The Tracker


In 1922, the tracker has the job of tracking an Aboriginal suspected of murdering a white woman and leads a police office (the fanatic), his offsider (the follower) and a seconded assistant (the veteran) across the outback.

The journey descends into an acrimonious and murderous trek that shifts power from one man to another, challenged by the indigenous people they come across - as well as each other.

What I like best is that during violent scenes a painting is shown. You can still hear the scuffles, but you never see the violence. Great technique.

He tracked a guy... and told me he'd been carrying a torch and that it had happened at night time. I mean, how the hell could he have known that?... When we found the body at the bottom of a mine shaft - there it was with a torch. — Robert Primrose, retired superintendent, talking about Aboriginal tracker Jonny Grey [1]

The Tracker trailer


David Gulpilil - tracker
Gary Sweet - fanatic
Damon Gameau - follower
Grant Page - veteran
Noel Wilton - fugitive
Release dates
August 8th, 2002 - Australia
First shown in March on the 2002 Adelaide Festival of the Arts.
Best Feature Film (2002 Lexus IF Awards) Best actor (Yalumba IF Award) Best music (BMG IF Award) Best picture, best director, best original screenplay, best editing, best music, best cinematography (2002 Australian Film Critics Awards) Best film, best actor, best music score, best cinematography (2002 Film Critics Circle of Australia)
M - Mature
Fandango (international), The Globe Group (Australia), IntraMovie (international sales)
Graham Tardif

The soundtrack features 10 original songs performed by Award-winning musician Archie Roach. CD released through Festival Mushroom Records on August 12, 2002.

Another great film by Heer is Ten Canoes (2006).

An article of The Blurb reports that artist Peter Coad was commissioned to paint 14 landscape and figurative works for inclusion in the film, a first for an Australian film. The paintings are used ingeniously to cover violence in the film, a method that works to both soften the impact of the actions, and also make them so much more powerful.

Watch now

Note: Film might not be available at all suppliers.

Find "The Tracker" on DVD or BluRay

Disclosure: I get commissions for purchases made through some of the below links.

Browse Aboriginal film suppliers and distributors

Other films by Rolf de Heer

Explore more Aboriginal movies

Explore movie history with the Aboriginal film timeline.

Take the quiz: Are you an Aboriginal movie buff?


View article sources (0)

[1] 'Memorial for great tracker', Koori Mail 430 p.5

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2019, The Tracker, <>, retrieved 9 August 2020

Knowledge is better when your friends know too.
Whom can you help today?

"The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself." — Oscar Wilde

Join thousands of Smart Owls who know more!