21 user 12 critic

Puberty Blues (1981)

The mating rituals of two teenage surf chicks from the southern suburbs of Sydney.


Bruce Beresford


Margaret Kelly (screenplay), Kathy Lette (based on the novel by) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Nell Schofield ... Debbie Vickers
Jad Capelja Jad Capelja ... Sue Knight
Jeffrey Rhoe Jeffrey Rhoe ... Garry (as Geoff Rhoe)
Tony Hughes Tony Hughes ... Danny
Sandy Paul Sandy Paul ... Tracy
Leander Brett Leander Brett ... Cheryl
Jay Hackett ... Bruce
Ned Lander Ned Lander ... Strach
Joanne Olsen Joanne Olsen ... Vicki
Julie Medana Julie Medana ... Kim
Michael Shearman Michael Shearman ... Glenn
Dean Dunstone Dean Dunstone ... Seagull
Tina Robinson Hansen Tina Robinson Hansen ... Freda (as Tina Robinson)
Nerida Clark Nerida Clark ... Carol
Kirrily Nolan Kirrily Nolan ... Mrs. Vickers


Meet Sue, a teenage Australian girl in the late 70s, whose life mainly consists of doing what everyone else does - watch the surfing boys and have sex with the same surfing boys. The girls have to follow lots of strange customs, e.g. do not eat or go to the bathroom when a boy is around. Ugly girls have two choices - being bitches and hate boys, or being generally cheap and looked down upon by everyone. The afternoons are spent on the beaches, in the backseats of car or at home-alone-parties where sex and alcohol are the main ingredients. Parents and teachers are trying to straighten the kids out, but that is not easy. Written by Rune Dahl Fitjar <rfitjar@online.no>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The coolest things to do are the things they say we can't do. See more »


Comedy | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Director Bruce Beresford said of this film in a 15th May 1999 interview with 'Signet': "I bought it [the novel] while I was waiting for a bus in North Sydney. I went to get a chocolate or something and I saw a pile of these things sitting on the counter. I thought I'd buy one and read it on the bus going home. It was remarkable, a very well-expressed book. And the girls were only fifteen. It was a sort of insight into the way of life of those kids, which was a revelation to me . . . Kathy Lette was a real livewire and so was the other girl, Gabrielle Carey". See more »


Debbie's hair changes length throughout the film. See more »


Debbie Vickers: [during attempted sex] It's hurting.
Bruce: Keep still.
Debbie Vickers: Ow! Oh. It's no use. It's too big.
Bruce: Shit.
See more »


Remade as Puberty Blues (2012) See more »


I Hope I Never
Performed by Split Enz
Written by Tim Finn
See more »

User Reviews

Nothing new but enjoyable
20 December 2007 | by preppy-3See all my reviews

Movie about two Australian girls--Debbie (Nell Schofield) and Sue (Sue Knight)--and what happens when they become girlfriends of two surfer guys.

I caught this at an art cinema here in America in 1981. Technically I was still a teenager (I was 19) so I was interested in seeing how Australian teens acted. Script wise there's nothing new here. It shows the usual teenage adventures dealing with dating, sex, suicide etc etc. I always knew what was going to happen before it did but I was never bored. What I found interesting was, despite the accent and a few changes in clothes and hair, these teenagers aren't much different than American teens. They had many of the same difficulties and hang-ups. Also this was based on a book from a real surfer girl and her true life adventures and (I heard) it was a faithful adaptation of it. The acting was just OK but the actors were attractive and this was well-made and pretty interesting. So this is no unsung masterpiece but a pretty accurate portrayal of what it's like being a teenager and trying to be with the popular kids. I give it a 7.

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Release Date:

10 December 1981 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Puberty Blues See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,381, 17 July 1983

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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