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Mad Dog Morgan (1976)

The true story of Irish outlaw Daniel Morgan, who is wanted, dead or alive, in Australia during the 1850s.

Director:

Philippe Mora

Writers:

Philippe Mora (screenplay), Margaret Carnegie (book)
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dennis Hopper ... Daniel Morgan
Jack Thompson ... Detective Manwaring
David Gulpilil ... Billy
Frank Thring ... Superintendent Cobham
Michael Pate ... Superintendent Winch
Wallas Eaton Wallas Eaton ... Macpherson
Bill Hunter ... Sergeant Smith
John Hargreaves ... Baylis
Martin Harris Martin Harris ... Wendlan
Robin Ramsay Robin Ramsay ... Roget
Graeme Blundell ... Italian Jack
Gregory Apps ... Arthur
Liza Lee-Atkinson Liza Lee-Atkinson ... Barmaid
Elaine Baillie Elaine Baillie ... Farm Girl
Don Barkham Don Barkham ... Morrow
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Storyline

Australia in the 1850s. Daniel Morgan, like hundreds of other ex-patriots from the British Isles (he is from Ireland), has come Downunder to seek his fortune. There is a gold rush going on, and Morgan wants to strike it rich. As fate would have it, Morgan soon finds himself on the other side of the law, broke and desperate. A single act of highway robbery gets him 12 years of hard labor. While in prison, he is systematically abused. Upon release, Morgan vows revenge on those who wronged him. With the help of an aborigine named Billy, and a growing legend of audacity, Morgan soon becomes a hero. The locals love him, while the wealthy and powerful fear his influence. They want this outlaw dead or alive, and will stop at nothing to see that their sense of justice is done. But Morgan only wants those to pay for the crimes they have committed, to recognize that he wasn't always a bushranger - he was made into one. It wasn't only his mind that made him bad. It was society that turned him ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In the autumn of 1865 the unique and notorious desperado, bushranger Dan Morgan, crossed the Murray River from New South Wales into Victoria to do battle with the law for the last time. What happened has been a secret for over 100 years. And so it should have been, if only to save face for the corrupt and hated colonial establishment of the day. This then is the fascinating tale, told for the first time, of the romantic and extraordinary villain they called Mad Dog Morgan. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 July 1976 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Mad Dog Morgan See more »

Filming Locations:

Australia

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was filmed entirely on location. See more »

Goofs

The end credits show the copyright date in roman numerals that is incorrect. They are displayed as MCMDXXVI, but for 1976 they should be MCMLXXVI. See more »

Quotes

Supt. Cobham: By all means, off with his head... and don't forget the scrotum.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was originally shot in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. However, the 2005 DVD release from Troma Entertainment presents the film in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio print cropped directly from the "pan and scan" full-screen print that was made for VHS releases. See more »

Connections

Referenced in To Shoot a Mad Dog (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Over The Border
Australian traditional song
Performed by Danny Spooner
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A harsh complaint against social injustice.
27 May 2001 | by libertyvalanceSee all my reviews

Philippe Mora's film has more often than not been categorized as a western but might as well be called a political drama. The central character, the famous bushranger Daniel 'Mad Dog' Morgan becomes a bandit as a result of the harsh treatment the racist and unfair government doles out to the poor and ethnic minorities in Victorian Australia. The extremities of this injustice is made clear when a Chinese settlement is burned down -without there being any notable sanctions- while Daniel Morgan is locked up for six years for stealing some clothes. The victim of condoned rape and torture in prison, Morgan swears to revenge himself on society and becomes a sort of down under Robin Hood, much loved by the common people.

Those who love smooth Hollywood storytelling will not be entertained by the rambling structure of this film. However, there are moments of rough and ready poetry to be had for those who care to take a chance and watch something out of the ordinary. Morgan's friendship with Billy, a young aboriginal who saves his life and becomes his partner in crime, lends a strong, anti racist statement to the film which is quite unique. The script is very fragmentary, only dealing with the highlights of Morgan's career. Still, the sober treatment of the story and balanced portrayal of the bandit's growing frustration with the law and life itself, makes for compelling watching.

Dennis Hopper was never better than in this part. The transformation from excitable but honest and friendly Irish immigrant to desperate and saddened outlaw, hunted down by the police and tired of running, is minimally but very persuasively handled. Those of you who are familiar with the sentimental nature of the Irish, will recognize Hopper's truthful treatment of the character.


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