Storm Boy (film)

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Storm Boy
Directed by Henri Safran
Produced by Matt Carroll
Written by Sonia Borg
Sidney Stebel
Based on Storm Boy (novel) by
Colin Thiele
Starring Greg Rowe,
Peter Cummins,
David Gulpilil
Music by Michael Carlos
Cinematography Geoff Burton
Edited by G. Turney-Smith
Release date
19 November 1976 (South Australia)
mid 1977 (other states)
Running time
88 minutes
Country Australia
Language English
Budget AU$320,000[1]
Box office AU$2,645,000 (Australia)

Storm Boy is a 1976 Australian film based on a children's book, by Colin Thiele, about a boy and his pelican.


Storm Boy (Greg Rowe) likes to wander alone along the fierce deserted coast of South Australia's Coorong, near the mouth of the Murray River. He and his father live a reclusive life among the dunes that face out into the Southern Ocean. After a pelican's mother is shot, Storm Boy rescues three chicks; he names them Mr Proud, Mr Ponder and Mr Percival, and nurses them back to health. His father, known to some as 'Hideaway Tom,' forces Storm Boy to release the birds, but Mr Percival returns. The boy and the pelican form a special bond. Mr Percival is shot by hunters and dies. The story also looks at the conflict between Storm Boy's lifestyle and the externally imposed requirement for him to attend school.

Storm Boy's real name in the film is Mike—the moniker "Storm Boy" was given to him by Fingerbone Bill (David Gulpilil), an Aboriginal man who becomes his friend.


  • Greg Rowe as Storm Boy
  • Peter Cummins as Hideaway Tom
  • David Gulpilil as Fingerbone Bill
  • Judy Dick as Miss Walker
  • Tony Allison as ranger 1
  • Michael Moody as boat master
  • Graham Dow as Edwards
  • Eric Mack as Jones
  • Frank Foster-Brown as Lynch
  • Michael Caulfield as hunter 1
  • Graeme Duke as hunter 2
  • Mr Percival as The pelican
  • Paul Smith
  • Hedley Cullen
  • Jim Harding


Colin Thiele had little involvement in the scripting of the film. His only requirement was that his novel was not turned into a sex comedy.[2]

The budget came from the South Australian Film Corporation, the Australian Film Commission and the Seven television network. Shooting began in May 1976, with exteriors shot near Goolwa and interiors in the SAFC's studio at Norwood. Eleven-year-old Greg Rowe was an untrained actor, selected over 70 other applicants.[1] Three pelicans played the lead pelican.[3]

In 2009 the pelican, Mr Percival died at Royal Adelaide Zoo. He was 33 years old.



It was a popular children's film both in Australia and Britain and won a medal at the Moscow Film Festival in 1977 for best children's film.

Award Category Subject Result
AACTA Awards
(1976 AFI Awards)
Best Film Matt Carroll Won
Best Direction Henri Safran Nominated
Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted Sonia Borg Nominated
Sidney Stebel Nominated
Best Actor David Gulpilil Nominated
Best Sound Bob Cogger Nominated
Best Production Design David Copping Nominated
Best Costume Design Helen Evans Nominated
ACS Award Cinematographer of the Year Geoff Burton Won
AWGIE Award Best Writing in a Feature Film - Adapted Sonia Borg Won
Sidney Stebel Won

Box Office[edit]

Storm Boy was a hit, grossing $2,645,000 at the box office in Australia,[4] which is equivalent to $13,674,650 in 2009 dollars. The same team later reunited on Blue Fin (1978).[5]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, p 306
  2. ^ Paul Davies, "Sonia Borg", Cinema Papers, Oct-Nov 1978 p109-111, 162
  3. ^ "Meet Dum Dum... Sandwich... and Carpenter... WATCH THE BIRDIES.". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 25 August 1976. p. 50. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  4. ^ Film Victoria – Australian Films at the Australian Box Office
  5. ^ "How the little town of Streaky Bay got into films.". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 27 September 1978. p. 52. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 

External links[edit]