Film still of Helen Morse as Caddie looking at drawings of women's dress designs in a studio.


Caddie's Feminist Legacy

A legacy of empowerment
 Adam Blackshaw

The success of Caddie (1976) was surprising, even to those who worked so hard on bringing the story to life. Read about the success of the film and listen to producer Tony Buckley reflecting on the film’s significance in 2016, 40 years after its premiere.

The toast of the town

Caddie premiered in April 1976 and was hugely popular. The film ran for 54 weeks on one screen in Sydney alone. Critically the film was also very well received.
The joy of success is wonderfully captured on the faces of Donald Crombie (left), actor Simon Burke (centre) and producer Anthony Buckley (right) in this clipping from The Australian, 10 October 1977. NFSA title: 733955

Romola Costantino in The Sun Herald (11 April 1976) wrote, ‘Caddie is a fascinating, outstanding film’, echoing the praise of many critics.

In 1976 the Australian Film Institute (AFI) honoured Helen Morse with the Best Actress award.

Other AFI Awards went to Drew Forsythe for Best Supporting Actor while Melissa Jaffer and Jacki Weaver shared the Best Supporting Actress prize.

The Australian Cinematographers Society awarded Peter James the Cinematographer of the Year award in 1977.

That same year the San Sebastián International Film Festival gave the Best Actress award to Helen Morse and the Special Prize of the Jury to Donald Crombie.

Caddie was also selected to open the San Francisco Film Festival.

The gallery below features lobby cards promoting the release of Caddie in Australian cinemas, 1976.

Click image to enlarge

Looking back at Caddie

Anthony Buckley AO is a prominent member of the Australian film industry. He edited Age of Consent (1969, starring Helen Mirren and James Mason) and Wake in Fright (1971) before moving into producing.

As well as Caddie, he has produced numerous films, documentaries and television features including Bliss (1985), Dad and Dave: On Our Selection (1995) and Oyster Farmer (2004).

Buckley had to struggle to find financial support for Caddie (1976) at a time when Australian films had never featured a woman as the central protagonist.

In this interview he reflects on the significance of the film during the Australian film renaissance of the 1970s and why he thinks it was so successful:

Interview with Anthony Buckley as he discusses the film, Caddie, 1976

For more Caddie, see Part One for behind-the-scenes images and to hear cast and crew talk about making the film.