31 user 18 critic

River Queen (2005)

An intimate story set during the 1860s in which a young Irish woman Sarah and her family find themselves on both sides of the turbulent wars between British and Maori during the British colonization of New Zealand.


Vincent Ward


Vincent Ward (story), Vincent Ward (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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From $6.99 (SD) on Prime Video

3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Samantha Morton ... Sarah O'Brien
Kiefer Sutherland ... Doyle
Cliff Curtis ... Wiremu
Temuera Morrison ... Te Kai Po
Anton Lesser ... Baine
Rawiri Pene ... Boy (as David Rawiri Pene)
Stephen Rea ... Francis
Wi Kuki Kaa Wi Kuki Kaa ... Old Rangi
Mark Ruka Mark Ruka ... Hone
Mikaila Hutchinson Mikaila Hutchinson ... Young Sarah
Tyson Reweti Tyson Reweti ... Tommy Boy
Grayson Putu Grayson Putu ... Young Wiremu
Nathan Passfield Nathan Passfield ... Boy (7 years)
Laura Coyte Douglas Laura Coyte Douglas ... Theresa
Julie Ranginui Julie Ranginui ... Old Puhi


An intimate story set during the 1860s in which a young Irish woman Sarah and her family find themselves on both sides of the turbulent wars between British and Maori during the British colonization of New Zealand.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


With darkness all around, only the heart can see. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

The Official site


New Zealand | UK


English | Maori

Release Date:

26 January 2006 (New Zealand) See more »

Also Known As:

Dois Mundos em Guerra See more »


Box Office


NZD 13,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Vincent Ward went to great lengths to obtain the opening and closing shots of diary pages in water, filming them by himself waist-deep in the River Thames in London during post-production. See more »


In one part of the film where the camera pans along the river, there is a distinct sound of a Kea- these are alpine parrots which do not inhabit the Whanganui region now and most probably didn't then either. See more »

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User Reviews

excellent on many different levels
29 January 2006 | by cadpgmrSee all my reviews

When I saw the two stars that the NZ Herald gave it I was not discouraged because the same critique gave King Kong 5 stars, which was the worst movie I've seen all year! River Queen was a beautiful movie. The depiction of the musket wars of colonial NZ was outstanding. The unique beauty of the NZ scenery was stunning, the music, which seemed to be an amazing mixture of Maori and Irish influence was very moving and added a great deal to the energy of the movie as a whole. The dramatic musical piece that was played just before the battles enhanced the anticipation of it all.

I also have to add that when Boy did the solo I was so mesmerized by his voice that I didn't realize that he was singing an Irish song! I would see the movie again just for that scene alone! I enjoyed watching the characters. I don't think the acting was brilliant, although the boy was superb in the one scene where he's telling his mother off, but the actors themselves were attractive and enjoyable to watch.

I would highly recommend this movie if you enjoy stunning scenery, visual artistic effects with water and color, a good story based on history, and nicely placed and original use of music, or if you enjoy learning the history of a very unique culture that so few people know of.

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