ⓘ Stone (1974 film)

Stone (1974 film)

ⓘ Stone (1974 film)

Stone is a 1974 Australian biker film written, directed and produced by Sandy Harbutt. It is a low budget film by company Hedon Productions.

Police officer Stone goes undercover with the Gravediggers outlaw motorcycle gang, to find out who is murdering their members, one by one.

The film stars Ken Shorter and features Rebecca Gilling, Bill Hunter and Helen Morse. The films soundtrack was composed by Billy Green and featured some members of his group Sanctuary. Motorcycles featured include the legendary Kawasaki Z1900. Stone initially rides a Norton.

The promotional trailer video features narration by radio and media personality John Laws. The film was featured in the documentary, Not Quite Hollywood, in which Quentin Tarantino enthuses about his admiration for the film.


1. Plot

When several members of the GraveDiggers outlaw motorcycle club are murdered, Sydney detective Stone Ken Shorter is sent to investigate. Led by the Undertaker Sandy Harbutt, a Vietnam war veteran, the GraveDiggers allow Stone to pose as a gang member. Leaving behind society girlfriend Amanda Helen Morse, Stone begins to identify with the Undertaker and his comrades Hooks Roger Ward, Toad Hugh Keays-Byrne, Dr Death Vincent Gil, Captain Midnight Bindi Williams, Septic Dewey Hungerford and Vanessa Rebecca Gilling, the Undertaker’s girlfriend. Amid violent confrontations with the Black Hawks, a rival gang the GraveDiggers hold responsible, Stone uncovers a political conspiracy behind the killings. When the truth is revealed, Stone must choose between his job and his loyalty to the GraveDiggers.


2. Production

Sandy Harbutt got the idea in 1970 when he wrote a script for an episode of the TV series The Long Arm in which he was appearing.

Filmink magazine said "The biker movie was the modern day Western of choice in the 1960s" but argued this was one of the few Australian films to "embrace it as a story option."

The Australian Film Development Corporation invested $154.000 in the film. The remainder of the budget and most of the technical facilities were provided by Ross Wood Productions in Sydney. The movie was shot in late 1973.

The Hells Angels club Sydney provided assistance during production.


2.1. Production Locations

All Sydney, Australia

  • Middle Head Fortifications on Sydney Harbour at the Gun emplacements. Google Map link
  • Neutral Bay and Mosman streets for the "race" and crash scenes. Google Map link
  • The Domain across from the Art Gallery of NSW; public forum and the assassination. Google Map link
  • Northern Beaches,including Bilgola Beach and Avalon. Google Map link
  • Lurline Bay for the stunt ride off the cliff into the ocean. Google Map link
  • Kurnell on Botany Bay for the opening scene at the first British landing site of Captain James Cook in 1770. Google Map link
  • F3 Freeway, north of Sydney including crossing the Hawkesbury River many times, including in the wrong direction for the funeral procession. Google Map link
  • Lane Cove mostly Burns Bay Road and River Road for various group riding scenes. Google Map link
  • Gore Hill Cemetery, near Royal North Shore Hospital. Google Map link
  • Beehive Casemate Interior scenes for the gang’s hide out were shot inside the Beehive Casemate in Obelisk Bay and made to look as though it was part of the Middle Head Fortifications.
  • Washaway Beach for the dawn swim scene. Google Map link
  • Balmain for the pub "Forth & Clyde" -now closed Forth & Clyde Hotel and street fight scenes. Google Map link


3. Release

Although Stone was given an "R" rating it grossed $1.572.000 at the box office in Australia, which is equivalent to $10.611.000 in 2009 dollars. It made a profit to its investors within 18 months.


Several of the cast went on to appear in Mad Max 1979, including Hugh Keays-Byrne, Roger Ward, Vincent Gil, David Bracks and Reg Evans.


4. Stone Forever

Stone Forever is a 1999 documentary about Stone. Richard Kuipers was contacted by David Hannay and Sandy Harbutt to film a bike ride commemorating the films 25th anniversary, which led to a full documentary about the impact of the film and the fate of the people who made it.