Director: Geoff Murphy
The Italian Job meets cheap jugs and a student union gig in this early heist tale. The plot follows some university students — short on exam fees and beer money — and their scheme to crack a campus safe.
Cast in the local pub, amongst a group of friends, "Tankbusters" became a first in several respects.
Geoff Murphy's "first film with sound", the first NZ drama to sell into international markets... and the first film to use the "mumblefuck" acting style. Opting to break all the rules of the then conventional stage to screen acting style (possibly to the resentment of stage-to-screen actors of the time), the cast was led by the most experienced (Stephen O'Rourke) in a how-not-to acting class. This was later adopted as a new standard for New Zealand dramas.
Shot on weekends over a nine month period, this now classic film caused a sensation on a budget of $4000.
Tankbusters first screened on NZ Television New Years Eve 1970, and according to director Geoff Murphy's autobiography it was bought by the ABC and shown in Australia, becoming the first New Zealand drama to make a foreign sale.