In 1922, an English writer (Colin Friels) migrates to Australia with his wife (Judy Davis). There he resists joining both a paramilitary group and a socialist group, is caught in a riot, sees a death and loses love and friendship.
Colin Friels as Richard Somers
Judy Davis as Harriet Somers
John Walton as Jack Calcott
Julie Nihill as Vicki Calcott
Hugh Keays-Byrne as Kangaroo
Peter Hehir as Jaz
Peter Cummins as Struthers
Tim Robertson as O'Neill
Malcolm Robertson as Publisher
David Hutchins as Cornwall Detective
In 1972 it was announced the novel would be filmed starring Dirk Bogarde but this did not eventuate. In 1981 Tim Burstall announced he would make the film and he had Leo McKern lined up to play Kangaroo but he was unable to raise finance. He managed to do it several years later, by which time he felt McKern was too old and instead cast Hugh Keays-Byrne. He got Evan Jones to adapt the script because he felt it needed an English writer.
Filming was conducted in Melbourne, Australia and went from 21 October to 14 December 1985.
The film was nominated for 2 awards in the 1986 AFI Awards and also won in the Best Achievement in Best Actress in a Lead Role (Judy Davis) and Costume Design (Terry Ryan) categories. It was entered into the 15th Moscow International Film Festival.
After the film's 1987 U.S. theatrical run, the film was released on videocassette and laserdisc by MCA Home Video. The film was released through Australia-based Umbrella Entertainment on 8 January 2010 as an all-region PAL disc.
Kangaroo grossed $68,978 at the box office in Australia.