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Spud (2010)

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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 1,433 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 12 critic

It's South Africa 1990. Two major events are about to happen: The release of Nelson Mandela and, more importantly, it's Spud Milton's first year at an elite boys only private boarding school.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Title: Spud (2010)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jamie Royal ...
Blessing Xaba ...
Tom Burne ...
Vern 'Rain Main' Blackadder (as Thomas Burne)
Josh Goddard ...
Travis Hornsby ...
Byron Langley ...
Simon Brown
Sparerib - Mr. Wilson
Genna Blair ...
Mermaid - Debbie
Amanda (as Charlbi Kriek)
Aaron McIlroy ...
Eve - Mrs. Wilson


It's South Africa 1990. Two major events are about to happen: The release of Nelson Mandela and, more importantly, it's Spud Milton's first year at an elite boys only private boarding school. John Milton is a boy from an ordinary background who wins a scholarship to a private school in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. Surrounded by boys with nicknames like Gecko, Rambo, Rain Man and Mad Dog, Spud has his hands full trying to adapt to his new home. Along the way Spud takes his first tentative steps along the path to manhood. (The path it seems could be a rather long road). Spud is an only child. He is cursed with parents from well beyond the lunatic fringe and a senile granny. His dad is a fervent anti-communist who is paranoid that the family domestic worker is running a shebeen from her room at the back of the family home. His mom is a free spirit and a teenager's worst nightmare, whether it's shopping for Spud's underwear in the local supermarket, or sneaking food into her handbag at ... Written by Ross Garland

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

3 December 2010 (South Africa)  »

Also Known As:

Spud Milton: Med ørerne i maskinen  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


(35 mm version)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The producers and writers originally wanted Hugh Grant to play the role of "The Guv" and pursued him relentlessly. John Cleese ended up accepting the role even though it is not his usual type of film. See more »


Spud says (on video night) that they are watching Pretty Woman. Then the TV news shows F.W. de Klerk dismantling the ANC which happened on Feb 2nd 1990. Pretty Woman wasn't released in cinemas until 23rd March 1990, so they couldn't possibly be watching a video of a film that hadn't even been released yet. Also, Pretty Woman was never released in South African cinemas. See more »


Mom: He sings like and angel. Aren't you my china plate?
[pinches Spud's cheek]
See more »


Followed by Spud 2: The Madness Continues (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

a delightful, funny and ultimately touching film that provides marvelous entertainment and delivers just about everything the book's many fans could have hoped for
8 December 2010 | by (South Africa) – See all my reviews

SPUD with Troye Sivan, John Cleese, Jamie Royal, Jason Cope, Aaron McIlroy, Genna Blair, Tanit Phoenix and Jeremy Crutchley, directed by Donavan Marsh. Rating: 8 out of 10.

THE eagerly anticipated screen version of John van De Ruit's beloved bestseller is a delightful, funny and ultimately touching film that provides marvelous entertainment and delivers just about everything the book's many fans could have hoped for.

The casting of John Cleese was a major coup for the movie's producers and the Monty Python man - who was unforgettably amusing in "Fawlty Towers", does not disappoint. Cleese is terrific as Mr Edley (aka "The Guv"), the eccentric and alcoholic old teacher who mentors our titular young hero and introduces him to books like "Lord of the Rings" and "Catch 22". Cleese is both hilarious and moving in the role. Also excellent is Troye Sivan - who sings beautifully, as the vulnerable, lovable Spud. Jamie Royal also serves up something special with his performance as Spud's doomed true friend, "Gekko". And there are lively supporting turns from the likes of Aaron McIlroy (Dad), Jason Cope ("Sparerib" Wilson), Sven Ruygrok (Rambo) and Genna Blair, who is perfectly cast as the lovely "Mermaid".

The story begins in 1990, shortly before the release of Nelson Mandela. The winds of change are already blowing through South Africa when John Milton (Sivan) - a working class boy with a scholarship - is deposited at the posh Michaelhouse boarding school in his crazed parents' bombed- out car. As he lies in bed that night he thinks out aloud: "Tomorrow school proper begins. Maybe I'll die in my sleep and miss it completely." No such luck, and the worst is still to come. John is a late developer, so when he hits the showers, the other boys, noticing his little willie and lack of pubic hair, nickname him Spud. The name sticks.

But the witty, intelligent young Spud is determined to fit in with his dorm mates, like the "Rain Man" Vern, the sickly Gecko, Mad Dog, Rambo, porn-obsessed Boggo and the ever hungry Fatty - who holds the school farting record. Spud also wants to be an actor, hopes to shine at cricket and takes an interest in politics. Things do start to improve when "The Guv" takes Spud under his wing, though. And when - during the school holidays, he meets and falls in love with the girl he dubs "Mermaid".

"Spud", which features a fine score by Ed Jordan and splendid cinematography by Lance Gewer, is not a sentimental film. It is funny and exuberant and nostalgic, but it is also surprisingly moving and the relationship between Spud and The Guv has plenty of emotional resonance, as do other aspects of the film.

Most faithful to the spirit of Van De Ruit's book, "Spud" is a deliciously human and heartfelt film which tells a wonderful South African story with skill and sensitivity. While this story and its settings are uniquely South African, the themes are universal and there is every chance this charming film will also find a level of success in other parts of the world - such as Britain and Australia. But whether or not it works in the rest of the world is immaterial. "Spud" will be a well deserved smash hit at the local box-office and leave audiences satisfied, happy and ready for the sequel. Do not miss it. GA.

10 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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