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The Proposition (2005)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Western  |  9 June 2006 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 41,467 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 231 user | 167 critic | 31 from

A lawman apprehends a notorious outlaw and gives him nine days to kill his older brother, or else they'll execute his younger brother.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Brian O'Leary
Jeremy Madrona ...
Asian Prostitute
Jae Mamuyac ...
Asian Prostitute
Mick Roughan ...
Mad Jack Bradshaw
Shane Watt ...
John Gordon
Sergeant Lawrence
Bryan Probets ...
Officer Dunn
Patrick Hopkins
David Vallon ...
Tom Cox
Daniel Parker ...
Henry Clark


Rural Australia in the late nineteenth century: Capt. Stanley and his men capture two of the four Burns brothers, Charlie and Mike. Their gang is held responsible for attacking the Hopkins farm, raping pregnant Mrs. Hopkins and murdering the whole family. Arthur Burns, the eldest brother and the gang's mastermind, remains on the loose and has retreated to a mountain hideout. Capt. Stanley's proposition to Charlie is to gain pardon and - more importantly - save his beloved younger brother Mike from the gallows by finding and killing Arthur within nine days. Written by Armin Ortmann {}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


This land will be civilized.


Crime | Drama | Western

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong grisly violence, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

9 June 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Proposition  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$215,987 (Australia) (14 October 2005)


$1,900,725 (USA) (8 September 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One of the gunmen in the Burns' fort at the beginning is named "Jack Bradshaw". Although the movie's plot was fictitious, there had been a real 19th century Australian "bushranger" (outlaw) by that name. See more »


When the captain takes a drink, he takes the bottle cap off and sets it beside the bottle on the right side of the desk and pours his drink. In the next instant the cap is in his left hand as he caps the bottle. See more »


[first lines]
Captain Stanley: Do I need to introduce myself?
Charlie Burns: I know who you are.
Captain Stanley: Good. I know who you are.
See more »


Referenced in At the Movies: Episode #7.19 (2010) See more »


The Rider Song
Composed by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis
Performed by Nick Cave
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User Reviews

One of the 5 best I've ever watched!
2 November 2005 | by (Fremantle, Australia) – See all my reviews

Everyone connected with this film should be extremely proud of the movie they created. I will mention specifically: Delhomme for his extraordinary cinematography; Eden for her beautifully stark Set Decoration; Hillcoat for impeccable direction and especially John Hurt in a small but tremendously evocative early role.

A staggeringly moving and uncompromising examination of contemporary emotions set against our early settlement history. The first thing I noticed about this film was the look of Guy Pearce's character's hair-dirty and stringy-something that Hollywood with it's pretensions and million-dollar babies would never allow. But these people looked bad, acted bad and I'm sure-smelt bad. In short, they were real people and they acted as real people in those monstrously uncompromising times would have acted.

My friend said after viewing the film, that he didn't believe early Australia had the same frontier gun culture that is so often displayed in American films of the same genre. I too do not believe that our early settlement revolved around the gun mania of American settlement but I was not bothered by the gun culture shown in The Proposition. I kept looking for bits that did not play right and I could not find any-the film played real to me from beginning to end. Although extremely violent in those parts where violence was called for, this violence did not seem out of place or overdone. I have tried to know something of our early settlement history and what I saw fitted into that mental picture well. The unimaginable violence we displayed to the Aboriginal people was masked and not really a part of what occurred in this film so if some of that violence was shown towards white settlers then it seemed to blend in this film.

An extraordinary film and I hope against hope that it will be eminently successful and therefore lead to the creation of other films based upon our early settlement history.

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