Ned Kelly (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes

Ned Kelly (2003)



Critic Consensus: More depth about the legendary outlaw would be welcome, but as it is, Ned Kelly is a reasonably entertaining Western.

Movie Info

In the latter part of the 19th century, Australia is still largely untamed. The former penal colony's first-generation Irish immigrant population lives in poverty. Having already experienced police brutality and the death of his father, bushranger Ned Kelly is wrongfully imprisoned on the trumped-up charge of stealing a horse. Emerging a few years later, in 1874, Ned is hardened but vows to stay straight. Rejoining his widowed mother and younger siblings, he makes money for his family as a champion bare-knuckle boxer. He also toils as a farmhand on the estate of an English landowner--with whose beautiful wife Ned shares a mutual attraction. But the British colonial system and its Victorian English enforcers remain prejudiced against Australia's working people, and the struggling Kelly family is no exception. When, in 1878, a bullying police officer is rebuffed by Ned's younger sister Kate and targets the family for harassment, Ned and his mother are unjustly charged with attempted murder. Ned is determined to avenge his family's name and strike back against his people's oppressors. While hiding in the bush, he forms a loyal Gang that includes his best friend Joe Byrne. When a chance encounter with the police culminates in three officers killed, the Kelly Gang is forced to go on the run. They blaze a trail through the Outback, robbing banks to fund themselves and giving police the runaround. The Kelly Gang's reputation as invincible outlaws grows, as does nationwide support from their immigrant countrymen. To the masses, Ned is a hero. To lawmen, he is the most wanted man in Australia. When the authorities bring in the formidable Superintendent Francis Hare to capture and/or kill the outlaws, Ned strategizes a risky showdown at the Glenrowan Inn. It is this event which will seal his fate--and his legend.more
Rating: R (for violence and brief nudity)
Genre: Western, Drama, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: John Michael McDonagh, John Michael McDonaugh
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 27, 2004
Focus Features - Official Site


Heath Ledger
as Ned Kelly
Orlando Bloom
as Joe Byrne
Geoffrey Rush
as Francis Hare
Naomi Watts
as Julia Cook
Laurence Kinlan
as Dan Kelly
Philip Barantini
as Steve Hart
Joel Edgerton
as Aaron Sherritt
Kiri Paramore
as Fitzpatrick
Kerry Condon
as Kate Kelly
Kris McQuade
as Ellen Kelly
Emily Browning
as Grace Kelly
Rachel Griffiths
as Mrs. Scott
Geoff Morrell
as Mr. Scott
Peter Phelps
as Lonigan
Russell Dykstra
as Wild Wright
Nick Farnell
as Tom Lloyd
Gilbert Russell
as Constable Hall
Molly McCaffrey
as Fanny Shaw
Tim Wright
as McIntyre
Nicholas Bell
as Richard Cook
Jonathan Hardy
as The Great Orlando
Karen Davitt
as Anne Jones
Declan Simpson
as Johnny Jones
Andrew S. Gilbert
as Stanistreet
Jerome Ehlers
as Sherritt Trooper
Robert Taylor
as Sherritt Trooper
Warwick Sadler
as Sherritt Trooper
Morgan Evans
as Sherritt Trooper
Warwick Yuen
as Chinese Miner
John Muirhead
as Reverend Gribble
Bernard Fanning
as Irish Singer
Sharlene Yeh
as Laundry Girl
Damian Walshe-Howlin...
as Glenrowan Policeman
John Davidson
as Glenrowan Policeman
Peter Forster
as Glenrowan Policeman
Christopher Birt
as Glenrowan Policeman
Peter O'Shea
as Reardon
Nick Bourke
as Martin Cherry
Brian Wray
as Bracken
Thea Gumbert
as Mary Hegarty
Gregan O'Leary
as Edward Rogers
Cody O'Prey
as Young Ned
Tasman Vaughn
as Richard Shelton
Greg Saunders
as Mr. Shelton
Victoria Eagger
as Mrs. Shelton
Jessica Hall
as Girl on Aaron's Knee
Sarah Pass
as Older Barmaid
Monty Maizels
as Old Man in Greta
Alexander Ramsey
as James Cook
Samuel Shepherd
as Matthew Cook
Dan Bourke
as Imperial Hotel Music...
Anthony O'Neill
as Imperial Hotel Music...
Paddy O'Neill
as Imperial Hotel Music...
Steve Simmonds
as Imperial Hotel Music...
Edward Carisbrooke
as Young Cook Stablehan...
Erika Felton
as Toddler Ellen Kelly
Frank McGree
as Greta Policeman
Talia Zucker
as Sarah Wicks
Jom Howes
as Glenrowan Train Doct...
Michael Williams
as Glenrowan Train Poli...
Geoff Wallis
as Glenrowan Train Poli...
Lucy Christopher
as Jerilderie Young Wom...
Thomas Blackburne
as Jerilderie Boy
Jim Russell
as Jerilderie Man
Mandy McElhinney
as Jerilderie Woman
Jack Mancoor
as Mandolin Player
John Bedggode
as Fiddle Player
Peter Flood
as Paying Farmer
Guy Charnock
as Child No.1
Madeleine Jay
as Child No.2
Matt Molony
as Spitting Farmer
Ashley Gosam
as Aboriginal Tracker
Jida Gulpilil
as Aboriginal Tracker
Colin Aitken-Glass
as Aboriginal Tracker
Harold Lawrence
as Handcuffed Farmer
Mitchell Pickering
as Handcuffed Son
John Bolger
as Glenrowan Train Prie...
James Re
as Policeman
Mark Blackmore
as Newspaper Vendor
David Millar
as Prison Warden
Neil Jenkin
as Prison Warden
Eileen Dibbs
as Jerilderie Hostage
Timothy Gingell
as Jerilderie Townspers...
Judith Lee
as Ramsacked Family Mem...
Anthony Namor
as Glenrowan Policeman ...
Robert David Sanders
as Police Foot Trooper
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Ned Kelly

Critic Reviews for Ned Kelly

All Critics (62) | Top Critics (17)

Ultimately, Jordan's vision is so murky that Ned Kelly remains as foreign to us as wombat stew.

Full Review… | May 14, 2004
Boston Globe
Top Critic

If Ned Kelly is supposed to be an anti-hero to root for, his speeches border on parody and his cause is really unclear.

Full Review… | March 29, 2004
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

Offers a couple of well-filmed showdowns and lots of pretty landscapes, but you need more than scenic views and stylish action to chronicle a life, especially one as controversial as Kelly's.

Full Review… | March 26, 2004
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

A leaden retelling of the legend of Australia's Jesse James that has understandably been sitting on the shelf for a couple of years.

March 26, 2004
New York Post
Top Critic

A handsome, action-packed biographical drama with a credibility gap wider than the screen.

Full Review… | March 26, 2004
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Ledger, talking into his chest for much of the film in an apparent effort to lend gravity to his performance, is pretty stiff, but so is Jordan's direction.

Full Review… | March 26, 2004
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Ned Kelly

Well that was lovely and depressing now, wasn't it? And a bit of a spoiler, but that is the second time I have had to watch Orlando Bloom die on screen. It doesn't get any easier. Speaking of, I liked him in this role! Less stiff and form, a bit cuter and jokey than oh... all of his other roles? I also wished Geoffrey Rush's part was a bit bigger, but such is life. I liked it for what it was, but I was overwhelmingly captivated by it all. I watched it for pretty faces and I kinda got that.

Jennifer D

Super Reviewer

This outback-set western is based on the life of Ned Kelly, Australia's most celebrated outlaw who enjoyed a Robin Hood like reputation in the late 19th century. Although a lot of period set, rose-tinted tales of the old west tend to romanticize their heroes, Ned Kelly's reverential treatment of the subject matter goes beyond romanticism and into sheer fantasy. All the lawmen are a bunch of corrupt, murdering rapists, save Geoffrey Rush who hardly gets a look in, and Ned Kelly is shown as a totally innocent and noble champion of the people and he and his gang sweep through the land robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, stopping only for some wombat stew and to bed some swooning groupies. The characterisation as a whole is borderline laughable, Heath Ledger having little to do but attach a small shrub to his face and look earnest. It does have some decent photography and a decent shoot out at the climax, but the endless quivering lower lips accompanied by penny whistles that lead there makes it barely worthwhile. Content to rip off the likes of Jesse James and Braveheart rather than present anything approaching a believable portrait of the man, this pseudo-historical claptrap left me rather cold and far worse, rather bored.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer


Story of the impoverished Irish immigrant Kelly family living in Australia in the latter part of the 19th century. Bushranger Ned Kelly(Heath Ledger) is wrongfully accused and imprisoned of stealing a horse, but emerges a few years later with his mother and siblings in which he makes money as a bare-knuckle boxer. After Ned and his mother are unjustly charged with murder, Ned Kelly is determined to avenge his family's name and strike back against his people's oppressors.
Ledger's portrayal of the Jesse James-esque Kelly is quite brilliant as he and his gang become the invincible "outlaws" of the Outback. Ned Kelly becomes a legend/hero, and still is to this day for his valor, and keen insight into justice so often ignored by so called authority figures.

Eric S

Super Reviewer

Ned Kelly Quotes

– Submitted by Glenn F (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Jaime J (3 years ago)

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