Skip to main content


Australia, 2004 (MIFF 2004, Australian Showcase)

Director: Stephen Wallace

Stir Australia

The violent and systematic abuse of prisoners by wardens in a NSW jail is brought to the public's attention by one of its inmates, China Jackson (Bryan Brown). One of the keenest pair of eyes watching the TV report is the sadistic warden Norton (Max Phipps), who was responsible for the vicious assaults. Three years later and Jackson returns to the very prison he blew the whistle on, an event relished by a number of the wardens who are hungry for revenge. Simmering tensions are brought to the boil as Norton's offer of reconciling his differences with Jackson is rejected. Slowly drawn into the activities of a number of rebellious prisoners, Jackson finds himself the leader of this group, which can only lead to trouble for all concerned.

Nominated for 10 AFI awards in 1980, including Best Film and Best Actor for both Bryan Brown and Max Phipps as the two men at constant loggerheads, Stir is powerful cinema.

'It is straightforward, laconic and forthright about the brutality that occurred. To its credit, it refuses to analyse its situation politically or apportion blame on those in authority.' -australian Film

Bryan Brown is a guest of the Festival.

D Stephen Wallace P Richard Brennan S Bob Jewson WS Smiley Films TD 35mm/Col/1980/101mins

Stephen Wallace was born in NSW in 1943. Films include: The Love Letters From Teralba Road (1977), Blood Oath (1990), Turtle Beach (1992).

Print courtesy of Kodak/Atlab Cinema Collection, ScreenSound Australia, the National Screen and Sound Archive

See also...

Captives of Care

A dramatization of the story of some disabled people who band together to resist the oppressive over-care of the 'rehabilitation' hospital in which they live. ... A new medium-length film by Stephen ... More »


The Boy Who Had Everything - the title of Stephen Wallace's second feature suggests a fairy tale, some sweet suburban variant of a fable of ideal youth. But it's also, of course, an omen - since to ... More »


Josh Jarman Australia Marcus Graham is Josh Jarman, a passionate, dedicated playwright who is fed up with his plays being staged in dingy spaces to only a handful of people. His one wish is to have a ... More »


Hamlet X AustraliaJames Clayden, described by Adrian Martin at this year's Rotterdam Film Festival as 'one of Australia's best kept artistic secrets', returns to MIFF following the screening of his ... More »


Mr Patterns AustraliaMr Patterns tells the story of Geoff Bardon, an art teacher posted to a government settlement in Australia's Western Desert in the early 1970s. In Papunya, Bardon found more than ... More »


Orange Love Story AustraliaWearing its heart and intentions very much on its sleeve, this raw and utterly unique new Australian film is a labour of love for cinematographer and director Tom Cowan.In ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director