Ned Kelly

2003

Ned Kelly

Critics Consensus

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

56%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 57

53%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 41,321
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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.

Cast

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
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-Howling
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 Musician
Anthony O'Neill
as Imperial Hotel Musician
Paddy O'Neill
as Imperial Hotel Musician
Steve Simmonds
as Imperial Hotel Musician
Edward Carisbrooke
as Young Cook Stablehand
Erika Felton
as Toddler Ellen Kelly
Frank McGree
as Greta Policeman
Talia Zucker
as Sarah Wicks
Jom Howes
as Glenrowan Train Doctor
Geoff Wallis
as Glenrowan Train Policeman
Lucy Christopher
as Jerilderie Young Woman
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 Priest
James Re
as Policeman
Mark Blackmore
as Newspaper Vendor
Neil Jenkin
as Prison Warden
Eileen Dibbs
as Jerilderie Hostage
Timothy Gingell
as Jerilderie Townsperson
Judith Lee
as Ramsacked Family Member
Anthony Namor
as Glenrowan Policeman With Umbrella
Robert David Sanders
as Police Foot Trooper
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News & Interviews for Ned Kelly

Critic Reviews for Ned Kelly

All Critics (57) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (25)

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

    May 14, 2004 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • If Ned Kelly is supposed to be an anti-hero to root for, his speeches border on parody and his cause is really unclear.

    Mar 29, 2004
  • 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.

    Mar 26, 2004
  • A leaden retelling of the legend of Australia's Jesse James that has understandably been sitting on the shelf for a couple of years.

    Mar 26, 2004 | Rating: 1/4
  • A handsome, action-packed biographical drama with a credibility gap wider than the screen.

    Mar 26, 2004 | Rating: 2.5/4
  • 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.

    Mar 26, 2004 | Rating: 2.5/4

    John Anderson

    Newsday
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Ned Kelly

  • Oct 30, 2015
    Out of all the film's that have been inspired by the 'legend' that Ned Kelly has become, this particular 2003 interpretation of Australia's most famous Bushranger (or "Wild Colonial Boy", an Outlaw of Colonial Australia) is the most entertaining screen version of the Bushranger's life and exploits that have made him such an icon to Australia alone. I humbly admire every bit of the effort everyone involved put into this film; to bring the story of Ned Kelly to the big screen. I must say the cinematography, production design, costumes and make up are every bit as exceptional as what any other previous Colonial Australia films have portrayed in the past, It really does look like you're stepping back in time. Heath Ledger is certainly one of the finest actors to have ever played the role of Ned Kelly, add to that you've got several more internationally known actors such as Naomi Watts, Geoffrey Rush and Orlando Bloom in very significant memorable roles, not to mention there are some minor roles from now very well known Australian actors such as Joel Edgerton and Emily Browning. Klaus Bedelt's score even gives the film a great sense of poetic Colonial life and gives us just as much of a primary storytelling essence as the actual film itself. Add to that, with such an incredibly poetic and immersive script along with Ledger's performance, this gives us an insight as to what Ned did and why he did what he did. While not one hundred per cent historically accurate, the craftsmanship and character study essence is what really makes this film worth it, and it's easy enough to come to this film with very little to 'no' knowledge about who Ned Kelly is. But in defining everything about the man or legend Ned Kelly has since become (and will remain), then look no further than to seek out this very underrated and magnificently made film purely for your own historical or entertainment fascination.
    Luke E Super Reviewer
  • Jul 20, 2012
    Star studded cast, together retells the great Australian legend: Ned Kelly. A little bit shallow on showing more depth of the legend, it's kinda a neo-western with some elements of epic films. Orlando Bloom proved to be a surprisingly good actor as he plays Joe Byrne. However, the film glorified an outlaw which was slightly depressing, totally improved the reputation of Australians.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Sep 24, 2011
    a bit of a miss in regards to the source material. the legend deserved a better film then this turned out to be. ledger was an interesting choice for the lead but he wasn't supported with any substance
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Apr 08, 2011
    It has a good deal of high points, good production value, a solid score and another great performance from Ledger, as well as from his castmates. However, the predominant dullness, underused narrative, occasional disturbances and lack of depth leave Gregor Jordan's "Ned Kelly" to draw a little sloppily, but still hit its mark to an extent.
    Cameron J Super Reviewer

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