Ned Kelly

March 26th, 2004


Ned Kelly

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You can kill a man but not a legend.

Release Year: 2003

Rating: 6.4/10 (13,006 voted)

Critic's Score: 56/100

Director: Gregor Jordan

Stars: Heath Ledger, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush

Writers: Robert Drewe, John Michael McDonagh

Heath Ledger - Ned Kelly
Orlando Bloom - Joseph Byrne
Geoffrey Rush - Superintendent Francis Hare
Naomi Watts - Julia Cook
Joel Edgerton - Aaron Sherritt
Laurence Kinlan - Dan Kelly
Philip Barantini - Steve Hart
Kerry Condon - Kate Kelly
Kris McQuade - Ellen Kelly
Emily Browning - Grace Kelly
Kiri Paramore - Constable Fitzpatrick
Rachel Griffiths - Susan Scott
Geoff Morrell - Robert Scott
Charles 'Bud' Tingwell - Premier Graham Berry
Saskia Burmeister - Jane Jones

Taglines: You can kill a man but not a legend.


Official Website: Official Site |

Release Date: 26 March 2004

Filming Locations: Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

Opening Weekend: £211,643 (UK) (28 September 2003) (213 Screens)

Gross: $6,089,857 (Worldwide) (7 November 2003) (except USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The Sydney Morning Herald suggested that Heath Ledger was made for the role because when he tried on Ned Kelly's original iron armour, it fit perfectly. Heath Ledger was quoted saying, "It was quite eerie actually ... we're the same height and the same body weight. He was skinny 'cause he was starving, I'm skinny 'cause I don't go to the gym."

Anachronisms: Glenrowan Railway Station looks 100 years old with worn timber, faded paint etc. The railway line was built in 1873, so the station would be at most 7 years old.

Aaron Sherritt: Can you keep your voices down ? I've got a visitor.
Joe Byrne: Who?
Aaron Sherritt: Mary Hegarty.
Joe Byrne: Mary Hegarty? Jesus, she may only be thirteen!
Aaron Sherritt: Ah, I'm not superstitious.

User Review

This film is a Quirk. I liked it.

Rating: 9/10

Due to reading bad reviews and being told by friends that they couldn't believe how bad it was, I didn't go and see this film at the cinema. After watching it on DVD, I have to say I regret that now. I'm not saying it is brilliant, but I would venture to say that it is a good movie. I enjoyed it.

People have skulls thicker than Ned's helmet if they go to see a movie like this and expect it to be a documentary. If you read up the actual history behind most movies based on historical figures, there is usually a huge difference between the fact and the fictional portrayal. I don't think Ganghis Kahn has ever once been portrayed even remotely close to historical fact. What kind of man Ned Kelly actually was is a matter of debate, and quite passionate it seems. In spite of the efforts of governments and some historians, Ned Kelly has become a legend. Legends are stories, and stories say as much about those who tell and listen to them as they do about the actual figure himself. Ned Kelly has become such a popular identity because he does represent that aspect of Australian culture that doesn't trust or accept authority. A society in which there is no dissent or challenge to authority is crazier and more dangerous than any bushranger.

So not expecting this to be an accurate recreation of the historical Kelly gang, I actually found it a surprisingly unencumbered and refreshing movie. It was sentimental and romantic, but thankfully not anywhere as cheesy as it could have been; for my fellow Australians, watch 'The Lighthorseman' and you will see what I mean (it is a pity the way that story was treated so poorly). Perhaps the love affair business could have been forsaken for a bit more detail in other areas, such as the shooting of the troopers. Ironically, I actually enjoyed the movie because of that, because it would be those details that most of the focus on Ned's story would dwell. And they are the details of the story that are best discovered by reading the different viewpoints given by the various historians.

This movie was always going to have a hard time, having make a compromise of appealing to a global movie market (to pay the pills) and the legend as it means to Australians; perhaps a little of Ned's spirit is in this movie, because I think it rebelled against people's expectations, and unfortunately missed both targets. Fortunately it made for an enjoyable quirk of a film. For me it was an unexpected kind of movie about Ned, and that is why I liked it. Orlando Bloom's performance did a lot for the movie too - he really added something. I think he would have enjoyed being the monster instead of the pretty elf, for a change.

When you consider some other movies that are far worse than this one, your opinion of this movie should be reconsidered. Send me this on DVD for christmas rather than Croc Dundee or The Man From Snowy River anytime.


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