Tim (film)

Last updated

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Pate
Written byMichael Pate
Based on Tim
by Colleen McCullough
Produced byMichael Pate
CinematographyPaul Onorato
Edited byDavid Stiven
Music byEric Jupp
Distributed by Greater Union Film Distributors
Release date
  • 13 July 1979 (1979-07-13)
Running time
109 minutes
BudgetA$600,000 [1]
Box officeA$809,000 (Australia)

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



Tim is the story of the developing relationship between Mary Horton, an older, educated and wealthy American woman who lives on her own, and Tim Melville, a handsome, developmentally impaired 24-year-old builder's labourer, whom she hires. Tim lives with his sister, Dawnie, who is a year older than he is, and their parents Ron and Emily. Dawnie marries her boyfriend, Mick Harrington. 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 the Australian Film Commission, the NSW Film Corporation, Greater Union and Channel Nine.


Filming took six weeks in August and September 1978. [1]


Tim has its premiere on 13 July 1979 at GUO's Russell Cinemas, Melbourne and was released in Sydney on 21 September 1979. 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] The film was originally released in the U.S. on 17 September 1981. [5]

Home media

The film was available in many markets, with it originally released on VHS and on DVD. When released on home media in 1984, it was given a PG classification. [6] It was first released in Australia on DVD in 2003 by Magna Pacific with an extra feature of an eighteen-minute interview with the director. [3] A 30th Anniversary Edition DVD was released in the United States in 2009 by Peace Arch Trinity. [7] In May 2011, Germany released it on Blu-ray Disc with little bonus material. [8]


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.

Box office

Tim grossed $809,000 at the box office in Australia, [9] which is equivalent to $3,163,190 in 2009 dollars.

Critical response

William Thomas of Empire gave Tim 4 out of 5 stars, highly praising Gibson’s role stating that "Gibson sensitively portrays Tim without resorting to the usual facial tics associated with this type of role, and, even when a romance begins to develop between the pair, the film rarely slides into cliché." [10] Vincent Canby of The New York Times gave it a mixed review saying "Tim is the sort of movie that poses a question not likely to be raised by anyone you know: Can a beautiful, 40-ish woman, who is successful in business and remarkably stable in her emotional life, find happiness with a handsome young man, approximately half her age, who hasn't - as he puts it - a full quid?" He summed up the film with "Considering the patent sillinesses of the material, Miss Laurie and Mr. Gibson do very well, and the supporting performers, especially Mr. Kurts, are fine." [5]


AwardDate of ceremonyCategoryRecipient(s) and nominee(s)ResultRef(s)
AACTA Awards 1979 Best Actor in a Leading Role Mel GibsonWon [11]
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Pat EvisonWon [11]
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Alywn KurtsWon [11]
AWGIE Awards 1981Best screenplayMichael PateWon [12]


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

See also

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  1. 1 2 David Stratton, The Last New Wave: The Australian Film Revival, Angus & Robertson, 1980 p334
  2. 1 2 Peter Beilby & Scott Murray, "Michael Pate", Cinema Papers, May–June 1979 p347-349, 401
  3. 1 2 "Tim (1979)". Oz movies. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  4. "Tim (35mm) Public Exhibition". Australian Classification Board. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  5. 1 2 Canby, Vincent (17 September 1981). "Film: Tim, A Romantic Drama From Australia". The New York Times . Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  6. "TIM (VIDEOTAPE) Film – Sale/Hire" . Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  7. "Tim 30th Anniversary Edition DVD". Blu-ray.com. 2009. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  8. "Tim Blu-ray Germany KNM Home Entertainment". 12 May 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  9. Film Victoria – Australian Films at the Australian Box Office
  10. Thomas, William (1 January 2000). "Tim review". Empire . Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  11. 1 2 3 "AACTA AWARDS – 1979 Winners and Nominees". aacta.org. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  12. Stanley, Raymond (15 September 1979). "'Alice' to set TV landmark". Screen International . p. 9.