Little Boy Lost (1978 film)

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Little Boy Lost
Directed by Terry Bourke
Produced by Phillip Avalon,
Alan Spires
Written by Terry Bourke,
George Seaton
Starring Brian Anderson,
Tony Barry,
Don Crosby,
Nathan Dawes
Music by Bob Young
Distributed by Filmways Australian
Release date
16 November 1978 (1978-11-16)
Running time
90 minutes
Country Australia
Language English
Budget $395,000[1]

Little Boy Lost is a 1978 Australian drama film starring Nathan Dawes as Stephen Walls, John Hargreaves as Jacko Walls, Lorna Lesley as Dorrie Walls, Tony Barry as Constable O'Dea and Steve Dodd as William Stanley, the Aboriginal tracker.

Johnny Ashcroft and Gay Kayler performed the vocals on the movie sound track, also a specially recorded version of the Little Boy Lost hit song, which is played at the end of the film.

Scenes were shot on location in Guyra, Tubbumurra and Narrabeen, New South Wales, Australia. The World Premiere was held in Armidale, New South Wales. Johnny Ashcroft and Gay Kayler sang the Little Boy Lost song from the movie live on stage to Nathan Dawes and his stand-in, Toshi Bourke.


The film is based on the true story of a missing Australian child, Stephen Walls (played by Dawes). After his disappearance, a massive search is organized across the Guyra area as its citizens spring into action.

The problem in finding Stephen is that he was taught to not speak to strangers, and is afraid of those who attempt to speak to him. He does not know that the crowds of people attempting to make contact are not enemies, but have volunteered to find him.

Four days elapse and hope of his rescue diminishes. A group of searchers finally spot the boy and are able to convince him that they are there to help him get back home to his family.


The original director was John Powell. Two weeks into the film in April 1978 the money ran out and Bourke was called in to rewrite the script and direct the rest of the movie. The rest of the film was completed in nine days.[2]

Stephen Walls, who inspired the story, plays a small role.[3]


The film premiered in Armidale, NSW.[4][5]

Terry Bourke later sued producer Alan Spires, production company John Powell Productions and distributors Filmways for $6,130 in unpaid wages.[6]


  1. ^ Suzanne Brown, "Little Boy Lost", Australian Film 1978-92, Oxford Uni Press 1993 p18
  2. ^ David Stratton, The Last New Wave: The Australian Film Revival, Angus & Robertson, 1980 p264
  3. ^ "Stars simply want to go back home.". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 12 July 1978. p. 10. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  4. ^ "Little Boy Lost may shy off the first-night glitter.". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 8 November 1978. p. 13. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  5. ^ "PEOPLE.". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 13 December 1978. p. 13. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  6. ^ "Little Boy Litigation", Cinema Papers, Dec-Jan 1979-80 p597

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