Parents' Guide to

Bush Christmas

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

'40s Australian adventure has casual racism, outdated feel.

Movie NR 1947 80 minutes
Bush Christmas Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 1 parent review

age 8+

Black and white 1947 family film

We enjoyed it but were surprised that it was black and white (the cover is deceptively in full color). The kids make the mistake of making chit-chat with strangers who turn out to be horse thieves, and because of this mistake, the family's prize horse is stolen. The kids begin tracking the horse thieves themselves, and before too long the hunters become the prey. It is clear the horse thieves are bad guys and might do some kind of harm to the kids, but nothing more serious than trying to lock them up while they get away. There's a Maori boy who is the butt of certain jokes but for the age in which this movie was made, this wouldn't have been offensive at the time. No issues with violence, sex, swearing, drinking, etc. There's some intense moments when the kids try to sneak into the thieves' camp without being discovered. All ends well.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1):
Kids say: Not yet rated

BUSH CHRISTMAS has not aged well, and it's not only because of the casual racism on display toward the Aborigines. Although the pace of the adventure was surely exciting for its time (1947), by today's standards the movie drags in quite a few places. Also, this is less of a "Christmas movie" and more of an adventure of sorts -- a walkabout, if you will -- that really only shows and talks about Christmas at the beginning and at the end.

Still, it's not totally unredeemable decades later. There are some engagingly suspenseful moments of adventure and peril and some moments of slapstick that call to mind Home Alone. Also, remarkable for its time, the girl of the group -- Helen -- is portrayed as a strong leader, as skilled with horseback riding and as brave as the boys once they realize they're lost in the bush while pursuing the horse thieves.

Movie Details

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