Some Hidden Jewels from New Zealand Cinema

by lyndon-iok | created - 19 Aug 2015 | updated - 28 Feb 2017 | Public
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dir. John O'Shea; thriller-road movie

2. Sleeping Dogs (1977)

Not Rated | 107 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

A New Zealand man recently estranged from his family gets unwittingly caught up in a revolution.

Director: Roger Donaldson | Stars: Sam Neill, Nevan Rowe, Ian Mune, Warren Oates

Votes: 985

dir. Roger Donaldson; action-thriller

3. Goodbye Pork Pie (1980)

R | 105 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

Local goon, Gerry, hires a yellow mini in Kaitaia using a stolen license. John's wife has just left him and moved to Invercargill. He is devastated and needs to talk to her. He has no ... See full summary »

Director: Geoff Murphy | Stars: Tony Barry, Kelly Johnson, Claire Oberman, Shirley Gruar

Votes: 1,019

dir. Geoff Murphy; action-comedy

4. Battletruck (1982)

PG | 91 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Post World War III futuristic tale of collapsed governments & bankrupt countries heralding a new lawless age.

Director: Harley Cokeliss | Stars: Michael Beck, Annie McEnroe, James Wainwright, Bruno Lawrence

Votes: 982

dir. Harley Cokliss; sci-fi-action-adventure

5. The Lost Tribe (1983)

114 min | Adventure, Horror, Mystery

An anthropologist disappears in New Zealand while looking for a lost tribe, so his wife and little daughter as well as his shady twin brother who's in love with his sister-in-law go to look... See full summary »

Director: John Laing | Stars: John Bach, Darien Takle, Don Selwyn, Martyn Sanderson

Votes: 55

dir. John Laing; horror-mystery

6. Utu (1983)

R | 104 min | Adventure, Drama, History

In 1870, a Maori warrior working with the British finds his village massacred, and vows revenge.

Director: Geoff Murphy | Stars: Anzac Wallace, Bruno Lawrence, Tim Elliott, Kelly Johnson

Votes: 883

dir. Geoff Murphy; historical drama-action

7. Vigil (1984)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama

A lonely girl living on an isolated, mist-cloaked farm is confronted with the changes wrought by a stranger that arrives.

Director: Vincent Ward | Stars: Penelope Stewart, Frank Whitten, Bill Kerr, Fiona Kay

Votes: 534

dir. Vincent Ward; drama

8. The Quiet Earth (1985)

R | 91 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

A man named Zac Hobson awakens to find himself alone in the world. In a desperate attempt to search for others, he finds only two who have their own agenda.

Director: Geoff Murphy | Stars: Bruno Lawrence, Alison Routledge, Pete Smith, Anzac Wallace

Votes: 23,318 | Gross: $2.12M

dir. Geoff Murphy; sci-fi, mystery

9. Came a Hot Friday (1985)

PG | 101 min | Comedy

Set in post-war (1949) rural New Zealand, this film traces the efforts of two con men to run a betting scam in a small town (Tainuea) already rife with illegal gambling corruption, and ... See full summary »

Director: Ian Mune | Stars: Peter Bland, Phillip Gordon, Michael Lawrence, Billy T. James

Votes: 177 | Gross: $0.01M

10. Kingpin (1985)

87 min | Drama

Filmed at and inspired by the residents of Kohitere Boys Training Centre in Levin, New Zealand, this tale follows a group of teens who are wards of the state. It was directed by Mike Walker... See full summary »

Director: Mike Walker | Stars: Faifua Amiga, Mitchell Manuel, Nicholas Rogers, Judy McIntosh

Votes: 21

dir. Mike Walker; urban drama

11. Ngati (1987)

92 min | Drama

An Australian doctor comes to a small Maori village where a child is suffering from Leukemia, as he discovers the truth about his heritage the town rallies together to keep the freezing works open.

Director: Barry Barclay | Stars: Tuta Ngarimu Tamati, Iranui Haig, Tawai Moana, Michael Tibble

Votes: 78

dir. Barry Barclay; historical drama

12. Bad Taste (1987)

Not Rated | 91 min | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi

52 Metascore

The population of a small town disappears and is replaced by aliens that chase human flesh for their intergalactic fast-food chain.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Terry Potter, Pete O'Herne, Craig Smith, Mike Minett

Votes: 41,997

dir. Peter Jackson; horror-splatter-comedy

13. The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey (1988)

PG | 92 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Men seeking relief from the Black Death, guided by a boy's vision, dig a tunnel from 14th century England to 20th century New Zealand.

Director: Vincent Ward | Stars: Bruce Lyons, Chris Haywood, Hamish Gough, Marshall Napier

Votes: 3,143 | Gross: $1.33M

dir. Vincent Ward; fantasy

14. An Angel at My Table (1990)

R | 158 min | Biography, Drama

In 1920s and 1930s New Zealand, Janet Frame grows up in a poor family with lots of brothers and sisters. Already at an early age she is different from the other kids. She gets an education ... See full summary »

Director: Jane Campion | Stars: Kerry Fox, Alexia Keogh, Karen Fergusson, Iris Churn

Votes: 6,074 | Gross: $1.05M

dir. Jane Campion; biopic

15. Dead Alive (1992)

R | 104 min | Comedy, Horror

54 Metascore

A young man's mother is bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey. She gets sick and dies, at which time she comes back to life, killing and eating dogs, nurses, friends, and neighbors.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Timothy Balme, Diana Peñalver, Elizabeth Moody, Ian Watkin

Votes: 87,795 | Gross: $0.24M

dir. Peter Jackson; horror-comedy-splatter

16. Desperate Remedies (1993)

R | 93 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

In a town called Hope on the edge of Britain's empire, desperations clash: the beautiful Dorothea Brook is desperate to free her pregnant sister Rose from the clutches of Fraser, a fortune ... See full summary »

Directors: Stewart Main, Peter Wells | Stars: Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Kevin Smith, Lisa Chappell, Cliff Curtis

Votes: 357 | Gross: $0.07M

dir. Stewart Main, Peter Wells; comedy-drama

17. The Piano (1993)

R | 121 min | Drama, Music, Romance

89 Metascore

A mute woman is sent to 1850s New Zealand along with her young daughter and prized piano for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, but is soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation.

Director: Jane Campion | Stars: Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, Anna Paquin

Votes: 74,176 | Gross: $40.16M

dir. Jane Campion; historical drama

18. Once Were Warriors (1994)

R | 102 min | Crime, Drama

A family descended from Maori warriors is bedeviled by a violent father and the societal problems of being treated as outcasts.

Director: Lee Tamahori | Stars: Rena Owen, Temuera Morrison, Mamaengaroa Kerr-Bell, Julian Arahanga

Votes: 29,837 | Gross: $2.20M

dir. Lee Tamahori; urban drama

19. Heavenly Creatures (1994)

R | 99 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

Two teenage girls share a unique bond; their parents, concerned that the friendship is too intense, separate them, and the girls take revenge.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Melanie Lynskey, Kate Winslet, Sarah Peirse, Diana Kent

Votes: 56,639 | Gross: $3.05M

dir. Peter Jackson; historical drama, fantasy

dir. Simon Perkins, Peter Swagel; short

21. Forgotten Silver (1995 TV Movie)

53 min | Comedy

The film deals with the career of a supposedly forgotten pioneer of international cinema, Colin McKenzie, who was allegedly born in rural New Zealand in 1888.

Directors: Costa Botes, Peter Jackson | Stars: Peter Jackson, Jeffrey Thomas, Costa Botes, Marguerite Hurst

Votes: 5,531 | Gross: $0.03M

dir. Peter Jackson; documentary (?)

22. O Tamaiti (1997)

15 min | Short

For 11-year-old Tino, being the eldest of five children in a Samoan family is no easy task. Tino plays guardian and protector to his younger siblings. As Tino strives to cope in an adult ... See full summary »

Director: Sima Urale | Stars: Harry Wendt, Therese Fatu, Charles Faamausili, Pusa Finau

Votes: 30

dir. Sima Urale; short

23. Scarfies (1999)

R | 94 min | Action, Comedy, Thriller

Five kiwi flatmates find something growing in their basement much to their delight, but when the rightful owner comes knocking and finds that they have appropriated the goods things start to go awry.

Director: Robert Sarkies | Stars: Willa O'Neill, Neill Rea, Ashleigh Seagar, Taika Waititi

Votes: 1,018

dir. Robert Sarkies; mystery, comedy

24. Whale Rider (2002)

PG-13 | 101 min | Drama, Family

80 Metascore

A contemporary story of love, rejection and triumph as a young Maori girl fights to fulfill a destiny her grandfather refuses to recognize.

Director: Niki Caro | Stars: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Vicky Haughton, Cliff Curtis

Votes: 37,961 | Gross: $20.78M

dir. Niki Caro; drama

25. Christmas (2003)

89 min | Drama, Comedy

The drama of relationships in a dysfunctional New Zealand family, living in a town going nowhere.

Director: Gregory King | Stars: Darien Takle, David Hornblow, Helen Pearse Otene, Matthew Sunderland

Votes: 90

dir. Gregory King; drama

26. In My Father's Den (2004)

R | 127 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

A disillusioned war journalist's return home is blighted when he becomes implicated in the mysterious disappearance of a teenage girl he has befriended.

Director: Brad McGann | Stars: Matthew Macfadyen, Miranda Otto, Emily Barclay, Colin Moy

Votes: 7,039

dir. Brad McGuinn; drama

27. Two Cars, One Night (2004)

12 min | Drama, Romance, Short

Sometimes first love is found in the most unlikely of places, like in the carpark outside the Te Kaha pub.

Director: Taika Waititi | Stars: Rangi Ngamoki, Hutini Waikato, Te Ahiwaru Ngamoki-Richards, Riwai Waka

Votes: 1,494

dir. Taika Cohen; short

28. Out of the Blue (I) (2006)

103 min | Crime, Drama

70 Metascore

Based on the Aramoana Massacre that occurred on 13 November and 14 November 1990. Resident David Gray, an unemployed gun collector, went on a rampage in which 13 people were shot dead, before Gray himself was shot by police.

Director: Robert Sarkies | Stars: Karl Urban, Matthew Sunderland, Lois Lawn, Simon Ferry

Votes: 3,132 | Gross: $0.00M

dir. Robert Sarkies; thriller

29. Boy (I) (2010)

Not Rated | 87 min | Comedy, Drama

70 Metascore

Set on the east coast of New Zealand in 1984, Boy, an 11-year-old child and devout Michael Jackson fan, gets a chance to know his absentee criminal father, who has returned to find a bag of money he buried years ago.

Director: Taika Waititi | Stars: James Rolleston, Te Aho Eketone-Whitu, Taika Waititi, Moerangi Tihore

Votes: 17,541 | Gross: $0.26M

dir. Taika Waititi; comedy, drama

30. Tracker (2010)

R | 102 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

An Afrikaner veteran of the Boer War has just immigrated to New Zealand and is hired to track a man accused of killing a soldier. While hunting through the countryside he captures his ... See full summary »

Director: Ian Sharp | Stars: Ray Winstone, Nicholas McGough, Gareth Reeves, Mark Mitchinson

Votes: 3,563

dir. Ian Sharp; adventure, drama

31. Housebound (2014)

Not Rated | 107 min | Comedy, Horror, Mystery

76 Metascore

A young woman is forced to return to her childhood home after being placed under house arrest, where she suspects that something evil may be lurking.

Director: Gerard Johnstone | Stars: Morgana O'Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru, Ross Harper

Votes: 30,256

dir. Gerard Johnstone; horror, comedy

32. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

R | 86 min | Comedy, Horror

76 Metascore

Viago, Deacon and Vladislav are vampires who are finding that modern life has them struggling with the mundane - like paying rent, keeping up with the chore wheel, trying to get into nightclubs and overcoming flatmate conflicts.

Directors: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi | Stars: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Jonny Brugh

Votes: 133,070 | Gross: $3.33M

dir. Taika Waititi; comedy, horror

33. The Dark Horse (2014)

R | 124 min | Biography, Drama

77 Metascore

A brilliant but troubled New Zealand chess champion finds purpose by teaching underprivileged children about the rules of chess and life.

Director: James Napier Robertson | Stars: Cliff Curtis, James Rolleston, Kirk Torrance, James Napier Robertson

Votes: 5,397 | Gross: $0.06M

dir. James Napier Robertson; drama

34. Orphans & Kingdoms (2014)

74 min | Drama

One night. One house. One Island. Everything changes for a lonely man and three delinquent kids.

Director: Paolo Rotondo | Stars: Colin Moy, Calae Hignett-Morgan, Hanelle Harris, Jesse James Rehu Pickery

Votes: 31

dir. Paolo Rotondo; drama

35. The Dead Lands (2014)

R | 107 min | Action, Adventure

59 Metascore

After his tribe is slaughtered through an act of treachery, the teenage son of a slain Maori chieftain looks to avenge his father's murder and bring peace and honor to the souls of his loved ones.

Director: Toa Fraser | Stars: James Rolleston, Lawrence Makoare, Te Kohe Tuhaka, Xavier Horan

Votes: 4,268 | Gross: $0.00M

dir. Toa Frase; action, mystery

36. Deathgasm (2015)

Not Rated | 86 min | Action, Comedy, Horror

65 Metascore

Two teenage boys unwittingly summon an ancient evil entity known as The Blind One by delving into black magic while trying to escape their mundane lives.

Director: Jason Lei Howden | Stars: Milo Cawthorne, James Joshua Blake, Kimberley Crossman, Sam Berkley

Votes: 14,440

dir. Jason Lei Howden; horror, comedy

37. Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

PG-13 | 101 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

81 Metascore

A national manhunt is ordered for a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush.

Director: Taika Waititi | Stars: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rima Te Wiata, Rachel House

Votes: 91,815 | Gross: $5.20M

dir. Taika Waititi; adventure, comedy

38. The Patriarch (2016)

103 min | Drama

From the author of "The Whale Rider", a tale of family rivalry and reconciliation, set against the stunning backdrop of rural New Zealand in the 1960s.

Director: Lee Tamahori | Stars: Temuera Morrison, Akuhata Keefe, Nancy Brunning, Jim Moriarty

Votes: 717

dir. Lee Tamahori; drama



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