The book Storm Boy by Colin Thiele was published 12 years before the film was made. Writer and producer Sonia Borg adapted the book for the screen. She was told that Thiele's only requirement was that the novel wasn't turned into a sex comedy.
David Gulpilil and Greg Rowe formed a friendship on the set of Storm Boy and called each other big brother and little brother.
Greg Rowe was 11 years old and a relative unknown when he played Storm Boy. He was discovered by a talent scout at a shopping mall in Adelaide. Forty years later he says 'It was a life shaping moment for me and it'll always be a part of me.'
Three pelicans named Sandwich, Carpenter and Dum Dum played Mr Proud, Mr Ponder and Mr Percival. They were raised from chicks by animal trainer Gordon Noble and for a time they lived at the South Australian Film Corporation's swimming pool. Noble's dog Rupert befriended them and the pelicans enjoyed trying to swallow his head for fun.
Pelicans behind the scenes
How to keep pelicans happy
Behind the scenes
Filming began on 24 May 1976 and it was primarily shot in the sand dunes near Goolwa, South Australia. Although completed on time and budget, the crew were kept busy retrieving props from freak waves and pulling sunken vehicles out of the sand.
Behind the scenes
The magical sequence where Mr Percival and Storm Boy are dancing on the beach was unscripted and the crew just happened to capture it.
The three pelicans almost flew off with a flock of wild pelicans in the middle of the shoot. Fortunately their trainer's dog barked after them and all the wild pelicans flew away.
The film screened on the Queen's royal yacht Britannia, in the White House for President Jimmy Carter, and at the palace of Emperor Hirohito in Japan.