Summer City

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Summer City
Summer City. Film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byChristopher Fraser
Produced byPhil Avalon
Written byPhil Avalon
StarringMel Gibson
John Jarratt
Phil Avalon
Steve Bisley
James Elliott
Ward "Pally" Austin
Music byPhil Butkus
CinematographyJerry Marek
Edited byDavid Stiven
Avalon Film Corporation Studio
Distributed byIntertropic films
Release date
22 December 1977
Running time
83 min
BudgetA$66,000[1] or $200,000[2]

Summer City (also known as Coast of Terror) is a 1977 Australian drama thriller film, filmed in Newcastle, Australia. The film also features (a then-unknown) Mel Gibson in his debut role.


In the early 1960s, Sandy (John Jarratt), Boo (Steve Bisley), Scollop (Mel Gibson) and Robbie (Phil Avalon) drive to the beaches north of Sydney for a surfing weekend. The boys are planning to give Sandy a memorable ‘one last fling’ before his impending marriage. Tension flares between university-educated Sandy and ocker Boo when Sandy decides not to join in the fun. At a local dance, Boo seduces Caroline (Debbie Forman), the teenage daughter of a caravan park owner (James Elliott) who discovers what has happened and comes looking for Boo with a gun.[1]


  • Mel Gibson as Scollop
  • John Jarratt as Sandy
  • Phil Avalon as Robbie
  • Steve Bisley as Boo
  • James Elliott as Caroline's father
  • Debbie Forman as Caroline
  • Abigail as the woman in pub
  • Ward "Pally" Austin as himself
  • Judith Woodroffe as the waitress
  • Carl Rorke as Giuseppe
  • Ross Bailey as Nail
  • Hank Tick as Caveman
  • Bruce Cole as the man in car
  • Vicki Hekimian as Donna
  • Karen Williams as Gloria
  • Gary Tidd as Rocker in milk bar
  • Len Purdie as rocker in milk bar


The script was autobiographical, Avalon having been a passionate surfer for most of this life and grown up in Newcastle. He also served in the army for several years (although not in Vietnam). he says he offered the script to Brian Trenchard-Smith who direct but Trenchard-Smith suggested Avalon direct it himself because he knew the subject matter so well. Avalon gave the job to Chris Fraser, a young director who had another project Avalon was going to produce.[3]

The film was shot on 16mm and blown up to 35 mm. Shooting began in October 1976 and took place near Sydney and Newcastle, especially in the town of Catherine Hill Bay.

Avalon invested $25,000 of his own money. He had another investor provide $25,000 plus twelve friends who put in $8,000.[3]


The film proved popular and had a long run. It led to a sequel Breaking Loose (1988).


  1. ^ a b ASO - Summer City
  2. ^ Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998, 322
  3. ^ a b Avalon, Phil (2015). From Steel City to Hollywood. New Holland. p. 125-150.

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