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Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)

PG  |   |  Drama, Mystery  |  2 February 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 23,564 users  
Reviews: 194 user | 128 critic

During a rural picnic, a few students and a teacher from an Australian girls' school vanish without a trace. Their absence frustrates and haunts the people left behind.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Appleyard
Vivean Gray ...
Miss McCraw
Helen Morse ...
Mlle. de Poitiers
Kirsty Child ...
Miss Lumley
Tony Llewellyn-Jones ...
Tom (as Anthony Llewellyn-Jones)
Frank Gunnell ...
Mr. Whitehead
Anne-Louise Lambert ...
Miranda (as Anne Lambert)
Karen Robson ...
Jane Vallis ...
Christine Schuler ...
Margaret Nelson ...
Ingrid Mason ...
Janet Murray ...


Three students and a school teacher disappear on an excursion to Hanging Rock, in Victoria, on Valentine's Day, 1900. Widely (and incorrectly) regarded as being based on a true story, the movie follows those that disappeared, and those that stayed behind, but it delights in the asking of questions, not the answering of them. Written by David Carroll <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

rock | student | school | girl | teacher | See All (271) »


Australia's First International Hit! [Video Australia] See more »


Drama | Mystery


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

2 February 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El enigma en las Rocas Colgantes  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


AUD 440,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$27,492 (USA) (26 June 1998)


$84,744 (USA) (3 July 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (1998 director's cut)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Russell Boyd reportedly enhanced the film's diffuse and ethereal look with the simple technique of placing a piece of bridal veil over the camera lens. See more »


14 February 1900 was a Wednesday, not a Saturday. While this seems to be a factual error, it is one of the subtle hints that this is a fictional story. See more »


[first lines]
Miranda: What we see and what we seem are but a dream, a dream within a dream.
See more »


Doina: Sus Pe Culmea Dealului
Written by Gheorghe Zamfir
Performed by Gheorghe Zamfir
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Excellent director, immaculate film.
19 April 2003 | by (Vancouver, B.C., Canada) – See all my reviews

Peter Weir is a master of taking the mysteries of human nature, combining them with the essence of humanity, then distilling those aspects through the inexplicable itself. This has been an earmark of his films "Dead Poets Society," "Fearless" and even "The Truman Show" but nowhere is this more apparent than with "Picnic At Hanging Rock."

Beautifully filmed in rural Australia, the plot of "Picnic At Hanging Rock" is deceptively simple: students at an upper crust Victorian-era girls' school go on a field trip to Hanging Rock --an unusual geographic site miles away from civilization. On the trip, three of the girls and one of the teachers go missing. A simple plot, right? Well, on the surface it is indeed simple, but the way Peter Weir deals with the subject matter will keep the viewer absolutely enthralled and at a loss as to the cause of the girls' inexplicable disappearance. What has frustrated many viewers is that the responsibility of the hypothesis lies solely on them: there are no conclusive answers, but rather a number of theories as seen through the eyes of second and third parties.

Additionally, Weir spices up the overall feeling of uncertainty with repeated images seemingly unrelated to the flow of the movie. Swans, ants, flowers, flies and poetry all appear repeatedly throughout the film, indicating that there is some deeper significance to the nature of the disappearance. Something that is just out of the viewer's grasp. In truth, Weir's direction in this film is akin to a more accessible and humanistic David Lynch. Much of the same thematic ground is covered, and the pronounced sense of uncertainty is a trademark of many Lynch films, especially his recent masterwork, "Mulholland Drive."

Finally, what makes "Picnic At Hanging Rock" a true marvel of filmmaking is the complete integration of all elements in the support of the ephemeral theme. The pan-flute of Zamfir adds an otherworldly element to the score; the cinematography makes Hanging Rock look alternately commonplace, and enigmatic, depending on the scene. This collusion of all elements makes "Picnic At Hanging Rock" essential viewing for anyone interested in immaculate emotive filmmaking. -E. Shaun Russell

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Mrs. Appleyard jctennant55-892-30458
Why Irma doesn't remember what happened? FOXCLOSE-2
This really angers people who don't get it, doesn't it? butaneggbert
How do some consider this a horror movie??? Fellini_Fiend87
Could 'The Secret of Hanging Rock' Be Filmed? Should it be? ConDeuce
Other eerie, haunting, patient, atmospheric films like this one? StrawDogBreeder
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