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Sweet Country 2017

Sweet Country

Sweet Country

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A period western where justice itself is put on trial.

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About the Sweet Country 💬

  • Inspired by true events.

Inspired by real events, SWEET COUNTRY is set in the 1920s in outback Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory.

  • Justice itself is put on trial.

Australia, 1929.

Sam Kelly (Hamilton Morris), a middle-aged Aboriginal man, works for a preacher in the outback of Australia's Northern Territory. When Harry March (Ewen Leslie), a bitter war veteran, moves into a neighboring outpost, the preacher sends Sam and his family to help Harry renovate his cattle yards. But Sam's relationship with the cruel and ill-tempered Harry quickly deteriorates, culminating in a violent shootout in which Sam kills Harry in self-defense.

  • No justice at the end of a gun.

As a result, Sam becomes a wanted criminal for the murder of a white man, and is forced to flee with his wife across the deadly outback, through the glorious but harsh desert country. A hunting party led by the local lawman Sergeant Fletcher (Bryan Brown) is formed to track Sam down. But as the true details of the killing start to surface, the community begins to question whether justice is really being served.


SWEET COUNTRY is a western. A period western set in Central Australia. It has all the elements of the genre - the frontier, confiscation of land, subordination and conquest of a people and epic sweeping landscapes.

SWEET COUNTRY is based inspired by a true story. The origin of Sweet Country was told to me by writer David Tranter. It is loosely based on stories told to him by his Grandfather. One of these stories is the true story of an Aboriginal man, Wilaberta Jack, who in the 1920s was arrested and tried for the murder of a white man in Central Australia. He was found innocent on the grounds of self-defense. The politics of the era didn't accept the verdict and Wilaberta Jack was the victim of a revenge killing.

Wilaberta Jack is our Sam, who has become his own character with his own original story. While Sam drives the plot and is our central character, the story also affects the character of Philomac. Philomac is an Aboriginal boy of 14 who lives on a cattle station and is coming of age while caught between the social upheaval and cultural conflict of frontier life in 1920s Central Australia.

SWEET COUNTRY was shot in the MacDonnell Ranges. This is a mesmerizing country, it's where I grew up. The landscape becomes another character in the film, especially in the scenes with the posse chasing Sam and Lizzie across the countryside.

SWEET COUNTRY uses the vast spaces of the desert and its silence to emphasize the story of our characters and the hardships they face. The Aboriginal characters' communication will also reflect the authenticity of the local culture - using looks, hand signals and that understanding between them rather than being all in the dialogue.

The world of SWEET COUNTRY has been newly established by the British Crown through the forceful taking of Indigenous lands. Yet these are lands which had and still possess a deep and complex web of ancient Indigenous laws, customs and life.

SWEET COUNTRY is set on a frontier outpost in 1929, where different cultural worlds collide, in an epic and beautiful desert landscape. It is a place where Indigenous, and non-Indigenous people push against each other like tectonic plates. It is a clash of cultures, ideologies and spirits that still continues today from when the colonizers first arrived in Australia.

The issues raised in SWEET COUNTRY rarely find their way into mainstream consciousness. David Tranter and Steven McGregor have written an authentic story of a world which is as brutal as it is heartfelt.

My aim has been to use the accessibility of the western genre for audiences to enter the story and be drawn into this world and so experience the issues faced by an occupied people.

This immersive approach is designed to break down the cultural boundaries between us and bring us together.

Warwick Thornton

Sweet Country Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Warwick Thornton

Writing Credits

David Tranter

Steven McGregor


Hamilton Morris

Bryan Brown

Sam Neill

Thomas M. Wright

Ewen Leslie

Natassia Gorey Furber

Shanika Cole

Gibson John

Matt Day

Anni Finsterer

Luka Magdeline Cole

Tremayne Doolan

Trevon Doolan

Cinematography by

Warwick Thornton

Dylan River

Genres: Adventure, Crime, Drama, History, Thriller, Western

Country: Australia

Sweet Country Official Trailer

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