After he comes into a small inheritance, Barry McKenzie (aka Bazza) decides to visit England with his aunt, which leads to many humerus and some not-so-humorous incidents with Poms from all persuasions and classes. As Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper note: 'The narrative offers a 'vigorous parody of the Australian "ocker," anti-intellectual, xenophobic, obsessed with beer and sex but never capable of relating positively with women, using a vernacular of prodigious vulgarity and inventiveness, and totally oblivious of anything beyond his own narrow conception of the order of things' (1980, p. 340).
'“I hope there won’t be any colloquialisms in this fillum Barry”, said Tom Stubbings breathlessly. The senior Sydney accountant had bounded across the tarmac at Kingsford-Smith aerodrome to catch us before we boarded the flight to London to start filming The Adventures of Barry McKenzie. The director, Bruce Beresford, and I were co-authors of the screenplay, and Mr Stubbings was charged with administering the total production budget of $250,000 advanced to us by the Australian Film Corporation. He was nervous. Naturally I reassured him: “It’s a family film, Tom”, I said, lying through my teeth. When the film was released on October 12, 1972, and returned its total investment to the AFC in a matter of weeks, it was, notwithstanding, excoriated by every critic, journalist and disc jockey in Australia as a vulgar calumny, a cruel misrepresentation of Australian refinement. The movie was a ceaseless stream of colloquialisms new, obsolete and invented. It was the filthiest Australian film of the year, the nadir of Australian cinema which had by then entered its soft-focus “idyllic” phase.' (Introduction)
'Bruce Beresford's a colourful film about an 'innocent abroad' as he blunders his way through the London of the 1970s was panned by the critics but a huge success with audiences. The film became the first Australian movie to make a million dollars, thereby playing a crucial part in the resurgence of the Australian film industry in the early 1970s by demonstrating the commercial viability of local production. It also did very well commercially in London, where it established a record for any Australian film released there.
'Based on Barry Humphries comic-strip character, which appeared in the British satirical magazine Private Eye in the 1960s, the screenplay was written by Humphries and Beresford, the story line deriving from the culture clash between the Australian innocent 'Bazza' McKenzie and the English - from a taxi driver who takes Barry from Heathrow to Earls Court by way of Stonehenge, to the decadent upper classes with their public school fetishes, the swinging scene of pop music promoters and Jesus freaks, and eventually the hallowed halls of BBC television. ' (Publication summary)