Robbery Under Arms (1985 film)

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Robbery Under Arms
Directed by Donald Crombie
Ken Hannam
Produced by Mace Neufeld
Jock Blair
Written by Michael Jenkins
Based on novel by Rolf Boldrewood
Starring Sam Neill
Steven Vidler
Christopher Cummins
Liz Newman
Jane Menelaus
Andy Anderson
Deborah Coulls
Susie Lindeman
Elaine Cusick
Ed Devereaux
Tommy Lewis
Robert Grubb
Music by Garry McDonald
Laurie Stone
Cinematography Ernie Clark
Distributed by Shock
ITC Entertainment[1]
Release date
28 March 1985
Running time
140 mins (film version)
Country Australia
Language English
Budget AU$7.3 million[2][3]
Box office AU$226,648 (Australia)

Robbery Under Arms is a 1985 Australian action adventure film starring Sam Neill as bushranger Captain Starlight. Joined by bush larrikin, Ben Marston (Ed Devereaux), and Ben’s two adventure-hungry sons (Steven Vidler and Christopher Cummins), Starlight leads his gang of wild colonial boys in search of riches, romance – and other men’s cattle.

There were two versions shot simultaneously - a feature film and a TV mini series.[2]



Jock Blair first had the idea to remake the story in 1981 when he was working at the South Australian Film Corporation. It was originally envisioned that it would be a mini series but it was budgeted at a million dollars an hour which was felt to be too expensive. So it was decided to make a film as well at the same time, based on separate scripts.[4]

There were two writers and two directors. Writing the script took two years.[4]

The film was shot partly on location in the Flinders Rangers and at the SAFC studios in Adelaide.[2] The two directors collaborated well together, and Ken Hannam was relieved to work with the SAFC again after the difficulties on Sunday Too Far Away.[4]

Production took 20 weeks.[5]

Box office[edit]

Robbery Under Arms grossed $226,648 at the box office in Australia.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Robbery Under Arms company credits at The New York Times
  2. ^ a b c David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry, Pan MacMillan, 1990 p71-72
  3. ^ "New 'Robbery'film a TV series too.". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). ACT: National Library of Australia. 15 January 1984. p. 10 Edition: SUNDAY EDITION. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c Nick Roddick, "Arms and the Men", Cinema Papers, May 1985 p55-58
  5. ^ "'Robbery Under Arms' crew going bush.". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). ACT: National Library of Australia. 21 January 1984. p. 8. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  6. ^ Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office

External links[edit]