The Overlanders


Action and adventure

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Time Out says

Ealing's plans to dramatise the Australian contribution to the war effort didn't mature until after hostilities ceased, but the success of this epic reconstruction of a 1942 cattle-drive (virtually a displaced Western, but given an emphatic political context - the drive is occasioned by a 'scorched earth' policy in face of the advancing Japanese threat - at odds with a counterpart like 'Red River') ensured a continuity of antipodean production that lasted until the home studio itself folded in 1959. Watt brought both a documentarist's research and eye to the project, exposing the outback as a viable location and incidentally elevating Rafferty to the status of a national icon.


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Release details

UK release:



91 mins

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3.8 / 5

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Very good documentary-style movie, tough, gritty, individualistic "Western" without getting mock-heroic or overly sentimental. Propaganda? Sure - but it was made in 1944, right?