Goodbye Paradise

Goodbye Paradise is a 1983 Australian film directed by Carl Schultz. The plot centres on Queensland's Gold Coast in the early 1980s, when a disgraced former cop, Michael Stacey (Ray Barrett) writes a book exposing police corruption, does an investigation resulting in 2 murders, exposes a religious cult and watches the army begin a military coup.

Goodbye Paradise
Directed byCarl Schultz
Produced byJane Scott
Written byBob Ellis
Denny Lawrence
StarringRay Barrett
Paul Chubb
Guy Doleman
Music byPeter Best
CinematographyJohn Seale
Edited byRichard Francis-Bruce
Petersham Pictures
NSW Film Corporation
Distributed byFilmways
Release date
Running time
119 minutes
Budget$1.1 million (AUS)[1]



The idea of doing a Raymond Chandler-type story set on the Gold Coast came from Denny Lawrence. His original idea was to have an ex police officer working as a private investigator who investigated a quasi-religious commune run by a charlatan that ended with the deaths of many of the communes' followers. Then the Jonestown Massacre happened and Lawrence backed away from this idea.[2]

He then pitched the idea to Bob Ellis, who liked it and the two of them agreed to work together.[3] They always envisioned Ray Barrett in the lead role as the private eye Stacey and the three of them got some money from the NSW Film Corporation to go up to Surfers Paradise for a week to research and write the script.

Many of Ray Barrett's characteristics found their way into the character of Stacey. Barrett:

Bob is a great observer, and when I finally read the script, I thought "You bugger; you've observed Barrett!" But I didn't mind. I was flattered because Stacey is a living person. He is a failure, really, but a loveable failure; a kind man at heart. Yet everything's slipped by him and he hasn't achieved the things he's wanted to. The character relates to a lot of people, including myself. Bob's put the finger on it. He's brilliant.[4]

According to Lawrence, he was more interested in a genre piece whereas Ellis tried to incorporate his personal politics, but the collaboration was a successful one and the two men would work again many times in the following years.[2]

The NSW Film Commission wanted Michael Thornhill to direct but he wanted several changes to the script and Ellis and Lawrence insisted that Carl Schultz direct.[3] The movie was shot in the winter of 1981 in and around Surfers Paradise over eight weeks.[1]

The character of Quiney was meant to be played by Anthony Quayle but Guy Doleman was cast instead.[2]


The film was nominated for 4 AFI Awards, won in the Best Actor in the Lead Role (Ray Barrett) and Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted (Bob Ellis, Denny Lawrence) categories. John Seale won the Cinematographer of the Year award of the Australian Cinematographers Society.[5]


Bob Ellis and Denny Lawrence wrote a sequel for the film called Goodbye Adelaide. The plot involved Stacy finishing the book he is writing in the first movie and visiting the Adelaide Festival to promote it, where he is caught up in an attempted defection by a Russian. However, the movie was never made.[1][2]


  1. David Stratton, The Avacado Plantation, Pan Macmillan 1990 p 234-236
  2. Christine Cremen, "Denny Lawrence", Cinema Papers, May–June 1983 p 113-115
  3. David Stratton interview Bob Ellis at SBS Movie Show accessed 28 March 2015
  4. Mark Stiles, "Ray Barrett", Cinema Papers, October 1982 p439
  5. IMDb awards
  • Murray, Scott (1994). Australian Cinema. St.Leonards, NSW.: Allen & Unwin/AFC. p. 257. ISBN 1-86373-311-6.
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