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Ten Canoes (2006)

1:59 | Trailer
In Australia's Northern Territory, a man tells us a story of his people and his land. It's about an older man, Minygululu, who has three wives and realizes that his younger brother Dayindi may try to steal away the youngest wife.


Rolf de Heer
17 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Crusoe Kurddal Crusoe Kurddal ... Ridjimiraril
Jamie Gulpilil Jamie Gulpilil ... Dayindi / Yeeralparil (as Jamie Dayindi Gulpilil Dalaithngu)
Richard Birrinbirrin Richard Birrinbirrin ... Birrinbirrin
Peter Minygululu Peter Minygululu ... Minygululu
Frances Djulibing Frances Djulibing ... Nowalingu
David Gulpilil ... The Storyteller (as David Gulpilil Ridjimiraril Dalaithngu)
Sonia Djarrabalminym Sonia Djarrabalminym ... Banalandju
Cassandra Malangarri Baker Cassandra Malangarri Baker ... Munandjarra
Philip Gudthaykudthay Philip Gudthaykudthay ... The Sorcerer
Peter Djigirr Peter Djigirr ... Canoeist / The Victim / Warrior
Michael Dawu Michael Dawu ... Canoeist / The Stranger
Bobby Bunungurr Bobby Bunungurr ... Canoeist / Uncle
Johnny Buniyira Johnny Buniyira ... Canoeist / Warrior
Billy Black Billy Black ... Canoeist / Warrior
Steven Wilinydjanu Maliburr Steven Wilinydjanu Maliburr ... Canoeist / Warrior


A story within a story. In Australia's Northern Territory, a man tells us one of the stories of his people and his land. It's a story of an older man, Minygululu, who has three wives and realizes that his younger brother Dayindi may try to steal away the youngest wife. So, over a few days and several trips to hunt and gather, Minygululu tells Dayindi a story set in the time of their ancestors when a stranger came to the village and disrupted the lives of a serious man named Ridjimiraril, his three wives, and his younger brother Yeeralparil who had no wife and liked to visit his youngest sister-in-law. Through stories, can values be taught and balance achieved? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Ten canoes, three wives, one hundred and fifty spears...trouble See more »


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Official submission of Australia for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 79th Academy Awards in 2007. See more »


The group: [all walking in a line]
Canoeist: Everyone stop!
[all stop and turn]
The Storyteller: That one is Djigirr. Djigirr talk too much, but maybe he heard something.
Canoeist: I refuse to walk at the end. Someone ahead keeps farting.
The group: [laughter] Not me. Not me.
Canoeist: It's you again. You're always so silent. Silent but deadly. Admit it.
Canoeist: Alright, it's me.
Canoeist: You're rotten inside.
Canoeist: I'm rotten inside.
See more »

Alternate Versions

There are currently three versions of the film:
  • (1) the Yolngu languages dialogue version with English subtitles and narration storytelling spoken in English by David Gulpilil;
  • (2) the Yolngu languages dialogue version with English subtitles and narration storytelling spoken in Mandalpingu by David Gulpilil;
  • (3) the Yolngu language only version without any subtitles
See more »


Referenced in An Independent Epic: The Making of 'Twin Rivers' (2009) See more »

User Reviews

Not a Hollywood blockbuster
3 June 2007 | by tastyhotdogsSee all my reviews

Even though it's not your typical "saturday night eating popcorn" movie, we decided this was a movie worth seeing.

"Ten Canoes" weaves two stories together. A young aboriginal man is out hunting goose eggs with nine other men and gets chatting to an elder. The elder corners him as he knows the young fella has his eyes on his youngest wife, and wants to tell him a story from the time of his ancestors that should put him off making a move. In some cultures the young fella might just get a clip around the ear, but in their culture it involves a story taking several days to tell.

May not sound fascinating, but the movie is built around what all good movies should be, an interesting story. I won't spoil it, but the story slowly builds your interest and despite the simple setting, holds your attention.

It's a refreshing movie, which keeps you watching while teaching you about another culture. Well worth seeing, however if you favourite movie is "Fast and the Furious", you may not love it.

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Aboriginal | English

Release Date:

29 June 2006 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Ten Canoes See more »


Box Office


AUD2,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,076, 3 June 2007

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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