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Goodbye Pork Pie (1980)

Goodbye Pork Pie introduces us to John (Tony Barry) who lives in the north of New Zealand. At the moment we meet him, John has two problems on his mind: First, he has no job and consequently no money, two factors which lead to his second problem – that of his girlfriend Sue (Shirley Gruar) walking out on him and going to live with her sister in Invercargill, which is just about as far south as you can go in New Zealand.

John would dearly like to go after Sue and persuade her to return but has neither a car nor cash.

Help arrives in the form of Gerry (Kelly Johnson),  a young drifter who has stolen a small – but very durable – yellow car (the ‘Pork Pie’ of the title ) and together they go off in pursuit of Sue.

They drive away from a petrol station after filling up but without paying, leaving the outraged petrol pump attendant to contact the police – and now the two fugitives will have company for the rest of their journey.

Along the way, John and Gerry pick up Shirl (Claire Oberman), a busty blonde girl who reminds them constantly that she’s in virgo intacta – despite Gerry’s reassurance that “he’s gay and I’m driving” – but her protestations soon begin to wear thin.

To begin with, the fellows think Shirl is a pain in the proverbial, but gradually she relaxes and the three of them become good company. After all, they all have a common cause – to avoid the police and get to Invercargill by hook or by crook.

A mad chase through the streets of Wellington, a lift on a train where they make a temporary home for themselves and the car in a freight wagon, a determined hitchhiker called Snout, and police cars running into a lake and over a cliff are just a few of the events that transpire on their journey.

All along the way, they keep selling off bits of the car to fund their trip – seats, doors, boot lid, bumpers and even the entire front end – so by the time it reaches Invercargill it’s little more than a bare shell with an engine.

The original songs heard on the soundtrack are by a New Zealand band called Street Talk.

The film was remade in 2017 by director Geoff Murphy’s son, Matt, and released as simply Pork Pie.

Tony Barry
Gerry Austin
Kelly Johnson
Claire Oberman
Shirley Gruar
Bruno Lawrence
Traffic Cop
Stephen Tozer
John Bach
Frances Edmond
Leslie Morris
Jackie Lowitt
Maggie Maxwell
Liz Simpson

Geoff Murphy