Based on Robert Drewe's novel Our Sunshine, the film follows Kelly from his arrest for horse theft in 1871 to his execution at Old Melbourne Gaol in 1880.
'One of Australia’s most notorious outlaws, Ned Kelly lived on the land from the time of his first arrest at age 14, until police captured him and his Kelly gang a decade later in 1880. Immortalized in a series of onscreen productions, he has since become one of the most resilient screen presences in the history of Australian cinema.
'Covering the nine feature films, three miniseries, and two TV movies that have been made about this controversial character, Stephen Gaunson illuminates a central irony: from novels to comics to the branding of the site where he was captured, most cultural representations of Kelly are decidedly lowbrow. But only the films have been condemned for not offering a more serious interpretation of this figure and his historical context. Asking what value we can place on such ‘bad’ historical cinema, Gaunson offers new insights about the textual characteristics of cinematic material and the conditions of film distribution, circulation, and reception.' (Publication summary)