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Man From Snowy River, an Australian Western Worth Watching

Updated on March 9, 2014

I was a horse crazy girl growing up and not only did I read every horse book available, I watched every horse movie released and I continue to search out a good western or movie featuring horses. I first watched The Man From Snowy River in high school at a friends house, who was also in the same horse 4-H club, the Scantic Valley Riders.

Many of us then practiced the awe-inspiring downhill scene on the surrounding hills while trail riding. No, we didn't gallop down the hill, it was scary enough just leaning back at a walk on the saddle.

Later in life I even bought an Australian outback saddle off eBay just because of the movie. But I didn't have any hills here in Nebraska big enough to practice my down hill technique. But I felt pretty awesome up on my quarter horse as I went trail riding.

Man From Snowy River Themes

This horse movie has a little bit of something for everyone, drama, adventure, horse, and a love story.

  • Drama & Adventure - this western drama pits brother against brother as one is jealous of the other and Jessica, Harrisons daughter is caught in the middle. There are horse chases, danger, redemption, and a story line which will draw in every audience. The chase scene at the end is just how an adventure movie should peak and climax.
  • Cowboy Western- my husband loves a good western, doesn't matter if it's the American West or farther west into the Australian outback. Horses, tack,
  • Amazing Australian Scenery- the movie wasn't actually filmed in the Snowy Mountains of Australia but in the Victorian High Country near Mansfield, but it doesn't matter. The vistas from the tops of the mountains over looking the valleys take my breath away. Riding a horse in the Australian Outback is on my bucket list.
  • Love story- Jessica is not the prim and proper lady her father would like her to be and she is drawn to Jim Craig, just like he is drawn to her spirit. Does Jim ride off into the sunset with Jessica at the end of the movie? I'm not going to spoil it, but it's not what you expect.
  • Horses- the Australian Brumby is the equivalent to the American mustang and these sure footed mountain horses are worth their weight in gold. They can go anywhere and have a heart as big as all outdoors. The amazing down hill scene still makes me turn my head to the side.

The story centers around Jim Craig a young ambitious young man who has grand ideas but must prove himself after his father dies that he is worthy of living in the mountains in the high country of the Australian outback.

Kirk Douglas plays the twin brothers, the rich rancher in the low country and the peg legged gold seeking mountaineer.

Movie Trivia from Man From Snowy River

  • The move was based off a poem written by Banjo Paterson
  • Actor Tom Burlinson (Jim Craig) performed all his own stunts, and had never ridden a horse prior to this movie
  • Matilda is a reference to the song Waltzing Matilda and is heard during the movie
  • The "terrible descent" down the cliff was taken in one shot
  • Craigs Hut can be visited in Clear Hills east of Mount Stirling Victoria (another item on my bucket list)

Scenes and Poem of Man From Snowy River

The movie was based off a very descriptive poem which included Clancy, Harrison and Jessica. What a poem, once you hear it read you will understand how such a magnificent movie could be produced from the words of Banjo Peterson.

The original poem Man From Snowy River read to the the scenes of the movie. I actually love this poem, and the movie actually follows the poem perfectly.

Official Man From Snowy River trailer.

Have You Seen Man From Snowy River? What Did you Think?

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Other Amazing Horse Movies

I have several favorite horse movies which include Seabiscuit, War Horse, Secretariat, The Black Stallion and probably the first horse movie I ever remember watching National Velvet, which was one of my Mothers favorite.

Quigley Down Under
Quigley Down Under

It could be Tom Sellack, Australia, the cowboys, or the shooting, but my husband and I also really like this Quigley Down Under.

The Horse Whisperer
The Horse Whisperer

Robert Redford stars in this tear jerker of a horse movie, The Horse Whisperer.

After the first dramatic scene it does get better and is a movie over coming odds and "getting back on the horse" when you fall lesson.

Black Stallion, The Blu-ray
Black Stallion, The Blu-ray

My all time favorite horse book and movie. The Black Stallion. High on scenery it doesn't need a lot of dialogue to convey the story line of a young boy and a horse that saved his life.


Leave a comment, tell me know what your favorite horse or western movie

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    • profile image

      katiesnow 3 years ago

      I so loved this movie and part of it was filmed in the USA's big sky country!

    • Webinaut profile image

      Webinaut 3 years ago

      I live 10 km outside Mansfield on the banks of Lake Eildon. We have a magnificent view of Mount Buller (the ski resort) and Mount Stirling (where the movies were shot). We can also see the Razorback mountains where the mountaintop rides were filmed.

      It really is breath-taking.

      2 weeks ago I went flyfishing in the upper King river behind Mount Stirling, where Craig's hut is located. We have had a very dry summer, so the river is very low, but still full of rainbow trout.

      The Merrijig pub (called the Hunt Club) has a good collection of memorabilia from the movies. Merrijig is the last village before Mount Stirling.

      Craig's hut has burnt down twice since the movies (and been rebuilt exactly as before). Unfortunately Mount Stirling is in a high bushfire risk area.

      If you ever realise your bucketlist dream, feel free to contact me. I know the area very well and can give you plenty of info.

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      It's really a fun and cute lenses, very happy to see them!

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

      Loved both movies, Man from Snowy River and Return to Snowy River. Big fan of Quigley Down Under also. Anything with Tom Selleck rocks anyway. Great lens.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      Like you, I read every horse book I could get my hands on, and watched every movie featuring horses. I loved this film. It's time to watch it again. Excellent review.

    • profile image

      Anniki 3 years ago

      I live not far from the Snowy Mountains. I used to go riding in the mountains, and still head up there to the Man From Snowy River Bush Festival every year I can. When I'm driving to Melbourne, if I've got the time, I'll go via the mountains instead of the highway.

      It's an amazing part of the country, and this movie really does it justice.

      Have you seen the TV series? It's from the early 90s, I think it's pretty hard to get hold of now. The TV series didn't have any relation to the movies, it's set 25 years after Matt McGregor makes the famous ride. Now he's a successful squatter (landowner) and has a family and kids. It had Guy Pearce and Josh Lucas in it. The show was pretty good for early 90s Australian television, and it was filmed in the area.

      Also, there's a movie called Silver Brumby with a young Russell Crowe, Caroline Goodall and Amiel Daemion from the mid-90s. It's based on a series of books by Elaine Mitchell set among the brumby herds. If you haven't seen it, you definitely should.

    • CampingmanNW profile image

      CampingmanNW 3 years ago

      I don't think this movie ever really received the credit due. Kirk Douglas outdid himself in the dual role. A very underrated movie but well worth watching. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 3 years ago

      I can't believe I missed this Kirk Douglas movie! Thank you so much for including the reading of the poem by Banjo Peterson, that's another great selling point for me for this Western.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 3 years ago

      I have heard so many good things about this movie. I really need to see it.

    • MelanieKaren profile image

      Melanie Wilcox 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Well, isn't this a treat to see! :D I love this movie, and I also did a review of it quite a few months ago. I'm thrilled to see another one here. I've always wished this film got more attention. I've looked at endless lists of favorite horse movies and have always been shocked when this film isn't included. You know, it's that "descent" scene. -over and over and over again I have watched that. It is the most amazing horse and ride ever. The first time I saw it I literally flew up out of my chair (with the rest of my family.) -although, the story line and Douglas' acting are awesome too! a great review by you :)