Story: Feature film

Smash palace, 1981

A real-life car-wrecker's yard in the shadow of Mt Ruapehu provided the title and the setting for Roger Donaldson's thriller Smash Palace. Powered by a pitch-perfect script and electrifying performances, it traces the psychological descent of a rugged ex-racing driver (played by Bruno Lawrence) after his marriage disintegrates. The film was rated one of the year's 10 best by the New York Times, and Donaldson soon left New Zealand for a long career in Hollywood.

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NZ On Screen
Reference: Smash palace. Producer, director and writer, Roger Donaldson. Aardvark Films, 1981.

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How to cite this page:

Helen Martin, 'Feature film - The 1980s: breaking new ground', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 13 July 2024)

Story by Helen Martin, published 22 Oct 2014, reviewed & revised 21 May 2024 with assistance from Emma-Jean Kelly