The Thorn Birds

Season 1 Episode 1

Episode 1

0
Aired Unknown Mar 27, 1983 on ABC
8.1
out of 10
User Rating
6 votes
1

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Episode Summary

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When the wealthy but now elderly owner of a large sheep farm in the outback of Australia realizes that her affections towards a banished but ambitious young priest will never be returned, she sets out to manipulate his life and career from the grave once she discovers him giving his attention to her young niece instead.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • The kick-off episode that introduces the main players and sets a chess game in motion...

    8.5
    In this first installment, the characters and their backgrounds are laid out - although not in as sophisticated a fashion as other introductory pieces have had. Richard Chamberlain gives a stand-out performance as Father Ralph de Bricassart, however some of his dialog is a bit stiff and preachy, not allowing for him to do his best at retorts or subtlty, except in a few notable scenes. Barbara Stanwyk performs as if on the stage and not on television, although her character is carefully developed to be the nemesis of the miniseries, and her acting rises to the challenge to convey mean and nasty and manipulative to the core.



    Kudos go out to the choice of scenery, costumes, and sets, and the cinematography is excellent in capturing the vastness of the ranch (although the miniseries was not filmed in Australia).



    All in all a good episode but it could have been better with some tweaking of the dialog.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Ralph: How you do love the illusion of your own power. Don't make me pity you.
      Mary: Pity me? Pity me?! Ho ho. Do you doubt I can't make you writhe yet? Do you think I can't make you sell yourself like a painted whore before I'm finished with you?
      Ralph: I don't doubt you'll try but take care - In trying so hard to destroy my soul, you may lose your own. If there's still one there to lose.
      Mary: Or still one there to destroy.

    • Ralph: Meggie, for each of us there comes a time when he must search for the things he thinks he needs above all else, no matter what it costs.
      Meggie: You mean the things that will make him happy?
      Ralph: Happy. (pauses sadly before continuing) There's a story, a legend about a bird that sings just once in its life. The moment it leaves its nest, it searches for a thorn tree and never rests until it's found one. And then it sings more sweetly than any creature on the face of the earth. And singing, it impales itself on the longest, sharpest thorn. But as it dies, it rises above its own agony to out-sing the lark and the nightingale. The thorn bird pays its life for just one song. But the whole world stills to listen, and God in his heaven smiles.
      Meggie: What does it mean Father?
      Ralph: That the best is bought only at the cost of great pain.

    • Ralph: (angrily to Meggie after banging his fist on a table) I'll never have what I want! Never be what I want! And I don't know how to stop wanting!

    • Ralph: (to young Meggie while hugging her in her new bedroom) Oh why do you tug so at my heart? Why do you fill that space God can't fill?

    • Mary: (to Ralph and Meggie) Ahhh. God is in this woolroom. All is right with the world.
      Ralph: And why not? He did choose a stable once.
      Mary: Oh now come on Ralph. That's a bit precious. Except why not? Why not make this the epicenter of the papal map and then, then you could be Cardinal after all.
      Ralph: And what would that make you? Surely not the Pope?
      Mary: Oh no no, that's too dull. Satan perhaps. That's more interesting.
      Ralph: And more powerful.
      Mary: Well every heaven needs one just to stay in business.
      Ralph: You argue like a Jesuit.
      Mary: Well isn't it true? Without Satan, there's no struggle and it's the struggle that keeps us alive.
      Ralph: Oh no. What keeps us alive is the point of that struggle, the hope of attaining perfection.
      Mary: Well if by perfection you mean heaven. But you have to die to get there, don't you?
      Ralph: Sometimes Mary, I think you're after my very soul.
      Mary: I am, unless it's already been taken.

  • NOTES (5)

    • The Thorn Birds is the 2nd highest rated miniseries in the U.S. surpassed only by the 1977 miniseries Roots.

    • Production costs for The Thorn Birds have been estimated to be $21 million U.S. dollars.

    • In 1984, The Thorn Birds won 4 Golden Globe Awards including:

      "Best Mini-Series Or Motion Picture Made for Television"
      "Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television" (Richard Chamberlain)
      "Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television" (Barbara Stanwyk)
      "Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television" (Richard Kiley)

      The Thorn Birds had been nominated for 8 Golden Globe Awards including:

      "Best Mini-Series Or Motion Picture Made for Television"
      "Best Performance by an Actress In A Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television"
      "Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television"
      "Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television" (3 nominations)
      "Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television" (2 nominations)

    • In 1983, The Thorn Birds won 6 Emmy awards including:

      "Outstanding Achievement in Makeup"
      "Outstanding Art Direction for a Limited Series or a Special"
      "Outstanding Film Editing for a Limited Series or a Special"
      "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Special"
      "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Special"
      "Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Special"

      The Thorn Birds had been nominated for 16 Emmy Awards including:

      "Outstanding Achievement in Makeup"
      "Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for a Lmited Series or Special (dramatic underscore)"
      "Outstanding Art Direction for a Limited Series or a Special"
      "Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited Series"
      "Outstanding Costume Design for a Limited Series or a Special"
      "Outstanding Directing in a Limited Series or a Special"
      "Outstanding Film Editing for a Limited Series or a Special" (2 nominations)
      "Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Special"
      "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Special"
      "Outstanding Limited Series"
      "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Special" (3 nominations)
      "Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Special" (2 nominations)

    • The Thorn Birds was filmed on location in California and in Hawaii.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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