The Man From Snowy River is a 1982 film based on the Banjo Paterson poem of the same name, set in Australia in the late 1800s. It tells the story of the title character, Jim Craig, a stockman from the Snowy Mountains whose dreams of making his living breeding horses are put on hold when the death of his father and the loss of his broodmare to a herd of wild horses (called "brumbies") force him to descend to the lowlands to work as a hired hand on a cattle ranch owned by the wealthy Harrison.In the process, Jim meets and falls for Harrison's rebellious daughter Jessica, and faces prejudice from both Harrison and the other hired hands over his mountain origins. When Harrison's prized colt is set loose to join the brumbies and Jim is blamed for it, he joins the group of stockmen organized by Harrison to chase the herd down, in order to prove his innocence and his worth.The film stars Tom Burlinson as Jim Craig, Sigrid Thornton as Jessica Harrison, and Kirk Douglas in the dual roles of Harrison and Harrison's crippled brother Spur; it features a score by Bruce Rowland and a lot of impressive Australian scenery.A sequel was released in 1988, titled The Man From Snowy River II in Australia and released as Return to Snowy River in the US. The sequel picks up Jim's story upon his return to the Snowy River region and deals with his efforts to get his horse-breeding business off the ground and resume his relationship with Jessica, who now has a competing suitor in the person of a banker's son, Alistair Patton. Kirk Douglas did not reprise his role as Spur and Harrison, and was replaced in the latter role by Brian Dennehy.The films inspired a spinoff TV series, Banjo Paterson's The Man From Snowy River (Snowy River: The McGregor Saga in the US), which focuses on a different cast of characters in the same general setting.
The films provide examples of the following tropes:
Big Damn Kiss: While sitting on horseback at the top of a mountain, no less.
Blatant Lies: Spur serves Jessica beef from a cow stolen from Harrison's ranch. When she asks about the "H" brand on the cowhide, he says it stands for "homeless."
Brick Joke: The Running Gag regarding Spur's gold mine gets a punch line in the second film: when Jim returns to the area he finds that the thriving town of Eureka Creek has spring up on the site, and learns that shortly after Spur's death, a motherlode of gold was discovered only a short distance from where his prospecting ended.
Character Overlap: Clancy and his "vision splendid" come from Paterson's poem "Clancy of the Overflow." The character is namedropped in the original poem "The Man From Snowy River," but is given a significant role in the movie.
Chekhov's Skill: In the sequel, Jim displays the talent of using the right stirrup of his saddle as a weapon. He uses this during the 'Skill At Arms' course near the beginning, and then uses it again at the climax to take out Patton's main crony.
Cool Horse: Both Jim's trusty mountain horse, Denny, and the stallion that leads the brumbies.
Deadpan Snarker: Several of the characters are this, but Spur takes the cake in the scene where he and his brother meet face-to-face for the first time in years.
"My long-lost brother. Didn't recognize you without a gun."
Fear Is the Appropriate Response: Jessica after waking to find that she had fallen on a small, shallow ledge in the middle of a high cliff, alone, in an uninhabited mountain range. You would scream bloody murder too.
Jerkass: Curly in the first film, and Alistair Patton in the second.
Heroic BSOD: Jim has one when his father dies in the first movie, and then when his horses is killed in the sequel. The two scenes are even shot in a similar way.
He's Back: Jim going after Alistair Patton and his cronies after taming the wild stallion. The slow-motion hero shot of him riding directly toward the camera must be seen to be believed.
Horrible Judge of Character: Harrison. Not only does he still suspect his now-deceased wife of cheating on him with his brother (prompting everyone who ever knew her to call him out on), not only does he believe the worst in Jim over everything, from his work ethic to his honesty, but he trusts the thoroughly stupid, incompetent, and mean-spirited Curly with his horses.
Jim: There's not a mean bone in [the colt's] body.
Jessica: Curly'll find one. He does all the breaking around here.
It's All About Me: Harrison in spades. Believes Jessica being a Spirited Young Lady is just to get back at him instead of a genuine desire to be free, is enraged to learn that Jim got hurt trying to ride after the mob because it could have cost HIM a valuable colt, believes his own visions of grandeur and accomplishments are the only ones anyone can make, and of course believes he alone deserves sympathy for blowing off Spur's leg because it turned Matilda and Jessica against him.
Kick the Dog: Alistair Patton has several instances in the sequel, the worst of which is when he shoots Jim's horse.
Love Triangle: Harrison, Matilda, and Spur in the backstory of the first movie; Jim, Jessica, and Alistair Patton (briefly) in the second.
My God, What Have I Done?: Implied to be Matilda's reaction regarding her marriage to Harrison after he shoots Spur. When she couldn't choose between two brothers, she decided to marry the first to become wealthy. Not until after the wedding did she realize her new husband was violently jealous, possessive, and controlling.
Never My Fault: Harrison has shades of this. While he is genuinely sorry for lashing out at Jessica, which causes her to run away and nearly die in the mountains, he isn't willing to accept that his own possessive, controlling behavior is what continuously drives her and drove her now-late mother away.