A Street to Die

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A Street to Die
Directed by Bill Bennett
Produced by Bill Bennett
Written by Bill Bennett
Starring Chris Haywood
Jennifer Cluff
Arianthe Galani
Music by Michael Atkinson
Michael Spicer
Cinematography Geoff Burton
Edited by Denise Hunter
Distributed by Octopus (Australia)
The Other Cinema (UK)
Release date
3 October 1985 (Australia)
Running time
91 min.
Country Australia
Language English
Budget AU$325,000[1]

A Street to Die is a 1985 Australian film directed by Bill Bennett. It was nominated for three Australian Film Institute Awards; Chris Haywood won the award for Best Actor in a Lead Role. At the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Bennett won a Crystal Globe.[2] Based on a true story.[3]


Colin Turner (Chris Haywood), a Vietnam War veteran, blames Agent Orange for his cancer, and sues for compensation.



The film was based on the story of Colin Simpson, a Vietnam veteran who had died while trying to claim money from the Repatriation Department. He believed his illness was caused by Agent Orange. Bill Bennett read about the story in the Weekend Australian while working as a TV documentary maker and pitched it to Peter Luck to be made for The Australians but Luck declined. Bennett then decided to turn it into a dramatic feature. He raised the money himself.[1]

The script was heavily based on fact - Bennett says it was hardly fictionalised at all. Colin Simpson's widow was heavily involved in the research and writing.[4] Bennett says he did not really consider the movie an anti-war statement:

I really saw it as being about the blindness of authorities to accept culpability. To that extent, I suppose, it is an anti-war film, but it was more to do with anti-bureaucracy and a very, very strong sense of injustice, that ultimately what was at work here was the possibility that, if a precedent was established, then huge amounts of money would have to be paid out.[4]

The film was shot in the Sydney street where Simpson had lived and in Simpson's old house. The shoot took four weeks.[1]


The film was widely screened at festivals and achieved reasonable success at cinemas. It launched Bennett's career as a director.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry, Pan MacMillan, 1990 p54-56
  2. ^ IMDb awards
  3. ^ BFI info
  4. ^ a b "Interview with Bill Bennett", Signet, 11 April 1996 accessed 17 November 2012
  • Murray, Scott (1994). Australian Cinema. St.Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin/AFC. p. 297. ISBN 1-86373-311-6. 

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