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Film: The Man from Snowy River
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:

  • Acting for Two: Kirk Douglas as Harrison and Spur in the first movie.
  • Badass Longcoat: Jim sports one part of the time.
  • 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.
  • Call Back: The second film has multiple call backs to the first one, most memorably the scene where Jim once again rides his horse down the side of a mountain. The musical cues are identical as well.
  • 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."
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Harrison to Matilda.
  • Falling in Love Montage: Takes place when Jim and Jessica are breaking in the colt.
  • 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.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: Jim, when he beats up Curly and his cronies in the first movie.
  • 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.
    Jim: CURLY?!
    • He finally wises up late in the second film, but only after being severely and repeatedly burned by the Pattersons junior and senior.
  • I Just Want To Be Free: Jessica, regarding her family's wish to turn her into a lady.
  • 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.
  • Land Downunder
  • Lethal Chef: Spur's signature dish, "Wallaby Stew", is frequently mocked by the other characters. The trope is partially subverted though, as he apparently can cook a decent steak.
  • Living Legend: Jim is one in the sequel.
    • Clancy was one in the first one.
  • 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.
  • Nice Hat: Jim's got a great one.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Arguably Matilda to Harrison. When faced with two brothers vying for her hand, she decided to marry the one to get rich first instead of the best, you know, personality, compatibility, etc. This came back to bite her when she learned what her new husband is really like.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Jim absolutely wipes the floor with Alistair Patton at the end of the sequel; it's brutal.
    • And then the stallion finishes the job.
    • Jim does the same to Curly and his cohorts in the first movie.
  • No Sympathy: Harrison to anyone. Unless you're Jessica. Even then, sympathy is limited.
  • Posthumous Character: Jessica's late mother Matilda plays a significant role in the backstory of the first movie.
  • Prospector: Spur, whose stubborn insistence that his mine will pay out someday is a Running Gag in the first film.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Quite a few in the first film.
  • Romantic False Lead: Alistair Patton in the sequel.
  • Scenery Porn: Both movies revel in it.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Jessica after Harrison strikes her.
    • Also pretty much Matilda's reaction after Harrison shot Spur. While she had resolved to leave, she did not follow through until her Death by Childbirth.
  • Spirited Young Lady: Jessica Harrison.
  • Stupid Evil: You would think Curly would learn to stop goading Jim, considering how often the latter one-ups him in the brains and horsemanship skills department.
  • Title Drop: Clancy calls Jim "a man from Snowy River" at the end of the first movie.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Jim, when he successfully herds the Brumbies back to the ranch, as well as his mare, Bessie, and Harrison's colt.
    • To really ram this home: a young man tracked down and captured a sizable herd of wild horses by himself, after a large posse of skilled horsemen failed.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Harrison and Spur, brothers played by the same actor, although Spur's wild hair and bushy beard mitigate the effect considerably.
    • Also Jessica to Matilda.
  • Waking Non Sequitur: From the first film - "It was him or me!" It's not played for comedy.
  • The Western: Or the Australian equivalent thereof.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Curly gets left behind after he falls off his horse in the middle of a river and is never seen again.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Inverted for Harrison. Not a few characters call him out on his disregard for the well-being of humans compared to animals.
    Harrison: I wanted to shoot the animal... but I couldn't.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: After striking Jessica, Harrison twists the knife by telling her: "You're as deceitful as your mother."

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alternative title(s): The Man From Snowy River
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