V filmu Heath Ledger izvrstno upodobi naslovni lik, ikono avstralske zgodovine. Ned Kelly je za nekatere hladnokrvni morilec, razbojnik in konjski tat, za druge pa avstralski Robin Hood, heroj in simbol upora proti britanski kroni. S svojo tolpo, v kateri je bil tudi njegov brat Dan, je bil strah in trepet predvsem za policiste, oropal pa je tudi več bank. Ko se Ned zagleda v lepo Julio, ženo bogataša, se začneta skrivaj sestajati, zaradi česar si kmalu nakopljeta težave.
Though recognized for heroism as a lad, Ned Kelly can not escape the stigma of being the eldest of a brood sired by a known criminal. In days when an arrest equaled guilt and a conviction, his unfair imprisonment for horse thievery puts him steadfast, in the eyes of Victorian police, on the wrong side of things for life. With a sister unable to dissuade the unwanted advances of Constable Fitzpatrick, Ned, his brother Dan, and friends Joe Byrne and Steve Hart soon find themselves labeled "an outlaw gang" by the less-than-honorable constable. It's a designation they're apt to live up to after Ned's mother is unfairly arrested and sentenced to three years hard labor. In retaliation, the Kelly Gang strikes out against the oppressive Victorian government, with ultimately tragic results and passage into Australian folklore.