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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rabbit-Proof Fence

Theatrical poster
Directed by Phillip Noyce
Produced by Phillip Noyce
Christine Olsen
John Winter
Written by Doris Pilkington (book)
Christine Olsen
Starring Everlyn Sampi
Kenneth Branagh
David Gulpilil
Music by Peter Gabriel
Cinematography Christopher Doyle
Editing by Veronika Jenet
John Scott
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release date(s) Australia:
4 February 2002
Running time 94 minutes
Country Australia
Language English
Budget US$6,000,000 (estimated)

Rabbit-Proof Fence is a 2002 Australian drama film based on the book Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington Garimara. It is based on a true story concerning the author's mother, as well as two other mixed-race Aboriginal girls, who ran away from the Moore River Native Settlement, north of Perth, to return to their Aboriginal families, after having been placed there in 1931. The film follows the girls as they trek/walk for nine weeks along 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of the Australian rabbit-proof fence to return to their community at Jigalong, while being tracked by a white authority figure and an Aboriginal tracker.[1]

The soundtrack to the film, called Long Walk Home: Music from the Rabbit-Proof Fence, is by Peter Gabriel. British producer Jeremy Thomas, who has a long connection with Australia, executive-produced the film, selling it internationally through his sales arm, Hanway Films.



Set in Western Australia during the 1930s, the film begins in the remote town of Jigalong where three children, sisters Molly Craig (Everlyn Sampi), 14, and Daisy Kampill (Tianna Sansbury), 8, live with their mother and grandmother, and their cousin Gracie Fields (Laura Monaghan), 10. The town lies along the northern part of Australia's rabbit-proof fence, which runs for several thousand miles.

Thousands of miles away, the "protector" of Western Australian Aborigines, A. O. Neville (Kenneth Branagh), signs an order to relocate the three girls to his re-education camp. The children are referred to by Neville as "half-castes", having one white and one black parent. Neville's reasoning is that the Aboriginal peoples of Australia are a danger to themselves and must be bred out of existence. The children are forcibly taken from Jigalong and taken to the camp at Moore River to the south. Half-castes that are of a certain age live at the camps and are taught to become servants for the whites living in Australia.

Map of the rabbit-proof fence showing the trip from Moore River to Jigalong.

Molly, Gracie, and Daisy decide to walk back home to Jigalong and escape the camp. An Aboriginal tracker, Moodoo (David Gulpilil), is called in to find them. However, the girls are well versed in disguising their tracks. They evade Moodoo several times, receiving aid from strangers in the harsh Australian country they travel. They eventually find the rabbit-proof fence, knowing that they can follow it north to Jigalong. Neville soon figures out their strategy and sends Moodoo and a local constable, Riggs, after them. Though he is an experienced tracker, Moodoo is unable to find them.

Neville spreads word that Gracie's mother is waiting for her in the town of Wiluna and it finds its way to a man who "helps" the girls: He tells Gracie about her mother and that they can get to Wiluna by train, causing her to break off from the group and attempt to catch a train to Wiluna. Molly and Daisy soon walk after her, finding her at a train station. They are not reunited, however, as Riggs appears and Gracie is re-captured. Knowing they are helpless to aid her, Molly and Daisy continue on.

After several more weeks of following the fence, eluding their trackers and trekking through a vast expanse of open desert, the two sisters arrive close to Jigalong, it being implied that their mother and grandmother guided them there through ritual chanting. Though Riggs is waiting there, the town's women have been chanting heavily in the brush, a ritual that Riggs seems frightened of. As he moves through the brush looking for the girls, he encounters Molly's and Daisy's mother and grandmother with their mother brandishing a sharpened stick. Riggs is frightened away and Molly and Daisy find their family.

The epilogue of the film shows recent footage of Molly and Daisy. Molly explains that had Gracie died by then and that she had never got back to Jigalong. Molly also states that she had her own two daughters who were taken from her and how she successfully escaped with one, Annabelle, in much the same manner as in her childhood; she walked the length of the fence back home. But Annabelle, when she was 3 years old, was taken away, much like her mother. Molly never saw her again. In closing, Molly says that she and Daisy "...Will never go back to Moore River. Never."


The film is adapted from the novel, Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington Garimara, the second book of her trilogy documenting her family's stories.[2]


The film stirred debate over the historical accuracy of the claims of the Stolen Generation. Some, like Andrew Bolt,[3][4] criticised the portrayal of Neville in the film, arguing that he was inaccurately represented as paternalistic and racist.[3] Bolt questioned the artistic portrayal in the film of the girls as prisoners in prison garb. He claimed that, in fact, they had been dressed in civilian clothes and tracked by concerned adults fearful for their welfare.[3] He claimed that when Molly Craig, whose journey was being told, saw the film, she stated that it was "not my story". However, she clarified that statement by saying her story still continued into her adult life and was not nicely resolved as the movie's ending made it appear.[5]


Awards and nominations

2001 - Queensland Premier's Literary Awards.[6]: Film Script — the Pacific Film and Television Commission Award (Christine Olsen)[7]
2002 - Australian Film Institute Awards[8]
  • Best Film (Phillip Noyce, Christine Olsen, John Winter)
  • Best Original Music Score (Peter Gabriel)
  • Best Sound (Bronwyn Murphy, Craig Carter, Ricky Edwards, John Penders)
2002 - Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards[9]
  • Best Director (Phillip Noyce)
  • Best Screenplay — Adapted (Christine Olsen)
2002 - Inside Film Awards[10]
2002 - New South Wales Premier's History Awards[11]: shortlisted for the The Premier's Young People's History Prize (Christine Olsen and Phillip Noyce)
2002 (USA) - Aspen Filmfest[12]: Audience Award, Audience Favourite Feature[13] (Phillip Noyce)
2002 (Switzerland) - Castellinaria International Festival of Young Cinema,[14]
2002 (USA) - The 2002 Starz Encore Denver International Film Festival,[15]: People's Choice Award: Best Feature-Length Fiction Film (Phillip Noyce)
2002 (South Africa) - Durban International Film Festival[16]: Audience Award (Phillip Noyce)
2002 (UK) - Edinburgh International Film Festival[17]: Audience Award (Phillip Noyce)
2002 (UK) - Leeds International Film Festival[18]: Audience Award (Phillip Noyce)
2002 (USA) - National Board of Review Awards 2002[19]
2002 (USA) - San Francisco Film Critics Circle[20]
2002 (Spain) - Valladolid International Film Festival[21]: Audience Award: Feature Film (Phillip Noyce)
2003 (UK) - London Critics Circle Film Awards (ALFS)[22]: Director of the Year (Phillip Noyce, also for The Quiet American (2002))
2003 (Brazil) - São Paulo International Film Festival[23]: Audience Award: Best Foreign Film (Phillip Noyce)


2002 (Australia) - Australian Film Institute Nominations[24]
2002 (Australia) - Film Critics Circle of Australia Nominations[9] Australia
2002 (Poland) - Camerimage - 2002 International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography[25]: Golden Frog (Christopher Doyle)
2002 (USA) - Golden Trailer Award Nominations[26]: Golden Trailer: Best Independent
2003 (USA) - Golden Globe Nominations[27]: Golden Globe: Best Original Score — Motion Picture (Peter Gabriel)
2003 (USA) - Motion Picture Sound Editors Nomination[28]: Golden Reel Award: Best Sound Editing in Foreign Features (Juhn Penders, Craig Carter, Steve Burgess, Ricky Edwards, Andrew Plain)
2003 (USA) - Political Film Society Awards[29]
  • Exposé
  • Human Rights
2003 (USA) - Young Artist Awards[30]
  • Best Performance in a Feature Film — Supporting Young Actress (Everlyn Sampi)
  • Best Performance in a Feature Film — Young Actress Age Ten or Under (Tianna Sansbury)


  1. ^ "Rabbit-Proof Fence Title Details". National Film and Sound Archive.;adv=yes;group=;groupequals=;holdingType=;page=0;parentid=;query=Number%3A507777%20Media%3A%22FILM%22;querytype=;rec=0;resCount=10. Retrieved 28 July 2007. 
  2. ^ Brewster, Anne (2007). ""The Stolen Generations: Rites of Passage: Doris Pilkington interviewed by Anne Brewster (22 January 2005)". The Journal of Commonwealth Literature 42 (1): 143–159. doi:10.1177/0021989407075735. 
  3. ^ a b c "Rabbit-proof myths". Retrieved 28 July 2007. 
  4. ^ "Australian Journalist Questions ‘Stolen Generation’, by Ian S. McIntosh". European Network for Indigenous Australian Rights. Retrieved 26 July 2007. 
  5. ^ "film commentary by director Phillip Noyce". 
  6. ^ "Premier's Literary Awards website". 29 June 2007. 
  7. ^ "Queensland Premier's Literary Awards". 26 June, June. 
  8. ^ "Australian Film Institute website". 29 June 2007. 
  9. ^ a b "Film Critics Circle of Australia website". 29 June 2007. 
  10. ^ "Lexus Inside Film Awards website". 29 June 2007. 
  11. ^ "NSW Premier's History Awards 2002". NSW Ministry for the Arts. Retrieved 17 July 2007. 
  12. ^ "Aspen Film website". 28 June 2007. 
  13. ^ "2002 Aspen Film Awards". 29 June 2007. 
  14. ^ "Castellinaria International Festival of Young Cinema". 29 June 2007. 
  15. ^ "Denver International Film website". 29 June 2007. 
  16. ^ "Durban International Film Festival website". 29 June 2007. 
  17. ^ "Edinburg International Film Festival website". 29 June 2007. 
  18. ^ "Leeds International Film Festival website". 29 June 2007. 
  19. ^ "The National Board of Review, USA website". 29 June 2007. 
  20. ^ "San Francisco Film Critics Circle website". 29 June 2007. 
  21. ^ "Valladolid International Film Festival website". 29 June 2007. 
  22. ^ "The Critics Circle". 29 June 2007. 
  23. ^ "São Paulo International Film Festival website". 29 June 2007. 
  24. ^ "Australian Film Institute website". 29 June 2007. 
  25. ^ "Camerimage website". 29 June 2007. 
  26. ^ "Golden Trailer Awards website". 29 June 2007. 
  27. ^ "Golden Globe Awards website". 29 June 2007. 
  28. ^ "Motion Picture Sound Editor website". 29 June 2007. 
  29. ^ "Political Film Society website". 29 June 2007. 
  30. ^ "Young Artists Award website". 29 June 2007. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Rabbit-Proof Fence is a 2002 Australian drama film based on the book Follow The Rabbit Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington Garimara. It concerns three mixed-race Aboriginal girls, who run away from the Moore River Native Settlement, north of Perth, in which they were placed in 1931, in order to return to their Aboriginal families. The film follows the girls as they trek for nine weeks along 1,500 miles (2414km) of the Australian rabbit-proof fence to return to their community at Jigalong while being tracked by a white authority figure and a black tracker.

Directed by Phillip Noyce. Written by Doris Pilkington (book) and Christine Olsen.
Follow Your Heart, Follow The Fence (taglines)


Molly Craig

  • This is a true story - story of my sister Daisy, my cousin Gracie and me when we were little. Our people, the Jigalong mob, we were desert people then, walking all over our land. My mum told me about how the white people came to our country. They made a storehouse here at Jigalong - brought clothes and other things - flour, tobacco, tea. Gave them to us on ration day. We came there, made a camp nearby. They were building a long fence.


  • This girl is clever. She wants to go home.

A.O. Neville

  • If only they would understand what we are trying to do for them.
  • I'm authorising their removal.
  • The continuing infiltration of white blood finally stamps out the black color.

Constable Riggs

  • It's the law, Maude. Got no say in it.

Miss Jessop

  • This is your new home. We don't use that jabber here. You speak English.
    • In response to Gracie conversing in her native language.


  • If you were kidnapped by the government, would you walk the 1500 miles back home?
  • When the government kidnaps your children, you don't expect to see them again.
  • If the government tore you away from your family, would you walk the 1500 miles back home?
  • 1500 Miles Is A Long Way Home
  • Follow Your Heart, Follow The Fence
  • The True Story of a Family That Defied a Nation.
  • A daring escape. An epic journey. The true story of 3 girls who walked 1500 miles to find their way home.
  • Based on a True Story
  • What if the government kidnapped your daughter?


See also

External links

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