The Sundowners (1960)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Adventure  |  28 February 1961 (Japan)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 2,712 users  
Reviews: 36 user | 20 critic

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 ...
Dick Bentley ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Thrill to a new kind of outdoor adventure ! 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 definition of 'sundowner' given in the film is not the most common one used in Australia. A 'sundowner' was the term used for a swagman who arrived at a homestead/ farm just on sundown, in time to ask for a meal or food but too late to be asked to do any work. The sundowner usually departed early in the morning, before anyone else was up and before being asked to do some work. 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 »


Rupert Venneker: Nothing is as revolting to the young than to see their elders at play.
See more »


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


Moreton Bay
Quoted in the background score and sung by Paddy Carmody (Robert Mitchum) in the hotel
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A bit slow but excellent.
21 November 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I would love to sit and watch this film with an Aussie. That's because as an American, I don't know enough to know how accurate this movie is--and if the accents of all the non-Australians in the leads are even close to being correct.

This film is about a family of migrant workers--not a lazy 'sundowner' (see the IMDb trivia for more on this). They travel across Australia driving and shearing sheep to make a few quid--always on the move and no permanent home of their own. As for the husband (Robert Mitchum), he loves this sort of life with few responsibilities. But the wife (Deborah Kerr) is getting tired and sees a need to settle down and finally have a house of their own--especially since their son is getting older and wants some permanence in his life. The vast majority of the film, though, is almost like a documentary--showing what the life is like--like you get a little window into their migrant ways.

This is a well made film. The acting, direction and music are all quite nice. My only serious qualm is that the film is slow and I know many folks simply wouldn't sit still for such a seemingly mundane plot. But, if you are patient, it's well worth your time.

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