6.8/10
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23 user 13 critic

Bliss (1985)

After a near-death experience, a man wonders if he actually did die and is now in Hell.

Director:

Ray Lawrence

Writers:

Ray Lawrence (screenplay), Peter Carey (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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4 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Barry Otto ... Harry / Husband
Lynette Curran ... Bettina / Wife
Helen Jones Helen Jones ... Honey Barbara / Prostitute
Miles Buchanan Miles Buchanan ... David / Son
Gia Carides ... Lucy / Daughter
Tim Robertson ... Alex Duval
Jeff Truman ... Joel
Bryan Marshall ... Adrian Clunes
Jon Ewing Jon Ewing ... Aldo
Kerry Walker ... Alice Dalton
Paul Chubb ... Reverend Des
Sarah De Teliga Sarah De Teliga ... Harry's Mother (as Sara De Teliga)
Saskia Post ... Harry's Daughter (as Saski Post)
George Whaley George Whaley ... Vance
Robert Menzies Robert Menzies ... Damien
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Storyline

Harry suffers a heart attack and has a near-death experience that changes his outlook on life. His miraculous return convinces him that there is a heaven but that his life on Earth is hell. His wife Bettina has her worst fears realized when she develops brain cancer from gasoline fumes. His son David deals cocaine and receives sexual favors from his drug-addicted sister Lucy. Harry finds love with a kind-hearted prostitute "Honey Barbara" who kills a top oil-company executive, and then herself, with Molotov cocktails. Shocking scenes include cockroaches bursting from Harry's stitches after his open-heart surgery, and fish dropping from in between a woman's legs onto a restaurant floor. This bizarre and often slow-moving film lampoons the luridness of the human condition. Written by David Carroll <davidc@atom.ansto.gov.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

After Harry Joy dropped dead... his life was never the same again.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It is the most controversial Australian film of 1985. Unedited, 400 people walked out of the cinemas due to the sexual content. Edited, the filmed turned out to be one of the true Australian sleeper hits of all time, achieving critical acclaim, grossing A$1,144,863 in Australia and $660,537 in the U.S., and becoming the best Australian picture of 1985. See more »

Alternate Versions

There is a Director's Cut version running 135 minutes. The main addition is a lengthy monologue to camera by the protagonist in a police station. See more »

Connections

Featured in Century of Cinema: 40,000 years of dreaming (1997) See more »

User Reviews

Give this one a chance.
5 March 2004 | by nowwhatcreativeSee all my reviews

Ray Lawrence, the director of "Bliss," and Paul Murphy, its cinematographer, were both first-time feature filmmakers when they made "Bliss." I believe the movie swept the Australian "Oscars" in '85, and in my humble opinion, deservedly so.

The tone is somewhat dark, the genre surrealist comedy, the performances deliciously eccentric, and the storytelling masterful. "Bliss" reminds me more of some of my favorite novels than it does any other films. Peter Carey's novel and adaptation have some of the feeling of John Irving's earlier works, but it's not derivative. The cinematography is gorgeous and understated. It has a surprisingly romantic core beneath a fairly jaded surface, which I think is a tough combination to pull off.

It isn't appropriate for kids (it has sophisticated, adult themes and, at moments, a very frank approach to sex) and it has an unexpectedly epic, languorous feel toward the end (so don't watch it when you're sleepy), but if you're serious about appreciating movies, you owe it to yourself to give this one a chance. Enjoy!


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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 February 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Blogosc See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

AUD3,400,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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