In rural Australia the Thompson family struggle to keep their farm from foreclosure. The family is placing its hopes on their horse, Prince, winning the New Year’s Cup and using the winnings to pay off the debt. Two struggling lowlifes Bill and Sly (John Ewart and John Howard) find out about the horse and steal it, escaping into the nearby mountain range.
With the father off droving cattle and all forms of transportation and communication made inoperable by Bill and Sly before their escape, the Thompson children Helen (Nicole Kidman) and John (Mark Spain), and their English cousin Michael (James Wingrove), saddle up their own horses and go after the crooks on their own. They are assisted by Manalpuy, a local Aboriginal who works on the farm.
Bush Christmas (also known as Prince and the Great Race) is a 1983 Australian Christmas drama film and a remake of a 1947 film of the same name, which was based on a novel by Ralph Smart and Mary Cathcart Borer. The film marked actress Nicole Kidman’s first feature film role. It was filmed on location on the Lamington Plateau, Queensland. It is also notable for music by The Bushwackers.
At one stage Howard Rubie was announced as director and he was involved in casting. However, for a time it seemed the film might not go ahead so Rubie accepted a chance to direct The Settlement instead. The movie was shot in Queensland in Beaudesert. Funding came in part from the Australian Film Commission, the Film and TV Institute (WA) and Queensland Film Corporation.
Bush Christmas (1983)
Directed by: Henri Safran
Starring: John Ewart, Nicole Kidman, John Howard, Mark Spain, James Wingrove, Vineta O’Malley, Brian Thompson, Maurice Hughes
Screenplay by: Ted Roberts
Production Design by: Darrell Lass
Cinematography by: Ross Berryman, Malcolm Richards
Film Editing by: Ron Williams
Costume Design by: Utopia Road
Set Decoration by: Martin O’Neill
Music by: Mike Perjanik
Distributed by: Barron Films, Umbrella Entertainment
Release Date: May 2, 1983