Smith (Sam Neill, in his breakthrough screen role) is devastated when his wife runs off with his best friend Bullen (Ian Mune). Smith escapes to the Coromandel. Meanwhile, the government enlists an anti-terrorist force to crack down on its opponents. Bullen, now a guerrilla, asks Smith to join the revolution. Directed by Roger Donaldson, this adaptation of CK Stead novel Smith's Dream heralded a new wave of Kiwi cinema. It was one of the only Kiwi films of the 1970s to win a big local audience. This excerpt includes a much discussed scene: a baton charge by government forces, predating the real life conflicts of the 1981 Springbok tour.
[Sleeping Dogs] almost single-handedly created a climate of acceptance within the country for a Kiwi film industry.– Jonathan Dowling looks back at the film's impact, The Evening Post, 27 February 1988
Produced in association with Broadbank Corporation, Development Finance Corporation of NZ, and Television One, with the assistance of the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council
Opening song 'Don't Look Back' sung and composed by Murray Grindlay
Closing credits song 'Sleeping Dogs' performed by Aerial Railway
Soundtrack includes songs by Mark Williams and Josie Hamilton Rika