The Man From Snowy River Parent Guide
An Australian horse drama that combines a satisfying plot, a clean romance, stunning scenery and a memorable soundtrack in a family friendly package.
Parent Movie Review
Jim Craig (Tom Burlinson) lives on a high country ranch with his father, Henry (Terence Donovan). But when Henry is killed during an attempt to capture a mob of wild horses known as brumbies, Jim is forced down the mountains to find work in the lowlands. He gets a job with Mr. Harrison (Kirk Douglas), a wealthy rancher with his own long-buried connection to the brumbies.
As Jim settles into life on the ranch, he soon crosses paths with Harrison’s daughter, Jessica (Sigrid Thornton), who shares Jim’s passion for horses. At her insistence, the pair secretly begin to break Harrison’s most valuable colt while he and the rest of the ranch hands are away on the annual round up. But when the brumbies race past the ranch, the colt is injured in an accident. Harrison returns and discovers the horse’s injury. Jessica runs away, gets lost in the mountains, and the ghosts of the past can no longer be ignored.
The Man from Snowy River almost singlehandedly put Australian cinema on the world stage, earning $20 million in the US alone, against its $3.5 million estimated production cost. Its runaway popularity was well earned. This beautiful little movie combines stunning cinematography of truly awe-inspiring Australian scenery, a memorable soundtrack, and a satisfying plot in one family-friendly package. While younger children might not be too interested in the story, they will likely enjoy watching the horses. But teens and adults (especially those who love horses) will enjoy this movie and its paucity of negative content makes it a good choice for a date film.
Parents can be happy about the minor negative content in this production. Sexual content is minimal with a bit of flirting, some kissing, and reference to an allegation of infidelity. Profanity is limited to minor curse words and one scatological expression. There is some drinking with dinner amongst the wealthy characters and some drunkenness amongst the ranch hands – which is not portrayed favorably. The biggest issue in the film is violence, with some fist fighting, a scene where a gun is brandished, and some moments of significant peril. But these moments are integral to the plot and the violence is neither gory nor glamorized.
Fortunately, the negative content fades in contrast to the beauty of the film and its positive themes of persistence, loyalty, self-reliance, integrity, and the need to forgive others. These aren’t just messages for the young man from the Snowy River country – they’re good for everyone.Directed by George Miller. Starring Tom Burlinson, Kirk Douglas, Sigrid Thornton. Running time: 102 minutes. Theatrical release November 5, 1982. Updated April 29, 2020
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The Man From Snowy River Parents' Guide
Mr. Harrison lived with some nagging doubts. He also chose to keep secrets from Jessica. How did his fears and lack of honesty interfere with the relationship he shared with his daughter?
Jim was very determined to capture the mob of wild brombies, even though his father and Spur cautioned him against this course of action. What did his stubborn determination cost him? Was he right to keep trying?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
The classic horse stories for kids are Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, National Velvet by Edith Bagnold, and My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara.
C S Lewis also features a strong human-equine bond in The Horse and His Boy. It’s part of his Narnia series but can be read on its own.
If your kids are fascinated by the brumbies, they will likely be entranced by Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague and its story of children and wild ponies.
Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness fantasy quartet features a horse named Moonlight whose personality, loyalty and courage keep her by the side of her human rider. Their relationship begins in the first book, Alanna: The First Adventure.
The most recent home video release of The Man From Snowy River movie is March 5, 2012. Here are some details…
The Man From Snowy River releases to Blu-ray on March 6, 2012.
Related home video titles:
If your family can’t get enough of equine films, check out Black Beauty, Moondance Alexander, or War Horse. If it’s more Australia you want, Quigley Down Under, which sees Tom Selleck face off against a corrupt landowner (played by Alan Rickman) in the Outback.