A dying criminal takes his younger brother on one final job so that when the final hour comes, his brother and his brother's wife and daughter who he himself may have fathered, will be financially secured.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Flaus ...
Pete Shields
Chrissie James ...
Brian Shields
Sophie Murphy ...
John Proper ...
Jack (as Jack Proper)
Peter Curtin ...
Sue Jones ...
Jay Mannering ...
Peter Stratford ...
Caroline Cassidy ...
Lisa Curtis
Garry Metcalf ...
Nigel T. Broadbridge ...
Tony (as Nigel Broadbridge)
Joanne Baker ...
Sales girl
Peter Tammer ...
Peggy Nicholls ...


A dying criminal takes his younger brother on one final job so that when the final hour comes, his brother and his brother's wife and daughter who he himself may have fathered, will be financially secured.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

independent film | See All (1) »


Peter Shields had to die -- his only choice was HOW.


Crime | Drama





Release Date:

23 October 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Snatch  »

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Did You Know?


This movie starring Bryan Brown forms part of Brown's early career period in the Australian Cinema of the mid to late 1970s. See more »

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User Reviews

Although Overmuch Cleanup Is Performed Upon The Script, Effective Pacing By The Director Wins Out Over The Cutting Room Floor.
28 August 2007 | by (Mountain Mesa, California) – See all my reviews

A screen-printed inscription leads off this small-budgeted Australian production:

"At birth a man is offered only one choice -- the time and place of his own death. But if this choice is without motive his life will never have been more than meaningless." For good reason, attribution is lacking for this irrational bit of philosophy, but it must have at the time of filming impressed the work's director, and indeed does after a fashion reflect upon much of the storyline. Action opens with a tense and well-directed scene depicting Pete Shields (John Flaus) along with two confederates as they rob a Sydney bank, following which event Pete is informed that he has an incurable form of cancer, a diagnosis that effectively thwarts his criminal career, and he journeys to Melbourne (where the film is shot) in hopes of finding some safety there while visiting with younger brother Brian (Bryan Brown) and the latter's wife and daughter. Unfortunately, Pete's fraternal sojourn misfires in its entirety, because Bryan harbours ill feelings toward his older brother caused by their shared amourous history with Brian's spouse Jeannie (Chrissie James) that includes uncertainty as to which of the brothers fathered Chrissie's five-year-old daughter. To ensure that Brian and his family will receive a slice of Pete's criminally obtained savings, the elder Shields involves both siblings with one final paper, a kidnapping for ransom of an organized crime chieftain's daughter. This work is the first of but two that Melbourne native Chris Fitchett directed, and is a more than tolerable crime tinctured thriller, offering a few fresh angles. It was shot in 16mm. and largely financed with a subsidy tendered by Creative Development Branch of the Australian Film Commission, somewhat ironic in the event, since Fitchett was appointed director of the identical organization a quarter of a century after this picture was shown in Melbourne theatres. Flaus performs well as a veteran criminal attempting to redeem the closing segment of his life, while Brown is rather brittle in a monochromatic role. The affair benefits from a well-crafted score turned in by Mark McSherry that is a pleasing match for the plot line. Sadly, the film is edited by bludgeon, thereby producing scenes wherein expressed emotions of the characters seem vaguely predicated, while the disparate threads offered from a potentially engaging screenplay are left undefined despite able treatment by Fitchett of both the storyline and his cast.

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