6.5/10
23,881
137 user 28 critic
An innocent man becomes one of the most wanted criminals the world has ever known.

Director:

Gregor Jordan

Writers:

Robert Drewe (novel), John Michael McDonagh (screenplay)

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3 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Heath Ledger ... Ned Kelly
Orlando Bloom ... Joseph Byrne
Geoffrey Rush ... Superintendent Francis Hare
Naomi Watts ... Julia Cook
Joel Edgerton ... Aaron Sherritt
Laurence Kinlan ... Dan Kelly
Philip Barantini ... Steve Hart
Kerry Condon ... Kate Kelly
Kris McQuade ... Ellen Kelly
Emily Browning ... Grace Kelly
Kiri Paramore Kiri Paramore ... Constable Fitzpatrick
Rachel Griffiths ... Susan Scott
Geoff Morrell ... Robert Scott
Charles 'Bud' Tingwell ... Premier Graham Berry
Saskia Burmeister Saskia Burmeister ... Jane Jones
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Storyline

Though recognized for heroism as a lad, Ned Kelly can not escape the stigma of being the eldest of a brood sired by a known criminal. In days when an arrest equaled guilt and a conviction, his unfair imprisonment for horse thievery puts him steadfast, in the eyes of Victorian police, on the wrong side of things for life. With a sister unable to dissuade the unwanted advances of Constable Fitzpatrick, Ned, his brother Dan, and friends Joe Byrne and Steve Hart soon find themselves labeled "an outlaw gang" by the less-than-honorable constable. It's a designation they're apt to live up to after Ned's mother is unfairly arrested and sentenced to three years hard labor. In retaliation, the Kelly Gang strikes out against the oppressive Victorian government, with ultimately tragic results and passage into Australian folklore. Written by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You can kill a man but not a legend. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Australia | UK | USA | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 March 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gesetzlos - Die Geschichte des Ned Kelly See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$743,752 (Australia), 11 April 2003, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$43,704, 28 March 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$74,864, 4 April 2004

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,089,857, 7 November 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Cinevex)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The Irish folk singer appearing in the film is Bernard Fanning. See more »

Goofs

The bank that was robbed has "State Savings Bank" on the windows. The Australian states did not become or were called states until federation in 1901. Priory to 1901 they were officially colonies, e.g. Colony of New South Wales, Colony of Victoria, etc. Each colony being independent within the British Empire. The bank in question was in Jerilderie NSW and was the Bank of NSW. It would have had that name on the windows. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ned Kelly: I was the hero of Hughes Creek. I can still see the glint in me Da's eye as he looked down at me, his hand on me shoulder. What did he call me that day? Ah, what did Da call me? That's right. He called me Sunshine.
See more »

Connections

Version of Ned Kelly and His Gang (1906) See more »

Soundtracks

Kesh Jig
(Traditional)
Arranged and Performed by Blackberry Jam
Soundtrack on Decca / UMG Soundtracks
See more »

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User Reviews

A Legend Becomes A Straight-Forward Narrative
5 April 2004 | by noraleeSee all my reviews

"Ned Kelly" is a straight-forward re-telling of the legendary Australian who has a powerful symbolism as both an outlaw and a revolutionary.

It is not based on the award-winning novel by Peter Carey, "True History of the Ned Kelly Gang," because the rights to that were taken by the Irish Neil Jordan to the consternation of nationalists who rallied around this adaptation of Robert Drewe's "Our Sunshine." But, oddly, though Drewe is listed as a co-producer, this chronological narrative by first-timer John M. McDonagh flattens out the power of the novella's focus on the final three-days' battle that's as important to Australia as "Remember the Alamo!" is to Texans.

Director Gregor Jordan particularly undercuts the core of Kelly's transformation in the public imagination from petty criminal to charismatic Robin Hood to uprising leader against injustice by barely letting Heath Ledger dictate a few lines of the so-called 'Jerilderie Letter' perhaps because it is the powerful centerpiece of the voice of the Carey book. Ledger's basso voice-over connectors do resonate.

Jordan opts for portends of the key confrontation that will only be caught by those familiar with the legend -- Kelly idly looking through an illustrated book about body armor, the loading up of the infamous train that will carry the police to the attack, and Geoffrey Rush replaying his Inspector Javert, but with only implications of a "Les Miserables" back story.

Jordan presides over an excellent recreation of the milieu of the time. There's a strong visual evocation in the art and set direction of time, place, and geography, especially with Oliver Stapleton's beautiful cinematography. The social class differences between descendants of POMmies (Prisoners of his Majesty) and their British overlords, are documented starkly, particularly in carrying over the Irish vs. British conflict to another continent (though the bland music score misses a real opportunity to illustrate that, with only a couple of traditional Celtic songs literally stuck in).

Non-Aussie Orlando Bloom makes quite a dashing Joe Byrne, Kelly's best friend, attracting Rachel Griffiths in a somewhat silly cameo, and many other recognizable Australian actors pass through.

Unfortunately, Naomi Watts and Ledger can be added to the lengthy list of real-life lovers who evince little reel chemistry -- did that only work to our benefit for Bogart/Bacall and Tracy/Hepburn?


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