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Dawn! is a 1979 Australian sports biopic about the three-time Olympic gold medallist swimmer Dawn Fraser, who served as technical adviser for the production, it starring Bronwyn Mackay Payne and Bunney Brooke, written by Joy Cavill and directed by Ken Hannam. The film was entered into the 11th Moscow International Film Festival.[2]

Dawn! 1979 Movie Poster.jpg
Original release poster
Directed byKen Hannam
Written byJoy Cavill
StarringBronwyn Mackay-Payne
Ron Haddrick
Bunny Brooke
Tom Richards
Ivar Kants
Music byMichael Carlos
CinematographyRussell Boyd
Edited byMax Lemon
Distributed byHoyts Distribution (Australia)
Release date
  • 8 March 1979 (1979-03-08) (USA)
  • 19 March 1979 (1979-03-19) (Australia)
Running time
109 minutes



The film deals with Dawn Fraser's rise to fame as a champion Olympic swimmer, her anti-authoritarian clashes with Australian Swimming officials, her triumphs, marriage and eventual divorce.



The film was produced by Joy Cavill who had previously made a documentary, The Dawn Fraser Story (1964).

In the 1970s Cavill wrote a script based on Fraser's life and showed it to Jill Robb and John Morris of the South Australian Film Corporation. They agrees to put up $250,000 and raise the balance of the money in exchange for 50% of the profits.[1]

The lead, Bronwyn Mackay-Payne, was cast after a search that involved interviewing 1,200 girls and screen testing ten. Mackay-Payne had never acted before.[3]

Shooting began on 19 September 1977 and went for ten weeks, with studio work in Adelaide and location shooting in Balmain, Sydney, Melbourne Olympic Stadium, and Tokyo.[1]


The film performed disappointingly at the box office.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d David Stratton, The Last New Wave: The Australian Film Revival, Angus & Robertson, 1980 p111-113
  2. ^ "11th Moscow International Film Festival (1979)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 3 April 2014. Retrieved 2013-01-18.
  3. ^ "LIFE STYLE". The Canberra Times. 17 June 1977. p. 9. Retrieved 20 December 2014 – via National Library of Australia.

External linksEdit