Stir (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Stir (disambiguation).
Stir film.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Stephen Wallace
Produced by Richard Brennan
Written by Bob Jewson
Starring Bryan Brown
Max Phipps
Music by Cameron Allan
Cinematography Geoff Burton
Edited by Henry Dangar
New South Wales Film Corp.
Smiley Productions
Distributed by Hoyts Distribution
Release date
23 October 1980 (AUS)
Running time
101 minutes
Country Australia
Language English
Budget AU$485,000[1]

Stir is a 1980 Australian film directed by Stephen Wallace in his feature directorial debut. The prison film was written by Bob Jewson, based upon his own experience while incarcerated as the actual prison riot at Bathurst Correctional Complex in 1974 and its subsequent Royal Commission into New South Wales Prisons. we.[2] The film was shot in Clare Valley, Gladstone and the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. It premiered at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival.[3]

Principal cast[edit]

Actor Role
Bryan Brown China Jackson
Max Phipps Norton
Garry Waddell Dave
Phil Motherwell Alby
Robert Noble Riley


Bob Jewson was a former prisoner who had been in Bathurst Gaol at the time of the riot. He wrote a script based on it originally called Bathurst. Martha Ansara who was working for the Prison Action Group read it and introduced Jewson to Stephen Wallace. (Other accounts say it was Tony Green who did this.[4]) Wallace decided to make the film[5]

The New South Wales Film Corporation were looking at investing in some films made by directors who had made successful short films. Wallace had just made the acclaimed on hour drama The Love Letters from Teralba Road and they asked him if he had any projects. He told them about his prison drama.[4]

As part of his preparations, Wallace had the actors do a clown workshop for four days and a longer workshop of three weeks. Most of them disliked the clown workshop and Wallace later admitted was a mistake.[4]

The original drafts of the script had some female characters, such as a social worker and a girlfriend of Bryan Brown's character, but these were dropped.[4]

The film was shot over five weeks in October and November 1979 in South Australia at an abandoned prison in Gladstone.[1] They had trouble sourcing enough extras and had to fly them in from Adelaide; some of the actors who did appear had been to prison. Wallace tried to get more aboriginal extras but was unable to.[4]

During filming the movie was known as The Promotion of Mr Smith until Jewson suggested the shorter title Stir.[5] Wallace:

Bob Jewson said one thing - and I think this is what we tried to make the theme of the film, although it was very hidden - that riots don't happen out of the blue. The prison authorities make you believe that all these criminals that are incarcerated are at all times dangerous and they're trying to get out. But Bob said that's never true; most of them have accepted their lot and they're trying to serve their time. They only get into a riot situation when they're treated badly and unfairly over a long period. He said most people don't want a riot; they know what it's going to mean, longer in jail. [6]


The film was reasonably popular and according to Wallace it made a profit.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

David O'Connell of In Film Australia:


Award Category Subject Result
AACTA Awards
(1980 AFI Awards)
Best Film Richard Brennan Nominated
Best Direction Stephen Wallace Nominated
Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted Bob Jewson Nominated
Best Actor Bryan Brown Nominated
Max Phipps Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Dennis Miller Nominated
Best Cinematography Geoff Burton Nominated
Best Editing Henry Dangar Nominated
Best Original Music Score Cameron Allan Won
Best Sound Phil Judd Nominated
Andrew Steuart Nominated
Gary Wilkins Nominated
Best Production Design Lee Whitmore Nominated

DVD availability[edit]

The DVD is available from Umbrella Entertainment and contains a new 16:9 aspect ratio transfer, a 50-minute interview feature with key cast and crew, as well as the original theatrical trailer.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b David Stratton, The Last New Wave: The Australian Film Revival, Angus & Robertson, 1980 p330
  2. ^ Erickson, Hal. "Stir > Overview". AllMovie. Retrieved 2010-08-04. 
  3. ^ Stir (1980) - Release dates
  4. ^ a b c d e Barbara Alysen, "Stephen Wallace", Cinema Papers, Oct-Nov 1980 p341-343
  5. ^ a b David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry, Pan MacMillan, 1990 p226-228
  6. ^ a b "Interview with Stephen Wallace", Signis, 21 November 1998 accessed 21 November 2012
  7. ^ "Stir film review : In Film Australia - all about Australian films". 2009-08-19. Retrieved 2010-08-04. 
  8. ^ "Stir Film Review: Cinephilia - Australian Film & more". Cinephilia. 2009-08-17. Retrieved 2010-08-04. 

External links[edit]