7.2/10
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38 user 26 critic

The Sundowners (1960)

In Australia's Outback during the early 20th century the impoverished Carmody family lives a nomadic life out of their wagon but the mom and son want to settle while the dad is against it.

Director:

Fred Zinnemann

Writers:

Isobel Lennart (screenplay), Jon Cleary (novel)
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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Deborah Kerr ... Ida Carmody
Robert Mitchum ... Paddy Carmody
Peter Ustinov ... Rupert Venneker
Glynis Johns ... Mrs. Firth
Dina Merrill ... Jean Halstead
Chips Rafferty ... Quinlan
Michael Anderson Jr. ... Sean Carmody
Lola Brooks Lola Brooks ... Liz Brown
Wylie Watson ... Herb Johnson
John Meillon ... Bluey Brown
Ronald Fraser ... Ocker
Gerry Duggan Gerry Duggan ... Shearer
Leonard Teale Leonard Teale ... Shearer
Peter Carver Peter Carver ... Shearer
Dick Bentley ... Shearer
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Storyline

In the Australian Outback, the Carmody family--Paddy, Ida and their teenage son Sean--are sheep drovers, always on the move. Ida and Sean want to settle down and buy a farm. Paddy wants to keep moving. A sheep-shearing contest, the birth of a child, drinking, gambling and a race horse will all have a part in the final decision. Written by Jeanne Armintrout <jeannee@uwyo.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

AUSTRALIA as seen through the eyes of FRED ZINNEMANN who gave you 'HIGH NOON' 'FROM HERE TO ETERNITY 'THE NUN'S STORY', etc etc ACTUALLY FILMED IN AUSTRALIAN LOCATIONS See more »

Genres:

Drama | Adventure

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Warner Bros.

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 February 1961 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Tres vidas errantes See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Feature debut of Ray Barrett. See more »

Goofs

After Ida and Sean cross the bridge to escape the fire, they look into the flames for Paddy. Through the smoke, you can see a man tending the fire. See more »

Quotes

Sean Carmody: Gee, it's gonna be fun. This is the first time I've ever been away from home.
Shearer: What, with your mom and dad not fifty yards outside that window, and you call that being away from home?
Rupert Venneker: Certainly. Being out in the world is a state of mind, not of geography. The distance between that tent and this bunker is the longest journey you will ever make in your life.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in What's My Line?: Peter Ustinov (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

Moreton Bay
(uncredited)
Traditional
Quoted in the background score and sung by Paddy Carmody (Robert Mitchum) in the hotel
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Shame on the Academy
2 January 2006 | by krorieSee all my reviews

For such a gifted actor as Robert Mitchum to go unrecognized by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a shame and makes one glad that George C. Scott did what he did in refusing to receive the Oscar for his amazing work in "Patton." I don't want to mention Marlon Brando because I'm still not certain what he was up to. He seemed to want attention more than to make a statement when he flaunted the Academy. Added to this shame is the same Academy virtually ignoring Mitchum's co-star in this movie Deborah Kerr, also deserving of more formal recognition for her contributions to the Hollywood dream machine. Anyone who has any doubt about the outstanding acting abilities of these two stars needs only watch "The Sundowners" to see where I'm coming from. The rest of the cast in "The Sundowners" add to the overall effectiveness of the movie, especially the brilliance of Peter Ustinov.

There is really not much of a story. The film is more of a character study of a vagabond with a wife and a son who is trying to make a living as a sheep drover in the outback of Australia. He encounters a rather mysterious man Rupert Venneker (Ustinov) who becomes his hired hand to help with the sheep. Paddy Carmody (Mitchum) is very happy with this hand to mouth existence, living in a tent or sleeping out amongst the stars, keeping a little change in a jar, but his wife and son prefer a more settled existence, dreaming of owning their own ranch. Director Fred Zinnemann captures the essence of vagabond life down under filming on location in Australia, showing the exotic wild life in all its beauty and spender. Technicolor and wide-screen heighten the viewers enjoyment of this tale of dreams fulfilled and unfulfilled in a land that is still somewhat mysterious to the average American.

Of special note is the Australian music used by Zinnemann. In the first pub scene Mitchum bellows out in a drunken Aussie accent one of John Ford's favorites, "Wild Colonial Boy," but then sings a ballad that is seldom heard on the big screen, "Botany Bay," about the infamous penal colony from which modern Australia sprang. The versatile Robert Mitchum was also a singer and songwriter. He helped write the music of his production of "Thunder Road" and even had somewhat of a hit recording of the title song in 1958. Rupert Venneker (Ustinov) makes fun of Paddy's voice in "The Sundowners," but actually it wasn't bad.

This is a rather long film, over two hours, but a highly enjoyable one. I first saw it on the big screen when I was a senior in high school. It was one of those flicks that stays with a person. I've had the pleasure of seeing it a few more times since. It is still as fresh and as good as when first released.


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