Sleeping Dogs (1977)

  • Action, Drama
  • 1h 47m

Directed by: Roger Donaldson
Written by: Ian Mune and Arthur Baysting
Extras: A Dream In The Making: The Making of Sleeping Dogs (27 minutes)

Roger Donaldson’s feature debut was the first local feature to gain international recognition and get distribution in the USA, and this military fantasy has even more resonance today than it did on its release.

With a tiny budget, Donaldson manages to depict a nation’s civil war by keeping the focus on one man caught up a conflict he wants no part of and only opening up for some well-thought out action sequences.

The tension is kept at a high pitch through the drip-feeding of information. We don’t discover Smith’s situation all at once, but as it becomes clear, his motivations for doing what he does also come into focus. We are kept almost exclusively in Smith’s point-of-view, showing a man unwittingly being used by both sides of the conflict as the government becomes a dictatorship and the police force an army.

A very young Sam Neill shows the mixture of vulnerability and steely determination that has characterised many of the roles he’s gone on to play in the years since this startling debut.

Director

Roger Donaldson

Screen Story

Christian K. Stead

Screenwriter

Ian Mune

Screenwriter

Arthur Baysting

Producer

Larry Parr

Assoc. Producer

Roger Donaldson

Cinematography

Michael Seresin

Editor

Ian John

Art Director

Roger Donaldson

Art Director

Ian Mune

Costume Designer

Lesley McLennan

Costume Designer

Craig McLeod

Language

English

Country of Origin

New Zealand

Bonus Content

27 mins
A Dream In The Making: The Making of Sleeping Dogs

Go behind the scenes of Sleeping Dogs, the first local feature to gain international recognition and get distribution in the USA. This engaging insight into the production shows first time director Roger Donaldson working on scripting, stunts and special effects.

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