A sports writer becomes a single parent in tragic circumstances.


Scott Hicks


Simon Carr (novel), Allan Cubitt (adaptation)
6 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Clive Owen ... Joe Warr
Emma Booth ... Laura
Laura Fraser ... Katy
George MacKay ... Harry
Nicholas McAnulty Nicholas McAnulty ... Artie
Julia Blake ... Barbara
Chris Haywood ... Tom
Erik Thomson ... Digby
Natasha Little ... Flick
Lewis Fitz-Gerald ... Tim Walker
Nakia Pires Nakia Pires ... Lucy
Emma Lung ... Mia
Steven Robertson ... School Housemaster
Georgina Naidu ... Paula
Daniel Carter Daniel Carter ... Digby & Paula's Child


The Boys Are Back is a confessional tale of fatherhood. It follows a witty, wisecracking, action-oriented sportswriter who, in the wake of his wife's death, finds himself in a sudden, stultifying state of single parenthood. Joe Warr throws himself into the only child-rearing philosophy he thinks has a shot at bringing joy back into their lives: "just says yes." Raising two boys - a curious six year-old and a rebel teen from a previous marriage -- in a household devoid of feminine influence, and with a lack of rules, life becomes exuberant, instinctual, reckless... and on the constant verge of disaster. The three multi-generational boys of the Warr household, father and sons alike, must each find their own way, however tenuous, to grow up. Written by Miramax

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Growing up can be the adventure of a lifetime. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual language and thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Of developing the movie's screenplay, director Scott Hicks said of collaborating with star Clive Owen: "I spent longer with Clive going through this script than any other actor I've ever worked with. His attention to detail is painstaking." See more »


[first lines]
Joe Warr: [narrating] I don't know whether you've ever seen a map of a person's mind. Doctors sometimes draw maps of other parts of you, and your own map can become intensely interesting. But catch them trying to draw a map of a child's mind, which is not only confused, but keeps going round all the time. There is zig-zag lines on it, just like your temperature on a card. And these are probably roads in the island, for the Neverland is always, more or less, an island.
See more »


Featured in At the Movies: Episode #24.4 (2009) See more »


The Fix
Written by Guy Garvey, Craig Potter, Mark Potter, Pete Turner, Richard Jupp, Richard Hawley (Salvation Music/Unviersal Music Publishing MGB/Warner/Chappell Music Australia)
Performed by Elbow
Under exclusive license from Polydor (UK)
Licensed courtesy of Universal Music Australia
See more »

User Reviews

A nice Drama that keeps it real !
18 January 2010 | by OliverGbyrneSee all my reviews

Nice film that unfortunately didn't get the chance to perform well at the box office because of an incredible lack of marketing. The film has three connected storyline.You have Joe Warr (Clive Owen) a father who his coping with adjusting his carefree lifestyle for the need of his sons after loosing his wife from Cancer,you then have his son Artie Warr (Nicholas McAnulty) a little boy who don't know how to handle the loss of his mother. Then,you have the 14 year old son,Harry Warr (George MacKay) from a previous marriage who always felt left out by his father and never built up the courage to tell him and the fact that his mother is now pregnant with a new child from another man increase the boy's feeling of being on his own.The father and his two sons learn from each other throughout the film and the father start to built a relationship with his children but the film is not Soppy or cheesy,somehow it find a way to tell this sort of story without going over the top,to make it short this is not a lifetime movie of the week , it's a strong drama with subtle,quiet but very thoughtful performance. Clive Owen gives one of his best performance as a father who doesn't quite know how to handle his newly found responsibility,he gives a very strong yet vulnerable performance. Nicholas McAnulty,the youngest of the cast gives a great performance for such a young actor,he plays a boy who is overwhelmed from keeping his grief locked inside with incredible maturity. But in my opinion the most interesting storyline came from Joe's estranged British son,Harry, played by the very talented George MacKay.The relationship between Harry and his father was very interesting because they truly felt like a father and son who knew nothing about each other and some of the most intense scene came from the two trying to get a feel for each other.One scene that stick in my mind was when a frustrated Joe asked Harry to take the garbage out and after Harry insist that he will do it but later , Joe get angry with Harry who immediately realize that he had upset his father.It's an awkward moment between a father and a son who were never long enough with each other to have that sort of fight before and it ends up with Harry crying and his father running away from having to deal with his oldest son's problem , knowing quite well that the problem was in fact himself.It's theses bravely performed moment that makes this film a pleasure to watch. The only minor problems I have with the film is that some elements that are introduced are not used to the best of their capacity.The relationship between Joe and his Mother in Law is interesting but underused and you feel that much more could have been done with it,the same goes for the relationship between Joe and the mother of one of his youngest son's friend (Emma Booth). Overall this film had a very good Cast and interesting characters and as a Drama it's superior to a lot of films that comes out at the moment. Very recommended. 7.5 out of 10.

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Official Sites:

Hanway Films | Kojo | See more »


Australia | UK



Release Date:

12 November 2009 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

The Boys Are Back See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$49,342, 27 September 2009

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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