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Wake in Fright

R Now Playing 1h 39m Drama Mystery & Thriller List
97% Tomatometer 59 Reviews 83% Audience Score 2,500+ Ratings
After finishing up the school term in a remote outback town, teacher John Grant (Gary Bond) looks forward to spending his holiday with his girlfriend in Sydney. But John gets waylaid in a mining town where a gambling spree leaves him completely broke. He quickly falls in with the hard-drinking locals, who constantly ply him with alcohol and force him to participate in a gruesome kangaroo hunt. Disgusted, John tries to hitchhike out of town and, when that fails, begins to contemplate suicide. Read More Read Less
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Wake in Fright

What to Know

Critics Consensus

A disquieting classic of Australian cinema, Wake in Fright surveys a landscape both sun-drenched and ruthlessly dark.

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Critics Reviews

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Tom Milne Financial Times [Has some] fine photography of the Australian wilds, but also veers into melodrama. Mar 19, 2020 Full Review Derek Malcolm Guardian [It] will will not please the Australian Tourist Board. It may not even please Australians. But it ranks, along with Nicholas Roeg's Walkabout, as the most impressive piece of special pleading about the country I've seen. Mar 19, 2020 Full Review Margaret Hinxman Daily Telegraph (UK) It's a remarkable film and I'm not at all happy with it. Mar 19, 2020 Full Review Trace Thurman Horror Queers Podcast Reaches a level of anxiety-inducing terror that few other films have achieved. Rated: 3.5/5 May 24, 2022 Full Review Joe Lipsett Horror Queers Podcast Wake in Fright is searing condemnation on masculinity, urban vs rural divides and alcohol abuse that traps its audience in toxic cycles as much as its lead character. The real life animal abuse is unforgivable, though Rated: 4/5 May 18, 2022 Full Review Travis Johnson Blunt Magazine If anything, the film has become more potent, more poignant, even more capable of shocking and disturbing. Jun 29, 2021 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (201) audience reviews
Honest D My favorite Australian film of all time. One of my favorite films PERIOD. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 04/16/24 Full Review Audience Member Absolutely mesmerising. Absolutely exact. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/11/23 Full Review Audience Member Definitely interesting but not for the faint of heart. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/09/23 Full Review William L "What's the matter with him? Rather talk to a woman than drink?" *whispers* "Schoolteacher." It's like Deliverance, but the homosexuality is a bit more consensual. Wake in Fright presents rural living (or more generally, isolated communities) as a convoluted spider's web, drawing in Bond's outsider Grant with incremental pleasantries before exposing him to a more distinctive, often brutal existence that he devolved toward with shocking readiness, a la Heart of Darkness. While ostensibly a thriller, the film is most compelling as a social drama, likening an isolated commune to an anglerfish or similar predator, hanging a light in the darkness of the Australian Outback, weaponzing local pride and what should be considered common courtesy to entice others toward an animalistic lifestyle with a single, seemingly innocuous phrase that become chilling with repetition: "have a drink?" The premise of an inescapable existence is a compelling one, and Wake in Fright creates such a conflict in a wide-open, sprawling desert where the bars are made of human frailty and social pressure. So many animals get shot, maimed, or killed onscreen, you'd think that Kotcheff was using Luis Buñuel as a direct inspiration. (4.5/5) Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 12/12/21 Full Review Audience Member The Australian outback is hot, empty, vast, and deadly Based on the novel by Kenneth Cook this stars Gary Bond next to the late Donald Pleasance Bond plays John Grant, a teacher He's on holiday looking forward to spending it with his girlfriend Upon stopping at a gambling town he's officially broke after losing several rounds As a result he drowns himself in alcohol with the locals John attempts to leave but with no success contemplates taking his own life to ease the burden This movie just wanders aimlessly without any real goal Just a lot of partying and moping Rated 0.5 out of 5 stars 01/22/23 Full Review júlio a Que filme pertubador...ainda mais que certas cenas são reais...ô diaxo......a degradação humana em seu estágio quase máximo.... Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Wake in Fright

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Cast & Crew

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Movie Info

Synopsis After finishing up the school term in a remote outback town, teacher John Grant (Gary Bond) looks forward to spending his holiday with his girlfriend in Sydney. But John gets waylaid in a mining town where a gambling spree leaves him completely broke. He quickly falls in with the hard-drinking locals, who constantly ply him with alcohol and force him to participate in a gruesome kangaroo hunt. Disgusted, John tries to hitchhike out of town and, when that fails, begins to contemplate suicide.
Director
Ted Kotcheff
Producer
George Willoughby
Screenwriter
Evan Jones
Production Co
NLT Productions, Group W Films
Rating
R
Genre
Drama, Mystery & Thriller
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Sep 22, 1971, Limited
Release Date (Streaming)
Mar 11, 2017
Box Office (Gross USA)
$15.5K
Runtime
1h 39m
Sound Mix
Surround
Aspect Ratio
Flat (1.85:1)