Man from Snowy River [1982]

A conventional boy-and-his-horse story set against the red rocks of remote Australian mountains. (If there's a wide-screen edition, grab it. The scenery is one of the movie's strongest features.) Tom Burlinson is Jim Craig, a young man left stranded after his father's death who is struggling to save the family farm. He proves his manhood during a hair-raising hunt over the wooded slopes in search of an escaped stallion. The great, grizzled, Australian character actor Jack Thompson (the idealistic lawyer in Breaker Morant) is the tough, older horseman who takes the lad under his wing. The director, George Miller (not to be confused with the action-master who made the Mad Max films) allows costar Kirk Douglas to mug and grimace and prance far too much in a duel role as a pair of lovable old coots who hate each other's guts. Luckily, one of the coots has a handsome daughter (Sigrid Thornton, an Elizabeth McGovern-type with grit), who also has a way with horses. So it isn't all rocks and pine trees. --David Chute

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