Backroads tells the story of an aimless white drifter, Bill, who has a chance encounter with Aboriginal man Gary. They steal a car, petrol and supplies as they need them.

As they travel they pick up another Aboriginal man on the run from an unsuccessful marriage and the bored white wife of a service station owner. A French backpacker joins them for a short while.

Always on the run from police, boredom and guns turn into a deadly combination.

Backroads is a raw movie packed with powerful political content in the dialogues between Bill and Gary. You learn a lot about Aboriginal culture and white concepts as you travel with the movie's characters.

However, Backroads is sometimes too lengthy. It might go well with the aimlessness of the main characters, but might as well be a result of Backroads being the first feature film of director Phillip Noyce.

An old ad advertising the movie in the Time Out Magazine.
An old ad advertising the movie in the Time Out Magazine.


Gary Foley - Aboriginal man
Bill Hunter - white drifter
Zack Martin
Terry Camilleri
Julie Mcgregor
Essie Coffey
Allan Penney
Release dates
1977 - Australia
Video/DVD release date
25 August 2004
MA 15+ - Mature accompanied
Scala Productions
Robert Murphy

Gary Foley is a prominent Australian Aboriginal activist.

Rabbit Proof Fence is another film by Phillip Noyce.

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Harvard citation

Korff, J 2019, Backroads, <>, retrieved 18 September 2020

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