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In 1870, a Maori warrior working with the British finds his village massacred, and vows revenge.

Director:

Geoff Murphy
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anzac Wallace ... Te Wheke
Bruno Lawrence ... Williamson
Tim Elliott Tim Elliott ... Col. Elliot
Kelly Johnson ... Lt. Scott
Wi Kuki Kaa Wi Kuki Kaa ... Wiremu
Tania Bristowe Tania Bristowe ... Kura
Ilona Rodgers ... Emily Williamson
Merata Mita Merata Mita ... Matu
Faenza Reuben Faenza Reuben ... Hersare
Tom Poata Tom Poata ... Puni
Martyn Sanderson Martyn Sanderson ... Vicar
John Bach ... Belcher
Dick Puanaki Dick Puanaki ... Eru
Sean Duffy Sean Duffy ... Cpl. Jones
Ian Watkin Ian Watkin ... Doorman
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Storyline

In New Zealand in the 1860s the native Maori people fought the British colonials to keep the land guaranteed to them by treaty. The warrior Te Wheke fights for the British until betrayal leads him to seek utu (revenge). The settler Williamson in turn seeks revenge after Te Wheke attacks his homestead. Meanwhile Wiremu, an officer for the British, seems to think that resistance is futile. Written by Brian Rawnsley <rawnsleb@natlib.govt.nz>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

New Zealand

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 June 1984 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Hämnden See more »

Filming Locations:

New Zealand

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Alternate Versions

Original New Zealand version runs 118 minutes; US version was cut to 105 minutes. See more »

Connections

Featured in Making Utu (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cavalry vs. Indians, Kiwi-style.
4 February 2003 | by jckruizeSee all my reviews

Well-made actioner could have benefited from a script that took more time to establish characters and historical context. The film opens with a horrific massacre of a Maori village, which drives native soldier Te Wheke (Anzac Wallace) to swear a blood vendetta ('utu') against the white man. Unfortunately, there is no explanation given for the massacre, and we know nothing about Te Wheke except that until then he was a soldier in the white man's army.

Despite this narrative gap, the action which follows is reasonably compelling in the manner of a Don Siegel or John Sturges Western. Besides the strong performance by Wallace, Kelly Johnson is good as the baby-faced army lieutenant charged with introducing new-fangled 'commando' tactics from the Boer War, and Bruno Lawrence has a field day as a gun-obsessed homesteader who swears his own oath of vengeance against Te Wheke after his wife is killed. (Wait till you see the shotgun he puts together in his shed!) Geoff Murphy's direction is straightforward, if sometimes muddled during shootouts, and other pluses are the authentic period production design and weaponry, along with mobile camera-work by Graeme Cowley on rugged New Zealand landscapes.

Not a profound work, but entertaining for its historical milieu, based on real incidents. Be warned that the DVD transfer is not the best.


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