What You Should Know About a Classic New Zealander Gambling Movie

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Most countries have their share of movies about gambling or that at least tackle the subject in some way. That is just one of the countless examples of how, throughout the years, gambling-related themes have been incorporated in mainstream entertainment.

If we take an online trip to New Zealand and browse the country’s cinematic catalog, we will find a fun gambling movie with a truly classic feel, Came a Hot Friday.

Came a Hot Friday

 The movie was released in 1985 and is based on the 1964 novel of the same name by Ronald Hugh Morrison.  Came a Hot Friday is a comedy directed by Ian Mune and is one of the most commercially and critically successful New Zealand movies of the 1980s.


The plot of Came a Hot Friday is set in a rural area of New Zealand in the year 1949. Wes Pennington and Cyril Kidman are a duo of gambling addicts that plan to run a long-lasting scam in horserace betting.

Together, they take advantage of delayed broadcasts of the races in an effort to trick local bookies. After they arrive in the small town of Tainuia Junction, Pennington and Kidman get involved in much more than just unconscious gambling. Expect contraband, arson and murder!

Now part of a group of eccentrics from the town, the two partners meet the Tainuia Kid, who becomes almost like a protector to them.

The original novel by Morrison included scenes of sex and violence. To keep in line with filmmaking practices of the time, Mune and the writer opted to restrain those elements and rather focus on a more comical approach.


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The character of Wes Pennington was portrayed by Peter Bland, while Cyril Kidman was played by Philip Gordon. Billy T. James took on the role of the Tainuia Kid.

Billy T. James was a pivotal figure in New Zealand comedy. A true entertainer, James left his mark on cinema, music and television. He had his own TV show that featured comedy sketches, stand-up and live music.

Due to major heart issues, Billy T. James, unfortunately, passed away in 1991 at only 43 years old.

If you are the type of player who believes that gambling can never miss its entertainment factor, Came a Hot Friday is the movie for you.

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