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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.


Donovan Marsh


Donovan Marsh (screenplay), John Van De Ruit (novel)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Cleese ... The Guv - Mr. Edly
Troye Sivan ... John 'Spud' Milton
Jamie Royal Jamie Royal ... Henry 'Gecko' Barker
Sven Ruygrok ... Rambo
Blessing Xaba Blessing Xaba ... Fatty
Tom Burne Tom Burne ... Vern 'Rain Main' Blackadder (as Thomas Burne)
Josh Goddard Josh Goddard ... Charlie 'Mad Dog' Hooper
Travis Hornsby Travis Hornsby ... Boggo
Byron Langley ... Simon Brown
Jason Cope ... Sparerib - Mr. Wilson
Genna Blair Genna Blair ... Mermaid - Debbie
Charlbi Dean Kriek ... Amanda (as Charlbi Kriek)
Julie Summers Julie Summers ... Mom
Aaron McIlroy Aaron McIlroy ... Dad
Tanit Phoenix Copley ... Eve - Mrs. Wilson (as Tanit Phoenix)


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


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Parents Guide:

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Official Sites:

Official site


South Africa



Release Date:

3 December 2010 (South Africa) See more »

Also Known As:

Spud Milton: Med ørerne i maskinen See more »

Filming Locations:

South Africa See more »


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (35 mm version)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The old green station wagon that the Milton family drives, broke down several times on set and the smoke coming from the car, is real. There was no need to add the smoke in post production. See more »


The volume control on the TV set is pushed all the way down but you can clearly hear the sound supposedly coming out of the TV set. See more »


John 'Spud' Milton: I don't know about you Sir, but drinking just makes me sad. It's like the more you drink, the sadder you get... and the sadder you get the more you drink...
See more »


Followed by Spud 3: Learning to Fly (2014) See more »


Wedding Day
Written by Ed Jordan
Performed by Ed Jordan
Courtesy of Electromode
Published by Mokima (Sony/ATV Music Publishing (Pty) Ltd)
See more »

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User Reviews

Boy's inhumanity to boy
15 December 2010 | by davesoaneSee all my reviews

I don't know whether I can give an impartial review of this movie, but I'd like to try. You see, I was at the same school, but about 15 years before John van der Ruit. And I couldn't finish the book. It brought back too many unhappy memories. But I managed to stay the course for the movie ! Spud chronicles the first year for John (Spud) Milton at Michaelhouse, an elite boys-only boarding school in the KwaZulu-Natal countryside. It was filmed at the school itself, although for some reason the name was never mentioned, and the uniform, war-cry etc were all changed.

Spud is funny, touching, poignant, and the scenery is pretty too. I'm referring to the countryside around, but the young ladies in the cast contribute here as well. All actors are good/adequate in their roles, and John Cleese makes a creditable transition as an actor from clown to wise old man. Troye Sivan is very good as the bemused and put-upon Spud.

My problem with the book, and with the movie to a certain extent as well, is no fault of John van der Ruit or the movie makers themselves. It's about the people that you have to live with in such a situation.

I spent 5 years at Michaelhouse, and 2 years in National Service, and what made both times a lot less happy than they needed to be, were the people who went out of their way to make other people's lives unpleasant. In Spud it's Rambo, and to a lesser extent, one or two others in the Crazy Eight. Rambo especially, cannot just get on with his life and let others get on with theirs, he has to drag everyone along on his idiotic escapades. And then when they go awry, everyone has to pay. A thoroughly unpleasant person, but one who brought back memories of many such people in school and the army.

It's ironic that one of the books that the Guv offers to Spud, "Catch 22", falls into the same category for me. I've tried to read it twice ! But I find the character of Yossarian to be very similar to Rambo, and I can't get past a certain point. Maybe my reading of it is too coloured by my life in these 2 institutions.

I hope there are sequels and that we can follow Spud throughout his scholastic career. My life at Michaelhouse improved over the years as I learned to ignore the idiots and pursue my own interests. Let's hope we can trace Spud's rise similarly.

And I hope at the end of the final chapter, the camera lingers on the charge over the doorway into the Memorial Hall - a charge that I passed on to my own son at his coming of age - QUIT YOU LIKE MEN !

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