The Nostradamus Kid

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The Nostradamus Kid
The Nostradamus Kid.jpg
Directed by Bob Ellis
Produced byTerry Jennings
Written by Bob Ellis
Starring Noah Taylor
Miranda Otto
Music by Chris Neal
CinematographyGeoff Burton
Edited byHenry Dangar
Distributed byBeyond (Australia)
Release date
  • October 1992 (1992-10)
Running time
120 minutes
BudgetA$4 million (est.) [1]
Box officeA$242,800 (Australia)

The Nostradamus Kid is a 1992 Australian feature film written and directed by Bob Ellis.


The film is about the religious and sexual coming of age of a 1950s and 1960s Seventh-day Adventist boy. Ken Elkin (Noah Taylor) is a "randy young man" who is told that the world is about to end. In a race against time, there's only one goal he wants to accomplish—bedding the love of his life, who just happens to be the local pastor's daughter.

It was nominated for two AFI Awards: Best Screenplay, Original & Best Achievement in Costume Design.


The project had been around for a number of years since David Puttnam suggested Bob Ellis turn his upbringing into a film and hired him to write it in 1979. [2] Ellis:

It was quite an amazing experience, written against his impatience in 11 days in a shed that I rented two houses up, written out of memory and written with a great deal of anguish because I realised what a fool I'd been all my life and I was continuing to be the same kind of fool in the same kind of ways. [3]

It was originally announced that it would be made in the early 1980s with Paul Cox as director, Patric Juillet and Jane Ballantyne as producer, and Robert Menzies and Sarah Walker in the lead roles. [4] Later on John Duigan, Carl Schultz and Chris McGill were attached as directors. Phillip Adams, who was to produce with Puttnam, said "we couldn't raise the dough. It was obliterated during the 10BA rush because it wasn't expensive enough." [5] Ellis then became a director and wanted to make it himself. He eventually succeeded in raising the money through the FFC. [6]

Another actor was originally cast in the lead role but the FFC had reservations and suggested Ellis look further. He ended up casting Noah Taylor. "He was much less the sort of soft wimp that I'd assumed, and it was one of the happiest experiences I've ever had, working with him and those wonderful young actors," says Ellis. [3]

The original cut was 148 minutes but Ellis got it down to 122 minutes. He then reduced it to under two hours, but thought losing those last two minutes hurt the film. [3]


According to Ozmovies:

The Nostradamus Kid opened to decidedly mixed reviews, with some appreciating the film’s idiosyncratic, eccentric tone - befitting a priapic Seventh Day Adventist fearing the apocalypse - and others finding it a tedious bore with more than dubiously suspect sexual politics. [7]

Box office

The Nostradamus Kid grossed $242,800 at the box office in Australia. [8] Ellis:

It ended up opening in October when all the kids who might have otherwise gone to see it were studying for exams and so on. So it didn't quite break out. It was dogged at every turn by The Piano (1993), which I both detest and resent because it is a conscienceless piece of American betrayal of a story that wasn't very good in the first place. [3]

Home media

The Nostradamus Kid was released on Region 4 PAL DVD by Beyond Home Entertainment in 2010. The DVD includes no extra features.

DVD nameDiscsRegion 4 (Australia)DVD special features
The Nostradamus Kid1YesNone

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  1. Andrew L. Urban, "Bob Ellis' The Nostradamus Kid", Cinema Papers, January 1992 p12-17
  2. Richard Brennan, "Bob Ellis", Cinema Papers, Cinema Papers, Oct-Nov 1980 p386
  3. 1 2 3 4 Interview with Bob Ellis, 13 August 1996 Archived 24 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine accessed 14 October 2012
  4. David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry, Pan MacMillan, 1990 p124
  5. Helen Barlow, "The Australian Film Finance Corporation", Cinema Papers, August 1991 p39
  6. "The World According To Ellis". Filmnews . 23 (7). New South Wales, Australia. 1 October 1993. p. 8. Retrieved 5 May 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  7. 'The Nostradamus Kid' at Ozmovies, accessed 26 October 2017.
  8. Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office