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The Thorn Birds 2 - The Missing Years


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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Chamberlain, Amanda Donohoe, Paul Bertram, Julia Blake, Olivia Burnette
  • Directors: Kevin James Dobson
  • Writers: David Stevens, Colleen McCullough
  • Producers: Darryl Sheen, David L. Wolper, David Stevens, Jeffrey M. Hayes, Mark Wolper
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 7, 2005
  • Run Time: 178 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007XG2PW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,969 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Thorn Birds 2 - The Missing Years" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

What happened to Father Ralph de Bricassart and Meggie Cleary O'Neill during the mystery years not covered in the original 1983 smash-hit miniseries? Now every fan can be in the know. "The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years" provides the spellbinding answer. The time is World War II. De Bricassart heroically rescues refugees in Rome, then is sent by the Vatican to the sprawling Australian sheep ranch he though he had left behind forever. There, a fateful reunion with Meggie leads to new temptations and a profound crisis: Meggie may lose custody of the beloved son concieved during the season of forbidden love she shared years earlier with de Bricassart.

Amazon.com

The phenomenally popular The Thorn Birds was one of TV's hardest acts to follow, so it's a surprise that The Missing Years turned out as well as it did. Produced 13 years after the original 1983 miniseries, this is not a sequel but an "in-betweener," filling part of the 19-year gap in The Thorn Birds and beginning in war-torn Rome in 1942, where Father Ralph de Bricassart (Richard Chamberlain) is struggling to rescue Italian refugees after the latest wave of bombing. He is sent back to Australia to investigate the potential for refugee relocation there, and is reunited with his former lover Meggie Cleary (now played by Amanda Donohoe, replacing Rachel Ward), whose beloved farm Drogheda is in the grip of a two-year drought. Their still-powerful love must remain unspoken, however, because Meggie has reconciled with her estranged husband Luke (Simon Westaway, assuming Bryan Brown's role), and is about to be engaged in a heated custody battle for her son Dane, whose father is actually (and secretly) Father Ralph.

These family secrets, and the turbulent emotions of Meggie's teenaged daughter Justine, create enough familial tension to fill The Missing Years with the kind of ripe, involving melodrama that fueled the original miniseries. Accepted on its own merits, this is a respectable, above-average TV production, bolstered by the fine performances of Chamberlian and especially Donohoe, who intelligently plays Meggie with warmth, inner torment, and plucky tenacity, making the role fully her own. The sweeping wall-to-wall score is excessively manipulative in its attempt to elevate The Missing Years to Gone with the Wind proportions, and some viewers may question the integrity of a plot (bearing no relation to Colleen McCullough's bestselling novel) that forces a noble priest to solve his dilemma with a vengeful fistfight. Still, this is an eminently watchable TV romance that can stand on its own, without the long shadow of its much-beloved predecessor. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Richard Chamberlain was brilliant as usual, but Amanda Donahue as Meggie is not Thorn Birds.
junno
It's COMPLETELY inconsistent with both the original miniseries and the same time period in the book, and at glaring times too.
C. Mckenzie
I'm not going to get verbose like some, I'll just say that this should have never been done.
J. Harsanyi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

311 of 319 people found the following review helpful By Lauren H. Lavine on December 25, 2006
Format: DVD
The Missing years should have remained MISSING. The one part that really bothers me in the original, at the time of Dane's death Meggie says to Ralph, "Do you think I could ever go back to Luke or any other man after you." The meaning of course being that he should have known Dane was his. The missing years completely blows the whole meaning of the line, along with it the premise of the show. The acting was good, and all in all well done except for Julia Blake who played Fee Cleary. I don't think she did justice to the character created by Jean Simmons whose presence was sorely missed. Amanda Donohoe did a great job. She's a fine actor. Richard Chamberlain was his usual charming and talented actor he has always been. Simon Westaway, who played Luke, did a fine job as well. The story itself was lacking all the way around. The only decent part was when they made love. Yet, another inconsistency. When he goes back to her years later, Meggie says, and I paraphrase "It's not been that long just 20 years since I've seen you." There are just all sorts of inconsistencys through out the whole movie. Henry Mancini's music was also missed. All in all a BAD picture. I would have given this film a 1/2 a star or zero had they been available choices. If you liked or even loved the original you'll be greatly disappointed. Spend your money for the real deal and just imagine what might have been, instead of this very poor attempt to recapture the EXCELLENCE of the first one. Believe me anything you think up and will be far better than this movie. I'll say it again; except for Julia Blake who played the Fee character the acting was very good, including Olivia Burnette who played Justine O'Neill, another fine actor. DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME AND MONEY!
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Eric Pregosin on January 26, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
I can sympathize with TV producers who wish to make "prequels" or "sequels" to Mini Series but not "in betweeners". In this film Ralph de Bricassart (played again by Richard Chamberlain) comes back to visit Meggie (now played by Amanda Donohoe) while Justine and Dane are growing up (something that never happened in the novel). She also gets a visit from Luke (who also never resurfaces in the book except in a letter) years after she told him off. Meggie and Ralph are as distant as they were before Matlock Island in it, making the first "19 years later scenes" irrelevant (even before Ralph helps Dane tell Meggie he wants to enter the priesthood). There is also a place where Justine discusses Ralph with Dane though they don't see him, and Justine hints that Meggie must have fancied him, and the like which again ruins the book text/sciptwriting from the forementioned "19 years later segment". Since the original series is hitting DVD next week, and they decided not to include this (being the DVD is gonna sell a lot less expensive than the VHS copy), you are much better off buying it (the DVD of the original that is). If you really wanna know what happened in the time between Dane's birth on Drogheda, and the "19 years later" segment that comes next in the Original, then read the book, there is more story there, none of which is covered by this very "brief" miniseries. If THIS in betweener ever hits DVD, I will debate ALL Pros and Cons before buying it.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Kim Danbert on January 27, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This sequel departs from cannon of the original story so, one wonders if the creators actually viewed the original mini-series.
It was a shame to see Colleen McCullough's carefully detailed characters (some of them) bent to suit the plot of this contrived piece of work.
Oddly, Feonna Cleary (an a-vowed atheist in the original mini-series) has suddenly found faith and speaks about "God's greatests blessings" a multitude of times through out the film. To-wit, also, after years of running Drogheda, she is relagated in this sequel to knitting and a "cheery attitude".
Amanda Donahoe does a reasonable job of potraying Megan Cleary-O'Neil. Richard Chamberlain seems to work very hard at keeping the characterization of Fr. (now Arch Bishop) Ralph D'Brickesar authentic.
A portion of the original mini-series is totally ignored in respect to the character of Luke O'Neil (in respect to Meagan's ending her relationship with him) And Lastly, this is really the nineties (well now the millinium) Does anyone really sigh with relief when Luke O'Neil arrives on the scene because (as "Fee" puts it) "We need a man around the place"?
I say rent or own the original and leave the missing years missing in action!
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 11, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This is a distorted expansion of the Thorn Birds miniseries. Richard Chamberlain did bring back memories of the original movie, but the woman was different! She was just not Meggie. The new woman was lovely and did a good job, but Ralph is not the same without the original Meggie. It feels like he's cheating on her.
Fee has turned into a sort of stereotypic grandmother figure, very preachy and nosy and chatty, very concerned with people having children, since life is meaningless without them according to her... who IS this woman?
Meggie goes back to Luke, totally negating one of the most powerful lines in the original miniseries: "You didn't love me enough to see that I could NEVER go back to Luke or any other man after you!" The sense of tragic, undying love and passion between Ralph and Meggie isn't present in this movie as it was in the first. Surprisingly, though, it's more satisfying in a way than the original because the one thing that you're dying to hear actually gets spoken.
In spite of the inaccuracies, I did watch both parts of it. I love the story so much that even this mangled rendition of it was worth seeing one time.
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