7.6/10
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214 user 156 critic

Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)

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ON DISC
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
4,993 ( 91)

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Get ready for "Picnic at Hanging Rock" starring Natalie Dormer with a look back at some classic movies and TV shows that have been rebooted and remade over the years.

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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rachel Roberts ... Mrs. Appleyard
Vivean Gray Vivean Gray ... Miss 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 (as Anne Lambert)
Karen Robson ... Irma
Jane Vallis ... Marion
Christine Schuler ... Edith
Margaret Nelson Margaret Nelson ... Sara
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:

Australia's First International Hit! [Video Australia] See more »

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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:

AUD 440,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$27,492, 28 June 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$232,201

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,953,633
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1998 director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Martindale Hall near Mintaro in the state of South Australia was the location for Mrs Appleyards school. See more »

Goofs

Miranda cuts the Valentine's Day cake with a clean kitchen knife. However, the next shot shows the cake cut down the middle, and the same knife lying beside it clean and bare, as if it had never been used. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Miranda: What we see and what we seem are but a dream, a dream within a dream.
See more »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Referenced in Interview with Peter Weir (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Prelude No 1 in C Major
from The Well-Tempered Clavier
by Johann Sebastian Bach
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
the unspeakable takes control
28 May 2000 | by MissRosaSee all my reviews

This is mesmerizing film with a cipher at its center. Less is more. I am amused at some of the comments. There seem to be two types: those which depict the movie as "beautiful, ethereal and subtle" and those which depict the film as "too symbolic, too slow, boring, too 70's."

The point is, there is no point. The central vision of the film is enigma, the void, mystery. This seems to make a lot of explainers uncomfortable, but the use of emptiness at the core of a work of art is nothing new. "The hand that erases writes the true thing" Faulkner's masterpiece "The Sound and the Fury" is about a character who is absent. The characters that surround her, and who actually people the novel? Not all there, lacking, disintegrating, unknown, unwanted, unloved.

If there must be a meaning, it is that nothingness is the biggest threat of all. "I will show you fear in a handful of dust" We fear our disappearance. We'd like to believe that our little lives, our little comments, our little film lists will endure forever. But they won't. Nothing will.

what is existence? a random ever-changing collection of energized particles.

At any point, we can cross the line into nothingness. Nature will subsume us.

The film "A Passage to India" had the same theme. It was NOT essentially a movie about rape or sex scandal. It was about the yawning pitch-black eternal emptiness of the caves. It drove two women mad. Nature as an amoral uncaring unmoveable eternal reality.

Just as Picnic was NOT about repressed Victorian sexuality. These were pretexts, and were utilized because the fear of sex is the fear of letting go. The fear of sexuality leads irrestibly to our main fear: that darkness, emptiness, and the powers of nature will overwhelm us and erase us.

In Picnic, there was no villain, no enemy, no fall guy, no perpetrator, process or predicament that we could blame for the girls' disappearance. They simply disappeared. And that is the scariest nightmare of all.


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