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Burke & Wills Details


Based on a true story, this film tells the tale of Robert O'Hara Burke (Jack Thompson) and William John Wills (Nigel Havers), who in 1860 set forth to create the first accurate maps of the interior region of the Australian continent. To this end, Irish explorer Burke and British scientist Wills journeyed from the Southern coast of Carpenteria to the North. While they succeeded with the first part of their voyage, on the return trip they and their compatriots fell victim to intense heat and diminishing supplies of food; of the 19 men who began the expedition, only one survived to tell the tale. However, while fate was cruel to Burke and Wills, history was kind, and their story is still taught in every Australian classroom. Graeme Clifford's biopic was praised for its striking visuals and realistic portrayal of Burke and Wills' difficult journey. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

  • Release date:April 24, 1987


Jack Thompson
as Robert O'Hara Burke
Nigel Havers
as William John Wills
Greta Scacchi
as Julia Matthews
Matthew Fargher
as John King
Ralph Cotterill
as Charley Gray
Drew Forsythe
as William Brahe
Chris Haywood
as Tom McDonagh
Monroe Reimers
as Dost Mahomet
Barry Hill
as George Landells
Roderick Williams
as Bill Wright
Hugh Keays-Byrne
as Ambrose Kyte
Arthur Dignam
as Sir William Stawell
Ken Goodlet
as Dr. John Masadam
Edward Hepple
as Ludwig Becker
Peter Collingwood
as Dr. William Wills
Susannah Harker
as Bessie Wills
Martin Redpath
as Mayor of Melbourne


Graeme Clifford
Graeme Clifford
John Sexton
Russell Boyd
Peter Sculthorpe
Composer (Music Score)
Tim Wellburn
Ross Major
Production Designer
George Liddle
Costume Designer