Several actresses were interviewed for the lead role of Caddie Marsh in three Australian capital cities: Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. A shortlist of six actresses were screen-tested and Helen Morse got the part.
Caddie's real full name was Catherine Beatrice "Caddie" Edmonds. By legal deed poll, Caddie stylized her last name as Elliott, Mackay-Elliott and Elliott-Mackay. In this film, her character is known as Caddie Marsh.
The Kent Hotel, used for filming as the exteriors of the main hotel setting in this movie, closed in 1976 but later trader for a time as 'Caddie's Restaurant', after the success of this motion picture.
This film represents the second of three Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards won for acting in a feature film by Australian actress Jacki Weaver, which was a tie for Best Supporting Actress with Melissa Jaffer from this very same film. Weaver's first had been for Best Actress (as the Hoyts Prize for Best Performance) in Stork (1971) whilst the third was for Best Actress in Animal Kingdom (2010).
This film won not one but two major awards at the 1976 San Sebastián International Film Festival. It won the Best Actress Award for Helen Morse and won the Special Prize of the Jury for director Donald Crombie.
The full title of the source 'Caddie' book is: "Caddie: The Autobiography of a Sydney Barmaid". The book has also be known to called both "Caddie: The story of a barmaid set in the Depression" and "Caddie, the Story of a Barmaid". The opening titles of this picture announce that the film is based on the book "'Caddie' by Caddie".
This movie, which had a woman lead and central character, was made and released about one year after International Women's Year in 1975. The film was partially funded from the Australian National Advisory Committee of the International Women's Year.
Producer Anthony Buckley first saw the 'Caddie' book at a newsagent in the Sydney suburb of Mosman. Buckley bought a copy, stayed up late to read it, then contacted the publishers to acquire an option on the film rights.
Appearing in a supporting role in this picture, Australian actor Jack Thompson had during the mid 1970s, at the advice of his agent, concentrated on interesting supporting roles rather than star vehicles. So for a short period, Thompson appeared in smaller notable parts in films such as bookmaker Ted in this movie as well as non-lead parts in Mad Dog Morgan (1976) and The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978).
Actress Helen Morse worked intermittently as a waitress at a hotel in the Sydney suburb of 'The Rocks' for three weeks in preparation for her role as publican barmaid Caddie in this film. Prior to being cast in this picture, Morse had never worked as a pub bar-girl.
Publicity for this picture stated that it had one of the largest casts since the much earlier Australian movie 40,000 Horsemen (1940). Caddie (1976) featured seventy-two speaking parts and utilized six hundred extras.
The phrase, "She's got Buckley's", is used when referring to Ruby's chance of landing Peter. This is the shortened form of an Australian expression, "Buckley's chance" or "Buckley's and Nunn", meaning no chance at all.