238 user 171 critic

Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)

4:49 | Trailer
During a rural summer picnic, a few students and a teacher from an Australian girls' school vanish without a trace. Their absence frustrates and haunts the people left behind.


Peter Weir


Joan Lindsay (novel), Cliff Green (screenplay)
4,517 ( 441)
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Rachel Roberts ... Mrs. Appleyard
Vivean Gray Vivean Gray ... Miss Greta McCraw
Helen Morse ... Mlle. de Poitiers
Kirsty Child Kirsty Child ... Miss Lumley
Tony Llewellyn-Jones ... Tom (as Anthony Llewellyn-Jones)
Jacki Weaver ... Minnie
Frank Gunnell Frank Gunnell ... Mr. Whitehead
Anne-Louise Lambert ... Miranda St Clare (as Anne Lambert)
Karen Robson ... Irma
Jane Vallis ... Marion Quade
Christine Schuler ... Edith
Margaret Nelson Margaret Nelson ... Sara Waybourne
Ingrid Mason Ingrid Mason ... Rosamund
Jenny Lovell ... Blanche
Janet Murray Janet Murray ... Juliana

Memorable Reboots and Remakes

Get ready for "Picnic at Hanging Rock" starring Natalie Dormer with a look back at some classic movies and TV shows that have been rebooted and remade over the years.

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Three students and a school teacher disappear on an excursion to Hanging Rock, in Victoria, on Valentine's Day, 1900. The movie follows those that disappeared, and those that stayed behind, but it delights in the asking of questions, not the answering of them. Even though both the movie and the book it was based on claim to be inspired by real events, the story is completely fictional. Written by David Carroll <davidc@atom.ansto.gov.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


We shall only be gone a little while... See more »


Drama | Mystery


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


During the dinner scene with Mademoiselle and Mrs. Appleyard near the end of the film, a small vase of pansies - said by Albert to be Sara's favorite flower - can be seen on the table. Also when Sara's body is discovered in the greenhouse, she is laying on broken pansy pots that have been crushed from her falling onto them. See more »


Miranda cuts the Valentine's Day cake with a clean kitchen knife. However, the next shot shows the cake cut down the middle, and the same knife lying beside it clean and bare, as if it had never been used. See more »


[first lines]
Miranda: What we see and what we seem are but a dream, a dream within a dream.
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Alternate Versions

The director's cut deletes several scenes from the original release version:
  • Irma thanking Albert for finding her and Michael's growing relationship with Irma, climaxing in his demanding to know what happened at the Rock.
  • a brief sequence inside the church during the memorial service of the girls crying.
  • Mrs Appleyard removing some of Sarah's belongings at night after her disappearance. There are two very minor additions:
  • A brief sequence of a photographer getting a picture of the school before being shooed off.
  • A smoother introduction to the scene where Albert tells Michael of his dream of Sarah, beginning with Michael telling him how he often dreams of the Rock.
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References L'Avventura (1960) See more »


Prelude No 1 in C Major
from The Well-Tempered Clavier
by Johann Sebastian Bach
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User Reviews

This picnic tastes great but is unfulfilling.
26 July 2001 | by tommythekSee all my reviews

Confession: I don't know WHAT I think of this movie! Not only that, I had to go to IMDb's user comments to find a person or persons to TELL ME what I think of this movie. None did. I read all 45 of the user comments (reviews) and I STILL don't know what I think of this movie. That's how enigmatic this movie is. To me, anyway.

I did learn one thing, however, from reading these 45 preceding user reviews. A very great many of these user-reviewers are some of the keenest and most astute moviegoers whom I've ever encountered. They know things about this movie and have picked up things from it which are completely over my non-perceptive head.

Example: One user-reviewer, an English gentleman, I believe, obviously did his doctoral thesis on this movie. He knows things about it that even Peter Weir (the director) doesn't know. A number of others did their masters on it. Many of the latter refer to Miranda (Anne-Louise Lambert), one of the girls who disappeared, in terms of her being a sort of virginal Botticelli-like angel. While I do agree that Miranda is a most ethereal character, whenever she would appear in a scene, "Botticelli" was not the first word to jump into my mind. But that's just me.

Much is made by many of these perceptive and sharp user-reviewers of the girls' awakening feelings of sexuality and of the phallic symbolism of Hanging Rock to the girl climbers. Oh. I was just wondering: Where'd the girls go? What happened to them?

One of the many puzzling aspects to the story of this movie, one on which no one seems to agree, is.....is it true? At first I thought it was. Then I thought it wasn't. Now, I have no idea! And the user-reviewers are of no help on this, politely at odds amongst themselves on the story's veracity. I'd like to believe that the movie and novel which preceded it are based on a true incident. No, not because I would wish anything bad to have happened to these adventurous, yet innocent, young girls some 101 years ago. I wish it were true only because it would be but one more "event" to add to the great mystery that we know as life. A mystery, a question, to which no one has the answer.

Listen to me! I sound like I know what I'm talking about. Which I don't! Especially about this movie. In the final analysis, this movie left me generally unfulfilled. There is much in it that is worthy of praise, first and foremost the moviemaking skills of Peter Weir. But when credits rolled, something was missing. I felt as if I'd just eaten a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, having enjoyed every single bite, then, upon arising from the table, felt my stomach completely empty. A feeling stranger than strange.

Anyone viewing this film for the first time must be prepared for a movie in which all the various and loose plot ends do NOT get all tied up by the film's denouement. If one is so prepared, one may come away from it more fulfilled than was I. "Tastes great," unfortunately, was as far as I could get with it.

One sad note: At the movie's conclusion, Mrs. Appleyard (Rachel Roberts) arrived at a fate not much unlike one arrived at by Ms. Roberts herself just five short years after the movie's release. Just as art often imitates life, so, too, in this case, did life imitate art.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | French

Release Date:

2 February 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Picnic at Hanging Rock See more »


Box Office


AUD440,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$27,492, 28 June 1998

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (1998 director's cut)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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