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Spider & Rose (1994)

Spider and Rose are on the road to Coonabarabran. It's Spider's last day working as an ambo, and he's in a hurry. Rose has been in a car crash and would prefer they take their time. Along ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ruth Cracknell ... Rose Dougherty
... Spider McCall
... Jack
... Robert Dougherty
Jennifer Cluff ... Helen Dougherty
Harry Tritton ... Paddy
Heidi Lapaine ... Nurse Maguire
Tina Bursill ... Sister Abbott
Emily Dawe ... Ambulance Officer
... Henderson
... Nurse Price
Brian Vriends ... Spider's Mate
Helen O'Connor ... Distressed Mother
David Cockburn ... Dying Boy
Bruce Venables ... Semi-Trailer Driver


Spider and Rose are on the road to Coonabarabran. It's Spider's last day working as an ambo, and he's in a hurry. Rose has been in a car crash and would prefer they take their time. Along the way the two get to know each other and have some adventures neither one had planned. Written by Lynn Salmon

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

independent film | See All (1) »


Breaking and entering. Wilful destruction. Dangerous drunk driving. The old have so much to teach the young. See more »







Release Date:

15 September 1994 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Pajak i róza  »


Box Office


AUD 3,400,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

The end credits play over an argument between Spider and an ambulance driver as to whether Spider should travel in the back of the ambulance. After the final credit, there is a shot of the ambulance driving, with music playing from the radio. Cut to Spider, strapped to a stretcher in the back of the ambulance. He shouts: "Turn that music off!". Cut to black. See more »


Holiday in Cambodia
Written by Dead Kennedys
(Upright Music/Festival Music Pty Ltd)
Performed by Dead Kennedys
Courtesy Decay Music
See more »

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User Reviews

A ‘road trip' that is a little bit different. Being ‘old' was never meant to be this funny!
6 February 2003 | by See all my reviews

Whenever I hear the name Ruth Cracknell, I always remember her silly antics as ‘Maggie Beare' in the famous Australian TV comedy ‘Mother and Son'. So I looked forward to watching Cracknell at work in ‘Spider and Rose'. While this film might not be the greatest film that Australia has ever produced, it has an ‘enigma' that made me want to watch more and more. If you are an aussie looking to have a good laugh one night, than you have to watch this classic comedy about putting up with ‘youthful enthusiasm' and/or ‘old age'.

Spider and Rose is a ‘road-trip' movie about the attitudes and experiences of two very different people who find themselves in many situations beyond their control. Rose Dougherty is crotchety old woman who is going back home to Coonabarabran, to celebrate her birthday. To get there she has to ride with resentful ambulance driver, Brad 'Spider' McCall. It is Spider's last day as an ambo, and he is in a hurry to get Rose home, so he can get back and have his farewell party of a ‘lifetime'. Along the way the two get to know and respect each other and have an adventure neither could have expected.

What a genius of an actress Ruth Cracknell was. I know that she could do justice to so many roles, but when it came to comedy she was the best in the business. In Spider and Rose, Cracknell plays a silly old woman who is at the crossroads of life. I felt that her character partly embraced that of ‘Maggie Beare', a character that many Australians loved. This role also called for Ruth to be open to many different experiences, with some even surprising a movie-goer like me. Then there is the special chemistry that Cracknell shares with acting new-comer, Simon Bossell. He played the smart ass ‘Spider' beautifully. The relationship that Bossell and Cracknell share within the script of ‘Spider and Rose' is a highlight of the movie for me. Bossell has also appeared in the Aussie movie ‘Better than Sex'.

Other stars in ‘Spider and Rose' include Max Cullen, who is the sly but kind Bee Keeper Jack. Cullen is another known actor in Australia, with his other acting roles being such as the new Aussie movie ‘The nugget' and ‘Kiss or Kill'. Cullen and Cracknell also shared a quite unique chemistry onscreen in this movie. Another character that took me by surprise is that of Robert (Lewis Fitz-Gerald). I feel the name of his character to be a little too coincidental to that of the son in ‘Mother and Son', as Maggie has child that is named ‘Robbie'. The character in this movie is like his TV counterpart, in that he does not want any of the responsibility in looking after his own ‘flesh and blood'. There is one other character I enjoyed immensely, that of the Semi-Trailer driver (Bruce Venables). While he only had a very small part, it made me laugh a lot.

The director and writer of ‘Spider and Rose' was Bill Bennett. Bill wrote a most entertaining of scripts, with the ‘one liners' and sarcastic comments being a highlight for mine. I also like how he wrote the characters of Spider and Rose, as how they treat each other being an important ingredient as to how we feel about them. Bill also used some interesting camera shots in this movie. Many of the driving shots are complete 360 degree shots, which I believe are saying that this is a ride which is out of control. There are many unique shots of the signs to Coonabarabran, which shows the audience that this is a terribly long trip that Spider and Rose have to go on. Bennett ‘striked it lucky' in 2002, when he did the Australian movie, ‘The nugget', a film which I looked forward to seeing.

So in closing this is a movie I enjoyed a lot, with its funny characters and humorous script. It has also taught me how difficult it must be when someone grows old. Rose's comments to spider `what do you do, when your mind wants to dance, but your body wants to die?' He replies `Dance Rose!'. What I feel this movie is trying to say about old age, is that it should not be a hindrance, but something to be looked up to and celebrated. As of this year my Grandfather is heading into his 90's, and to say that it has been a struggle for our family as to know what to do with him is an understatement, but I am glad we have continued to see him regularly. The young members of every family need to cherish the times with their elders, because when they are gone they will miss them for alongtime to come.

CMRS gives ‘Spider and Rose': 4 (Very Good Film)

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