Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Thorn Birds

Rian and I recently finished watching the epic television mini-series, The Thorn Birds.

The 1983 mini-series is based on the best-selling novel of the same name. It focuses on three generations of an Australian family from 1920-1962. A forbidden romance between a beautiful young woman and a Catholic priest is the heart of the plot.

This television series was a huge deal when it hit the small screen 28 years ago. When the book was released in 1977, it was a worldwide sensation. Everyone was talking about this phenomenal love story.

Every young actress in Hollywood, from Michelle Pfeiffer to Jane Seymour, wanted to play the main character, Meggie Cleary. The role eventually went to Rachel Ward.

Even Audrey Hepburn almost received a role in the movie, but that part eventually went to legendary movie star Barbara Stanwyck.

In my opinion, The Thorn Birds is one of the best mini-series in American television history. It is not simply a movie, it is an experience.

The acting, especially channeled through Richard Chamberlain, is incredibly powerful. The message is inspiring.

I'll be honest, the first half of the series is a tad slow, because it is mostly character development. The second half picks up pace immediately.

Growing up, I had always heard that The Thorn Birds novel was a must-read. Now that I have seen the mini-series, I simply have to pick up the novel at my local bookstore.

After all, I'm a sucker for romance.

While watching this mini-series, I became drawn to the main actress, Rachel Ward. She is incredibly beautiful and flawlessly played the role of Meggie.

Rachel's biography fascinates me.

She was born into British aristocracy in 1957. As a teenager living in London, she modeled and dated David Kennedy, the nephew of President John F. Kennedy.

After modeling, Rachel ventured into acting.

Although her first major acting role in The Thorn Birds secured a fairly successful career for Rachel, she acknowledges that she was disappointed with her treatment in Hollywood.

Rachel was a beautiful girl who was treated as a beautiful girl, rather than an actress. Directors always encouraged her to show more cleavage, rather than show more talent. So, as a young woman, acting was a bittersweet journey.

While on set of The Thorn Birds, Rachel met her soulmate, the Australian actor Bryan Brown. They quickly married the same year the mini-series was released on television.

Rachel moved out to Australia with her new husband and made it her home.

While Rachel still acts occasionally, she also participates in the behind-the-scene aspects of filmmaking.

In 2005, she was was made a Member of the Order of Australia "for service to raising awareness of social justice through lobbying, mentoring and advocacy for the rights of disadvantaged and at-risk young people, and support for the Australian film and television industry."

She also is a director and screenwriter.

On a personal note, Rachel and her husband, Bryan, are still happily married after 28 years. They have three children.

I have never seen Rachel in any other film before. Have you?

If you find this mini-series at your local library or stumble upon it while browsing Netflix, I highly recommend you check it out.

It may make your heart race.


M said...

I used to LOVE that show! My mom didn't think it was appropriate for a 9-year-old, but me and my best friend would secretly watch it on video every afternoon after school (her mom had the whole series on tape) and we both wanted to be Meggie... good times. :)

Meri said...

We had the vhs tapes (off of the TV) at my house when I was little. When I was younger, I wanted to watch them but wasn't allowed too, and then I thought I was too cool by the time I was old enough to watch it haha! I love your reviews they are so thorough!

Asta said...

hmmnn..interesting..i like how you research about the lead actor after you watch their movies..i tend to do that too..i am def going to look out for this one..thanks Jen.

Fashion, Art and other fancies said...

I watched this show when I lived in America. Nice to see it featured here. Have a nice weekend and hope you are well.xx

2012fashionfencer said...

So interesting! I'm gonna have to check this out. Plus, she's still GORGEOUS!
Great post.

Laura @ Beauty, Not Bullshit

lifeontherocks said...

the mini-series sounds great. would love to check it out and hey its even more great to know that she has a strong marriage too...28 yrs....long time, happy & together, now thats what I call true romance....

Josie said...

This sounds so good! I may have to drag through the beginning to hit the end; it sounds like it gets super good!
xo Josie

FishHawk said...

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Jewellery Bijou said...

I love this show,even now sometimes I watch,I think I am too romantic!
have a lovely weekend!

Sarah said...

My mum loved this show, and I got it for her on DVD a few years ago! It really is more like a film than a T.V series

Vintage Vixen said...

I loved this show when I was a teenager. xxx

Oh to Be a Muse said...

i've never heard of this show, but Rachel is beautiful!

Francesca R said...

I loved that TV show! i also read the book. But this time the TV show is better than the book!

Olga said...

I have read the book first and then watched the miniseries. Since that was a long, long time ago, I remember being under such a strong impression. You could compare it to reading Lady Chatterley's Lover.

Bonnie said...

I have never heard of this show. Really, unless it is "Jersey Shore," I probably haven't heard of it.
I kid.
I'm actually very up on my pop culture.
Because I have nothing better to do.
P.S. I may have a crush on Rachel Ward now.
Twitter: @GlamKitten88

Fashion.MakeUp.LifeStyle said...

Interesting and now I must check it out myself..the mini series sounds great!!


Bonnie said...

And we want to road trip to KC?????
I smell a double date!
Twitter: @GlamKitten88

a woman's right to shoes said...

I love your post about old films and actors. Your posts always make me want to watch the films =)

Mallory In New York said...

Wow!! That sounds amazing... I've herd the same thing about the book, but I've never read it. Now I want to see the series!!

JUST ME said...

I always wanted to read that least that's one Catholic priest love story that doesn't end with someone getting arrested.

Womp womp.

Couture Carrie said...

I am a romantic too :)
Will have to check this one out!


Katherines Corner said...

What a lovely post. I enjoyed that movie too. I had the vhs tape but sadly donated it a while back.Hugs and Happy Friday!

Ashley/ MILK TEETHS said...

You always introduce me to the best stuff, seriously now. I'm going to have to find a way to watch this, it sounds so interesting (Australia in the 1920s? I'm into it.) :)

Miksu said...

Someday I'm really gonna take a break and watch all the movies and series that you have told about! :)


Venus In Virgo said...

AHH!!! This brings back memories! I was a little tater tot and had to sneak into the living room under the table to watch this when it was on because this wasn't suitable materials for kids back then. It also goes to show how kids rule the world now with all the gratuitous sex and violence there allowed to watch. Have a great weekend XOXO

Kellie W. said...

I've never heard of this before, but it sounds amazing! It's going onto my download list!

StyleID said...

Beautiful woman, I find it great that she is still married to the same man after 28 yrs, we all know how it goes for people from the 'industry'.
I am fascinated with the hairdos and dresses from that time, they are so sexy. said...

thanks for the recommend,finally is a love history. love your post!

Cat said...

Interesting! I never heard of this but now am intrigued :)

xx Cat brideblu

Courtney Erin said...

Would you believe that I still haven't seen this? My friends have all raved about it to me and I always put off actually watching it. Okay, I need to see it!

xoxo ~ Courtney

Tara said...

nice movie review , love her hair style ;)

yiqin; said...

Omg i need to check it out.

Anonymous said...

so interesting post dear! I read it so slow because I liked it so much!

Cafe Fashionista said...

I have never before heard of this show; but oh, you have piqued my interest, Jennifer! I am off to check it out STAT!

Ashley said...

I've never heard of this film. I'll have to check it out now.:) xx

Abby said...

This makes me want to check out the miniseries!
Thanks for you insightful comment on my change guest post btw, change is such a tricky thing ;)
Love your blog!

le sorelle said...

I've heard a lot about the series, but have never watched it! Maybe I will now. I think the actors' personal story is so cute, though - how they found each other and are still happily married!

Thanks for visiting us, looking forward to future posts!

-j, your newest follower :)
sorelle in style

heather @ mrs. southern bride said...

I've never heard of it, but it sounds interesting! And what a great love story.

David L Macaulay said...

Upstairs Downstairs and the Thorn Birds - OMG, you are into all those shows my mother was into, I don't mean that to sound derogarory as they were good shows. So that makes it Pennies from Heaven by Dennis Potter next.

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

I remember watching part of it. It was pretty intense then (perhaps even now?) and wo well acted by Richard Chamberlain.
You always pick such great movies! Have a lovely weekend!

Chic 'n Cheap Living

*Glam Chameleon* said...

Oh I was watching this serial, many many years ago... That is a story, it captivates u completely!!:) And here I agree with u my dear completely- highly recommended!!

Diego R. Wyatt said...

Rachel Ward is gorgeous. I've also seen her in "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" as well. She's done tons an tons of TV movies though.


Dilan Dilir said...

nice post :D

Crazy Little World Of Mine said...

Love The Thorn Birds. I watched it when I was little (like right when it got released) and when I was old enough to actually understand what happens in this mini movie/show I loved it even more. :)
It is not just a movie, yes, it is an experience. I have it now on DVD but used to have on VHS. So much for my addiction. And I love Rachel, and thanks to you know what she's been up to. I knew she married her costar and had three children but nothing beyond that. Thanks for the update! :)

Katie said...

Sounds like fascinating story, that once again I have never heard of. She looks great, even in the older pictures as well.

Rocky Fjord said...

So, well, it's been awhile since anyone posted -- don't even know if this will fly or will come to anyone's attention? But if the original author of this site is such
a Thornbird fan [as I am also], I hope she might be able to track something down for me? I want to know the total number of scenes shot for the entire series? Gone With the Wind had 618, so Thornbirds must have
had a thousand or more? Can you help with this. I then want to figure the average number of scenes
per broadcast, and per hour of actual time? Thanks if you can help. or

Anonymous said...

Hi, the TV series is based on the book by Australian author Colleen McCulloch. Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward are still married after 30 years and still live in Sydney. When interviewed by Andrew Denton, Rachel described Bryan as having 'saved' her. Still remember how she barely managed to keep her emotions in check when speaking about him. True love. So romantic.

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