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Wake in Fright (1971)

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After a bad gambling bet, a schoolteacher is marooned in a town full of crazy, drunk, violent men who threaten to make him just as crazy, drunk, and violent.



(screenplay), (based on the novel "Wake in Fright" by)
4,302 ( 3,582)
1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Doc Tydon
John Grant
Chips Rafferty ...
Jock Crawford
Sylvia Kay ...
Janette Hynes
Peter Whittle ...
Al Thomas ...
Tim Hynes
John Armstrong ...
Slim DeGrey ...
Jarvis (as Slim De Grey)
Maggie Dence ...
Norm Erskine ...
Joe the Cook (as Norman Erskine)
Owen Moase ...
1st Controller
John Dalleen ...
2nd Controller
Buster Fiddess ...
Charlie Jones


Wake in Fright is the story of John Grant, a bonded teacher who arrives in the rough outback mining town of Bundanyabba planning to stay overnight before catching the plane to Sydney. But his one night stretches to five and he plunges headlong toward his own destruction. When the alcohol-induced mist lifts, the educated John Grant is no more. Instead there is a self-loathing man in a desolate wasteland, dirty, red-eyed, sitting against a tree and looking at a rifle with one bullet left... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Have a drink, mate? Have a fight, mate? Have some dust and sweat, mate? There's nothing else out here.


Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

21 July 1971 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Outback  »

Box Office


AUD 700,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$6,761 (USA) (5 October 2012)


$50,394 (USA) (21 December 2012)

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


(Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Final theatrical film of Gary Bond. After this movie, his other projects were mostly TV works. See more »


As Grant leaves the hotel bar in Tiboonda, he takes one last swig of beer - leaving his glass half full. In the next shot, when the camera focuses on the interior of the bar, his glass is now empty. See more »


'Doc' Tydon: The aim of what you call civilisation is a man in a smokin' jacket, whiskey and soda, pressing a bottom... button, to destroy a planet a billion miles away, and kill a billion people he's never seen.
See more »


Referenced in Film 2016: Episode dated 5 March 2014 (2014) See more »


She'll be coming around the mountain
Traditional, based on a Negro spiritual
Sung by passengers on the train
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

too true, too true.
6 February 2005 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

WAKE IN FRIGHT is also known Internationally as OUTBACK. Released to quite a furore in Oz in 1972, I saw it as a teenager and was not unshaken believing that it was all too true. The absolutely brutal sunbaked world of the inland 'scrub' is unflinchingly shown for every part of it's harsh reality. The bozo behavior of local men lubricated with endless alcohol and cruel boredom gets a mighty serve as well. A lot of media and tourist execs of the time were suitably outraged as were the conservative older establishment, and there were opposing films made to soften the blow (SUNSTRUCK, for example). However, WAKE IN FRIGHT is a major achievement as is Roeg's equally devastating WALKABOUT made around the same time. Recently THE TRACKER and RABBIT PROOF FENCE go into the same cinematic territory and deliver equally pungent views. WAKE IN FRIGHT will soon stand among the greats of Australian international cinema and rightfully so. A DVD release and a cinema reissue apparently is keenly awaited.

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