Came a Hot Friday (1985)

PG  |   |  Comedy  |  4 October 1985 (USA)
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Set in post-war (1949) rural New Zealand, this film traces the efforts of two con men to run a betting scam in a small town (Tainuea) already rife with illegal gambling corruption, and ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Bland ...
Wes Pennington
Phillip Gordon ...
Cyril Kidman
Michael Lawrence ...
Billy T. James ...
The Tainuia Kid
Sel Bishop
Don Selwyn ...
Norm Cray
Marise Wipani ...
Erna Larsen ...
Phillip Holder ...
Dick (as Philip Holder)
Tricia Phillips ...
Don's Dad
Michael Morrissey ...
Darkie Benson
Hemi Rapata ...
Aunt Agg


Set in post-war (1949) rural New Zealand, this film traces the efforts of two con men to run a betting scam in a small town (Tainuea) already rife with illegal gambling corruption, and eccentricity. Written by Vanessa Der Klawer <>

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Release Date:

4 October 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Os batoteiros  »

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Did You Know?


The brand of green plastic roofing visible above the saxophonist's balcony was not in use in the 1940s. See more »


Wes Pennington: [singing while urinating into a river] Pour the devil's poison into God's cleansing river/It's of no further use to man when it's filtered through the liver!
See more »


Featured in Cinema of Unease: A Personal Journey by Sam Neill (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

A salad made of The Sting, Jiri Menzel and Mel Brooks is hard of digestion
2 July 2008 | by (Zagreb, Croatia) – See all my reviews

I haven't seen too many movies from New Zealand. Those that I've seen have been so good that I rarely miss a chance to see another one. Once Were Warriors, Whale Rider, Piano, Smash Palace, Rain, Starlight Hotel... very different movies, but each of them at least good, never a waste of time, offering things to think and discuss about, having messages...

But all what's good comes to end. Came a Good Friday is a movie that doesn't fit in almost anything I've said about NZ movies.

I like comedies. Maybe I've expected too much, but I've smiled three times and never opened my mouth for laughter.

The basic idea is manifestly similar to The Sting, but as Friday was made after a novel written before Hill made his movie the authors can't be blamed for stealing. Instead of that, we can be surprised that they decided to make it after The Sting became so famous and people can compare the movies.

Hill's plot takes place in a big American town, Mune's in New Zealand village, so the characters are very different. Interesting thing is that Hill's more than 2 hours long movie doesn't look so congested by characters, though settled in Chicago, while Mune seems to have need to show every single person who might live in this village. At least half of them were the burden that disabled better understanding and developing of the other half.

This insistence in offering a wide spectrum of different people that are rather typical (or cliché?) for such a milieu makes us remember Czechoslovakian cinematography from 60's and 70's, from Menzel to Chytilova, or even 90's and a bit more urban like Sverak, Steindler or Hrebejk. Their humor also wasn't loud, intense, it was in fact often bitter or sad. But the plot of their movies was deeply local and realistic, and didn't try to force us to laugh by a story that first like deja vu repeats funny idea from Sting, and later introduces a Maor character that would fit in Mel Brooks or Abrahams-Zucker movies and no way in early Forman. Swedish and Italian 70's and 80's movies also often depicted many characters in provincial cities, but usually concentrated on few of them (with mostly local people in major roles); these movies were frequently dramas with strong social ground and not pale comedies where both social and personal relations are used only as clichés.

Though I, except in extremely rare occasions, never quit watching a movie once I decide to see it, I was really tempted this time.

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