Earlier in the month, we attended TechEd 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. During a press shindig, one of Microsoft’s American PR representatives asked us to name Australia’s ten best movies with the stipulation that they actually be capable of entertaining non-Australians. This proved to be a surprisingly difficult undertaking…
The problem with recommending Australian movies to a non-Australian viewer is that you need to exclude anything that relies too heavily on localised humour. Films like The Castle and Muriel’s Wedding might be considered classics down-under, but they generally don’t translate overseas too well. A good recommendation needs to be uniquely Australian yet still accessible to an international audience.
We also limited our choices to movies that were principally financed in Australia, so stuff like Moulin Rouge and The Matrix don’t count. We also tried to represent a decent mix of genres to appease every type of film lover.
After a lot of debate and head-scratching, here are the Top Ten Australian films that we eventually came up with (in no particular order):
The Story of the Kelly Gang (directed by Charles Tait)
The Story of the Kelly Gang is a 1906 silent movie that we’re recommending for two reasons: the Ned Kelly story is fascinating if you haven’t heard it before (particularly the suit of armour stuff) and it happens to be the first feature-length film ever made. Before it, all full length movies were just a collection of shorts. The actors also used Ned Kelly’s real armour.
Two Hands (directed by Gregor Jordan)
The success of Pulp Fiction left literally hundreds of consciously hip crime movies in its wake, but few were as successful as Two Hands. Following the bumbling exploits of would-be criminal Jimmy (Heath Ledger), the film is most notable for its hilarious turn from Bryan Brown as King’s Cross mob boss Pando. It also launched the careers of Ledger and the ridiculously pretty Rose Byrne.
Gallipoli (directed by Peter Weir)
Gallipoli is widely considered to be Australia’s finest cinematic accomplishment and one of the best war movies of all time. The film follows the plight of a handful of Western Australian men during the Gallipoli Campaign of the First World War. The film had a huge budget for the time and the battle scenes with their masses of extras still pack a punch today. The film also helped to launch Mel Gibson to international stardom.
Walkabout (directed by Nicolas Roeg)
Mad Max 2 (directed by George Miller)
Picnic At Hanging Rock (directed by Peter Weir)
The Dish (directed by Rob Sitch)
The Proposition (directed by John Hilcoat)
Dark City (directed by Alex Proyas)
Red Dog (directed by Kriv Stenders)
And here are the ten movies that you should never recommend to a non-Australian (click on each title to watch the trailers):
TEN AUSSIE FLICKS TO AVOID AT ALL COSTS
- Welcome To Woop Woop
- Howling III
- Reckless Kelly
- Wog Boy II: Kings Of Mykonos
- The Extra
- Snowtown (brilliantly made, but it will scar you emotionally forever)
- You And Your Stupid Mate
- Turkey Shoot
- Strange Bedfellows
So what did you think of our list? Let us know which films you would recommend to a non-Australian in the comments section below. Bring on the film debate!