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The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years
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The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years (1996) (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years -- Part 1 of the saga of forbidden love between ambitious Archbishop Ralph de Bricassart and willful Meggie Cleary


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Popularity: ?
Down 1% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Colleen McCullough (novel)
David Stevens (written by)
View company contact information for The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
11 February 1996 (USA) See more »
A love reignited. A faith renewed.
Actually taking place in the middle of the original Thorn Birds miniseries, which chronicled the love affair of Meggie Cleary and Fr... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
(2 articles)
User Reviews:
Excellent film showing human passion See more (19 total) »


  (in credits order)

Richard Chamberlain ... Ralph de Bricassart

Amanda Donohoe ... Meggie Cleary O'Neill
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Paul Bertram ... Harry Gough

Julia Blake ... Fee Cleary

Olivia Burnette ... Justine O'Neill

Michael Caton ... Bill Masters

James Costas ... Italian officer (as Jimmy Costas)
Rob Doran ... Blackshirt #2
Zach English ... Dane O'Neill
Peter Ford ... The Warder
Christopher Gabardi ... Father Angelo
Adam Grossetti ... Tony Masters

Jonathan Hardy ... Father Emilio
John Heywood ... Doctor
Phillip Hinton ... Levi

Enrico Mammarella ... Blackshirt #1
Marijke Mann ... Mrs. Smith
Ingrid Mason ... The Mother
Angelo Montano ... Priest

Maximilian Schell ... Cardinal Vittorio
Todd Schulberg ... Samuel

Robert Taylor ... Jack Cleary

Jack Thompson ... The Judge
Simon Westaway ... Luke O'Neill

Directed by
Kevin James Dobson 
Writing credits
Colleen McCullough (novel "The Thorn Birds")

David Stevens (written by)

Produced by
Jeffrey M. Hayes .... executive producer
Darryl Sheen .... producer
David Stevens .... co-producer
David L. Wolper .... executive producer
Mark Wolper .... executive producer
Original Music by
Garry McDonald 
Laurie Stone  (as Lawrence Stone)
Cinematography by
Ross Berryman 
Film Editing by
Stephen Butler 
Philip Reid 
Casting by
Jay Binder 
Irene Mariano 
Lynn Ruthven  (as Lynne Ruthven)
Production Design by
Stewart Burnside 
Art Direction by
Michael Rumpf 
Set Decoration by
Suza Maybury 
Rolland Pike 
Costume Design by
Jean Turnbull 
Makeup Department
Maree McDonald .... makeup: and hairdresser
Karla O'Keefe .... makeup & hair supervisor
Debra Stehlik .... makeup: and hairdresser
Production Management
Brendon 'Moose' Boyd .... unit manager
Julie Forster .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Brett Popplewell .... first assistant director
Wade Savage .... second assistant director
Art Department
Bob Booker .... propman
Andrew Gardiner .... construction manager
Paul Hilton .... set finisher
Karyn-Lee 'Lilly' Miyoshi .... props set dresser
Ray Pedler .... scenic artist
Rolland Pike .... set dresser
Sound Department
Julius Chan .... dialogue editor
Paul Clark .... sound mixer
Tim Jordan .... effects editor
Gerard Long .... foley recordist
Ian McLoughlin .... sound re-recording mixer
Gavin Myers .... sound effects editor
Special Effects by
Mont Fieguth .... special effects (as Monty Fieguth)
Matt Sloan .... special effects technician
Visual Effects by
James Rogers .... digital compositor
Peter Webb .... digital compositor
Derek Wentworth .... digital matte painter
Rowena Zande .... cgi production manager
Danny Baldwin .... stunt coordinator
Sue Baldwin .... stunts
Haydn Dalton .... utility stunts
Mike Kent .... stunts
Melody Sorensen .... stunt double: Amanda Donohoe
Melody Sorensen .... stunt double: Olivia Burnette
Glenn Suter .... stunts
Darryl Young .... stunt performer
Camera and Electrical Department
Jason Binnie .... second assistant camera
Brian J. Breheny .... second unit director of photography
Greg Casey .... assistant electrician
David Elmes .... first assistant camera
Mike Kelly .... camera operator: "b" camera
Mike Kelly .... first assistant camera
Daryl Pearson .... best boy
David Shaw .... key grip
Greg Tidman .... rigging grip
Dick Tummel .... gaffer
Casting Department
Barbara Miller .... executive in charge of casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Julie Barton .... standby wardrobe
Editorial Department
Julie Sommerfeldt .... assistant film editor
Location Management
James Legge .... location manager
Music Department
Robin Gray .... music score mixer
Robin Gray .... score engineer
Robin Gray .... score mixer
Robin Gray .... scoring mixer
Henry Mancini .... based on music by
Other crew
Jennifer Cornwell .... production coordinator
Wade Krawczyk .... assistant armourer
Kathryn Metcalfe .... production assistant
Yuell Newsome .... stock librarian
Jenny Quigley .... script supervisor
Rebecca Thornell .... clearance

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial Effects

Additional Details

Also Known As:
USA:178 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

In the original miniseries, the outback scenes were shot in southern California. In The Missing Years, the outback scenes were shot in the actual outback of Australia.See more »
Fee:Don't do to Meggie what you did to Mary Carson. Don't destroy her with love!See more »
Movie Connections:
Follows "The Thorn Birds" (1983)See more »


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33 out of 45 people found the following review useful.
Excellent film showing human passion, 11 December 2000
Author: moongirl527 ( from Rockville, MD

What started my interest in The Thorn Birds WAS "The Missing Years." I read the article on the series in TV Guide (a '97 Valentine's Day issue) that named Ralph and Meggie as one of the most romantic couples on television. I didn't know where to get the series...and then about a year ago, they showed "The Missing Years." This series introduced me to Ralph and Meggie, and, admittedly, it was hard to follow the storyline. But I liked it. I mean, so what if the people aren't the same?

One day I broke down and bought the whole series. I sat down with sodas watched it from beginning to end. Some people say that Missing Years is a bad piece. Well, I disagree. Why should Ralph and Meggie wait 19 years? If anything, it brought an interesting reason for Ralph's return: he was ordered. He is shown suffering in "Missing Years." In the original, it seemed like he decided to show up...waiting 19 years to do so. Their reunion was wonderful...and sweet. The way they saw each other after their 10 years of being apart (by accident) and both were taken away. Like in the original, they had fought their it stood to reason that they tried to tell themselves, once again, that they were over their passion. Their parting in Missing Years was sweet and brought tears to my eyes. It was a private moment between them. If his reputation is already on the line (and no doubt, would be severely tarnished if Dane's paternity were revealed), how would it look for Archbishop De Bricassart to be hugging and kissing Meggie at the train station?

Dane's character seemed true to how it was in the original. If anything, it was easier for me to see young Dane first and THEN adult Dane. In the original, Dane said he'd always wanted to be a priest. Well, in the Missing Years, young Dane seems at peace with his decision. We see his placidness and calmness in several instances. Also, in the original, Ralph said he'd always felt closer to Dane. It was good that he meet Dane at a younger age and get to know him. Granted, in the original, he just meets Dane as an there's a plot difference there, I'll admit. Yes, Dane is a goody goody. But he's supposed to be--he's the more priestly version of his father. I liked the young boy that played Dane...I thought he did a great job. He seemed, to me, more real than his zombie-like adult counterpart. Granted, Philip Anglim had a strong resemblance to Richard Chamberlain and could easily be seen as an adult version of a Meggie-Ralph combination. It was highly important that there be a young Dane. After all, you needed to see Meggie's partiality to Dane as a child. In the original, it takes awhile before it's shown that Dane IS Meggie's favorite. In the original series, young Meggie says "I'll never love any of my children different from the others." "Missing Years" shows that she's contradicted herself. Meggie DOES love Dane more than Justine--it's shown in their first scene together; in the original, she TOLD Justine she did--the younger Justine picked up on it more--the sibling rivalry for Justine against Dane was realistic. Ralph and Dane had a strong connection even when Dane is a youngster. Plus the fact that Dane, at a young age such as 10, knows he wants to be a priest is a harsher blow to Meggie... because she has to hear about it everyday and suffer through her denial that "He's just a child--he'll grow out of it." It made sense that she kept saying that.

Fee, in the Missing Years, was a lot worse than the Fee in the original. I mean, spoiling any shot of happiness for Ralph and Meggie? Jeez...that's harsh!

I must admit to being naive when I saw the Part II preview. I actually thought that Ralph would give up the priesthood...but then he couldn't, could he? Granted, I didn't know that he'd become Cardinal and die as thus.

All in all, I liked the movie a lot. I may be alone here, but I saw a lot of chemistry between Amanda Donohoe and Richard Chamberlain. Sure, it was different than the Ward-Chamberlain chemistry, but was strong. The love scene was good...after all, they'd been in denial about their passion for so long and couldn't fight it anymore. After ten years of being without the woman he loved, it stands to reason that Ralph would doubt where he belonged. On one hand, he wants solely to be Meggie's...and Meggie's alone. On the other, the Cardinal's robe looks awefully promising. I LOVED watching him fight for Dane. I think it's realistic that he could've won--after all, it's the lion protecting his cub, albeit subconciously. I loved the line: "The boy is MINE." If Ralph only knew...

I thought there was more focus on Meggie & Ralph in the Missing Years. I was glad for it. They have to see each other again and remember...then they have to try to tell themselves it's over. But it's NOT over. In the end, as Ralph puts it, their love "is a blessing, not a burden." Their farewell is peaceful and, for once, leaving no hurt feelings. That makes the next nine years they're apart, no doubt, easier to bear. THEN they can reunite when Dane is older.

The passion between them (in both series) have made Ralph and Meggie one of my all-time favorite couples. I just can't hate (for the most part) "Missing Years" for being different--in some places I appreciated the differences.

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