Samson & Delilah


Aboriginal teenagers Samson and Delilah live in an isolated community outside Alice Springs, about 1,500 kms south of Darwin. Delilah spends her days caring for and painting with her Nana, Samson is a chronic petrol sniffer who has cast his eyes on Delilah.

When Delilah is blamed by community women for her Nana's death and violence intervenes in the teenagers' lives, they steal a communal car and head for Alice Springs, a place no safer than their community.

They shelter under a bridge in the town's dry river bed and Samson's sniffing and isolation worsen. Delilah is traumatised by two terrible events and their future seems bleak.

As they discover how harsh life can be for a pair of homeless kids, they also fall in love.

Samson & Delilah resonates with truth and will open the eyes of all those who mistakenly believe the hard-won apology given by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made life better for the first inhabitants.

It's my life—everything in that film I've seen and I wanted to show the world what Alice Springs is like. It has the most beautiful angels and the most evil devils.

— Warwick Thornton, director of Samson & Delilah

Making Samson & Delilah

Don't miss the Making of Samson and Delilah, a documentary by Beck Cole.

Australian cinema is never going to be the same.

— At The Movies program

Samson and Delilah is a powerfully confronting film which presents the complexities and realities of everyday life for many young Indigenous people.

— Scott Wilson, Chairman, Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation

Hopefully [Samson & Delilah] will serve as a wake up call to the continuing apathy displayed by the dominant culture in this country toward the plight of disadvantaged Aborigines.

— Review on

This groundbreaking, moving film brings [a reality] to the many Australians who don't have a clue just how tough life must be for Indigenous Australians.

— Review on Cinephilia

It's a remarkable achievement in cinema and steps beyond what most filmmakers are trying to achieve.

— Aden Young, actor



Marissa Gibson - Delilah
Rowan MacNamara - Samson
Mitjili Gibson - Nana
Scott Thornton - Gonzo
The Desert Mulga Band - The verandah band
Release dates
8 May 2009 - Australia
22 April 2010 - Netherlands
Video/DVD release date
25 November 2009 - Australia; 21 June 2010 - UK
Audience Award: Best Feature - Adelaide Film Festival 2009 Best First Film - Camera d'Or for first time filmmakers, Cannes film festival 2009 Major Australian Writer's Guild (AWGIE) award 2009 (most outstanding Australian script) and AWGIE Original Feature Film award 2009 SHOWTIME Inside Film Best Film Award 2009 Best Feature Film - Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) 2009 2009 Film of the Year - Catholic Film Office Best Film, Best Direction, Best Original Screenplay - Australian Film Industry Awards 2009
MA 15+ - Mature accompanied
Footprint Films (Australia)
Various artists

This is Warwick Thornton's first feature film.

Warwick is from the Katej people of Central Australia and grew up in Alice Springs.

Gonzo is played by Thornton's real-life alcoholic brother Scott whose nickname actually is 'Gonzo'.

Warwick has trouble spelling because he didn't go to school. His wife transcribed the manuscript.

Warwick Thornton's nickname Prince of Darkness comes from his love to use as few lights as possible.

The main character's names reflect that because of the missions Aboriginal people have a lot of biblical names.

The Making of Samson & Delilah was shot by Aboriginal director Beck Cole.


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Cite this page

Korff, J 2019, Samson & Delilah, <>, retrieved 20 July 2024

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