The Last Wave (1977) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Last Wave (1977)

The Last Wave (1977)

The Last Wave




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Last Wave Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Peter Weir follows up on his critically acclaimed masterpiece Picnic at Hanging Rock with this surrealist psychological drama. The film opens with a freak hailstorm in Australia's outback. Cut to David Burton (Richard Chamberlain), a well-to-do Sydney corporate lawyer plagued by visions of impending doom who is assigned to defend five accused of murdering a fellow Aborigine. The case itself proves to be mysterious -- no exact cause of death can be determined by the pathologist, and the accused remain strangely tight-lipped about the whole affair. As his visions grow increasingly weird and intense, Burton sees in his dream one of the five Aborigines, Chris (David Gulpili of Walkabout fame), who is drenched and clutching a sacred rock. Burton's interest in the case slides into complete obsession, and he comes to believe that not only was the murder related to an underground urban tribe of Aborigines but that Australia is about to be decimated by a massive, apocalyptic tidal wave. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovimore
Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Tony Morphett, Petru Popescu
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 13, 2001
Cowboy Pictures


Olivia Hamnett
as Anne Burton
David Gulpilil
as Chris Lee
Frederick Parslow
as Rev. Burton
Athol Compton
as Billy Corman
Walter Amagula
as Gerry Lee
Roy Bara
as Larry
Peter Carroll
as Michael Zeadler
Michael Duffield
as Andrew Potter
Wallas Eaton
as Morgue Doctor
Jo England
as Babysitter
John Frawley
as Policeman
Vivean Gray
as Dr. Whitburn
John Meagher
as Morgue Clerk
Malcolm Robertson
as Don Fishburn
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Last Wave

Critic Reviews for The Last Wave

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (4)

Weir's touristy vision is strictly from the outside looking in.

Full Review… | November 27, 2001
Village Voice
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 5, 2008
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Its creepiness is undeniable, and it seems far less dated than many late 1970s films.

Full Review… | February 13, 2008
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Startling and mesmerizing Australian film about aborigines, nature and dreamtime.

Full Review… | September 1, 2002
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for The Last Wave

A haunting character study about a pragmatic man who slowly becomes a believer the hard way. Engulfed by visions that connect him with the mysteries of the aboriginals and an apocalyptic prophecy. Not as well known as 'Picnic at hanging rock' but certainly better.

Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer


Eerie apocalyptic thriller based loosely on Aboriginal mythology and with a none too subtle commentary on man's treatment of the planet.
Weir's best film besides Fearless (no not the Jet Li movie).

A.D. Villarreal

Super Reviewer

Peter Weir is known for some excellent Hollywood commercial films such as Witness, The Year of Living Dangerously and Master and Commander, but earlier in his career he made more challenging films in his native Australia. The Last Wave gives a perspective on law we don't find in Hollywood films.

Richard Chamberlain gives a great performance as David Burton, a lawyer hired to defend a group of aborigines accused of murder and is drawn into a nightmarish world of customs and folklore, history and the supernatural.

El Hombre Invisible

Super Reviewer

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