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Wake in Fright (1971)

2:02 | Trailer
After a bad gambling bet, a schoolteacher is marooned in a town full of crazy, drunk, violent men who threaten to make him just as crazy, drunk, and violent.


Ted Kotcheff


Evan Jones (screenplay by), Kenneth Cook (based on the novel "Wake in Fright" by)
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Donald Pleasence ... Doc Tydon
Gary Bond ... John Grant
Chips Rafferty ... Jock Crawford
Sylvia Kay ... Janette Hynes
Jack Thompson ... Dick
Peter Whittle Peter Whittle ... Joe
Al Thomas Al Thomas ... Tim Hynes
John Meillon ... Charlie
John Armstrong John Armstrong ... Atkins
Slim DeGrey Slim DeGrey ... Jarvis (as Slim De Grey)
Maggie Dence Maggie Dence ... Receptionist
Norman Erskine Norman Erskine ... Joe the Cook
Owen Moase Owen Moase ... 1st Controller
John Dalleen John Dalleen ... 2nd Controller
Buster Fiddess Buster Fiddess ... Charlie Jones
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John Grant, a teacher working in the remote Australian town of Tiboonda, is under a financial bond with his Government job. At the end of term before Christmas holidays, he plans to visit his girlfriend in Sydney. In order to catch a flight to Sydney, he takes a train to the nearby mining town called Bundanyabba (or "The Yabba"), and plans to stay there overnight before moving on further to the airport. But things go grossly out of script as he is engulfed by the Yabba and its disconcerting residents. Written by PipingHotViews

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Have a drink mate? Have a Sheila mate? Have a gamble mate? Have a fight mate? See more »


Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Opening credits: All characters and events depicted in this film are fictitious. Any similarity to actual events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. See more »


Inside Doc Tydon's hut, there is a window near the back door seen when Grant wants to go to the toilet. However, from outside, the window is at least a meter from the door. See more »


[first lines]
John Grant: [checks his watch] Alright, off you go.
[children clamour as they leave the classroom]
Young Girl: Happy Christmas, teacher!
Dave: Happy new year.
John Grant: Thank you, Dave.
Sam: Give my love to your girlfriend in Sydney, sir.
John Grant: I'll do that, Sam, thank you.
Chris: Have a happy holiday, sir.
John Grant: [shakes his hand] And you, Chris. Thank you. Enjoy yourself.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Aside from changing the title to "Outback", all international prints credit Group W Films (the more-recognized American production partner) ahead of NLT Productions. With the restoration of the uncut Australian release, this has been reversed. See more »

Alternate Versions

The international TV version that, until 2009, replaced the uncut Australian version in circulation, runs approximately 101 minutes (97 minutes on most copies due to NTSC to PAL conversion), roughly eight minutes shorter than the original. The changes are as follows:
  • When John awakens the morning after the two-up game, an alternate take of the scene is used: instead of being naked, he is wearing underpants.
  • When Janette is seducing John, the scene fades to black when she nuzzles her head against his groin and cuts to Doc's handstand. In the original, she then unbuttons her dress and kisses John, who drunkenly vomits; disappointed, she wipes his face and leads him back to the house.
  • The entirety of John's conversation with Doc outside his shack is missing.
  • The daytime kangaroo hunt lacks most of the brief scene in which Doc cuts off a kangaroo's testicles, and only shows the shot of Tim handing his knife to Doc before cutting to John's bemused close-up.
  • The night-time kangaroo hunt is severely truncated: only the first two kills are shown, and prior to the sequence in which Tim fights the one-eyed kangaroo, the sequence consists entirely of close-ups of the actors firing at the screen. Similarly, the shot of Tim slashing the kangaroo's throat and a lingering shot of kangaroo carcasses post-carnage are cut.
  • During the bush pub fight, Tim's line "You bastard!" is cut, as is Doc rising from his chair saying "You bloody bastards!"; Doc's further utterances of the phrase in this scene are cross-faded so that only the first vowel is heard.
  • After Doc grabs John by the neck during their post-hunt "tryst", the scene fades to white when the ceiling lamp swings toward the screen and cuts to the following morning, thereby eliminating Doc's suggestive mounting of John (curiously, the part of this scene featured during the montage of John's mental breakdown remain intact).
  • The following have been removed from the montage of John's mental breakdown: Doc spitting beer into Janette's mouth; Doc playfully slapping Janette; John breaking into a run; both shots of Doc having sex with Robyn. John Scott's music is cross-faded over the penultimate crescendo so that the final sting is still synchronized with the reversed shot of the two-up pennies over Doc's eyes, although much of Dick, Tim and the two-up patrons' howling laughter is eliminated as a result.
See more »


Featured in Australian Movies to the World (1983) See more »


Caro Nome
(from 'Rigoletto') (uncredited)
Written by Giuseppe Verdi
Performed by Amelita Galli-Curci
See more »

User Reviews

highly recommended
30 August 2001 | by crabturtleSee all my reviews

i first saw this in New York City in the early 1970's. it was one of the very few movies i have seen in my life that deserved a second viewing. for some reason i have always been fascinated by Australia. it just seemed to have animals and scenery that didn't exist anywhere else. another plus was that they spoke English there which is the only language i know. i did finally get to Australia in 1997 and it was every bit as fascinating as i had expected. this film is also fascinating although it paints a very dark and disturbing picture of the island continent. it is about a schoolteacher who for some reason becomes stranded in a tiny town in the remote outback. until he is able to leave he decides to socialize with the locals. they are a rough and tumble group unlike the teacher who is somewhat timid and sensitive. the main entertainment in this region is drinking, fighting and killing kangaroos. the latter scenes are the most disturbing with heads being blasted off the cute creature's bodies. sadly,it all ends tragically.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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UK | Australia | USA



Release Date:

9 October 1971 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Outback See more »


Box Office


AUD800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,761, 7 October 2012

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

NLT Productions, Group W See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (censored)

Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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