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Kangaroo (1987)

 -  Drama  -  13 March 1987 (USA)
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A mild-mannered English conscientious objector moves to what he feels will be the relative calm of Australia after World War I, but gets caught in the middle of violent battles between the rising trade unions and fascist groups.



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Title: Kangaroo (1987)

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2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Somers
Harriet Somers
John Walton ...
Jack Calcott
Julie Nihill ...
Vicki Calcott
Peter Hehir ...
Peter Cummins ...
Tim Robertson ...
Malcolm Robertson ...
David Hutchins ...
Cornwall Detective
Victor Kazan ...
Army Captain
Bill Richardson ...
Army Sergeant at Medical
Alan Lee ...
Howard Priddle ...
Doctor #1


A mild-mannered English conscientious objector moves to what he feels will be the relative calm of Australia after World War I, but gets caught in the middle of violent battles between the rising trade unions and fascist groups.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A passionate author caught in a web of forbidden love games... and deadly power games.




R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

13 March 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kangur  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$432,266 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (video)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Janet Maslin said of this film in The New York Times, "D.H. Lawrence spent only two days in Sydney, Australia, when he arrived there in May of 1922. Yet he wrote several chapters about Sydney in 'Kangaroo' [1923], the novel about Australia that he composed at a breakneck pace. Though Lawrence had no plans to document his Australian sojourn, he wound up writing 150,000 words in five weeks' time, giving his book an undeniable urgency". See more »


Lento from the String Quartet in F Major
Op. 96
Written by Antonín Dvorák
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User Reviews

A literary misfire
26 August 2000 | by (Lexington, Kentucky) – See all my reviews

D.H. Lawrence's novel "Kangaroo" is a thinly-veiled self-portrait of the relationship between himself and his wife. The story concerns Richard and Harriet Somers, a married British couple who are persecuted for the husband's sexually explicit writings. Deciding to get away from the difficulties in their homeland, they voyage to Australia. The couple meet a group of fascists who take them in as friends, but later try to force their political opinions on them.

In adapting the novel to the screen, the makers of "Kangaroo" failed to create much interest in the lead characters. Colin Friels is made to look perfectly identical to Lawrence, but he hardly captures the writer's radical, philosophical, and slightly arrogant traits. (For a better characterization of a Lawrence self-portrait, take a look at Alan Bates in "Women in Love".) Judy Davis, one of my favorite actresses, manages to liven up the film as Harriet, and even somewhat resembles Frieda Lawrence, but her character ultimately comes off as one-dimensional. John Walton, however, gives his performance as the fascist who befriends Richard the fiery intensity it needs.

Director Tim Burstall provides a good look at the political atmosphere surrounding the time and place, yet there is no real driving force behind the story. It was too difficult to become involved with the characters caught up in the social conflict. There's no doubt in my mind that there were many good intentions going into the production of "Kangaroo." Unfortunately, few of them made it to the screen.

As a sidenote, Friels and Davis are a real-life couple.

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