Smash Palace

Smash Palace - 1981

Aardvardk Films - 108 min.

DVD UPC/EAN # 013131261691 (US 2-disc set w/Sleeping Dogs); 9315842026240 (AU 2-disc set w/Sleeping Dogs)
Blu-ray UPC/EAN # 5027035019024(UK); 760137123286(US); 5051889699279(FR)

Cast: Bruno Lawrence, Anna Maria Monticelli (Anna Jemison), Keith Aberdein, Greer Robson, Desmond Kelly, Sean Duffy, Lyn Robson, Margaret Umbers.
Crew: Screenplay: Roger Donaldson; Photography: Graeme Cowley; Editor: Michael Horton; Music: Sharon O'Neill; Art Director: Reston Griffiths; Wardrobe: Annabel Blackett; Producer and Director: Roger Donaldson.

Retired racing car driver Al (Lawrence), who now runs a wrecker's yard in Horopito, is more interested in his cars than in this wife. To Al's anger, she gets friendly with the local cop, Al's best friend, and leaves taking their young daughter with her. Al wants to keep his daughter and abducts her for the bush, but returns to town when she becomes ill. Many memorable scenes - especially with Lawrence. Put this on your "must see" list.

Censor Rating: R16 - Review Rating: B+

Smash Palace
Official MP4 Trailer


Expect new PAL VHS copies to cost at least $20nz or 15eur. New NTSC VHS copies will be at least $20us.
There is a two-disc set, either R1 NTSC or R4 PAL, with 'Sleeping Dogs', titled THE ROGER DONALDSON COLLECTION. It is a product of Anchor Bay and contains an excellent commentary track by Donaldson, Neill and Mune. It also has one of the best "Making of" features I have even seen with a New Zealand film (65 minutes) plus the disc also has a gallery of stills and posters as well as text bios. The movies are restored widescreen 1.76:1, enhanced for 16x9 and includes restored soundtracks with Dolby Digital 1.0 or Dolby 5.1 surround - resulting in an above average visual and aural quality. There are no subtitles.

As of October 2014, the out-of-print 2-disc DVD set sells new for about $40us from various sources, but be sure to search for it by the title: ROGER DONALDSON COLLECTION. The optical and sound quality approaches theatrical and the background info in the commentary and "Making of" additions is very insightful - altogether an excellent buy for the cost. For R4 PAL users - this "double feature" offering, with audio commentaries and "Making of" featurettes, is available in NZ for about $30nz.

NOTE: Starting 27 May 2018, an All Regions (although the box labeling incorrectly lists it as region locked) Blu-ray became available in the UK and the US starting 28 May 2018 and 29 May in Canada. It contains the same extras that were in the earlier "Roger Donaldson Collection" DVD. It will not have a Dolby 5.1 surround option, but instead has spoken English options of DTS-HD-MA 5.1, the original LPCM 2.0 and will have a 1.85:1 format. It has optional English subtitles for the feature. There is also the theatrical trailer. First pressing only: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Ian Barr, a contemporary review by Pauline Kael and the original press book. It is selling for 18-25# or $35-40.

Starting 17 November 2021, a two-disc Blu-ray set became available from French sources. It has the original spoken English soundtrack and French subtitles.

Blu-ray pre-orders being taken at Arrow Films (UK)

DealOZ North American Blu-ray price comparison site

Aro Video of Wellington has rental copies available for New Zealand addresses

The Jokers Shop - French Blu-ray/DVD set

Mighty Ape of Auckland

Amazon US - Blu-ray and DVD


NZFC OnDemand New Zealand Rental & Purchase

iTunes US - SD & HD

iTunes UK - SD & HD

Amazon UK - Digital Rental or Purchase

Amazon US - Digital Rental or Purchase - SD & HD

Google Play US Rental or Purchase

Microsoft UK - Buy or Rent - SD & HD

Aro Video OnDemand

Academy Cinemas OnDemand of Auckland

WorldCat is the world's largest library catalog - Click to find the nearest Library that has this title.


There are no known soundtrack CDs of this title.

MP3 clip from this title's soundtrack

SOUNDTRACKS VAULT - Link to MP3 samples of all titles

The first known NZ feature film to also have its own soundtrack release was the 1977 33rpm LP of Sleeping Dogs. Other titles that are on 33rpm LP and/or audio cassette, but have not yet (as of 2007) found their way to CD are: Solo (1978), Goodbye Pork Pie (1980), Battletruck (1981), Smash Palace (1981), Strata (1984), Bridge to Nowhere (1986), Queen City Rocker (1986) and The Leading Edge (1987).

Details on these rare LPs can be found at the Soundtrack LP page.


DVDBeaver Blu-ray Review & DVD Comparison

Paul Lewis' DVDCompare Blu-ray Review

Jeffrey Kauffman Blu-ray Review

'Like Mike' DVD Review at

Cinema Aotearoa Reviews

Dennis Schwartz Review

Reviews at

Roger Ebert Review

DVDCompare - DVD versions

Peter Harcourt's Sequence Review

New Zealand Film Archive Info and Reviews

MRQE Reviews (8 articles)

DVD Talk - Glenn Erickson Review

Chicago Reader On Film Review

Four Word Film Review

"Smash Palace is a thoroughly remarkable and commercial drama about human beings. Superbly constructed and paced, it is the story of marital break up which erupts into an impulsive kidnapping of a child by its father and a totally believable escalation to the brink of tragedy." - (Variety, September 2, 1981)

"We literally see an affable, intelligent man driven mad. And not mad in the funny, cuckoo sense, but mad in the obsessed way that so many people seem to go during the process of separating. There is a rigorous fidelity to modern experience in this movie, and it's not what you'd see if you lived next door to these people, because with Donaldson's help, Bruno Lawrence makes his emotions transparent..." - (Pauline Kael, The New Yorker, May 31, 1982)


VIDEO VAULT - Links to trailers and clips for all titles.

NZ On Screen Videos & Comments

The N to Z of Film on SoundCloud

Information at the New Zealand Film Commission Website

Information at IMDB

Internet Movie Poster Awards

1982 - Manila Film Festival - Best Actor: Bruno Lawrence.

Horopito Motor Wreckers - Site used for the film

NZVideos Logo

Comments, suggestions or questions are welcomed at, but delete the nospam portion before sending