Wake in Fright (1971) - Rotten Tomatoes

Wake in Fright (1971)



Critic Consensus: A disquieting classic of Australian cinema, Wake in Fright surveys a landscape both sun-drenched and ruthlessly dark.

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Movie Info

Awe-inspiring, brutal and stunning, Wake in Fright is the story of John Grant, a bonded teacher who arrives in the rough outback mining town of Bundanyabba, planning to stay overnight before catching the plane to Sydney. But, as his one night stretches to five, he plunges headlong toward his own destruction. When the alcohol-induced mist lifts, the educated John Grant is no more. Instead there is a self-loathing man in a desolate wasteland, dirty, red-eyed, sitting against a tree and looking at a rifle with one bullet left... Believed lost for many years, Wake in Fright has been painstakingly restored by Australia's National Film and Sound Archive and AtLab Deluxe, and is presented in its original uncompromising form. -- (C) Drafthouse Films

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Sylvia Kay
as Janette
Al Thomas
as Tim Hynes
John Meillon
as Charlie
Maggie Dence
as Receptionist
Norman Erskine
as Joe the Cook
Buster Fiddess
as Charlie Jones
Tex Foote
as Stubbs
Dawn Lake
as Joyce
Owen Moase
as Controller
John Dalleen
as Controller
Colin Hughes
as Stockman
Mark Jackson
as Van Driver
Carlo Marchini
as Poker Player
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Critic Reviews for Wake in Fright

All Critics (57) | Top Critics (23)

[Has some] fine photography of the Australian wilds, but also veers into melodrama.

March 19, 2020 | Full Review…

[It] will will not please the Australian Tourist Board. It may not even please Australians. But it ranks, along with Nicholas Roeg's Walkabout, as the most impressive piece of special pleading about the country I've seen.

March 19, 2020 | Full Review…

It's a remarkable film and I'm not at all happy with it.

March 19, 2020 | Full Review…

Blends staged re-enactments with documentary footage of senseless slaughter to extremely distressing effect.

March 9, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Brilliantly directed by Kotcheff, the film has the disorienting and menacing quality of Joseph Losey films such as Accident and The Servant.

March 7, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

It presents a world in which refusing a pint has violent consequences, high spirits quickly curdle, and an unspoken homoerotic undertow gets ever more disturbing.

March 7, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Wake in Fright


An educated teacher stuck in an backward Aussie Outback town learns about beer drinking, gambling, beer drinking, hunting kangaroos, beer drinking and "d'yawanna anofer beer, mate, there's a good lad." An Australian-style Deliverance, no banjo, no river, but plenty of "squeal like a pig, boy!" Also, be prepared for the wholesale killing of about 20 kangaroos ... despite it being integral to the story.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

A shocking, brutal and jaw dropping portrait of Australia, insanity, social horror and the battles of human soul. Fresh.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

Pretty grin viewing. Also a bit of animal cruelty which makes it hard to stomach. Not a bad 70's drama, but once was more than enough for me.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

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