Characters / The Proposition

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The Burns Gang


Arthur Burns

Played By: Danny Huston

"This may hurt."

The much-feared eldest Burns brother who now lives in the Australian wilderness.
  • Ax-Crazy: Part of what makes him so dangerous is his unpredictable nature and his capability to commit horrific acts of violence.
  • Big Bad: Of the film.
  • Death Glare: He has some terrifying stares in his arsenal.
  • The Dreaded: Absolutely everyone (save perhaps for his brothers) is utterly terrified of Arthur Burns, and for good reason.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Subverted, He does love his brothers at first, but becomes feels increasingly distant from them following the Hopkins murder.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Arthur is soft-spoken, polite and charming. He's also capable of intense cruelty.
  • Lack of Empathy: A truly repulsive example, he seems to see raping a pregnant woman to death as no different from smashing a wasp.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Arthur speaks in a very soft, gentle tone which makes the moments when he does something utterly demented for the sheer joy of it very disturbing.
  • Warrior Poet: Arthur is well-versed in poetry.
  • Wicked Cultured: He's erudite, highly intelligent, prone to contemplation of poetry, and dangerously insane.


Charlie Burns

Played By: Guy Pearce

"You touch my brother again, I'll kill you."

The middle Burns brother, who breaks with Arthur following the 'Hopkins outrage'.


Mikey Burns

Played By: Richard Wilson

The mentally deficit youngest Burns brother.

The Stanleys

    Captain Stanley 

Capt. Morris Stanley

Played By: Ray Winstone

"I will civilize this land."

A British former soldier tasked with leading the local law enforcement.


Martha Stanley

Played By: Emily Watson

Captain Stanley's fragile, sheltered wife.

Arthur's Gang



Played By: Tom E. Lewis

"You've got the wrong fucking black man."

An aboriginal man working with Arthur.



Played By: Leah Purcell


Samuel Stoat

Played By: Tom Budge

An impulsive and bloodthirsty young man with a penchant for rape.

Other Characters

    Eden Fletcher 

Eden Fletcher

Played By: David Wenham

The local government official and Stanley's immediate superior.
  • The Dandy: Probably the most well-dressed character in the film.
  • Evil Brit: He's British, and evil.
  • Jerkass: Fletcher is condescending and looks down his nose at Stanley.
  • Smug Snake: Completely fails to grasp the ramifications of his actions, instead moving forward with a satisfied smirk.

    Jellon Lamb 

Jellon Lamb

Played By: John Hurt

"Permit me to introduce myself. My name is Jellon Lamb. Citizen of the world, you might say, an adventurer, and, if I may be so bold, a man of no little education."

An elderly bounty hunter on the trail of Arthur Burns.
  • Bounty Hunter: His occupation, and the reason he's hunting Arthur Burns.
  • Evil Old Folks: Lamb is in his old age, but he's still a dangerous and sadistic killer.
  • Laughably Evil: As horrific a human being as he might be, Lamb is remarkably entertaining.
  • Large Ham: He loves to hear himself talk, speaking at length about his various observations of the world around him.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: A complete and utter racist to the core.
    "What is an Irishman but a nigger turned inside out?"
  • Wicked Cultured: He's well-read and able to quote poetry to Arthur Burns.