Tim (film)

Tim is a 1979 Australian romantic drama film written and directed by Michael Pate and starring Piper Laurie, Mel Gibson, Alwyn Kurts, Pat Evison, and Deborah Kennedy. It was based on the 1974 novel of the same name by Colleen McCullough.

Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Pate
Produced byMichael Pate
Written byMichael Pate
Based onnovel by Colleen McCullough
StarringPiper Laurie
Mel Gibson
Alwyn Kurts
Pat Evison
Deborah Kennedy
CinematographyPaul Onorato
Distributed byGreater Union Film Distributors
Release date
  • July 13, 1979 (1979-07-13)
Running time
109 minutes
Box officeA$809,000 (Australia)


Tim is the story of the developing relationship between an older, educated and wealthy American woman, Mary Horton (played by Piper Laurie) who lives on her own and a handsome, developmentally impaired 24-year-old builder's labourer, Tim Melville (played by Mel Gibson), whom she hires. Tim lives with his sister, Dawnie (Deborah Kennedy), who is a year older than he is, and their parents Ron (Alwyn Kurts) and Emily (Pat Evison). Dawnie marries her boyfriend, Mick Harrington (David Foster). Dawnie and Mick make clear they dislike Mary and oppose her relationship with Tim, but do not state their reason for feeling that way. Tim eventually marries Mary.


Michael Pate first read the book in 1975 and was immediately taken by it. He optioned the screen rights to the book, wrote the screenplay, and decided to direct.[2]

Pate wanted the female lead played by an international actor and spoke with Deborah Kerr, Jean Simmons and Glenda Jackson. Jackson was interested but was not available until 1982 so Piper Laurie was cast instead.[2]

Funding came from Australian Film Commission, the NSW Film Corporation, Greater Union and Channel Nine. Filming took six weeks in August and September 1978.[1]


Tim was released in Sydney on the 21 September 1979; with the premiere on 13 July 1979 at GUO's Russell Cinemas, Melbourne. In an interview with the Sun-Herald on 20 September 1979, Pate said that the film had run for 12 weeks in Sydney.[3] On 1 April 1979, the Australian Classification Board announced that the film would receive a PG certificate rating.[4]

Home media

The film is in print in many markets, with it originally released on VHS and then on DVD. When released on home media in 1984, it was given a PG classification.[5] In Australia, it was first released on DVD in 2003 by Magna Pacific with an extra feature of an eighteen-minute interview with the director.[6] In Germany it was released on Blu-ray in May 2011 with little bonus material.[7]


The film was one of Gibson's first roles, and was moderately successful in Australia, earning Gibson an award at the 21st Australian Film Institute Awards for Best Actor. Kurts and Evison also won Best Supporting Actor and Actress awards respectively.

The film was remade for American television as Mary and Tim in 1996, starring Candice Bergen and Tom McCarthy in the lead roles.

Box office

Tim grossed $809,000 at the box office in Australia,[8] which is equivalent to $3,163,190 in 2009 dollars.

Critical response


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref(s)
AACTA Awards 1979 Best Actor in a Leading Role Mel Gibson Won [9]
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Pat Evison Won [10]
Best actor in a Supporting Role Alywn Kurts Won [11]

See also


  1. David Stratton, The Last New Wave: The Australian Film Revival, Angus & Robertson, 1980 p334
  2. Peter Beilby & Scott Murray, "Michael Pate", Cinema Papers, May–June 1979 p347-349, 401
  3. Oz movies | Tim (1979)
  4. TIM(35MM) | Review - Public Exhibition
  5. TIM(VIDEOTAPE) | Film - Sale/Hire
  6. Oz movies | Tim (1979)
  7. Tim Blu-ray | Germany | KNM Home Entertainment | 1979 | 108 min | Rated FSK-6 | May 12, 2011
  8. Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office
  9. AACTA AWARDS - 1979 | Winners and Nominees
  10. AACTA AWARDS - 1979 | Winners and Nominees
  11. AACTA AWARDS - 1979 | Winners and Nominees
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