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A privileged British family consisting of a mother, a geologist father and an adolescent daughter and son, live in Sydney, Australia. Out of circumstance, the siblings, not knowing exactly where they are, get stranded in the Outback by themselves while on a picnic. They only have with them the clothes on their backs - their school uniforms - some meagre rations of nonperishable food, a battery-powered transistor radio, the son's satchel primarily containing his toys, and a small piece of cloth they used as their picnic drop-cloth. While they walk through the Outback, sometimes looking as though near death, they come across an Australian boy who is on his walkabout, a rite of passage into manhood where he spends months on end on his own living off the land. Their largest problem is not being able to verbally communicate. The boy does help them to survive, but doesn't understand their need to return to civilization, which may or may not happen based on what the Australian boy ends up ... Written by
Due to Jenny Agutter's full-frontal nudity, film originally drew an "R" rating from the MPAA. It was reduced to "PG" on appeal. See more »
The girl asks to be taken to the city of Adelaide, the children's destination in the novel. However, the city shown at the start and end of the film is clearly Sydney, which is several thousand kilometers (and two states) away from Adelaide. See more »
Although this is a sound film, and the characters talk to one another, this film could have been made just as well in the 1920s. It does not really need sound.
The film is about nature, and man's relationship with it. If a civilised person were left out in the desert, then they would soon die. But, as this film shows, there are people and creatures living out there quite happily.
The film has been criticised for having a weak beginning and a weak end. But where does the story of this film start? And where and when would you end it? Yes you can end it when the two children get back to civilisation. But does the story end there? No. Because of their experiences, things are never going to be the same again. And for them, the story has not finished, it is only just beginning.
I have seen this film several times and I notice something different every time I see it.
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