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Ned Kelly

Rating:R (for violence and brief nudity)
Genre:Drama, Action/Adventure
Release Date:March 26, 2004
Running time:109 minutes
Cast:Heath Ledger, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, Naomi Watts, Laurence Kinlan
Director:Gregor Jordan
Producer:Eric Fellner, Lynda House
Writer:Robert Drewe, John M. McDonagh
Distributor:Focus Features

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Description: In the latter part of the 19th century, Australia is still largely untamed. The former penal colony's first-generation Irish immigrant population lives in poverty. Having already experienced police brutality and the death of his father, bushranger Ned Kelly is wrongfully imprisoned on the trumped-up charge of stealing a horse. Emerging a few years later, in 1874, Ned is hardened but vows to stay straight. Rejoining his widowed mother and younger siblings, he makes money for his family as a champion bare-knuckle boxer. He also toils as a farmhand on the estate of an English landowner--with whose beautiful wife Ned shares a mutual attraction. But the British colonial system and its Victorian English enforcers remain prejudiced against Australia's working people, and the struggling Kelly family is no exception. When, in 1878, a bullying police officer is rebuffed by Ned's younger sister Kate and targets the family for harassment, Ned and his mother are unjustly charged with attempted murder. Ned is determined to avenge his family's name and strike back against his people's oppressors. While hiding in the bush, he forms a loyal Gang that includes his best friend Joe Byrne. When a chance encounter with the police culminates in three officers killed, the Kelly Gang is forced to go on the run. They blaze a trail through the Outback, robbing banks to fund themselves and giving police the runaround. The Kelly Gang's reputation as invincible outlaws grows, as does nationwide support from their immigrant countrymen. To the masses, Ned is a hero. To lawmen, he is the most wanted man in Australia. When the authorities bring in the formidable Superintendent Francis Hare to capture and/or kill the outlaws, Ned strategizes a risky showdown at the Glenrowan Inn. It is this event which will seal his fate--and his legend.

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