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The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years (1996)

At the height of WWII and ten years after their union in Matlock Island, Father Ralph reunites with Meggie who faces a deep crisis. Now, he must make up his mind, as the burden of choice is insufferable. Will he risk it all for love?


Kevin James Dobson


Colleen McCullough (novel), David Stevens


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Credited cast:
Richard Chamberlain ... Ralph de Bricassart
Amanda Donohoe ... Meggie Cleary O'Neill
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Paul Bertram Paul Bertram ... Harry Gough
Julia Blake ... Fee Cleary
Olivia Burnette ... Justine O'Neill
Michael Caton ... Bill Masters
James Costas ... Italian officer (as Jimmy Costas)
Rob Doran Rob Doran ... Blackshirt #2
Zach English Zach English ... Dane O'Neill
Peter Ford Peter Ford ... The Warder
Christopher Gabardi ... Father Angelo
Adam Grossetti Adam Grossetti ... Tony Masters
Jonathan Hardy ... Father Emilio
John Heywood John Heywood ... Doctor
Phillip Hinton Phillip Hinton ... Levi


Actually taking place in the middle of the original Thorn Birds miniseries, which chronicled the love affair of Meggie Cleary and Fr. Ralph de Bricassart from 1920 to 1962, this two-part miniseries begins in 1943. Father Ralph returns to Drogheda to evaluate its financial situation just as his one true love, Meggie, is embroiled in a bitter custody battle with her ex-husband, Luke. Written by Phil Fernando

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

sequel | based on novel | See All (2) »


A love reignited. A faith renewed. See more »


Drama | Romance


See all certifications »



Australia | USA



Release Date:

11 February 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Dornenvögel - Die verlorenen Jahre See more »

Filming Locations:

Queensland, Australia

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The Missing Years is regarded as a 'midquel' as the events of the story covers 19 unaccounted years between Dane's birth and Ralph's return to Australia in the original 1983 miniseries. See more »


Fee: Don't do to Meggie what you did to Mary Carson. Don't destroy her with love!
See more »


Follows The Thorn Birds (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

Thorn Birds-Missing the Point!
27 January 2002 | by GypsyoharSee all my reviews

This sequel departs from cannon of the original story so, one wonders if the creators actually viewed the original mini-series. It was a shame to see Colleen McCullough's carefully detailed characters (some of them) bent to suit the plot of this contrived piece of work. Oddly, Feonna Cleary (an a-vowed atheist in the original mini-series) has suddenly found faith and speaks about "God's greatests blessings" a multitude of times through out the film. To-wit, also, after years of running Drogheda, she is relagated in this sequel to knitting and a "cheery attitude". Amanda Donahoe does a reasonable job of potraying Megan Cleary-O'Neil. Richard Chamberlain seems to work very hard at keeping the characterization of Fr. (now Arch Bishop) Ralph D'Brickesar authentic. A portion of the original mini-series is totally ignored in respect to the character of Luke O'Neil (in respect to Meagan's ending her relationship with him) And Lastly, this is really the nineties (well now the millinium) Does anyone really sigh with relief when Luke O'Neil arrives on the scene because (as "Fee" puts it) "We need a man around the place"? I say rent or own the original and leave the missing years missing in action!

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