The rural grazing life in the Snowy Mountains has hardly changed since Banjo Paterson traveled the high country and wrote his famous "Man from Snowy River" poem. His poetry is an authentic voice of a frontier society in which song and campfire recitation were much appreciated entertainment.
"And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home,
Where the river runs those giant hills between;
I have seen full many horsemen since I first commenced to roam,
But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen."
Andrew Barton Paterson was born in New South Wales and was the son of a Scottish immigrant. Paterson was a poet, journalist, lawyer, jockey, soldier, farmer and one of the best-loved figures of Australian literature. His poem is the basis for this gorgeous movie about the treacherous terrain and bands of wild, stampeding horses. He also wrote Waltzing Matilda, which is lovingly woven into the soundtrack.
The Man from Snowy River Movie tells a more in depth story of a cattle baron Mr. Harrison (Jessica's father) who has had a long quarrel with his brother Spur. Kirk Douglas plays both roles. When one brother finds his fortune, the second goes searching for gold. This is a story based on a time when families tended their sheep and cattle. Ghost towns from the gold rush still haunt the landscape.
Set against the untamed Australian Outback, a love story unfolds between Jessica Harrison ( Sigrid Thornton) and Jim Craig (Tom Burlinson). Jim seems to have a way with horses and Jessica is a bit of a brash filly herself.
She has her own ideas regarding a woman's choices in life and choosing the path she will take in her own career. She defies her father and runs off to find Jim. Her anger towards Jim over a horse riding accident is like a summer storm that quickly disappears once she experiences the excitement of forbidden love.
Her father, Mr. Harrison, has not yet learned that there is a beautiful place inside each person where we are either nurtured or destroyed. He seems emotionally destructive and Jessica rebels because he won't let her follow any of her dreams. He seeks to trap her in his own wishes and thinks she should settle down into a domestic lifestyle.
Jim and Jessica are soul mates with hearts as wild as the horses running free through the snow. While at first they fight their mutual attraction, Jessica seems clearer in her thinking after she almost dies and realizes there are just some things in life worth fighting for.
Equestrian Heaven with an impressive conclusion! You must see this movie once in your life if you love horses. The wide-screen edition is highly recommended!
~The Rebecca Review
I remember seeing this with my girlfriends in the theatre, and then buying my first vcr so I could watch this film everyday. The cinematography is gorgeous. The music is haunting and beautiful. Tom Burlinson and Sigrid Thornton make a great romantic team, and Jack Thompson is wonderful as Clancy. All of the actors fit their roles except for Kirk Douglas. It really shows that a "big name star" had to be used to get this picture made. Kirk Douglas insisted on re-writing many of his lines, and refused to step off his horse with the entire cast at the end of the movie in homage to The Man From Snowy River. The entire end scene had to be re-written. Little wonder that Brian Dennehey was cast in the role in the sequel. Enjoy both the original and the sequel. And be sure to get the soundtracks. Bruce Rowland created two of the best movie scores you will ever hear.
on May 26, 2000
The Man From Snowy River is an all-time favorite movie of mine. Horses! Gorgeous Australian scenery! Men with accents!
But eye candy aside, it's an excellent movie in its own right, with no weak points except, very rarely, instances of mediocre cinematography. Tom Burlinson carries the character of Jim Craig perfectly, Sigrid Thornton is marvelous as Jessica Harrisson, and for years I had absolutely no idea that Harrisson and Spur were both played by Kirk Douglas.
Beautiful scenery, beautiful acting, but both are merely dressing on an equally beautifully story that flows seamlessly from beginning to end.I would praise it more highly if I could, but the highest praise I can think to give the movie is that, while I am watching it, I do not question for a moment that it is real--soundtrack notwithstanding, because the soundtrack is so perfectly suited to the movie, heroic brass and romantic piano and strings.
You don't have to be a horse fanatic to love this movie, even though it is the second-best horse movie of all time, surpassed only by its sequel, Return to Snowy River.
on March 23, 2004
"NEVER CRY WOLF"..."FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX"..."THE ENLGLISH PATIENT"...
...all, cinematic and character delights - as you will find "THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER"...
Technically a "10", this Aussie (and World) classic, may leave you none-the-less breathless. George Miller's direction, Cull Cullen's script (enhanced by John Dixon and David Bradshaw's, "A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson", whose original poem is the essense of the film), Keith Wagstaff's absolutely stunning cinematography and Bruce Rowland's original and heart-tugging music (particularly, the piano solo, "Jessica's Theme") may bring tears to your eyes with this simple, Down-Under western plot -- but it took a world-class editor like Adrian Carr to put this gorgeous film into the top ranks of movie-watchers the globe over. Carr's timing of Wagstaff's photography and Rowland's music is the stuff legends are made of...just, dare I say it, "Professional Grade"(!)
It didn't hurt to have a made-to-order cast. Burlinson is quietly, and wonderfully, cast as the young male hero, "Jim Craig." Kirk Douglas hasn't played a better role - and, as a double. Terence Donovan played the quietly strong, short-lived role as Burlinson's father, "Henry." Sigrid Thornton was exemplary and believable as Tom's love interest, "Jessica" (the woman is beautiful) and the venerable Jack Thompson was magnificent as "Clancy" - the range-wise, "horse-magician" glue that holds the whole film together.
The subtle British humour Americans are so used to is sometimes raucous in the film - more the better from Chris Haywood's
"Curly" (..."Ah'm studyin' to be Supavisa!").
If you can't get an empathetic rise and a teardrop over the cornea through this wonderfully crafted epic, then pop-a-top from a 12 oz. curl of your favorite brew, pull back the handle on your Lazy-Boy and turn on the Wrestling Channel...you dolt.
Filmed in 1982, it's still a true classic 22 years later.
~Bob Shank Jr
Technical Support Engineer
IT UNIX Help Desk
Raytheon Missile Systems Co.
Tucson By-God Arizona (...and, yes, we still have true 'horsemen' here - they just blacksmith Tomahawk missiles in their spare time)
UPDATE to below:
The hopes I expressed for a truly quality blu ray release were alas, not fully realized in the film we just watched. There is a LOT of graininess in this release, to the point where it was annoying to watch with my glasses on. It looked MUCH better when I took my glasses off and softened the image I saw! LOL Many close up and interior scenes look pretty sharp. Unfortunately, the scenic vistas that could have been spetacular are the grainiest shots, and often somewhat faded. I guess they just didn't anticipate a widespread enough market to pay for the work needed to really clean up this film for blu ray.
Still, it is in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, and that is a big improvement over the pan and scan presentations I've seen before.
The sound is not mixed evenly. At times the dialog drops a bit low compared to effects and soundtrack. This is only a problem in a few scenes: for example when the rider is talking to Jim at his father's funeral.
The Dolby 2.0 track is very good 95% of the time. When Jim and his father are using axes early in the movie, you'd swear they were in the room with you, and the echoes sound superb. The soundtrack is outstanding except for a few areas where I noticed a bit of distortion.
However, I agree with the other reviewer in stating that this is the best presentation of this film as a video release. Therefore even tho this picture quality doesn't comapre to some blu rays in resolution and sharpness, I decided after some reflection to not lower my rating. It's an outstanding movie, and quite enjoyable in this presentation.
The good news is that the ending chase is one of the parts of the movie which stands up best, both in visual and soundtrack quality. Since the score of this movie is of the highest quality, and well remembered even 30 years later, that was very important.
The only special feature is an extremely bad copy of a trailer for the film. It has horrible picture quality and just so-so sound.
I normally disapprove of dropping in a review of a title pre-release, but the thrill I got seeing this Blu-ray announcement has caused me to break my own rule in that regard. I'm going to have this coming in day of release, and I'll watch it immediately and update this review to reflect what I find to be true of the Blu ray presentation.
It took me almost 30 years to discover this movie. Once I did it became an instant favorite. The story about the coming of age of a young horseman in Australia is strong. Kirk Douglas does excellent work, as always, in his dual role as brothers who can barely tolerate each other, and haven't seen each other in years. I can only imagine that the scenery should be spectacular. I say that because I've only seen it in pan and scan cable presentations at normal definition. So I've only seen it with the picture cropped and somewhat grainy on a wide screen TV. The music is absolutely top notch.
The climactic scene where young Jim takes off after the Brumbie herd alone is worth the price of the movie all on its own.
I really didn't expect a Blu ray release of this title, and had told my wife that about a year ago. My thought process was that if a 30 year old film such as this hadn't made the list for Blu ray by now, the odds were pretty low that it would snag the attention needed. Boy am I happy I was wrong. Hopefully this transfer to Blu ray has been done with love and skill, for if any film deserves a top notch treatment, The Man From Snowy River is certainly deserving.
I'm looking forward to seeing those gorgeous vistas in 2.35:1 and in HD resolution. I'm looking forward to having that majestic theme music sweep over me in DTS Surround. I'm looking forward to the thundering hooves racing across my den and driving the sub-woofer to make me feel the tremble of their passing.
And I'll be right back here to this review in about a month to let you know if this Blu ray fulfills all those expectations. Count on it.
on January 8, 2000
This is definitely one of the best movies ever made. The music is gorgeous, the stunts are amazing, and the acting is excellent. Tom Burlinson plays the man of the title. Kirk Douglas is great as crusty old Harrison and his brother Spur (he has a dual role). The scene where Jim jumps down the mountain always gives me the chills. It's such an amazing stunt! Being a rider myself, I know that took a wonderful stuntman and a very talented and trusting horse. Definitely a must see if you love pretty music, a good story, amazing scenery, and horses!
on March 6, 2012
This BD release is a MUST-HAVE for fans. Although picture quality is not your typical razor-sharp blu-ray, it's light years better than any previous release. Also I think it's the first time for the 2.35 aspect ratio to be seen.
on June 14, 2002
I knew this 1982 movie from the cinema and VHS, and was hoping the picture and sound on DVD wouldn't disappoint in 2002. I needn't have worried!
The DVD (which contains both widescreen and full screen versions) features a magnificent visual transfer, and a thunderous, sumptuous orchestral soundtrack. The cinematography, especially the helicopter shots of horseback chases and Australia's vast, pristine, alpine scenery, is spectacular. The recreation of pioneering life is very believable, and the dramatic story is very engaging, with comical moments and nothing offensive (why can't they do that these days?). And did I mention that the horses are gorgeous?
It would have been nice to see a feature about the epic poem of the same name by Andrew Barton "Banjo" Patterson, but that is easily found on the Internet.
Enjoy it soon with your children, your grandparents, your spouse ... even your drinking buddies! Great entertainment, great DVD!
on May 28, 2012
I've been a fan of this movie since I first saw it in theaters in the early 1980's. I rented the VHS as soon as it was available, and upgraded to the widescreen laserdisc in the 1990's, and then the DVD. So I've seen this film in all its incarnations! And I have the soundtrack CD too.
So believe me when I say that this film has never looked better. Watching this Blu-ray gave me one of the greatest feelings I can have when watching a favorite movie: the feeling that I'm seeing it again for the first time. So many scenes were filled with details that were new to me. So many shots took my breath away for their clarity.
The grain mentioned in another review is part of the film; meaning that the film itself is "grainy". Having grain isn't a sign of a lack of care or skill in creating the high definition video and Blu-ray, it's a sign that the film is being presented properly. There are things that can be done to process the high definition video to reduce visible grain, but this is not widely acknowledged as an "improvement", and kudos to Fox and everyone else involved for not going this route.
Great movie. Great Blu-ray. Highly recommended!
on January 13, 2013
The Man from Snowy River is one of my all-time favorite movies. It has everything--an interesting story, a beautiful setting, colorful characters and a script where every line sparkles, either deepening the characters or else advancing the plot. Set in rural Australia in the late 1800s, it tells the story of a young mountain man who must go down to the plains in order to make a living. In the process, he makes the transition to full manhood.
The blu-ray transfer is acceptable. On the positive side, the level of detail is good--much sharper than a DVD--which is what you want with a movie that has spectacular cinematography like this one. You can see individual strands of hair and blades of grass. Blacks are deep, and blues stand out. On the negative side, however, there is considerable film grain in lower light shots. And some of the brighter day shots look a bit washed out; they would have benefitted from a bit more color saturation. Nevertheless, this is still a considerable upgrade from the DVD version. If you love this film, you will want this version of it.
Parental Advisory: This film is quite tame by modern standards. There is some mild language, a couple of accidents where people are hurt, and a minor plot element involving suspected adultery. There is also a fist fight, and a couple of kissing scenes. Most parents would find this movie acceptable for their school-aged children.
Unfortunately, this edition contains no special features other than the original trailer.
As mentioned above, The Man from Snowy River is one of my all-time favorite films. It is a must-see, especially in this blu-ray edition. Perhaps one day the studio will digitally remaster and restore it, giving us a pristine verison of the film. Until then, this is as good as it gets.