7.6/10
1,144
17 user 8 critic

Cane Toads: An Unnatural History (1988)

A documentary detailing the spread of Hawaiian sugar-cane toads through Australia in a botched effort to introduce them as counter pests.

Director:

Mark Lewis

Writer:

Mark Lewis
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tip Byrne Tip Byrne ... Self - Cane Farmer from Tully
H.W. Kerr H.W. Kerr ... Self - Director of the Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations, 1933-1943 (as Dr H.W. [Bill] Kerr)
Glen Ingram Glen Ingram ... Self - Senior Curator Amphibia and Birds, Queensland Museum (as Dr Glen Ingram)
Bill Freeland Bill Freeland ... Self - Wildlife Research Officer, Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory (as Dr Bill Freeland)
E.S. Edgerton E.S. Edgerton ... Self - Former Member Cane Pest Board
Pat White Pat White ... Self - Cane Farmer from Gordonvale
John Oakes John Oakes ... Self - Resident of Cairns
Patrick Cook Patrick Cook ... Self - Social Commentator
David Sondergard David Sondergard ... Self - Resident of Gordonvale
Rob Floyd Rob Floyd ... Self - Animal Ecologist (as Dr Rob Floyd)
Elvie Grieg Elvie Grieg ... Self - Resident of Redcliffe
Max Ackland Max Ackland ... Self - Mulgrave Shire Council (as Councillor Max Ackland)
Brian Hawke Brian Hawke ... Self - Binding Conservator, National Library
Bob Endean Bob Endean ... Self - Associate Professor of Zoology, Queensland University (as Dr Bob Endean)
Mike Archer Mike Archer ... Self - Associate Professor of Zoology, University of N.S.W. (as Dr. Michael Archer)
Learn more

More Like This 

Documentary | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A documentary horror film about the environmental devastation left in the wake of the giant toads' unstoppable march across Australia.

Director: Mark Lewis
Stars: Henry Richards, Neil Young
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Two Jewish boys escape from a train transporting them from one concentration camp to another. The film goes beyond the themes of war and anti-Nazism and concerns itself with man's struggle to preserve human dignity.

Director: Jan Nemec
Stars: Ladislav Jánsky, Antonín Kumbera, Ilse Bischofova
Seven Up! (TV Short 1964)
Documentary | Short | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A group of seven-year-old British children from widely ranging backgrounds are interviewed about a range of subjects. Director Michael Apted plans to reinterview them at seven-year ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Almond
Stars: Douglas Keay, Bruce Balden, Jacqueline Bassett
Microcosmos (1996)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A documentary on insect life in meadows and ponds.

Directors: Claude Nuridsany, Marie Pérennou
Stars: Kristin Scott Thomas, Jacques Perrin
Rat (1998)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Director: Mark Lewis
Opening Night (1977)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An actress suffers an emotional uproar in her personal life after a fan dies trying to see her.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Gena Rowlands, John Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara
Documentary | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Through interviews and reenactments, The Natural History of the Chicken investigates the role of the chicken in American life and tells several remarkable stories. A Maine farmer says she ... See full summary »

Director: Mark Lewis
Stars: Janet Bonney, Joseph Martinez, Joel Vavra
Hannah Gadsby: Douglas (TV Special 2020)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Hannah Gadsby ("Nanette") returns for her second stand-up special and shares her latest takes on popularity, identity, language, feminism and more.

Director: Madeleine Parry
Stars: Hannah Gadsby
King of the Hill (1997–2010)
Animation | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A straight laced propane salesman in Arlen, Texas tries to deal with the wacky antics of his family and friends, while also trying to keep his son in line.

Stars: Mike Judge, Kathy Najimy, Pamela Adlon
The Cremator (1969)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Set in World War II, a demented cremator believes cremation relieves earthly suffering and sets out to save the world.

Director: Juraj Herz
Stars: Rudolf Hrusínský, Vlasta Chramostová, Jana Stehnová
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A doctor gets obsessed with the case of a dead woman after learning that the woman had died shortly after having rung her door for help.

Directors: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Stars: Adèle Haenel, Olivier Bonnaud, Jérémie Renier
Duck Soup (1933)
Comedy | Musical | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Rufus T. Firefly is named president/dictator of bankrupt Freedonia and declares war on neighboring Sylvania over the love of wealthy Mrs. Teasdale.

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx
Edit

Storyline

Cane Toads is a documentary detailing the spread of Hawaiian sugar-cane toads (toads which live in the cane fields) through Queensland and then into the rest of Australia following a mis-informed attempt to introduce them to counter pests. Turns out they wouldn't eat the 'cane grubs' but they would multiply like no one's business... and they have no natural enemies in Australia at all, partly due to their poisonous skin. Written by Jay Furr <jfurr@danger.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of a bizarre biological blunder, warts and all!! See more »


Edit

Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

Mouse sequence filmed during regular feeding routine at Kurunda Wildlife Gardens. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Minus Man (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Cane Toad Blues
by Tim Finn
See more »

User Reviews

 
The Cane Mutiny!!
5 June 2003 | by Anonymous_MaxineSee all my reviews

The unnatural history of the introduction of cane toads into Australia is a hilarious documentary about what is certainly one of the most foolish of history's human attempts at changing their environment for their own advantage. It is almost sickening to consider the sheer numbers of these hideous creatures that were crawling all over north eastern Australia, as well as the absolute, unfiltered stupidity that led to their being brought into Australia in the first place. There does not appear to have been much more thought put into their introduction onto the continent other than they share part of the name of the pests that they were brought to eradicate.

I doubt very much, for example, that anyone looked much deeper into the nature (most importantly the feeding and mating habits) of the cane toads before they were brought over. Mating habits is something that most certainly should have been investigated, as the cane toad's sex drive is proven to be so strong that they are willing and able to attempt to mate with everything from a shoe to a human hand to a squashed and VERY dead cane toad. It's almost as though the people who brought these things into Australia said `CANE toads, CANE grubs. Of COURSE!!'

From the frightening shot of the little girl early in the documentary lovingly playing with one of the ridiculously unattractive toads to the other little girl playing with one of the ridiculously unattractive creatures near the end of the documentary, Cane Toads is a testament to the sheer extent of the human capacity for stupidity. It's amazing to me how friendly some people became with the creatures, which seem to be some of the most resilient creatures on earth, due to their ability to eat just about anything smaller than themselves and their almost total lack of any predators (except, of course, for the speeding tires of fed up Australians). Resilience, however, does not equal aesthetic appeal, as the cane toads are some of the most repulsive creatures I've ever seen.

Cane Toads takes a natural approach to looking at an environment plagued by a pest that was destroying a certain crop, and then takes a strange turn when it introduces the fact that humans introduced another pest in hopes of reducing the problem but succeeded only in greatly increasing them. It's an extremely unusual documentary, and it shows the perspectives on what I can't escape calling some of the more backwards specimens of the human species. Definitely an entertaining documentary, just remember that one of the natural rules of life requires that you do not look at a cane toad while you're eating. I only tell you this because I wish someone had told ME that before I watched the movie!


12 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 17 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 June 1988 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Természetellenes történet varangyokról See more »

Filming Locations:

Cairns, Queensland, Australia See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Film Australia See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.



Recently Viewed