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Do I Have to Kill My Child?

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Do I Have to Kill My Child?
Directed byDonald Crombie
Produced byAnne Deveson
StarringJacki Weaver
Distributed byChannel Nine
Release date
Running time
53 mins

Do I Have to Kill My Child? is a 1976 Australian film.[1]


A young mother, Diane, physically abuses her baby.


  • Jacki Weaver as Dianne
  • Brendan Lunney as her husband
  • Betty Lucas as her mother


Donald Crombie and Anne Deveson had worked together on Who Killed Jenny Langby?. Crombie says Deveson came up with the idea "because she had a personal interest in child abuse, baby-bashing we should call it, as opposed to sexual abuse... I think with her third child she had felt the impulse to injure the child. She was a young mother with three kids and it was all too much. So being Anne Deveson, she started to explore and discovered there was this hidden syndrome in society. The research that Anne did was quite extraordinary: women admitting that they would literally lock themselves in a room to stop them getting to the kid. Pretty horrific stuff."[2]

Anne Deveson said, "As a child Dianne was emotionally damaged, constantly criticized and frustrated, made to feel inadequate and insecure. She longs for society's and her mother's approval, tries too hard to be perfect. She gets by pretty well until a combination of stresses makes her erupt into violence against her third child."[3]

Finance was obtained from Film Australia and Channel 9.[2]

The Women's Film Fund invested $25,000. The program was sold for $37,000.[4] (Another account says the film was sold for $48,000.[5])


The film was a ratings success. Crombie said, "I think it rated 40 in Sydney and something similar in Melbourne. It did numbers you only get with Test Matches and one-off big sporting events today! Anne received hugee mail from that one film. She said the people rang in and wrote that they thought they were unique, that they were monsters, and then they realised. So that was an extraordinarily satisfying experience. It really worked."[2]


Jackie Weaver's performance earned her Best Actress at the Logies.[6]


  1. ^ Interview with Anne Deveson at Australian Biography
  2. ^ a b c Malone, Peter (18 December 1998). "Interview with Don Crombie".
  3. ^ "Child abuse why does it happen?". The Australian Women's Weekly. Australia, Australia. 13 October 1976. p. 4. Retrieved 28 May 2020 – via Trove.
  4. ^ "Developments re: the Women's Film Fund". Filmnews. New South Wales, Australia. 1 June 1978. p. 5. Retrieved 28 May 2020 – via Trove.
  5. ^ "WHO'S DOING WHAT". Filmnews. New South Wales, Australia. 1 March 1978. p. 5. Retrieved 28 May 2020 – via Trove.
  6. ^ "Kennedy wins his sixth Gold Logie". The Canberra Times. Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 4 March 1978. p. 1. Retrieved 28 May 2020 – via Trove.
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Do I Have to Kill My Child?
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