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Mad Dog Morgan (1976)

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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 730 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 34 critic

The true story of Irish outlaw Daniel Morgan, who is wanted, dead or alive, in Australia during the 1850s.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Detective Manwaring
...
Billy
...
Superintendent Cobham
...
Superintendent Winch
Wallas Eaton ...
Macpherson
...
Sergeant Smith
John Hargreaves ...
Baylis
Martin Harris ...
Wendlan
Robin Ramsay ...
Roget
Graeme Blundell ...
Italian Jack
Gregory Apps ...
Arthur
Liza Lee-Atkinson ...
Barmaid
Elaine Baillie ...
Farm Girl
Don Barkham ...
Morrow
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Storyline

Australia in the 1850s. Daniel Morgan, like hundreds of other ex-patriots from the British Isles (he is from Ireland), has come Downunder to seek his fortune. There is a gold rush going on, and Morgan wants to strike it rich. As fate would have it, Morgan soon finds himself on the other side of the law, broke and desperate. A single act of highway robbery gets him 12 years of hard labor. While in prison, he is systematically abused. Upon release, Morgan vows revenge on those who wronged him. With the help of an aborigine named Billy, and a growing legend of audacity, Morgan soon becomes a hero. The locals love him, while the wealthy and powerful fear his influence. They want this outlaw dead or alive, and will stop at nothing to see that their sense of justice is done. But Morgan only wants those to pay for the crimes they have committed, to recognize that he wasn't always a bushranger - he was made into one. It wasn't only his mind that made him bad. It was society that turned him ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1850s | outlaw | australia | dog | prison | See more »

Taglines:

In the autumn of 1865 the unique and notorious desperado, bushranger Dan Morgan, crossed the Murray River from New South Wales into Victoria to do battle with the law for the last time. What happened has been a secret for over 100 years. And so it should have been, if only to save face for the corrupt and hated colonial establishment of the day. This then is the fascinating tale, told for the first time, of the romantic and extraordinary villain they called Mad Dog Morgan. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 July 1976 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Mad Dog Morgan  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fourth feature directed by Philippe Mora. Mora's second and third films were the documentaries Brother Can You Spare a Dime (1975) and Swastika (1974). See more »

Goofs

In a farmhouse, a picture of a Tasmanian tiger or Thylacine is pointed out as being that of an extinct animal. The Thylacine did not become extinct until the 1930s. See more »

Quotes

Supt. Cobham: By all means, off with his head... and don't forget the scrotum.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gulpilil: One Red Blood (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls
(uncredited)
Music by Michael William Balfe
[from 'The Bohemian Girl']
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A harsh complaint against social injustice.

Philippe Mora's film has more often than not been categorized as a western but might as well be called a political drama. The central character, the famous bushranger Daniel 'Mad Dog' Morgan becomes a bandit as a result of the harsh treatment the racist and unfair government doles out to the poor and ethnic minorities in Victorian Australia. The extremities of this injustice is made clear when a Chinese settlement is burned down -without there being any notable sanctions- while Daniel Morgan is locked up for six years for stealing some clothes. The victim of condoned rape and torture in prison, Morgan swears to revenge himself on society and becomes a sort of down under Robin Hood, much loved by the common people.

Those who love smooth Hollywood storytelling will not be entertained by the rambling structure of this film. However, there are moments of rough and ready poetry to be had for those who care to take a chance and watch something out of the ordinary. Morgan's friendship with Billy, a young aboriginal who saves his life and becomes his partner in crime, lends a strong, anti racist statement to the film which is quite unique. The script is very fragmentary, only dealing with the highlights of Morgan's career. Still, the sober treatment of the story and balanced portrayal of the bandit's growing frustration with the law and life itself, makes for compelling watching.

Dennis Hopper was never better than in this part. The transformation from excitable but honest and friendly Irish immigrant to desperate and saddened outlaw, hunted down by the police and tired of running, is minimally but very persuasively handled. Those of you who are familiar with the sentimental nature of the Irish, will recognize Hopper's truthful treatment of the character.


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