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Walkabout (1971)

GP | | Adventure, Drama | 1 July 1971 (USA)
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Two city-bred siblings are stranded in the Australian Outback, where they learn to survive with the aid of an Aboriginal boy on his "walkabout": a ritual separation from his tribe.

Director:

Nicolas Roeg

Writers:

Edward Bond (screenplay), Donald G. Payne (novel) (as James Vance Marshall)
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Popularity
4,563 ( 172)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jenny Agutter ... Girl
Luc Roeg ... White Boy (as Lucien John)
David Gulpilil ... Black Boy (as David Gumpilil)
John Meillon ... Father
Robert McDarra Robert McDarra ... Man (as Robert McDara)
Peter Carver Peter Carver ... No Hoper (as Pete Carver)
John Illingsworth John Illingsworth ... Husband
Hilary Bamberger Hilary Bamberger ... Woman
Barry Donnelly Barry Donnelly ... Australian Scientist
Noeline Brown Noeline Brown ... German Scientist (as Noelene Brown)
Carlo Manchini Carlo Manchini ... Italian Scientist
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Storyline

A privileged British family consisting of a mother, a geologist father and an adolescent daughter and son, live in Sydney, Australia. Out of circumstance, the siblings, not knowing exactly where they are, get stranded in the Outback by themselves while on a picnic. They only have with them the clothes on their backs - their school uniforms - some meagre rations of nonperishable food, a battery-powered transistor radio, the son's satchel primarily containing his toys, and a small piece of cloth they used as their picnic drop-cloth. While they walk through the Outback, sometimes looking as though near death, they come across an Australian boy who is on his walkabout, a rite of passage into manhood where he spends months on end on his own living off the land. Their largest problem is not being able to verbally communicate. The boy does help them to survive, but doesn't understand their need to return to civilization, which may or may not happen based on what the Australian boy ends up ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A boy and a girl lost in the desert. Nothing between them but death and an aborigine See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Australia

Language:

English | Aboriginal | Czech | French

Release Date:

1 July 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Longa Caminhada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

AUD 1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1997 reissue) | (original)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastman Colour)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Luc Roeg was actually sun-burnt in the scene where the aboriginal boy treats his back by rubbing him with fat from a wild boar. Director Nicolas Roeg thought it would make a good scene for the film so he picked up the camera and shot it. See more »

Goofs

Jenny's stockings variously disappear and reappear with no continuity. It seems earlier scenes with her wearing them are intermingled with later scenes where she doesn't wear them. See more »

Quotes

The Girl: Water.
Black Boy: Water.
The Girl: Yes, water.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening caption: In Australia, when an Aborigine man-child reaches sixteen, he is sent out into the land. For months he must live from it. Sleep on it. Eat of its fruit and flesh. Stay alive. Even if it means killing his fellow creatures. The Aborigines call it the WALKABOUT. This is the story of a "WALKABOUT". See more »

Alternate Versions

A director's cut of this movie was released in 1997 with 5 additional minutes. This cut is identical to the original British release version (100 minutes): the film was shortened by five minutes for its original American release. See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Skye Boat Song
(uncredited)
Traditional Scottish air
Lyrics by Sir Harold Boulton
Hummed by Jenny Agutter
See more »

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User Reviews

Survivor of Zeitgeist
26 February 2000 | by AbandonedRailroadGradeSee all my reviews

A remarkably potent little film about a couple of very proper English kids who get lost in the Australian outback and hitch up with an aborigine boy on his initiation quest (or "walkabout"). My mom took me to see it when I was ten, and I've been haunted by it ever since. With some understated yet disturbing themes of alienation and violence, as well as the first scenes of full nudity I had ever witnessed on screen, I've sometimes wondered whether mom knew what she was getting into when she took me along. According to the trailer in the letterbox edition, Parents' Magazine recommended the film "without reservation" for young and old alike, because it depicts "facts of life." While that may be true, times have changed, and I can't imagine anyone today describing this subtle and unsettling story as "family fare." Incredibly tame, on its face, by today's standards of sensory overload, its essential world-weariness and maturity is no longer a didactic priority in our age of overconfidence. Watching it recently, I was on guard for signs of the myth of the "noble savage"--the hackneyed, simplistic, and generally hypocritical pretension that pre-industrial and non-Western peoples are morally superior to decadent moderns, which is demeaning to both modern and "savage" alike. There are instances of it here--most notably when a couple of rifle-toting, four-wheeling hunters decimate the landscape--but the overall emphasis is on the parallels between aborigine and Western life. Even scenes of the transience and decay of modern civilization are mirrored by the life-and-death cycles of the wilderness. With so many underlying similarities, the real question is why the teenaged English girl cannot embrace, figuratively and literally, the young black man who has saved her life and provided so selflessly for her, even while her younger brother, in all his innocence, has never doubted that they are a family. Is it race? Culture? Or does it reach to more fundamental questions of boy and girl, man and woman, human and human? This film has held up remarkably well over the past 30 years, and is well worth a look.


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