Release date3 October 1985 (Australia) Initial releaseOctober 3, 1985 (Australia) Music directorMichael Atkinson, Michael Spicer CastChris Haywood (Col Turner), Jennifer Cluff (Lorraine Turner), Arianthe Galani (Dr. Walsea), Robin Ramsay (Tom), Peter Hehir (Peter Townley), Peter Kowitz (Craig) Similar moviesRelated Bill Bennett movies
A Street to Die is a 1985 Australian film directed by Bill Bennett. It was nominated for three Australian Film Institute Awards; Chris Haywood won the award for Best Actor in a Lead Role. At the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Bennett won a Crystal Globe. Based on a true story.
Colin Turner (Chris Haywood), a Vietnam War veteran, blames Agent Orange for his cancer, and sues for compensation.
Chris Haywood as Colin Turner
Jennifer Cluff as Lorraine Turner
Arianthe Galani as Dr. Walsea
Robin Ramsay as Tom
Peter Hehir as Peter Townley
Peter Kowitz as Craig
Malcolm Keith as Real Estate Boss
The film was based on the story of Colin Simpson, a Vietnam veteran who had died while trying to claim money from the Repatriation Department. He believed his illness was caused by Agent Orange. Bill Bennett read about the story in the Weekend Australian while working as a TV documentary maker and pitched it to Peter Luck to be made for The Australians but Luck declined. Bennett then decided to turn it into a dramatic feature. He raised the money himself.
The script was heavily based on fact - Bennett says it was hardly fictionalised at all. Colin Simpson's widow was heavily involved in the research and writing. Bennett says he did not really consider the movie an anti-war statement:
I really saw it as being about the blindness of authorities to accept culpability. To that extent, I suppose, it is an anti-war film, but it was more to do with anti-bureaucracy and a very, very strong sense of injustice, that ultimately what was at work here was the possibility that, if a precedent was established, then huge amounts of money would have to be paid out.
The film was shot in the Sydney street where Simpson had lived and in Simpson's old house. The shoot took four weeks.
The film was widely screened at festivals and achieved reasonable success at cinemas. It launched Bennett's career as a director.