BMX Bandits (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Brian Trenchard-Smith|
|Produced by||Tom Broadbridge
Paul F. Davies
|Written by||Patrick Edgeworth|
|Based on||a screenplay by Russell Hagg|
|Music by||Colin Stead
|Edited by||Alan Lake|
|Distributed by||Filmways Australasian Distributor
|Release date(s)||22 December 1983|
|Running time||88 minutes|
|Budget||just over $1 million|
BMX Bandits is a 1983 Australian children's adventure film. This was a film debut of a then-unknown Nicole Kidman. Kidman, who was chosen ahead of 200 who auditioned for the part of "Judy", had to learn to ride a BMX bike for the role, and her stunt double was actually a man who wore a wig.
After a successful Sydney bank robbery at the "Montgomery Street Bank" where they grabbed $101,586 (with the robbers wearing pig masks and brandishing shotguns), the man in charge, The Boss (Bryan Marshall), plans a further and larger payroll robbery for two days later worth at least $1.5 million, hoping that he can trust his less-than-competent gang headed by Whitey (David Argue) and Moustache (John Ley) to do the job properly, with anyone who doesn't answering to him.
Two young BMX experts, P.J. (Angelo D'Angelo) and Goose (James Lugton), meet Judy (Nicole Kidman), who is working as a trolley collector at the Warringah Mall during the school holidays in order to be able to buy her own BMX bike, accidentally get Judy fired from her job when they crash into trolleys pushed away by the local "Creep" (Brian Sloman). The three go out in Goose's dads runabout on the harbor searching for cockels to sell in order to fix their own crashed bikes, as well as getting Judy her own, and stumble onto and steal a box of police-band walkie talkies (all the way from the US of A according to "The Boss") that the bank robbers were hoping to use to monitor on police traffic. Ironically, after stealing the box, the kids pass Whitey and Moustache who are on their way in their high powered motorboat to pick it up.
The Bayside Police are able to hear the kids using the walkie talkies and the Sergeant (Bill Brady) warns them not to use restricted police wavelength and tells them to turn them in to the nearest police station (causing confusion for his not so bright constable (Peter Browne) who is on point duty at an accident site). Judy, P.J. and Goose are also unaware that the robbers know who stole the box and that they are selling them to other kids in the area. After they are spotted and chased late at night through a cemetery by Whitey and Moustache wearing monster masks (going formal according to Whitey), they manage to escape. Judy is caught the next day by Whitey and Moustache while getting a second walkie talkie for The Creep, but escapes with the help of P.J. and Goose. The trio are finally arrested but escape police custody and, with the help of the local kids, launch their own plan to foil the planned payroll robbery.
The film was also known as Short Wave for American bootleg distribution.
- Northern Beaches
- Warringah Mall
- Manly Cemetery
- Manly Oval
- Manly Waterworks
- The Corso
- Manly Beach
- Sydney Harbour
Brian Trenchard-Smith was hired after the producers had been impressed by his handling of action in Turkey Shoot. He says the script was originally set in Melbourne but he persuaded them to re-set it in Sydney to take advantage of that city's locations. He set it on the northern beaches and wrote action sequences based on "my concept for the BMX action being putting BMX bikes where BMX bikes aren’t meant to be." The movie was shot over 41 days, a longer than normal shoot because of the labour restrictions caused by the fact many of the cast were under 16. Trenchard-Smith:
I wanted to capture the spirit of the Ealing comedies and British films of the ‘50s and ‘60s that were clearly aimed at children and delivered action and fun in a largely cartoonish way. If you look at the basic premise of the plot, the crooks clearly want to or intend to kill the children at some point, so how do you disguise that and make that palatable to an audience of kids and parents? You make the crooks buffoonish, the gang that couldn’t shoot straight, so that takes the curse off the underlying purpose.
In 1983, film was nominated for four awards by the Australian Film Institute.
BMX Bandits grossed $124,649 at the box office in Australia. Kidman's performance led to her being cast in the TV series Five Mile Creek where she was directed by Trenchard Smith in some episodes.
BMX Bandits was released on DVD by Umbrella Entertainment in August 2010. The DVD is compatible with all region codes and includes special features such as the trailer and audio commentary with Brian Trenchard-Smith, Eric Trenchard-Smith & Chalet Trenchard-Smith. A bonus disc includes a photo gallery, press clippings, Nicole Kidman discussing the film on Young Talent Time, and a featurette titled BMX Buddies with Brian Trenchard-Smith, Tom Broadbridge, Patrick Edgeworth, Russell Hagg and James Lugton.
References in popular culture
American rock band Wheatus has a song titled "BMX Bandits" on their album TooSoonMonsoon. The song has been dedicated to Nicole Kidman, and includes the lyrics "Hey Nicole" in the chorus. In the song's animated music video, there is an animated caricature of Kidman.
- Brian Kelly, "Interview: Genre film virtuoso Brian Trenchard-Smith discusses upcoming BMX BANDITS Blu-ray", Gordon and the Whale 11 March 2011 accessed 8 February 2013
- Kemble, Gary (24 February 2006). "Movie Minutiae: BMX Bandits (1983)". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
- Chris Nashawaty "Check out a 16-year-old Nicole Kidman! Her first director says she had 'IT' -- with EXCLUSIVE video", Inside Movies, 6 March 2011 accessed 8 February 2013
- Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office
- "Umbrella Entertainment - Complete". Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- "Umbrella Entertainment - Vanilla Edition". Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- . British Broadcasting Corporation http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/thatmitchellandwebbsite/characters/angel_summoner.shtml. Missing or empty
- BMX Bandits at the Internet Movie Database
- BMX Bandits at AllMovie
- BMX Bandits at Rotten Tomatoes
- BMX Bandits at the National Film and Sound Archive
- BMX Bandits fan gear
- link to record info of "BMX" title song by The Papers