- Directors: Baz Luhrmann
- Producers: Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Knapman, G Mac Brown
- Writers: Story, Baz Luhrmann, Screenplay, Baz Luhrmann, Ronald Harwood, Stuart Beattie, Richard Flanagan
- Genres: Adventure, Drama, War, Western
- Actors: Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham
In 1939, Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) travels from England to northern Australia to force her (in her opinion) philandering husband to sell his faltering Australian cattle station, Faraway Downs. Her husband sends an independent cattle drover (Hugh Jackman), called simply “Drover”, to Darwin to transport her to Faraway Downs. Lady Sarah’s husband, who has been working hard to sell 1500 head of cattle to the military, is murdered shortly before she arrives. Meanwhile, treacherous FD cattle station manager Neil Fletcher (David Wenham) is trying to gain control of Faraway Downs, so that neighboring Lesley ‘King’ Carney (Bryan Brown) can have a cattle monopoly in the Northern Territory, which will give him negotiating leverage with the Australian army. Fletcher also claims to Lady Sarah that the murderer of her husband is an Aboriginal elder with magical powers, “King George” (David Gulpilil).
The childless Lady Sarah is captivated by the young boy Nullah (Brandon Walters), who was born to an Aboriginal mother and an unknown white father. Nullah tells her that he has seen her cattle being driven onto Carney’s land â€” in other words, stolen from her. Because of this, Fletcher mistreats Nullah and threatens him and his mother, after which Lady Sarah fires Fletcher and decides to try and run the cattle station herself. When Nullah and his mother hide from the white authorities by entering a water tower, his mother drowns. Lady Sarah comforts Nullah by singing the song “Over the Rainbow” from the film The Wizard of Oz. Nullah tells her that “King George” is his grandfather, and that like “King George” he too is a “magic man”.
Drover, who had quarrelled with Lady Sarah and had gone droving apparently never to return, hears (mistakenly) that she has been killed in the bombing of Darwin. (It is later revealed that the dead woman thought to be Sarah is in fact Catherine Fletcher, who had volunteered to take Sarah’s shift at army radio headquarters so Sarah could go to Nullah earlier.) Drover finds out about Nullah’s abduction to Mission Island, and sets out with Magarri and Ivan (the hotelier) to rescue Nullah and the other children from the island using a sailboat. Magarri sacrifices himself to buy the others more time during the escape, and is shot by the Japanese. The others all make it safely back to Darwin. Meanwhile, Lady Sarah has sold Faraway Downs to Fletcher, and is leaving the Northern Territory that morning, since she believes there is nothing more to hold her there. But when Drover and the children sail back into port at Darwin, Nullah plays his harmonica with the tune of “Over the Rainbow”. Lady Sarah hears the music, abandons her trip, and the three are reunited. Fletcher, who knows Nullah is the one link to his disreputable past that can ruin him, and rails that the boy must have cursed him, attempts to shoot Nullah, but is speared by King George and falls dead. King George then states in his native language that Nullah is Fletcher’s son and his grandson. Lady Sarah, Drover, and Nullah return to the safety of remote Faraway Downs. On the way back to Faraway Downs, King George calls for Nullah, his grandson, to go walkabout. Lady Sarah embraces Nullah and then lets him go to his grandfather, who explains now they will return to his land, and then looking at Lady Sarah, says “our land”.