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Based on the wildly successful novel of the same name, the epic television mini-series The Thornbirds primarily takes place in the Autstralian Outback on a sheep farm called Drogheda and follows the Cleary family through three generations and spans over 40 years. It certainly lives up to its title which alludes to the story of a mythical bird who, from its hatching, searches far and wide for the perfect thorn tree and upon finding it, impales itself on a razor-sharp thorn and as it dies sings the most pure and angelic martyr's song ever heard.

The series stars such acting greats as Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward, Barbara Stanwyck, Jean Simmons, Ken Howard and Christopher Plummer. It won six Prime-time Emmy Awards including Outstanding Miniseries or Movie, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie, and Oustanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie. It also won four Golden Globe Awards including Best Miniseries of Television Film and Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film. It also claimed a People's Choice Award and a Young Artist Award making it the second most successful television mini-series of all time.

ABC
2 Seasons, 6 Episodes
March 27, 1983
Drama
8.0/10
Cast: Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward, Christopher Plummer, Bryan Brown
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The Thorn Birds Full Episode Guide

  • Part 2 of the saga of forbidden love between ambitious Archbishop Ralph de Bricassart and willful Meggie Cleary.

  • Part 1 of the saga of forbidden love between ambitious Archbishop Ralph de Bricassart and willful Meggie Cleary.

  • Years after Ralph and Meggie consummate their love, Dane, the child of that union, enters the priesthood. Meggie is embittered that both the men she loves chose the church over her.

  • Although drawn to Meggie, Rev. de Bricassart leaves the parish to begin his climb in the Church hierarchy. The Clearys (Jean Simmons and Richard Kiley) agree to run Drogheda, a decision that leads to catastrophe and death.

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