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Goodbye Pork Pie

Goodbye Pork Pie, the most entertaining film to emerge from the current New Zealand film renaissance, Easy Rider meets the Keystone Kops.

Goodbye Pork Pie, New Zealand, 1981

Director: Geoff Murphy
Production co: AMA Productions
Producers: Nigel Hutchinson, Geoff Murphy
Screenplay: Geoff Murphy, Ian Mune
Photography: Alun Bollinger
Editor: Michael Horton
Sound: Don Reynolds
Music: John Charles
Camera operator: Graeme Cowley
Art directors: Kai Hawkins, Robin Outterside
Stunt driver: Petre Zivkovic
Special effects: Andy Grant

With: Tony Barry (John), Kelly Johnson (Gerry), Claire Oberman (Shirl), Shirley Gruar (Sue), Maggie Maxwell (Maureen), Shirley Dunn (Rental Girl), Don Selwyn (Kaitaia Policeman), Bruno Lawrence (Mulvaney), Stephen Tozer (Phil), Frances Edmond (Annette), Ian Watkin (Dad in Café), Marshall Napier (Murphey), Bill Juliff (Cromwell Car Wrecker), John Bach (Snout), Michael Woolf (Armed Offender Squad Officer)

35mm, 105 minutes, PG–Contains coarse material

Watch the Goodbye Pork Pie trailer (7.04MB; 2.01 minutes)

Nothing could stop the men, the mini, the madness!

“In movieland’s world of tinsel and superlatives, the term blockbuster can truly be applied to the film Goodbye Pork Pie which on Thursday became the first New Zealand film to make a box office gross of $1 million. That’s more than twice the amount grossed by any other film made in this country. The success of Goodbye Pork Pie has sent our film industry into raptures. And understandably so. Nearly 500,000 people have seen it in this country. It has been sold to 26 overseas countries and the New Zealand Film Commission is negotiating with others. Until this film no one was quite able to believe that in a small place like New Zealand such a venture could pay its way. Now that Goodbye Pork Pie is close to recouping its budget, doubts have been allayed. This success has greatly encouraged filmmakers and people who invest in films. Industry sources are confident that several films currently being made in New Zealand have the same potential as Goodbye Pork Pie to be big in the box office… Let us salute Goodbye Pork Pie but hope its impact is merely a milestone in a continuing success story for the New Zealand film industry.” — Wanganui Chronicle, Saturday 18 April, 1981

“This is the best feature film New Zealand has ever made. It’s as simple as that. Goodbye Pork Pie is so uniquely New Zealand that it has a charm no other film made here has managed to achieve… Pork Pie may be based on the genre of ‘road’ films, but its do-it-yourself quirkiness and the serious note that emerges as the film reaches its final destination make it something stamped indelibly with ‘made in New Zealand’ in big, bold (and proud) letters… The film could have wound up primarily as a ‘road’ movie with plenty of car chases and prangs, but the genuine Kiwi deadpan humour which flicks out courtesy of filmmaker Geoff Murphy and Ian Mune, takes it beyond the normal Sunday night car cruncher movie. The characterisations are as tight as the script… There is no doubt that the film is anti-Establishment, but it reflects perhaps the little bit of rebellion in all of us who resent being given a speeding ticket or obeying every petty law. There is a danger of elevating the characters to heroes, but the end brings everything down to earth… The three stars and the supporting cast give performances sympathetic to the film’s pacing and deserve as much credit as the weird and wonderful Mr Murphy, surely New Zealand’s first genuine filmmaker.” — Rob White, Christchurch Star

“New Zealand looks different for a while after you come out. A kiwi police car makes you laugh. It’s the fantasy that’s infectious, not its flaws. Geoff Murphy is the first to get feeling for this country onto the screen: I watched his funny, loving, subversive vision of the land of the free with my heart in my mouth.” — John Watson, PSA Journal, February 1981

“In Goodbye Pork Pie, the most entertaining film to emerge from the current New Zealand film renaissance, Easy Rider meets the Keystone Kops. Following the classic road formula a car chase covers the length of the country and it is a major plus that the pace, fun and general mayhem are such that the picture does not get upstaged by the spectacular scenery. Editing and camera are sharply controlled, with every shot making its point and building the climaxes. In the breathing spells between, characters that might have been ciphers are given human dimensions… The Down Under accents will intrigue and perhaps amuse in foreign bookings, but are not exotic enough to demand subtitles. The still fresh New Zealand locations do not hurt. Though justice is done in the end, there is enough anti-authority tone in the film to cause some wonder that the country’s police and traffic departments obviously gave the producers their full co-operation. Film has been shown at Cannes, London, MIFED, Cork and New Delhi festivals and a record number of foreign sales for a New Zealand film have been secured.” — Variety, 25 February 1981

Screenings: One of New Zealand's most popular and enduring films, Goodbye Pork Pie was selected to screen in the Filmland Neuseeland programme curated to support New Zealand's status as country of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2012; and has screened as part of the Reel Festival on 7 and 9 September 2011; 22 February 2006; 5 July 2006 in a season programmed by young film maker and x-Archive staff member Rupert Reynolds-McLean; on 20 September 2006; and on 17 October 2007 as part of Sleepers Awake, a season celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Sleeping Dogs and the 80s film making revival. Most recently Goodbye Pork Pie screened on 4 & 5 December 2009