Rabbit-Proof Fence

2002 | Drama | 93 minutes | Walmajarri with English subtitles


Taking place in 1931, the film chronicles the loosely biographical experience of three Aboriginal girls, 14-year- old Molly, her 8-year-old sister Daisy, and their 10-year -old cousin Gracie. The three girls, living in Jigalong, Western Australia, are removed from their family    and taken to the Moore River Native Settlement north of Perth. The Moore River Settlement is governed by A.O. Neville, the official Protector of Western Australian Aborigines. The official child removal policy was enacted by the Australian government to forcefully bring mixed-race children into white society and hopefully remove traces of Aboriginal ancestry after three generations. The three girls escape from the Moore River Settlement and start the grueling 1,500-mile trek, along the rabbit-proof fence, back to their home in Jigalong. The white authorities, with the help of Moodoo, an Aboriginal tracker, are in hot pursuit. The film depicts a terrifying part of Australian history not known by many, even in Australia.

Everlyn Sampi (Molly) / Tianna Sansbury (Daisy) / Laura Monaghan (Gracie) / Kenneth Branagh (A.O. Neville) / David Gulpilil (Moodoo)
Why Stream This Film?
Rabbit-Proof Fence stirred enormous controversy in Australia. Many felt  the government was unfairly treated in the film. All they were trying to do was help assimilate the unfortunate Aborigines into white society. But director Noyce and those more compassionate took the position that “there was no greater conflict in Australian history than the conflict between indigenous Australians and white settlers.”
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 87%
  • Metacritic Score: 80
  • Aspen Filmfest: Winner, Audience Favorite Film
  • Australian Film Institute: Winner, Best Film; Best Director (Phillip Noyce); Best Actor in a Supporting Role (David Gulpili); Best Cinematography (Christopher Doyle)
  • National Board of Review: Winner, Best Director (Phillip Noyce)
  • London Critics Circle Film Awards: Winner, Director of the Year (Phillip Noyce)
The three young stars are all aborigenes, untrained actors, and director Phillip Noyce is skilled at the way he evokes their thoughts and feelings. Not since the last shots of SCHINDLER’S LIST have I been so overcome with the realization that real people, in recent historical times, had to undergo such inhumanity.
Roger Ebert


Director Noyce trusts the power of the story to move us. He knows that, like the girls themselves, we’ll find our way along the rabbit-proof fence.
Jay Boyer

Orlando Sentinel

Searing dramatization of a story of remarkable courage, stamina and spirit.
Ann Hornaday

Washington Post

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