Pure Shit

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Pure Shit
Pure s 1975 dvd cover.jpeg
DVD release cover from 2010
Directed byBert Deling
Produced byBob Weis
Written byBert Deling
Anne Hetherington
Alison Hill
John Hooper
Ricky Kallend
John Laurie
David Shepherd
John Tulip
Bob Weis
StarringGarry Waddell
Anne Hetherington
Carol Porter
Music byMartin Armiger
Red Symons
CinematographyTom Cowan
Edited byJohn Scott
Apogee Films
Release date
  • 15 August 1975 (1975-08-15) (Perth International Film Festival)
  • 7 May 1976 (1976-05-07) (Australia)
Running time
83 minutes

Pure Shit (censored as Pure S) is a 1975 Australian drama film directed by Bert Deling.[2]

When the film premiered at Melbourne’s Playbox in May 1976, the Vice Squad raided the theatre.[3] It was initially banned, then given an R certificate, and the title was changed from Pure Shit to Pure S.

The low-budget film provoked a hostile reaction from the mainstream media on its initial release. It is now considered an "underground" classic.[4]

Plot summary[edit]

A young woman dies of a heroin overdose. Four junkies who knew her commandeer her car and spend 24 hours searching the streets of Melbourne for good quality heroin, and excitement.


  • Gary Waddell as Lou
  • Ann Hetherington as Sandy
  • Carol Porter as Gerry
  • John Laurie as John
  • Max Gillies as Dr Wolf
  • Tim Robertson as TV interviewer
  • Helen Garner as Jo
  • Phil Motherwell
  • Russell Kirby as Shoplifter / TV Interviewee
  • Greig Pickhaver as Record shop worker
  • Vicki Heal as Girl on Phone


The film's budget was partly provided by the Film, Radio and Television Board of the Australia Council and partly by the Buoyancy Foundation, an organisation to help drug takers.[1] Bert Deling says he was particularly influenced by Jean Renoir and Howard Hawks.[5]

Lead actor Garry Waddell says he helped with the script:

It was really good having Bert there because he helped me a lot. If you weren't sure of anything you could always get reassurance from him or the cameraman, Tom Cowan. It wasn't a hard movie to work on because it was so enjoyable. The relationships between people on the film were always good.[6]

Writer Helen Garner has a small role as a speed-addled woman named Jo. Garner starred in the film shortly before she published Monkey Grip (1977), which is set in a similar milieu of communal drug use.[7]


The Commonwealth film censors initially banned the movie but allowed it to be released with an "R" rating provided the title was changed from Pure Shit to Pure S.[1] Deling later said that the film "played two weeks at Melbourne’s Playbox and had a short Sydney run … but very few people got to see it, and we didn’t make a cent from it."[8] The movie was polarising, with the critic of the Herald calling it "the most evil film that I've ever seen"[9] but others such as Bob Ellis championing it.[5]

The film was released on DVD in 2009.


Award Category Subject Result
AACTA Awards
(1975 AFI Awards)
Best Film Bob Weis Nominated
Best Direction Bert Deling Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Helen Garner Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998 p291
  2. ^ Beryl Donaldson & John Langer, "Bert Deling", Cinema Papers, April 1977 p 316-319, 377
  3. ^ SBS Online Article by Peter Galvin A junkie film whose reputation precedes it
  4. ^ Australian screen; curator’s notes by Paul Byrnes
  5. ^ a b Luke Buckmaster, 'Interview with Bert Deling', Crikey, 5 June 2009 accessed 2 October 2012
  6. ^ "Garry Waddel", Cinema Papers, June–July 1976, p55
  7. ^ "Pure S (1975) clip 1 on ASO". National Film and Sound Archive. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  8. ^ 'Deling, Bert - Pure Shit', Urban Cinefile, 14 May 2009 accessed 2 October 2012
  9. ^ David Stratton, The Last New Wave: The Australian Film Revival, Angus & Robertson, 1980 p278
  • Murray, Scott, ed. (1994). Australian Cinema. St.Leonards, NSW.: Allen & Unwin/AFC. p. 288. ISBN 1-86373-311-6.

External links[edit]