The Thorn Birds is a television mini-series broadcast on ABC between 27 and 30 March 1983. It starred Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward, Barbara Stanwyck, Christopher Plummer, Jean Simmons, Richard Kiley, Bryan Brown, Mare Winningham, and Philip Anglim. It was directed by Daryl Duke and based on a novel by Colleen McCullough. The series was enormously successful and became the United States' second highest rated mini-series of all time behind Roots; both series were produced by television veteran David L. Wolper.
Set primarily on Drogheda, a fictional sheep station in the Australian outback, the story focuses on three generations of the Cleary Family and spans the years December 1920 to December 1963.