Bush Christmas (1983) Poster

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Nice little Australian Christmas film ...
Gunbarrel15 August 2003
I first saw this film back in 1990 (we still have the VHS tape we recorded it on back then) and although I'm now 13 years older the film still makes for an enjoyable viewing.

The story involves the Thompson family, whose farm has just survived a drought and are in dire straits and risk losing their farm if they can't pay the mortgage off. Their only hope lies in their horse - Prince - who will be competing in the New Years Day Cup and if he can win they'll have enough to pay off the debt. Unfortunately 2 bumbling lowlifes called Bill and Sly steal Prince and head off into the bush where they hope to escape and use Prince to make a fortune. Upon realising this the 3 children in the house (Helen, John and their English cousin Michael) set off into the bush after the 2 thieves along with Manalpuy, an Aboriginal who lives on their farm.

The story is pretty simplistic but considering the target audience is primarily children it's decent fun. This film is special being that it was Nicole Kidman's first starring role in a movie (at the young age of 17). Australian TV viewers would probably also be interested to know that also starring was an actor named John Howard (not the prime minister) who today is now well-known for his roles in the Australian TV series 'SeaChange' (which he won a Logie for) and 'Always Greener' - here he plays one of the horse thieves (Sly) and its interesting to see the way he looked 20 years ago (he looks a lot thinner - and taller - but the face has remained the same).

Since seeing the film in 1990 I have never seen it screened again on television, nor have I seen it anywhere in any video store, so good luck to anyone who might want to catch it as it may be another of those 'hard-to-find' films (like too many older Australian films). Still its worth a watch if you can - if only to see a young, teenage Nicole Kidman with curly brown hair and freckles on her face.
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love some bush skills
SnoopyStyle21 December 2021
Four children ride up a short cut despite their black friend's warning. They encounter two horse thieves who tell them not to reveal their presence. When a prized mare goes missing, the mystery men are suspected. The oldest kid Helen failed to warn her father beforehand and is distraught by her father's disappointment. The police gives up the search and ignores the children's suspicion for the thieves' hideout. The five children decide to search on their own.

I love the Aboriginal kid teaching some bush skills. The danger is not that intense. Mostly, the situations are dangerous but one gets the sense that no kids would ever get hurt in this family film. Quite frankly, the ice house situation is more funny than scary, having the kids hang up like that. It reminds me of a couple of sitcoms with a comedic struggle while hung on a hook. All in all, this is a fine kiddie adventure with kiddie dangers and kiddie thrills.
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Rather impractable Warning: Spoilers
If it's 100 degrees in the shade why is rain causing the horse stealers to shiver under a tree and why are the kids collecting firewood in a drenching downpour while a fire gets lit in a cave to keep them warm and to dry their clothes, and why is the missus lighting a huge bonfire in such dangerous Australian conditions in the efforts to warn her drover husband that the kids have gone? Rather far fetched but enjoyable if you like Australian movies.
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