The Thorn Birds

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ABC (ended 1983)

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8.7
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The Thorn Birds

Show Summary

Based on Colleen McCullough's famous 1977 novel of the same name, this dramatic miniseries followed members of the Cleary family in Australia from 1920 to 1962. Controversial in nature due to the depiction of a love affair between a Catholic priest and a lay woman, this miniseries was highly rated and hugely successful, having won a Golden Globe award in 1983.
Christopher Plummer

Christopher Plummer

Archbishop Contini-Verchese

Barbara Stanwyck

Barbara Stanwyck

Mary Carson

Piper Laurie

Piper Laurie

Anne Mueller

Richard Chamberlain

Richard Chamberlain

Father Ralph de Bricassart

Jean Simmons

Jean Simmons

Fiona Cleary

Richard Kiley

Richard Kiley

Paddy Cleary

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A charming and heat-breaking miniseries...

    9.5
    I remember when this aired during my senior year in college, a period of television transition when the age of the miniseries had peaked and was on its way out as the night-time soaps began to take center stage. Still this story came along and recaptured the spirit of the rambling romance novel (as this was based on one). And thanks to the somewhat controversial subject matter chronicling the life an ambitious priest whose faith and vows are put to the test regarding what he wanted more - the love of God or the love of a woman, this miniseries was quickly propelled to near the top of the all-time most-watched ratings, 2nd only to "Roots" as the most-watched miniseries of all time.



    There was certainly an attachment that the audience made to the characters, most notably the priest Ralph de Bricassart, expertly played by miniseries king Richard Chamberlain, and the young woman who wove herself into his life, Meggie Cleary, played by Rachel Ward. When viewed nearly 25 years ago, I like millions of others was captivated.



    Interestingly enough, although I think I may have rewatched a re-airing not long after, since then, I have not seen this miniseries in over 20 years. It was cathartic in a way, to be able to review it again, but this time critically. Even with the somewhat stilted dialog and sometimes theatric performances, the story still resonates and manages to fully illustrate the type of manipulation that people often do to others that can cause great opportunities or great pain and frustration over generations.



    Although I may end up rating the episodes lower or higher as I see them, I would still rate the overall miniseries very highly as it is but a sum of its parts and together it sets out to tell an emotional roller coaster of a story and does so quite well.moreless
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Drama