7.5/10
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Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)

Trailer
4:49 | Trailer
During a rural summer picnic, a few students and a teacher from an Australian girls' school vanish without a trace. Their absence frustrates and haunts the people left behind.

Director:

Peter Weir

Writers:

Joan Lindsay (novel), Cliff Green (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
4,372 ( 2,112)
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rachel Roberts ... Mrs. Appleyard
Vivean Gray Vivean Gray ... Miss Greta McCraw
Helen Morse ... Mlle. de Poitiers
Kirsty Child Kirsty Child ... Miss Lumley
Tony Llewellyn-Jones ... Tom (as Anthony Llewellyn-Jones)
Jacki Weaver ... Minnie
Frank Gunnell Frank Gunnell ... Mr. Whitehead
Anne-Louise Lambert ... Miranda St Clare (as Anne Lambert)
Karen Robson ... Irma
Jane Vallis ... Marion Quade
Christine Schuler ... Edith
Margaret Nelson Margaret Nelson ... Sara Waybourne
Ingrid Mason Ingrid Mason ... Rosamund
Jenny Lovell ... Blanche
Janet Murray Janet Murray ... Juliana

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Storyline

Three students and a school teacher disappear on an excursion to Hanging Rock, in Victoria, on Valentine's Day, 1900. The movie follows those that disappeared, and those that stayed behind, but it delights in the asking of questions, not the answering of them. Even though both the movie and the book it was based on claim to be inspired by real events, the story is completely fictional. Written by David Carroll <davidc@atom.ansto.gov.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

We shall only be gone a little while... See more »

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The source original novel of the same name written by Joan Lindsay runs to 212 pages. See more »

Goofs

The movie takes place in February 1900, 11 months before the Australian colonies federated and 11 years before the creation of the Australian Capital Territory within New South Wales. When Mrs Appleyard addresses the gathered pupils to communicate the merciful deliverance of their classmate Irma, the NSW map behind nearby Miss Lumley clearly shows the existence of the ACT (defined in red). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Miranda: What we see and what we seem are but a dream, a dream within a dream.
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Alternate Versions

The Director's Cut released in 1998 (available on Criterion DVD) is seven minutes shorter than the original version. See more »


Soundtracks

Piano Concerto No 5 in E Flat Major (Emperor Concerto), 2nd Movement
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
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User Reviews

 
Death and the Maidens
8 May 2005 | by poccaSee all my reviews

Even though this has been described as a film about sexual repression (and Peter Weir may have thought he was making such a film), I don't think it is--rather, it is a celebration of the dreamy, self contained sexuality (or rather pre-sexuality) of young adolescent girls just before they seriously turn their attention to men. Sure, they may be living in a society straitjacketed by Victorian mores, but the girls really don't seem to be the unhappier for this, non withstanding the earthy maid's comments that she feels sorry for them. Miranda and her friends seem completely content and at ease in their languid, hothousey world of poetry, pink and white bedrooms, and mutual crushes (I was reminded of the similarly dreamy, self contained little universe of the sisters in "The Virgin Suicides--another film that is supposedly about repression). During the noon day nap at Hanging Rock, the girls, heads resting in one another's laps, are in a state very much resembling post coital bliss--far from seeming repressed, they are among the most content women I've ever seen on screen. It is quite arguable that Victorian morality had something to do with their sexuality turning inward like this, but all this does is lend credence to the truism that repression intensifies sexuality--which may explain the lingering fascination the Victorian era has for the modern age, and why one of its most striking symbols of its oppressiveness--the corset--is also very erotically charged. The girls' disappearance into the eerie black land form (that seems to have faces at times, bringing to mind fairy tales about trolls who steal golden haired children) suggests that at in their present state they are so contented that anything else life might hold for them could only be a letdown, that only whatever dark force (death? nothingness?) is haunting Hanging Rock could possibly be a worthy enough lover for these girls who are already so supremely self fulfilled.

There are, unfortunately, aspects of this film that don't work, or rather jar with the elements discussed above, the most prominent of these being the Dickensian subplot of the persecuted orphaned pupil Sarah. The actress herself is affecting in her part and her boyish beauty contrasts well with Miranda's ethereal femininity (she looks like a young Renaissance prince at times), but her story really belongs in another movie because at heart "Picnic at Hanging Rock" is more Gothic than socially conscious.

Maybe Weir really was aiming to make a movie about the evils of sexual repression, class inequality or even colonization, but such possible themes are blown away by the languid, ethereal images of the young adolescent girls at the beginning of the film, floating contentedly through their hours like clusters of Monet lilies.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

2 February 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Picnic at Hanging Rock See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

AUD440,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$27,492, 28 June 1998

Gross USA:

$49,582

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$82,361
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1998 director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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