5.6/10
3,201
58 user 52 critic

The Cars That Ate Paris (1974)

The small town of Paris, Australia deliberately causes car accidents, then sells/salvages all valuables from the wrecks as a means of economy.

Director:

Peter Weir

Writers:

Peter Weir (screenplay), Peter Weir (story) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Meillon ... The Mayor
Terry Camilleri ... Arthur Waldo
Kevin Miles Kevin Miles ... Dr. Midland
Rick Scully Rick Scully ... George Waldo
Max Gillies ... Metcalfe
Danny Adcock Danny Adcock ... Policeman
Bruce Spence ... Charlie
Kevin Golsby Kevin Golsby ... Insurance man
Chris Haywood ... Darryl
Peter Armstrong Peter Armstrong ... Gorman
Joe Burrow Joe Burrow ... Ganger
Deryck Barnes Deryck Barnes ... Al Smedley
Edward Howell Edward Howell ... Tringham
Max Phipps ... Mulray
Melissa Jaffer ... Beth
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Storyline

A small town in rural Australia (Paris) makes its living by causing car accidents and salvaging any valuables from the wrecks. Into this town come brothers Arthur and George. George is killed when the Parisians cause their car to crash, but Arthur survives and is brought into the community as an orderly at the hospital. But Paris is not problem free. Not only do the Parisians have to be careful of outsiders (such as insurance investigators), but they also have to cope with the young people of the town who are dissatisfied with the status quo. Written by Mark Thompson <mrt@oasis.icl.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Have you had a good look at your car lately? See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 June 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Cars That Eat People See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was originally intended to be a comedy starring Grahame Bond. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the movie, when the Mayor gives Arthur instructions how to drive and smash the punk's car, his fake beard changes places between shots (under his chin - on his right cheek). See more »

Quotes

Policeman: You went too far. Why pick on the mayor? You must be bloody mad! Look at this.
[picks up the top torso of a statue of a nude black woman]
Policeman: The mayor's aboriginal. Broken in half.
[Daryl and Les laugh]
See more »

Alternate Versions

US version, titled _The Cars that Ate People (1974)_ was shortened to 74 minutes by the distributor; in this version star Terry Camilleri's voice is dubbed. The film was finally reissued in the USA at complete length in 1984. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XXIV (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Onward Christian Soldiers
(uncredited)
Music by Arthur Sullivan and lyrics by Sabine Baring-Gould
Sung at the church
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Style over substance - but the style is good!
10 August 2005 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

Before Peter Weir went on to make 'A' class films such as The Dead Poets Society and Witness, he had a rather unsuccessful stint as a B-movie cult flick director. Despite the fact that he's become better known for his critically acclaimed films, his lesser cult films show much more imagination and are far more fun to watch. The Cars That Ate Paris works from a delicious premise. A small township in Australia named 'Paris' causes car accidents and salvages valuables from the wreckages. The town's currency is radios, clothes etc and this lucrative business is doing well for the town. When someone survives a crash, they usually end up mentally disabled, which is good for the town as it stops them from being caught by the pesky insurance investigator. This is all well and good until George and brother Arthur drive into town. George is killed in the crash, but Arthur survives it; pretty much unharmed. Nobody has ever left Paris before, which prompts the Mayor to take the young man into his family home. This is something that will go on to have massive repercussions on the township of Paris...

Peter Weir deliciously blends several elements into the plot line. On one hand, we have the incredibly surreal idea of a whole town killing people for their valuables. This blends with the whole crazy cult idea, and this in turn mixes with the idea of the things that people will do to survive. Weir has speckled the movie with loads of great imagery, such as the old women who's job it is to take the valuables from the cars stuffing clothes down their top, and the devilish cornerstone of society, the Mayor, overseeing all the horror. Despite all the film's good elements, however, Weir has failed to make the film a complete whole. It may be down to inexperience, but while he's busy creating his atmosphere; the characters have been forgotten about, and this makes it difficult to care for them, and the story beyond an aesthetic level. There is much to like about this movie, and it's definitely worth seeing for the imagery alone; but it's hard to really love it, and that stops me from giving the film a high rating. I still recommend the movie, however, as it's well worth seeing.


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