10 user 37 critic

Black and White (2002)

1:43 | Trailer
Recreation of the landmark 1958 South Australian Court trial of young aboriginal Max Stuart.


Craig Lahiff


Louis Nowra (screenwriter)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Carlyle ... David O'Sullivan
Charles Dance ... Roderic Chamberlain
Kerry Fox ... Helen Devaney
Colin Friels ... Father Tom Dixon
Ben Mendelsohn ... Rupert Murdoch
David Ngoombujarra David Ngoombujarra ... Young Max Stuart
Max Stuart Max Stuart ... Self / Old Max Stuart
Bille Brown Bille Brown ... Thomas Playford
John Gregg John Gregg ... Rohan Rivett
Roy Billing ... Det Sgt Turner
Gary Waddell Gary Waddell ... Constable Jones
Patrick Duggin Patrick Duggin ... Policeman #1
Andrew Martin ... Policeman #2
Frank Gallacher Frank Gallacher ... Justice Reed
Rhys McConnochie ... Justice Abbott


True story that created headline news in 1959. A young aboriginal man Max Stuart, was convicted of murder in the light of questionable evidence presented, of nine year old Mary Hattam near Ceduna, on the south coast of Australia. International News Media Baron, Rupert Murdoch (played by Ben Mendelsohn), then publisher of the Adelaide "News," became the driving force behind securing a re-trial for Stuart. Written by Noel Bailey <uds3@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The conviction of one man will save another See more »




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Did You Know?


Second and final feature film collaboration of writer Louis Nowra and director Craig Lahiff. The pair previously had collaborated on 'Heaven's Burning' (1997) about five years earlier. See more »


Traditional Chant
Performed by Max Stuart
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User Reviews

excellent production values
16 September 2007 | by meredithconnieSee all my reviews

I came across this one accidentally, and I'm very glad that I did. This is very much an attempt to make an historical document - it is along the same lines as rabbit proof fence, instead focusing on the ridiculously prejudiced and stunted legal system that Australia was so proud of during the 'white Australia' policy years. Every branch of police and court were determined to hide each others mistakes and inequalities because it was simply easier to condemn our own mistakes - if it is believed that all black fellas are inherently flawed, even evil, then it is so much easier to not feel guilty about what we did.

That being said, the production values are so high in this film that one never gets the sense that it is preaching or unnecessarily hammering the audience with the all the guilt of the white man in Australia. The story came through sufficiently, and there were fascinating links to all kinds of branches of Australian life - the turn of public opinion against the death penalty, Rupert Murdoch learning the value of politics over helping out the ordinary man, the idea of 'Englishness' in the colonial nation - and best of all, a wonderful interview with the condemned man himself, still alive despite all the odds.

Highly recommended.

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Australia | UK



Release Date:

31 October 2002 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Black & White See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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