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The Overlanders (1946)

Approved | | Adventure, Western | 26 December 1946 (USA)
It's the start of WWII in Northern Australia. The Japanese are getting close. People are evacuating and burning everything in a "scorched earth" policy. Rather than kill all their cattle, a... See full summary »


Harry Watt


Harry Watt
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Chips Rafferty ... Dan McAlpine
John Nugent Hayward John Nugent Hayward ... Bill Parsons
Daphne Campbell Daphne Campbell ... Mary Parsons
Jean Blue Jean Blue ... Mrs. Parsons
Helen Grieve Helen Grieve ... Helen Parsons
John Fernside John Fernside ... Corky
Peter Pagan Peter Pagan ... Sailor ("Sinbad")
Frank Ransome Frank Ransome ... Charlie
Stan Tolhurst Stan Tolhurst ... Manager
Marshall Crosby Marshall Crosby ... Minister
John Fegan John Fegan ... Police Sergeant
Clyde Combo Clyde Combo ... Aborigine Jacky
Henry Murdoch Henry Murdoch ... Aborigine Nipper


It's the start of WWII in Northern Australia. The Japanese are getting close. People are evacuating and burning everything in a "scorched earth" policy. Rather than kill all their cattle, a disparate group decides to drive them overland half way across the continent. Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A dramatic epic that echoes the heart beats of Australia's Greatness!


Adventure | Western


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Chips Rafferty starred alongside Jack Lemmon playing the island watcher Patterson in The Wackiest Ship in the Army (1960) (1960). See more »


Dan McAlpine: Bullocks are more important than bullets.
See more »

Crazy Credits

This film is based on fact but the characters are fictitious: any similarity to any name or individual is coincidental. See more »


Featured in The Bush Myth in Australian Films (1982) See more »


Authorship unknown
Sung by cast members at different times
See more »

User Reviews

Herding Cattle Aussie Style
23 August 2012 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Ealing Studios primarily known for those British comedies of which some of the best starred Alec Guinness went really out of character when they produced The Overlanders which is a modern southwestern and an outdoor film at that. It's a fictionalized account of some Aussie cattle drovers from the north who when faced with a possible invasion from Japan in 1940 drove a thousand head of cattle from the north, southeast to Brisbane to keep them out of enemy hands. Chips Rafferty who was the Australian movie star for three decades stars as the man whose vision and hard work made it possible.

A cattle drive is a cattle drive and those of us who've seen American films like Red River, The Texans, and Cowboy are familiar enough with the job requirements for herding cattle. Of course the casts of those classics. But John Wayne didn't have three women in his crew going to Missouri. Chips did, a mother and two daughters of one of his crew and they certainly held up their end.

It was interesting to see that rather than lariats the stockmen used bullwhips to keep the cattle moving. Not that they whipped the cattle because I think that would have produced some angry beasts. But the sound of the whips snapping is what keeps them moving. Of course ropes are there if needed and in one rather harrowing sequence a rope is what saves a really bad situation.

Another interesting sequence is when their train of horses gets into some poisonous weed and they lose several, a herd of wild horses called in Australia 'brumbies' are captured and broken for use. Now that can be found in a lot of American westerns.

The cattle drive of 1940 is but part of the story of Australia's greatest hour of danger and how their people came through. Darwin was bombed by the Japanese and until the Australian army was retrieved from North Africa the continent was in its greatest peril. You can see that in Nicole Kidman's Australia.

This film didn't quite have the budget Australia did, but it's a fine film from down under and a tribute to some brave and resolute people.

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UK | Australia



Release Date:

26 December 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Manada See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Ealing Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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