep and it's not bad for men, but it's hard on us women. The men come here because of the sheep, and we come here because of the men, and most of us finish up looking like the sheep. Wrinkled faces, knotty hair, and not even much of a mind of our own.
See more »


Featured in Censura: Alguns Cortes (1999) See more »


The Lime-Juice Tub
Quoted in the background score and played by the band at the first race meeting and also sung at Mrs Firth's hotel
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A quiet pleasure,slightly faded by time
25 January 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

"The Sundowners" was a favourite movie of mine at the time of its initial release in 1960,and watching it again recently it still came across as a an engaging and pleasant little movie but one that perhaps has lost something of its impact with the passing years,ones in which Australian movies and actors have come to the fore internationally.In 1960 it was considered necessary to import two Hollywood names to give world wide box office appeal,something not necessary today with performers like Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett.(Of the egregious,smarmy self -centred Anglophobe Mr Gibson I will remain silent) Sundowners are itinerants ,moving from place to place in a small wagon picking up work on an as and when basis.The Carmody family-Paddy,Ida and teenage son Sean -are one such but while Paddy is content with the life the others are keen to put down roots and buy a farm. The picaresque tale tells of how the family as they drift across Australia finding work at a sheep station,becoming race horse owners etc gradually resolve their conflicts En route they meet a nomadic upper class Englishman,played as well as ever by Ustinov who acts as a kind of comic relief as he dispenses well honed epigrams The central section dealing with life on the sheep ranch is the best with some richly comic scenes including a shearing contest and some bar room scenes straight out of John Ford

The accents of Kerr and Mitchum are not secure or convincing but they carry the roles through sheer star power and their are strong contributions fron Glynis Johns and John Meillon

Still enjoyable but a remake with indigenous actors would be an interesting idea Still,all in all a bitter-sweet little gem of a movie I am glad I saw it again

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