The Sapphires

March 22nd 2013
  • Historical/Musical,
  • PG-13,
  • 103 min,
  • The Weinstein Company
  • Cast: Chris O'Dowd, Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens, Miranda Tapsell, Tory Kittles, Eka Darville, Tanika Lonesborough, Nioka Brennan, Lynette Narkle, Kylie Belling, Tammy Anderson, Miah Madden, Ava Jean Miller-Porter, Carlin Briggs, Gregory J. Fryer, Koby Murray, Hunter Page-Lochard, Meyne Wyatt, Judith Lucy, Annette Hodgson, Tom Whitechurch, Georgina Haig, Rhys Muldoon, Don Battee, Cleave Williams, Martin Farrugia, Ben Rodgers, Jasper Sarkodee, T.J. Power
  • Director: Wayne Blair
  • Writers: Tony Briggs, Keith Thompson
  • Producers: Rosemary Blight, Kylie Du Fresne
  • Associate Producers: Tony Briggs, Lauren Edwards
  • Executive Producers: Ben Grant, Soon Kie Lee, John Sim, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Tristan Whalley
  • Art Direction: Janie Parker
  • Castings: Nikki Barrett, Randi Hiller, Tamara Notcutt, Natalie Wall
  • Costume Design: Tess Schofield
  • D.O.P.: Warwick Thornton
  • Editor: Dany Cooper
  • Makeup: Nikki Gooley
  • Music: Cezary Skubiszewski
  • Production Design: Melinda Doring
  • Set Decoration: Glen W. Johnson


Inspired by a true story, "The Sapphires" follows four vivacious, young and talented Australian Aboriginal girls from a remote mission as they learn about love, friendship and war when their all girl group The Sapphires entertains the U.S. troops in Vietnam in 1968. Cynthia (Tapsell), Gail (Mailman), Julie (Mauboy) and Kay (Sebbens) are discovered by Dave (O'Dowd), a good-humored talent scout with a kind heart, very little rhythm but a great knowledge of soul music. As their manager, Dave books the sisters their first true gig giving them their first taste of stardom, and travels them to Vietnam to sing for the American troops.

Basic Information

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Filming Locations: Albury, Australia; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Sydney, Australia
  • MPAA Warning: Sexuality, a scene of war violence, some language, thematic elements and smoking
  • Production Budget: $10 million
  • Production Companies: Goalpost Pictures
  • Production Schedule: August 2011 - October 2011

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2012 Guide Analysis: "An Australian "Dreamgirls"? Tony Briggs created the original stage play which ran in 2004 & 2005 before a revival in 2010 and tells the true story of the MacCrae sisters, Aboriginal singers in the late 60's. It's an interesting point in history to set the film, a time in Australian culture when discrimination was rife but intense lobbying for equal rights and legislative change was also taking place.

Set in 1969, a year after the referendum gave citizenship rights to Aborigines, it follows a singing group of four Koori women and singers who toured Vietnam for U.S. troops during the war. Though political at points, the play is mostly focused on the personal story of these women and mixes both fact and fictional events into a celebratory and upbeat tale.

The songs of this musical are mostly Motown hits with covers of numbers by Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and James Brown. One traditional Aboriginal number, Ngarra Burra Ferra, is slipped in and ties in with a major character moment - one of the few somber numbers in the otherwise energetic albeit predictable little story.

"Bridesmaids" and "The IT Crowd" actor Chris O'Dowd plays the group's manager while frequent Aussie TV actress Deborah Mailman, who played a role in the original 2005 stage production, reprises it here. With its big crowd-pleasing tone, the hope is to lure audiences in the same way that 2010's Geoffrey Rush-led musical "Bran Nue Dae" proved a surprise hit in Australia."

Trailers & Clips

Worldwide Release Dates

  • 8 August 2012: France
  • 9 August 2012: Australia
  • 4 October 2012: New Zealand
  • 7 November 2012: Ireland, UK
  • 13 June 2013: Netherlands
  • 20 June 2013: Germany