Poster for ‘Sleeping Dogs’ (1977)

About this object

Poster for feature film ‘Sleeping Dogs’ (Aardvark Films 1977). Produced and directed by Roger Donaldson, the film starred Sam Neill and Ian Mune. Mune also co-wrote the screenplay with Arthur Baysting based on the novel ‘Smith’s Dream’ by C K Stead (1971). Set in a fictional country, the story follows a reclusive character named Smith who is caught between a repressive government and a violent resistance movement during a time of state tyranny. In a press book for the film Donaldson commented on the film’s political nature: ‘I think ‘Sleeping Dogs’ has something important to say. Civil liberties are declining fast in many parts of the world. Although they don’t all suffer from events as violent as those in the movie, there have been plenty of indications in the last few years that New Zealand is becoming a constricted democracy [...] we should beware of giving anyone too much power in the belief that he won’t abuse it.’
The New Zealand Film Commission - the establishment of which was announced at the film’s Auckland premiere, in October 1977 - became the film’s sales agent [in 1980]. In 1982 ‘Sleeping Dogs’ was the first New Zealand feature to be released in America. It was also released to popular and critical acclaim in the Soviet Union.


Aardvark Films New Zealand

Maker Role

Film Production Company


New Zealand Film Commission 119 Ghuznee St Wellington New Zealand 04 382 7680

Maker Role

Film Sales Agent

Date Made


Place Made

New Zealand

Medium and Materials

Paper offset print


66 x 87cm (WH)

Credit Line

Deposited by the New Zealand Film Commission

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

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