The Last Wave (1977)

PG  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller  |  January 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 6,032 users   Metascore: 85/100
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A Sydney lawyer defends five Aborigines in a ritualized taboo murder and in the process learns disturbing things about himself and premonitions.



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4 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Olivia Hamnett ...
Chris Lee (as Gulpilil)
Frederick Parslow ...
Vivean Gray ...
Nandjiwarra Amagula ...
Walter Amagula ...
Gerry Lee
Roy Bara ...
Cedrick Lalara ...
Morris Lalara ...
Peter Carroll ...
Michael Zeadler
Athol Compton ...
Billy Corman
Hedley Cullen ...
Michael Duffield ...
Andrew Potter
Wallas Eaton ...
Morgue Doctor


A Sydney lawyer has more to worry about than higher-than-average rainfall when he is called upon to defend five Aboriginals in court. Determined to break their silence and discover the truth behind the hidden society he suspects lives in his city, the Lawyer is drawn further, and more intimately, into a prophesy that threatens a new Armageddon, wherein all the continent shall drown. Written by David Carroll <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


From the makers of 'Picnic at Hanging Rock' comes another terrifying and disturbing story See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

January 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Black Rain  »

Box Office


AUD 810,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


This picture was a notable contemporary departure for actor Richard Chamberlain whose last few pictures had all been period costumers such as The Man in the Iron Mask (1977), The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella (1976) and The Count of Monte-Cristo (1975) whilst moreover, Chamberlain had been well-known at the time for also starring in such other costumer period fare as Lady Caroline Lamb (1972) and The Music Lovers (1970). See more »


When Chamberlin's character leaves his office and drives in the rain the windshield wipers are moving at a fast rate. When the shot changes to inside the car the wipers are suddenly moving at a slower rate. See more »


David Burton: What did I see?
Chris Lee: A dream.
David Burton: What are dreams?
Chris Lee: Dream like hearing ... seeing ... talking ... the way of knowing things.
See more »


Referenced in Prisoner: Cell Block H: Episode #1.263 (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

Magic in practice
13 February 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

While to most people watching the movie, this will be of little interest, but out of the many hundreds of movies dealing with magic and the occult in one form or another, this one is probably the best in many ways.

From The Golem to The Craft the subject seems to be of endless interest to the movie industry. The majority of movies which touch on it in any way do so childishly (for example "Witchboard", a true piece of utter garbage in every way) either taking the transcendental elements as cheap excuses for cheesy special effects or cardboard cutout villians (cf "Warlock"). More frequently the subject comes up in an hysterical religious context (in the various Revelations-oriented movies, the antichrist is inevitably an advocate of some kind of new-age style practice). Rarely, a movie seems to show at least some passing experience with magic as it is practiced in real life, but the presentation of the occult in such movies can at best be described as allegorical and not literal, or symbolic, or ... just not quite right.

I watched this movie again after many years tonight. I had seen it before on VHS; it is a dark, moody piece, and after watching it on DVD, I would say if you have any intention to watch this movie, watch it on DVD, don't watch it on VHS.

The darkness and moodiness are overpowering in VHS but in DVD the movie takes on a very different tone. I think Weir pushed the dark aspects intentionally for style, but when the movie is converted to the lower color medium of VHS this goes over the edge. DVD brings the movie to life again and I saw it differently.

Anyway, seeing it as if for the first time, I realized that the treatment of magic is extremely good in this movie. It's difficult to go into all the reasons why, I don't care to take the time to do so.

For anybody who's curious, anyway, if you want to see what it is like in real life, this movie is just very right on countless levels.

And for anybody who isn't, you really wasted a lot of time reading to this point.

14 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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explain the ending Frederic1988
This movie is so sick mulvanes
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name change??? Black Rain - The Last Wave Yemaya2005
Richard Chamberlain's mask Jean-Bagin
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