Storm Boy

Synopsis

Storm Boy tells the story of a 10-year-old boy, called Mick by his father Tom, and Storm Boy by the Aboriginal loner Fingerbone he befriends. This boy is growing up in an isolated corrugated iron shed next to a wildlife sanctuary. He lives with his father, who supports them by fishing alone. He is not attending school; he is illiterate and ignorant.

Mick’s father resents any intrusion of their secluded life, be it a washed-up radio or a mob of idiot bird shooters who kill a number of birds before they are scared off by Fingerbone.

Amongst the dead are some pelicans whose chicks are still in the nest. The boy brings them home to care for. His father isn’t keen, but permits it. Three pelicans become a lot to feed when they reach maturity, so his father insists on releasing them. Two are never seen again, but one, Mr Percival, keeps coming back.

Another intruder is the new primary school teacher, brought by the park ranger. She is concerned about the boy’s education, and pushes hard for him to be sent to school, or at least to do schoolwork by correspondence. She means well, but she is resented by the father - he doesn’t want anything to change in their reclusive life.

This is such a classic. I saw it first as a child and then the other night as an adult and I just thought it was magnificent. The way the Aboriginal is portrayed remains modern even after a few decades. It is brilliant stuff.

Thanks to Erin Morris for pointing me to this movie.

Details

Cast
Greg Rowe - Mick (son)
Peter Cummings - Tom (father)
David Gulpilil - Aboriginal loner Fingerbone Bill
Judy Dick - Primary school teacher Miss Walker
Tony Allison - Park ranger
Michael Moody - Boatmaster
Graham Dow - Edwards
Eric Mack - Jones
Frank Foster-Brown - Lynch
Michael Caulfield - Hunter
Paul Smith - Hunter
Hedley Cullen - Marina Manager
Release dates
18 November 1976 - Australia (Fair Lady Theatre)
1977 - outside Australia
Video/DVD release date
1991 (video), 2001 (DVD)
Awards
Golden Tripod, ACS Awards 1977 (Best Cinematography, feature film)
MILLI Award, Best Overall Cinematography
2 awards, Moscow Children's Film Festival 1977
3 awards Tehran Children's Film Festival 1977
2 awards for Films portraying living creatures, and protection of animals
2 Australian Film Institute Awards 1977
Best Film, AFI Awards 1977
Jury Prize, AFI Awards 1977
Rating
G - general
Distributor
Southern Star
Soundtrack
Michael Carlos
Notes

Storm Boy is based on a book by Colin Thiele, published in 1963. Colin died of heart complications on September 4, 2006 in Queensland.

The film cost only A$260,000 to produce.

Storm Boy is one of the first Australian films to be distributed in Japan.

Storm Boy is a movie for children and families and since its release has been widely used in English classrooms around Australia.

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