In New Zealand in the 1860s the native Maori people fought the British colonials to keep the land guaranteed to them by treaty. The warrior Te Wheke fights for the British until betrayal ... See full summary »

Director:

Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Sleeping Dogs (1977)
Action | Thriller | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Recluse Smith (Sam Neill) is drawn into a revolutionary struggle between guerillas and right-wingers in New Zealand. Implicated in a murder and framed as a revolutionary conspirator, Smith ... See full summary »

Director: Roger Donaldson
Stars: Sam Neill, Nevan Rowe, Ian Mune
Smash Palace (1981)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Al Shaw's life revolves around motor racing and his back country junkyard, the "Smash Palace". His French wife, Jacqui, doesn't appreciate the lack of attention due to Al's obsession with ... See full summary »

Director: Roger Donaldson
Stars: Bruno Lawrence, Anna Maria Monticelli, Greer Robson-Kirk
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Three women, all strangers to each other, meet in a dress boutique. One of the three is approached by the male proprietor as she is shoplifting a garment. When he approaches her the other ... See full summary »

Director: Marleen Gorris
Stars: Edda Barends, Nelly Frijda, Henriëtte Tol
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Local goon, Gerry, hires a yellow mini in Kaitaia using a stolen license. John's wife has just left him and moved to Invercargill. He is devastated and needs to talk to her. He has no ... See full summary »

Director: Geoff Murphy
Stars: Tony Barry, Kelly Johnson, Claire Oberman
Never Say Die (1988)
Action | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
Director: Geoff Murphy
Stars: Temuera Morrison, Lisa Eilbacher, George Wendt
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The story of Norbu, a horse thief, who is thrown out of his tribe in an effort to purge it of evil. Norbu repents after the birth of his son, but he is forced to steal again after the birth... See full summary »

Directors: Zhuangzhuang Tian, Peicheng Pan
Stars: Daiba, Jiji Dan, Drashi
Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A man named Zac Hobson awakens to find himself alone in the world. In a desperate attempt to search for others, he finds only two who have their own agenda.

Director: Geoff Murphy
Stars: Bruno Lawrence, Alison Routledge, Pete Smith
Silver Lode (1954)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Dan Ballard, a respected citizen in the western town of Silver Lode, has his wedding interrupted by four men led by Fred McCarty, an old acquaintance who, as a US Marshal, arrests Ballard ... See full summary »

Director: Allan Dwan
Stars: John Payne, Lizabeth Scott, Dan Duryea
Spooked (2004)
Drama | Thriller | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

A thriller loosely based on Ian Wishart's book The Paradise Conspiracy, about the mysterious death of a New Zealander who happened upon international banking records after purchasing a used computer.

Director: Geoff Murphy
Stars: Cliff Curtis, Christopher Hobbs, Andrea Kelland
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The true story of a part aboriginal man who finds the pressure of adapting to white culture intolerable, and as a result snaps in a violent and horrific manner.

Director: Fred Schepisi
Stars: Freddy Reynolds, Angela Punch McGregor, Tommy Lewis
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A salaryman and yakuza are each sent by their bosses to a remote Chinese village but discover more then they expected.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Masahiro Motoki, Renji Ishibashi, Mako
Diva (1981)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Two tapes, two Parisian mob killers, one corrupt policeman, an opera fan, a teenage thief, and the coolest philosopher ever filmed. All these characters twist their way through an intricate and stylish French language thriller.

Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix
Stars: Wilhelmenia Fernandez, Frédéric Andréi, Richard Bohringer
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anzac Wallace ...
Te Wheke
...
Williamson
Tim Elliott ...
Col. Elliot
Kelly Johnson ...
Lt. Scott
Wi Kuki Kaa ...
Wiremu
Tania Bristowe ...
Kura
Ilona Rodgers ...
Emily Williamson
Merata Mita ...
Matu
Faenza Reuben ...
Hersare
Tom Poata ...
Puni
Martyn Sanderson ...
Vicar
...
Belcher
Dick Puanaki ...
Eru
Sean Duffy ...
Cpl. Jones
Ian Watkin ...
Doorman
Edit

Storyline

In New Zealand in the 1860s the native Maori people fought the British colonials to keep the land guaranteed to them by treaty. The warrior Te Wheke fights for the British until betrayal leads him to seek utu (revenge). The settler Williamson in turn seeks revenge after Te Wheke attacks his homestead. Meanwhile Wiremu, an officer for the British, seems to think that resistance is futile. Written by Brian Rawnsley <rawnsleb@natlib.govt.nz>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 June 1984 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Hämnden  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Utu is translated (by the Maori people) not as revenge, but as balanced exchange or reciprocity. See more »

Goofs

One of the characters observes "Something wicked this way comes", quoting the title of the Ray Bradbury novel written 100 years later. Note: The line "Something wicked this way comes" is originally from Shakespeare's play Macbeth written almost 300 years before the time the film is set. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Undead (2003) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"Utu" isn't without it's strong points, but it does suffer in the story department.
18 March 2004 | by (New Zealand) – See all my reviews

UTU (1983)

THE GOOD:

--"Utu" is one of the many films that prove New Zealand was a worthy place for filmmaking long before the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The scenery is wonderful in the film; there are a number of striking shots and beautiful backdrops. The production design is also very impressive; I loved the colonial and authentic atmosphere behind the movie. I also loved how the director Geoff Murphy managed to get all this atmosphere into the film and still managed to have some great typical Kiwi moments. One such moment is when a woman is about to shoot a man, and she looks in the mirror, seeing his naked figure. "I can see your bum" she exclaims.

--Though it isn't as effective as it could've been, the differentiation between the Maori and Pakeha in the film is still quite well portrayed. Things are never black-and-white, we are never really given a true villain behind the happenings in the film and any evil deeds usually have some kind of thought-provoking motif behind them.

--After the frankly boring middle section of the film, "Utu" does redeem itself somewhat with a great ending. The final sequence in particular was barnstorming. It had all this emotion pulling through, some surprises (Te Wheke's brother, Te Wheke killing that girl) and a very intense, moody feeling. A lot of this comes through in one big long shot, examining utu (revenge), death and culture. Now answer me this - why did it take so damn long to get to this level of greatness?

THE BAD:

--While reading about the film I discovered it was 118 minutes. This came as quite a shock to me, because honestly…it felt A LOT longer. The movie just seemed to keep going and going, it dragged in various spots and aside from interesting character choices (Te Wheke shooting one of his friends because he was slowing down the tribe to name one) there isn't really a hell of a lot going on. This shows through how many goddamn gun scenes there are, and they're all mostly repetitive and look exactly the same in most instances. Long movies are acceptable, if they have enough story. "Utu" did not satisfy me at all in this area.

--The differences between Maori and Pakeha were well-done, but almost everyone in the film was labelled by this and not many of these people came through as characters, though they did come through as either one of the races. Te Wheke especially failed as a leading character. I found it hard to relate to him until the very last scene, and the 'you-killed-my-family' routine is fairly dull. Show me some more scenes of him having real emotion instead of just acting like one crazy tattoo-covered guy out for revenge. Also, the farmer whose wife was killed by Te Wheke was also a very dull and annoying character. One of the only characters to come through was the young man from the British side who was having an intriguing, well-written romance with a woman from the side of the Maori.

RATING:

6/10 - Some terrific sequences and amazing cinematography do make the film look better on first glance, but underneath the surface is a film where really there's not all that much to watch.

IF YOU LIKED THIS MOVIE I RECOMMEND:

Enemy at the Gates (9/10) Heavenly Creatures (9/10) The Last Samurai (10/10) Once Were Warriors (9/10) What Becomes of the Broken Hearted (7/10)


4 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Needs a Re-mastered Dvd stepstonefilms
Discuss Utu (1984) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?