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Dir: Brian Trenchard-Smith Writers: Patrick Edgeworth Russell Hagg

Review by: Ashley Jay Meaden <30339062>

David Argue John Ley Nicole Kidman Angelo D‟Angelo James Lugton Bryan Marshall Brian Sloman Peter Browne Bill Brady Linda Newton Bob Hicks Guy Norris Chris Hession Norman Hodges Tracey Wallace Michael Gillette Brian Best Jerry D‟Angelo Malcolm Day Ray Marshall Patrick Mansfield Alan McQueen Anthony Alafaci – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Whitey Moustache Judy PJ Goose The Boss The Creep Police constable Police Sergent Policewoman Heavy 1 Heavy 2 Heavy 3 Drunk Buxom Lady Vicar Supermarket manager Boy 1 Boy 2 Foreman Crane Driver Workman Fat kid


Craig Hopcroft Marty Irwin Fiona Gage Paul Flaherty Andy Clarke Claude Lambert Rocky McDonald Deanne North Wayne Pearce Avril Wynne Chris Galletti Jeff Brown Gavin Critchley Jack Morton

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Kid 1 Kid 2 Young girl Businessman Man with Mattress Trendy Delivery man Man on escalator Lady golfer Man on ladder Waitress Road gang foreman Worker Frasers Foam Man 1 Frasers Foam Man 2

Produced by Tom Broadbridge Brian Burgess Paul F. Davies Original music by Colin Stead Frank Strangio Cinematography by John Seale Film editing by Alan Lake Casting by Susie Maizels Production design by Ross Major Costume design by Lesley McLennan – producer – associate producer – producer


Makeup Department Sally Gordan Willi Kenrick Production Management Carolynne Cunningham – production manager – makeup artist – hair stylist

Second Unit or Assistant Director Roxanne Delbarre Bob Howard Ian Kenny Murray Robertson Art Department Derrick Chetwyn Danie Daems Igor Lazareff Terry Lord Sound Department Gethin Creagh Andrew Cunningham Ken Hammond Phil Judd Robin Judge Steve Miller John Patterson Andrew Steuart Jim Walker Special Effects by David Hardie Chris Murray Visual Effects by Roger Cowland Stunts Bob Hicks Robbie Moreton Jim O‟Neill Craig White – – – – stunt stunt stunt stunt co-ordinator rider rider rider – special effects technician – special effects co-ordinator – – – – – – – – – sound mixer assistant sound effects editor sound recordist sound mixer assistant sound editor boom swinger post-production sound supervising sound editor sound effects editor – – – – property buyer construction supervisor stand-by props construction worker – – – – fourth assistant director first assistant director second assistant director third assistant director


Other crew Rosslyn Abernethy Kimbal Anderson Ross Berryman Sam Bienstock Sue Blainey Sally Bryant Gary Carden Andy Clarke Miriam Cortes Jan Croker Carolynne Cunningham Candice Dubois Derry Field Reg Garside Bill Gooley Louis Irving Boris Janjic Joanne Kennedy Peter Mardell Steve Mason Jenny Miles Linda Ray Helen Rixon Joanne Rodney Phillip Shapiera Mark Sullivan Bliss Swift Kathy Troutt Des White – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – production secretary production runner additional photographer electrical best boy assistant editor unit nurse assistant grip safety officer negative matcher unit publicist location manager production accountant clapper loader gaffer laboratory liaison additional photographer best boy grip tutor key grip focus puller stand by wardrobe continuity caterer production assistant assistant grip assistant clapper loader still photographer caterer technical advisor: BMX


Manly, New South Wales, Australia New South Wales, Australia Northern Beaches, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Warrigah Mall, Brookvale, New South Wales, Australia

Laboratory Colour film Ltd., Sydney, Australia Film negative format 35 mm Cinematographic process Panavision (anamorphic) Printed film format 35 mm Aspect ratio 2.35: 1 DVD Distributed by Magna Pacific Pty Ltd. 2004. (  Arc light Films 1983

After completing a search on the World Wide Web, I have found no interviews on the filmmakers or writers of this production. The movie was made in 1983, and the Australian Film Commission only archives the list of movies back to 1990.


This is a shame; it would have given an insight into a cult 80‟s teen film. A retrospective interview with the director, asking about the films place in Australian culture, would also be very interesting.

There are no professional critical reviews on this film available. Searching the web, I have found small pages and snippets of information on the film. Any reviews that I could find are from people who have bought the DVD or are reminiscing their favourite childhood films. The Internet Movie Database contains many „user comments‟, which does provide an insight into the plot and narrative. Critical comments made on the production side of the film are pretty nonexistent. Film database sites also contain very little information on this film. It makes me wonder, if Nicole Kidman did not star in this movie, would there be any information at all. The film can be found on cult and b-grade movie lists. Links to reviews and information on BMX Bandits: Rotten Tomatoes iFilm MSN Movies Filmink Memorable TV Movies Rewind


Amazon JB HiFi



BMX Bandits begins with two teenagers Goose (James Lugton) and PJ (Angelo D‟Angelo), going for a ride around Manly, New South Wales on their BMX cycles. Little do they know that at the same time, a gang of thieves are organising a bank robbery at the local bank. Dressed in Pig masks they smash their white van into the bank and hold up the bank with guns. Goose and PJ, oblivious to this fact, are zooming around the streets of Manly, irritating passing pedestrians and businesses. Goose and PJ, not only cycle around the town, but also do all kinds of stunts and BMX tricks, which causes some havoc, but evolves into humorous results. The gang of thieves make an escape and swap cars, leaving the original car untraceable. We are taken back to the town centre, where we meet the third central character, Judy (Nicole Kidman). Judy is working at the local supermarket when PJ and Goose crash into the shopping trolleys. This accident causes Judy to lose her job, the job she needs to save for her own BMX. The three defeated youth‟s head for the arcade amusement parlour, where they make jokes about their lack of income. The decoy and second getaway car pulls into a warehouse, where the monetary exchange is made between the gang members and The Boss (Bryan Marshall). The next plan of attack is formed between „The Boss‟ and Whitey (David Argue) and Moustache (John Ley). The order is given for the two thieves to pick up the walkie-talkies that are essential to the overall crime plan. The three teenagers go out on Whitey‟s fathers boat, travelling across the bay until they reach a jetty. Stretching their legs on the jetty, they find, submerged into the water, the thieves‟ stash of walkie-talkies. For excitement, the three teens take the stash and head back into town. On the way back, they cross paths with Whitey and Moustache, them later realising the three teenagers have taken their loot. The two criminals start to pursue these teenagers all across Manly, including water parks and cemeteries. Goose, PJ and Judy start to sell the walkie-talkies off, to make money for Judy‟s BMX. They make enough money to buy her the bike plus outfit themselves with the latest (1980) BMX helmets, pads, and t-shirts. The three prepare and skilfully practise their BMX skills through the street and along the coastline. Judy performs


especially well, proving herself more than capable of riding a BMX. Goose and PJ just stare on in admiration and acceptance. Using the walkie-talkies themselves, they communicate to each other. The problem is that Whitey and Moustache can hear everything they say, and so can the police. Keeping track on their every move, Whitey and Moustache follow them all around and try to regain their stolen goods. The two thieves finally catch Judy in an old fishing boathouse, posing as undercover police officer; they try to trick Judy in giving them back the walkietalkies. Not to be confused with a „sucker‟, Judy is on to them at first sight and makes lame jokes about lawyers and mouldy apples. PJ and Goose hear Judy‟s torment through the walkie-talkies and set out to help their friend. They race to the rescue, almost flying through the air on their bikes, doing spins and turns and jumps. They ride over golf courses and through people‟s houses, manoeuvring their bikes across Manly. Other children look on in amazement as they effortlessly gain tred in their chase. Pedestrians run as soon as they come in contact with the two BMX riders, as do removalists and city dwellers. In the meantime, Judy makes a run for it and gives them the slip. Judy hides in various boats situated in the marina. Finding a dingy on the jetty, Judy starts to row out in the water, but the boat is still tied to the jetty (ARGH!!!). Goose and PJ come the rescue and knock Whitey and Moustache into the water, foiling their plans. The three flee the scene leaving the two criminals desperate and more aggravated. Getting themselves out of the water, Whitey and Moustache re-start the chase. In an effort to escape the thieves, the three teenagers take to the water park slides. They slide down the tubes with their BMX bikes still intact. Whitey and Goose, presume to do the same thing, but as the story goes, with lesser results. The police who have also been tracking everyone‟s whereabouts, starts to pursue the case further. The chase continues through malls and restaurants. The three skilful riders make their way to the Police where they come clean bout what they have done. Not to spoil the ending for those who are actually going to rent it, they find something about themselves and gain a little responsibility as well. But there is also the final showdown and BMX race, leading to the “Goons Hideout”. The reward might just be theirs.


BMX Bandits marks the first feature film starring Nicole Kidman. But it is much more than that. The film is a cult landmark in Australian family film entertainment, making way for American versions of the same, RAD (1986, Hal Needham). Bandits is a frothy live action ensemble with a punchy 80‟s pop soundtrack to match. Set in Manly, NSW, the films adventures take you on a journey of fun filled romps. In 1980, the world was set alight with tight pop music and fluro everything. The popular culture was BMX Bikes, namely the brand Mongoose. Bandits contains all these elements with the chosen bicycles being Mongoose, to the bright and fluro coloured costumes. The attention to detail with costume is spot on. People may roll their eyes at what I just said, but lets remember it si all in context, that of the 1980 era. The three teenagers are smart and often amusing, their voices laden with Australian comic twang. The hairstyles are that of an old hairdressing salons books, situated in the Morley Markets side of the Galleria (has not yet changed since 1983). Nicole Kidman herself sports a very high, large, curly red mop and is proud of it. Other signature accessorises included in the film were supplied by leading brands Malvern Star and Redline. The movies characters are typical of a cartoon that has come to life. Think Scooby-Do or anything that has the bad guys defeated by the good children or teenagers. All characters are very animated, using serotypes to display common traits. The use of Judy as a tomboy will give the young female viewers something to chew on, it‟s not just a young males movie. The female role is also that of a young love interest, with both boys vying for Judy‟s attentions. The two male leads are both portrayed as typical young Australian youths growing up in the suburbs, interested in BMX riding. The dialogue used in the film is defiantly not intellectual or even complex. The script allows for simple and straight to the point speech and words, resulting in a less sophisticated approach. This can be dissected as pointless and can devalue the film, but it is my opinion that this approach makes Bandits what it is today. The acting is also very bad and would probably make good old Nicole cry. All the actors, even the adults ones, are very wooden and fake.


The soundtrack is excellent, featuring a large score of 80‟s rhythms, created by what sounds like a Casio keyboard and synthesiser. All the sound effects for the jumps and stunts have „electronic swish‟ sounds. The movie contains only two full songs with vocals. However, these two songs are not credited at the end of the movie, but are repeated throughout the film. The two songs could have been created by the hit factory, Stock Aitkin Waterman, but who will ever know. The set design and decoration is of low budget and just below average standards. With slapped up furniture on the cheapie side and the use of old run down buildings does very little to presume a large budget. The saving grace is that the script relies on actual boathouses and abandoned sheds and broken down or small boats. This would have saved them a bundle of cash and fits perfectly into the narrative of the film. The stunts are „awesome‟ (sorry couldn‟t resist), and quite realistic, apart from the electronic sound the come after. There are large quantities of explosions and stunts that involve car chases and everything a thirteen-year-old boy would like. The BMX race is also great, combing bike riding with aerial dynamic jumps. For an Australian children‟s or family film in 1983, this is quite impressive. There is not too much critical information on this movie that I can find. The comments come from people that own or who have watched the film or are purchasing the DVD. There is a huge lack of professional reviews for this feature; I can‟t seem to find one. The Australian Film Commission doesn‟t have this movie on their website, as the archive starts from 1990 onwards. People that use IMDB ( have left their own review of the film, most are pretty positive and consider BMX Bandits to be a leader in cult 1980‟s films. Many people that have seen the film saw it for the first time when they were young. Usually watching the film with a group of friends, trying to learn the different BMX moves. Arc light Films (http://, along with the many others, simply describe Bandits as Nicole Kidman‟s first film. This interest is understandable, considering that it is her first film and also pre-Tom Cruise makeover. The role of the 22-year-old neurosurgeon in Days of Thunder (1990, Tony Scott) was years away. Reviewers on the net, also share a common love for the film, as do I. The movie was a high achievement in family film within Australia. Most reviewers talk about holding the cover and fighting over how many times they are going to watch it. Some reviews just slam the movie, making nothing more of it than


light-hearted trash ( Trash or not, the film is a great trip down the nostalgic road, representing what being a child in the 1980‟s was – GREAT if not EXCITING.

Brian Trenchard-Smith – Director Smith went on to direct a few feature films and many television min-series. Smith directed mostly Australian films with the exceptions of, Night of the Demons 2 (1994) and Leprechaun 3 (1995). Other highlights include: Dead-End Drive In (1986) Frog Dreaming (1986) Out of the Body (1989) The Siege at Firebase Gloria (1989)

Nicole Kidman – Judy Nicole Kidman starred in her first feature film, playing the character Judy, in BMX Bandits. From then the actress has starred in numerous Australian Television mini-series and Hollywood movies. Nicole is considered one of Australia finest actresses, even though she was born in Hawaii. Other highlights include: Bush Christmas (1983) Vietnam (1987) Bangkok Hilton (1989) Flirting (1991) Malice (1993) To Die For (1995) The Portrait of a Lady (1996) Eyes Wide Shut (1999) Moulin Rouge! (2001) – Helen Megan Goddard Katrina Stanton Nicola Tracy Kennsinger Suzanne Stone Maretto Isabel Archer Alice Harford Satine


The Hours (2002) Dogville (2003) Cold Mountain (2003) Birth (2004) James Lugton – Goose


Virginia Wolf Grace Margaret Mulligan Ada Monroe Anna

James Lugton starred in his first feature role as Goose, in BMX Bandits. Lugton starred opposite Nicole Kidman once again, in the little seen or heard of, Watch the Shadows Dance (1987). Lugton went on to make one other movie in the 1980‟s, Candy Regentag (1989), and then seemed to fade into obscurity. Other highlights include: BMX Bandits (1983) Watch the Shadows Dance (1987) Candy Regentag (1989) Garage Days (2002) Goose Tote „Ali‟ Bent Greg Freddy‟s Dad

Angelo D‟Angelo – PJ Angelo went on to feature in a few Australian movies in the 1980‟s. Angelo also starred in the 1985 American-Australian crossover film, The Coca-Cola Kid. Angelo has had a fairly steady presence on Australian television. Other highlights include: BMX Bandits (1983) Fast Talking (1985) The Coca-Cola Kid (1985) Inchiesta, L (1987) The Big Steal (1990) Home and Away (TV) (2003) - PJ - Scott Harris - Projectionist - Vangeli Petrakis - Ross McLuhan

David Argue – Whitey Argue has head a steady if not successful career as a working actor in Australian film and television. Starring in movies greats as Gallipoli (1981) and Angel Baby (1995), Argue is currently filming Candy (2005) with Heath Ledger. Other highlights include: Gallipoli (1981) Coming of Age (1986) - Snowy - Stoned Cabbie/Street Monster


Backlash (1986) - Trevor Darling Breathing Under Water (1993) Hercules Returns (1993) - Brad McBain Lilian‟s Story (1995) - Spruiker Angel Baby (1995) - Dave Candy (2005) - Lester

John Ley – Moustache After BMX Bandits, Ley went on to land bit parts in various Australian movies. Most of the films ranged in various qualities and Ley has also faded into obscurity. Ley also starred in one of Australia‟s cult classic horror films, Cassandra (1986). Other highlights include: Platypus Grove (1986) Cassandra (1986) Tender Hooks (1989) Cappuccino (1989) Candy Rengentag (1989) knife Leo Baldwin Barman Ad director Player #2 Client with

Bryan Marshall – The Boss Marshall as had a long and satisfying career in cinema and television. Before BMX Bandits he starred with Michael Cane in the original Alfie (1966). Since then he has starred in popular TV series like Neighbours and Home and Away. Other highlights include: Alfie (1966) Bliss (1985) Return to Snowy River (1988) The Punisher (1989) Chicken (1996) Selkie (2000) Lorry driver Adrian Clunes Hawker Dino Moretti Dwight Serrento Malcolm


BMX Bandits is filmed throughout many locations around inner city New South Wales, Australia. The film represents a modern urban landscape of Australia, rather than the „usual‟ Australian outback. The set pieces are not distinctively Australian, and therefore might help in the marketing of this film overseas. The film contains shots of Australian bays and scenery, where you can hear native birds and distinct Australian animals in the background (Kookaburras). Statistics on the box office takings from the overseas market could not be found. The film itself may be classed as a „teenpic‟. The films narrative is based around the adventures of three teenage youths. The common rule of a teen movie is that it tells the story of the period between childhood and adulthood. The movie is and was a popular favourite with Australian audiences. Bandits is a landmark „teenpic‟ for the 1980‟s era, and is a formulated children‟s movie. Marketing the use of the popular BMX cycle and providing BMX stunts, ensures the movies popularity with youngsters (Neale 118). Australian film consisted of two types of categories, the „quality‟ film and the „ocker‟ film. The 1980‟s made way for increased budgets and the rival entertainment institution, the home video player. BMX Bandits, was neither a „quality‟ film or an „ocker‟ one. The film may have been geared for home release or „sell through‟ video sales from the very start. The product placement from Castrol, Malvern Star and Mongoose, would secure some financial backing and popularity (Regan 118).

Tom O'Regan 1989, 'The enchantment with the cinema: film in the 1980s', in Albert Moran & Tom O'Regan eds., Australian Screen, Penguin, Ringwood: 118-145. Steve Neale 2000, Genre and Hollywood, Routledge, London & New York: 118-125.

Australian Film Commission (bibliography) Australian Film Institute (bibliography)



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