He is one of Central Otago’s favourite adoptive sons.

While it is his vineyard and farm Two Paddocks in Earnscleugh where veteran actor Sam Neill feels most at home, his mark on international film and television has been cemented in a career spanning more than four decades.

That career will be celebrated at Central Cinema in Alexandra with a three-day “Sam Neill
Retrospective” from July 29 to August 1.

The selection of seven films starring and handpicked by Neill as patron of Central Cinema could not be further removed from the role that propelled him into the mainstream.

The original Jurassic Park trilogy concluded this week 20 years ago.

On July 18 2001, Jurassic Park III premiered in theaters, serving as the final installment of the Jurassic Park movies before the franchise was later rebooted as Jurassic World.

He played palaeontologist Dr Alan Grant in the first installment of the dinosaur-wrangling franchise in 1993.

He reprised the role in 2001 and does so again in Jurassic World: Dominion slated for a June 2022 release.

Neill chose the movies featured in the retrospective as representing some of his best work, he had fond memories of the shoots and was working alongside some of his favourite people.

The retrospective begins at the start of Neill’s career with Sleeping Dogs (1977) on July 29 at 7.30pm in his breakthrough role as Smith.

On July 30, the 1989 thriller Dead Calm will screen at 4pm followed by 2017’s hard hitting Sweet Country (R16) at 7.30pm.

On July 31, two films, My Brilliant Career (1979) will screen at 5pm followed by 1993’s acclaimed and Oscar-winning The Piano at 7.30pm.

Both films are directed by women _ Gillian Armstrong and Jane Campion respectively _ and feature strong lead female roles and Neill as the solid supporting male.

On August 1, Neill’s comedic talents are showcased in Death in Brunswick at 2pm _ an Australian crime caper, followed by the whimsical period piece Dean Spanley at 5pm.

Tickets are $15 or for members $12, $10 for children (15 and under) and can be bought online at or from the Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery reception (both carry a $1 booking fee) or from the box office 30 minutes before any screening without a booking fee.