Best Australian films since 1991

July 31, 2006 / An evolving list of Australian cinema since the landmark Mabo decision, shorter on sentimentality, longer on honesty and grit.

Everlyn Sampi as Molly Craig, Tianna Sansbury as Daisy Craig Kadibill, and Laura Monaghan as Gracie Fields
Molly, Daisy, and Gracie at the rabbit fence

What began during a conversation with Dan and Jody a few weeks ago about good Australian Cinema, and continued last night as a list of Australian film recommendations for Shoham and Michel from the local video store, debuts here as the preliminary list of best Australian movies in the last fifteen years. The following list is compiled from a combination of unreliable memory traces, favourite actor preferences, and IMDb assaults undertaken by Yours Truly. It may not be the most systematic list ever put together. Do you spot any errors or omissions? Leave a comment. Let’s sort this out.

(All movie links point to Wikipedia.)

The Keating years (1991–1996)

The Howard years (1996–2007)

The Rudd years (2007–2010)

The Gillard years (2010–2013)

The Abbott years (2013–2015)

The Turnbull years (2015–)



Certificate of participation

Rules for inclusion

To plug for having a movie added to or subtracted from the list, please keep the following points in mind. An “Australian movie” is taken to be any movie that is set, filmed and produced mostly in Australia. Examples: Oscar and Lucinda is an adaptation of a Peter Carey novel, set in Australia, therefore it’s Australian. The Matrix was filmed in Australia, co-produced by an Australian company, and stars many Australian actors and the city of Sydney, but since is not set in Sydney and since all characters have an American accent, it is not Australian. Similarly, though Finding Nemo was set in Australia, and starred some Australian actors, it was produced, written and directed by Americans in the U.S., and is therefore not Australian. Finally, since most movies begin production at least a year before they are released, Keating gets all of 1996, even though he lost the bloody election in March of that year.

Major updates

I’ve added films, here and there, since I first posted this list—but there have been a couple of major updates:

  1. February, 2009: Included many additional films in Contenders list based on suggestions received in the comments (see details).
  2. July, 2012: More films added to Contenders based on new comments (see details), along with missing titles thanks to GoMA’s list of women in contemporary Australian film (thanks E).
  3. February, 2016: Updated links to point to Wikipedia instead of IMDb.
  4. April, 2018: Turned off comments (because spam ?), but email me if you have something to say and I’ll turn them on again.

124 responses

  1. Dan

    Remember that this is a list of good Australian Movies, not good movies that happen to come from Australia. There are no Citizen Kanes or Lawrence of Arabias in the currently. (Just stirring.) In the comedy segment, I’d like to add Tony Martin’s Cracker Jack.

    July 31st, 2006 at 3:49 pm #

  2. Adrian Cooke

    Stir away. Crackerjack came up a number of times in my searches, although I didn’t include it since I haven’t seen it. It’s definitely on my to-do list now though, thanks Dan.

    July 31st, 2006 at 3:54 pm #

  3. Phil

    I quite liked Dirty Deeds (2002). It does co-star John Goodman but I think it has to be Australian.

    July 31st, 2006 at 5:54 pm #

  4. Adrian Cooke

    Thanks Phil. Haven’t seen this one either. I see that it has the same director as Idiot Box (David Caeser) which movie I totally loved. I’ll definitely take a look.

    July 31st, 2006 at 6:03 pm #

  5. Edward IX

    The standouts for me are Lantana and Little Fish and there is a lesson in that for film-makers the world over. Lantana featured fairly ordinary characters faced with extraordinary events. Too often films go in for ‘whacky and zany’ characters which have no relevance. Just as politicians have difficulty relating to the public because they are surrounded by those immersed in politics so movie makers often struggle to understand what the lay film goer wants because they spend a lot of their time surrounded by people immersed in the arts. Lantana and Little Fish were about dreary middle class types. No bush rangers, flamboyant gays, gordon geckos or that set-piece character of independent film, the disillusioned, roly smoking, beret wearing, philosophising English lit student. Such characters are there to impress other film makers but are of less interest to people who have little or no first hand contact with the arts world other than as consumers. In a nutshell, ‘great’ Australian films are ones that tell the story of our community and given that Australia is 90% urban, middle class and unlikely to spend nights solving mysteries with a gang of misfit teenagers; the characters in great films will also be fairly dull. Also, the arts scene is so conformist in that film makers are usually a little afraid to make films that do not evince a passion for the empowerment of marginalised members of society. Whoever made Lantana and Little Fish excelled for another very simple reason; in telling their stories they did not seem concerned with how it might influence people’s perceptions of them. I’m really looking forward to Jindabyne (and carbon taxes!).

    July 31st, 2006 at 7:38 pm #

  6. Adrian Cooke

    I loved those movies for the same reasons Ned, that they represent drama at the ordinary level of the lives people actually live. Erskineville Kings had a similar effect on me, and it was profound. Oyster Farmer has much of the same quality, mitigated only a little by the fact that almost the entire film is set amidst the beauty of the Hawkesbury River landscape. Although they also traverse mountains (Lantana) and coast (Little Fish), the movies you mentioned are more connected to the city and never lose their distinctly urban feel. Erskineville Kings is relentless in this way.

    July 31st, 2006 at 8:53 pm #

  7. Dan

    I’ll second Dirty Deeds. Any one else like Getting Square?

    July 31st, 2006 at 9:14 pm #

  8. Bryce & The Bandit(s)

    (ahem) Crocodile Dundee III: Dundee in L.A.? But seriously… Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course? Oh sorry, this time seriously… Strictly Ballroom, Wolf Creek, The Proposition, He Died With A Felafel In His Hand, The Sum Of Us. Oh oh oh – and Hercules Returns!! He he he. What do you think? Well Mr Ads, I do believe this is the first post I have posted on your postings. How should I finish it off? What should I do post-post? Quick, post-haste! Awaiting your riposte…

    July 31st, 2006 at 10:53 pm #

  9. Adrian Cooke

    Dan: Thanks for reminding me about Gettin’ Square. I know you mentioned it recently but I’d forgotten. Will try to get my hands on it.

    Bryce: Good to see that your punning ways are as intact as ever! I was wondering if anyone would mention Strictly Ballroom. I haven’t actually seen the whole thing, but I guess I should. Are you serious about Wolf Creek? Sum of Us: good call. Felafel: big fan of the book but never saw the movie — I heard it wasn’t that good. You disagree? Hercules: definite contender. The Proposition: OH – YEAH. I just saw the trailer. Nick Cave, and that amazing cast: it looks like a winner. It’s going straight to the pool room.

    August 1st, 2006 at 10:21 am #

  10. Pete Cooke

    Ads, Thanks for correcting Dan – it’s Gettin Square, not Getting Square. Which is very important because there’s no way that David Wenham’s character would have ever pronounced his “ings.” This was a screen play written by a Gold Coast criminal lawyer called Chris Nyst. He has featured in some real life courtroom dramas on some fairly high profile cases, so he knows how crims think, especially Oz crims. Whilst the movie wasn’t critically acclaimed down under, I feel it is a brilliant example of a movie that captures how a quintessential Australian “no hoper” fares when he trys to go straight and it is really funny. My favourate line was the scene in the restaurant, run by another ex-crim (whose wife is on a severe diet) when she says: ” I’m so hungry, I could eat the arse out of a low flying duck!” Chris Nyst has also wrtitten several books, if anyone wants to go down that track. The most recent one I’ve read is called Gone and i can recommend it.

    Wolf Creek. You’d have to have this one on your list. There’s agruably only one other Australian horror flick which would come close to the chilling portrayal by John Jarrat of the back packer wacker. Really rammed home how the Australian bush can so easily be used to mask unspeakable atrocities of the Peter Falconio and Ivan Milat calibre. John Jarrat is unrecognisable from the friendly dude who used to accompany his ex-wife, Noni Hazlehurst, on Play School in the 80s. Apparently, in oder to bring as much realism to the role and to heighten the tension, while the film was being shot, he deliberately did not meet the 3 young actors who played the back-packers, prior to the start of filming. He gave them short shrift on the set, even to the extent of disappearing into his caravan after each day’s shoot, sinking copious Bundies and being thoroughly unsociable. So much so that the otehr cast members were actually very intimadted by him. As you can see i am a big fan of this one and would argue that it is the best Australian horror movie ever made.

    Dead Calm (1989). This should make the list, Very good Australian cast and Phil Noyce directed. Billy Zane is the only interloper but he’s pretty convincing, Nicole and Sam Neill do a good job too. I’d rate this one as No 2 Oz scary movie after Wolf Creek.

    Alexander’s Project (2003). Directed by Rolf de Heer, who also directed the unique Ten Canoes which was released here in the last couple of months. Good acting and well scripted piece in the Thriller genre. Surpises around every corner. Notable for it’s unusual subject matter and especially the notion that blokes should never take anything for granted. Gary Sweet’s character reminded me a bit of how Mark Latham looked like the “rabbit caught in the headlights” after the last Fed election in 2004. That should pull me up for now. Bound to generate some sparkling entendres, especially from Ned and Bryce. See ya, Pete

    August 4th, 2006 at 4:07 pm #

  11. Peter Bechtel

    Adrian, Thank you for the Australian Cinema Expose, which I found quite interesting. I think you guys may have missed the best Aussie film in the last 20 years? — The Piano (1993) Although filmed in NZ “Halliwell’s” have it listed as Australian under “Country of Origin” & I think that is fair enough. The movie received no less than 6 Academy Award nominations & won 3! Best Actress (Holly Hunter), Best Supporting Actress (a very young, Anna Paquin) & Best Writer (Jane Campion), missing out on Best Film, Best Director (Jane Campion) & Best Costume Design. This is an outstanding film! Hope you are fit & well & enjoying married life? Bech. PS: Saw Jindabyne on the weekend — Very good!

    August 7th, 2006 at 12:26 am #

  12. Joseph

    Hmmm you’ve got me thinking. Seeing Kiss or Kill made me breathe a sigh of relief, any list of great Australian films has to include that. Harking back a few years I would have to recommend Walkabout. And Holy Smoke featuring Kate Winslet, who I have to say has one of the best Australian accents by a foreign actor, it was spot on. Which of course brings to mind Evil Angels… you’re talking about my baby. To add a touch of cringe let’s not forget about half of MI:2 was set in Australia too.

    August 7th, 2006 at 6:11 am #

  13. Adrian Cooke

    Pete C.: Great comments, thanks! Unfortunately they don’t have Gettin’ Square at my local video store. Will have to look further afield. They do have Dirty Deeds though, so that’s next on my list. I guess I will have to add Wolf Creek though I have to say I am a little skeptical. But Bryce mentioned it too, so there’s weight in numbers. Dead Calm is a great film but doesn’t make the cut since I’m only looking at films since 1991. It’s arbitrary, I know. Alexandra’s Project I will definitely have to look at since Rolf de Heer’s Bad Boy Bubby is on the list.

    Bech: I’m not convinced that The Piano can be classified as an Australian film, although its a close call. The characters are sent from Scotland to New Zealand where the story takes place. Jane Campion was born in New Zealand though she went to film school in Australia and lives in Sydney. Sam Neill was born in Northern Ireland though he’s lived in both Australia and New Zealand. It doesn’t make the cut by the definition I provided, but it’s definitely on the list of films for inclusion if I ever change the definition! I agree that it is an outstanding film. Can’t wait to see Jindabyne.

    Joseph: I would love to see Walkabout though it also doesn’t make the list since it was released before 1991. I’m putting Holy Smoke on the waiting list: I don’t recall the movie that well but I don’t think it really grabbed me when I first saw it, despite that I’m a big fan of Keitel, Winslet and Campion. I’ll take another look and would enjoy hearing what others think. Never seen Evil Angels, but being pre-1991 I’m off the hook there. As for M:I-2, this film lacks the quality of, well, quality that I’ve been looking for in making the list (Richard Roxburgh notwithstanding)! You were joking, right?

    August 18th, 2006 at 6:23 pm #

  14. Joseph

    Fear not, I was joking when I suggested MI:2, although from memory Richard Roxburgh plays a South African in that movie??

    August 24th, 2006 at 5:14 pm #

  15. Joseph

    Just remembered another one Three Dollars (2005).

    August 24th, 2006 at 5:16 pm #

  16. Adrian Cooke

    Great! Thanks again Joseph. I’m adding Three Dollars to the contenders list. As for M:I-2, I’m struggling to forget. Also, if anyone sees Last Train to Freo (2006) next month when it hits the cinemas (Dendy), I’d really like to know what you think. Everything I’ve found about it on the web indicates rave reviews (particularly from the Melbourne International Film Festival). I’m so excited about this one I submitted it to IMDb since they did not already have an entry. Hopefully it will appear in a week or so.

    August 28th, 2006 at 11:16 am #

  17. Adrian Cooke

    Update: I just saw Flirting (1991) for the first time. It’s going straight to the pool room.

    August 28th, 2006 at 10:55 pm #

  18. Adrian Cooke

    Update: I forgot Redball (1999). It’s awesome. I’m adding it. You can’t stop me.

    August 29th, 2006 at 12:52 am #

  19. Dave

    I don’t know if this discussion is still active or not, but I thought I might add ‘Love Serenade’ to the list. It’s a wonderful, subtle comedy which says so much about Australian small-town life and the sometimes desperate effects that loneliness can have on us all. Definitely one of my favourites.

    April 25th, 2007 at 6:44 am #

  20. Adrian Cooke

    Thanks for the recommendation Dave. I hope it’s available to rent in the US.

    April 28th, 2007 at 9:21 am #

  21. tom

    What was that movie I saw in 2001 in Stralia about a bunch of blokes on the dole. Was quite funny. I can’t seem to find it anywhere on the web …

    February 13th, 2008 at 10:42 pm #

  22. tom

    Got it, The Wogboy from 2000.

    February 13th, 2008 at 10:53 pm #

  23. Adrian Cooke

    Haven’t seen it Tom. Your description reminded me of Idiot Box. I’d love to see that again.

    February 14th, 2008 at 10:28 pm #

  24. Durashka

    Suburban Mayhem should be added since the list’s inception. Other than that, I third Dirty Deeds and second The Proposition.

    May 22nd, 2008 at 12:39 am #

  25. Adrian Cooke

    Thanks Durashka, I hadn’t heard of it and I look forward to checking it out. I loved Dirty Deeds and The Proposition. Also, if anyone reading this thread has seen Last Train to Freo, I’d love to hear what you thought.

    May 22nd, 2008 at 6:32 pm #

  26. Marilyn

    I’m trying to find an Australian movie that I saw around 2001 0r 2002 that was a love story triangle about three OLDER people in their late 60s or early 70s. Features a couple in a long term marriage, and wife meets old love from the past, an wants to leave her marriage. I just loved this film, and have been trying to remember the name. I think it had a single word for a title. Thanks to anyone who can help?

    May 23rd, 2008 at 10:56 am #

  27. Adrian Cooke

    Doesn’t ring any bells for me, Marilyn.

    May 23rd, 2008 at 1:41 pm #

  28. Marilyn

    Ads – thanks for responding. I finally remembered the name of the film. It’s called Innocence, and was written and directed by Paul Cox. The stars were Julia Blake, Charles “Bud” Tingwell, and Terry Norris. It’s about an older married woman, who falls in love with a man from her long ago past. It was NOT a hit movie, most likely because it’s about a love affair between two old people, (senior citizens), and no one cars about or believes that such things really happen. I thought it was a wonderful film – very tastefully done, and very real. Believe me, it happens.

    May 24th, 2008 at 11:58 pm #

  29. Adrian Cooke

    Marilyn, I don’t think I’ve heard of this, but I love Bud Tingwell. Not surprised that it didn’t have a popular following, given the themes. Thanks for the recommendation.

    May 26th, 2008 at 12:47 am #

  30. Shane

    Was trying to find a movie set in the Australian Bush about a teacher and some kids who are running from killers who the kids start to kill one by one?? Anyone

    June 26th, 2008 at 2:45 am #

  31. Adrian Cooke

    I got nothing… About when was it released? Can you guess at where it was set? Anyone recognisable?

    June 26th, 2008 at 7:50 pm #

  32. jodie

    im trying to find an aussie film from the nineties… about a uni student who loses her boyfriend, then her flat. set in studentville, sydney somewhere. she has ongoing battle to give up smoking throughout film. i found it funny. any ideas???

    June 29th, 2008 at 2:59 am #

  33. Vince

    This is for Shane. It’s the movie Fortress (1986). I had been on a search for the same movie and finally found it. Scared the crap out of me when I first saw it as a kid. Hope you come back to read this.

    July 18th, 2008 at 4:29 pm #

  34. Adrian Cooke

    Good one Vince. I haven’t heard of it before. Here’s the IMDb entry: Fortress (1986).

    July 18th, 2008 at 7:51 pm #

  35. Andrew Dawson

    Boytown (2006 ok possibly not great cinema and let down by the last 3 mins but fun). Bad Eggs (2003 one of my fave Oz films). The Dish (2000).

    August 28th, 2008 at 12:28 am #

  36. Adrian Cooke

    Andrew, re. Boytown and Bad Eggs, not available on Netflix over here, so I’ll have to look further afield. I did enjoy The Dish, but it didn’t quite hit the high notes for me.

    September 6th, 2008 at 1:56 pm #

  37. Daniel

    Hey, how about Ned Kelly (2003) ?

    October 5th, 2008 at 11:31 pm #

  38. Adrian Cooke

    Good question, Daniel. I haven’t seen it—what did you think?

    October 5th, 2008 at 11:34 pm #

  39. Daniel

    Well, its been a while since i’ve watched it, but i thought it was a pretty solid film, good performances by all the actors and it was an enjoyable film, well worth a watch especially if your interested in Ned Kelly and want to get a little bit of an idea what late 1800s Australia may have been like.

    October 8th, 2008 at 3:40 am #

  40. Ange

    Jodie: Damn. I’m trying to find the same movie. I thought it was great, but promptly forgot what it was called. Been searching for it for years.

    November 9th, 2008 at 7:51 pm #

  41. Guru

    i’m searching for a movie (australian & shot near nsw beach) . The story goes like this, 4 ?teenagers (2 boys? , 2 girls?) go to beach in VW van and meet a guy in a secluded beach. he tries to kill them all and rapes a girl too. when they are managed to ecape from him they reralised that they themselves are dead already and they are ghosts. one of the teenagers’ mother comes to that beach for 1st year remembrance. (the music was very terrifying). anybody knows the name of the movie. pls let me know.

    January 24th, 2009 at 10:55 am #

  42. John

    One of the best from the late 90s has to be The Boys with David Wenham and Toni Collette. Plus Angel Baby, Head On and The Quiet Room (in fact all Rolf De Heer movies) must be up for consideration. I’m glad you have Praise in your list as Peter Fenton from the band, Crow, is excellent.

    February 11th, 2009 at 12:21 pm #

  43. Adrian Cooke

    Thanks John. You’re totally right about The Boys, it had slipped my mind completely. It would have to be on the list. Which reminds me that I need to update this post… (Head On I heard was great, though I never saw it. Had not heard of The Quiet Room but Rolph De Heer is quite the tour de forcer.)

    February 16th, 2009 at 7:23 pm #

  44. Adrian Cooke

    Made the list: Peter, adding The Piano as I think it qualifies based on the original rules, and definitely makes the list. Bryce, Strictly Ballroom should probably make the grade. John, adding The Boys. On the plane home last August I saw The Square, written by Joel Edgerton and directed by his brother Nash, and that’s going under a new section called The Rudd Years. Best film noir I’ve seen in a long time. Also moved Gettin’ Square, Jindabyne, The Proposition and Wolf Creek into the list.

    Now in Contenders: Marilyn, I saw Innocence. Very good movie. Andrew, adding Boytown, Bad Eggs and The Dish. Daniel, adding Ned Kelly. Also adding John’s other recommendations, Angel Baby, Head On and The Quiet Room.

    We still don’t know what movie Jodie and Ange are thinking of, nor what Guru’s thriller is.

    February 18th, 2009 at 9:27 pm #

  45. kris

    Jodie and Ange: Occasional Coarse Language. It was really cute, and I’ve never seen anyone involved in it ever again.

    February 19th, 2009 at 5:34 pm #

  46. kris

    Also, can I suggest Look both Ways? Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, and aesthetically, very different from the normal low-key Aussie realist feel.

    February 19th, 2009 at 5:53 pm #

  47. Adrian Cooke

    Kris, awesome. Occasional Coarse Language is going in Contenders and Look Both Ways is going on the list. I have seen it, and I loved it.

    February 20th, 2009 at 11:53 am #

  48. Adrian Cooke

    Just added Somersault (2004). Saw this a couple of years ago, but somehow it slipped my mind. Really, really good.

    March 18th, 2009 at 8:13 pm #

  49. Matthew Coorey

    Noise has to be there. Superb film.

    April 6th, 2009 at 4:54 pm #

  50. Adrian Cooke

    Thanks Matthew. I looked for it on Netflix then discovered it was already in my queue. Adding it to contenders. Just saw Candy (2006). Added.

    April 6th, 2009 at 8:38 pm #

  51. Anthony

    Please add Malcolm!. Set in Melbourne.

    May 4th, 2009 at 9:23 pm #

  52. Adrian Cooke

    Anthony, Malcolm deserves an honorable mention, but it can’t make the list since it was released in 1986 (this list starts in 1991). Arbitrary, I know.

    May 5th, 2009 at 9:37 am #

  53. Dan The Man

    Undead (2003) is the only Australian zombie movie so therefore deserves a mention.

    May 29th, 2009 at 11:07 am #

  54. Adrian Cooke

    Dan, thanks for the suggestion. I added Undead (2003) to Contenders.

    June 1st, 2009 at 1:38 pm #

  55. Scott Bynum

    How about Bright Star? Are you OK with Jane Campion as an Australian? Abbie Cornish is for sure. And it was an Australian/British production, yes? It’s also an exceptionally beautiful movie.

    October 23rd, 2009 at 4:29 pm #

  56. Adrian Cooke

    Thanks Scott, I’ll add it to the Contenders list. Looking forward to seeing it — and yes, Jane Campion is approved ;)

    October 23rd, 2009 at 5:48 pm #

  57. B.Jane

    For your consideration… Australian Rules a film based on the Deadly, Unna book. Also The Black Balloon. Both absolute classics.

    March 11th, 2010 at 2:35 am #

  58. Adrian Cooke

    B. Jane, thanks, those are new to me. I’ve added them to the Contenders list.

    March 12th, 2010 at 9:36 pm #

  59. keef

    Just stumbled upon your list and stopped by long enough to offer my two cents. Noise and Love Serenade deserve to be in your list of the best Australian films. In my humble opinion these two films are far better than 80% of those you have already listed. While there are a few films I consider lacking, I strongly urge you to drop He Died With A Felafel In His Hand from contenders. A ridiculously awful film. Bad enough to have left a lasting impression on me—insulting. Perhaps you need to offer a worst Australian films section as well. A couple titles I didn’t see that could be added: Clubland starring Brenda Blethyn. Balibo (funny story, the Indonesian government banned the film, but you could and can still buy pirated copies all over the place here).

    April 7th, 2010 at 1:21 pm #

  60. keef

    Also consider: Japanese Story (Toni Collette), Death in Brunswick (Sam Neill).

    April 7th, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

  61. Adrian Cooke

    keef thanks for the recommendations. I added them to the contenders list and I gave you Love Serenade. I’ll concede that Felafel is on shaky ground, but it didn’t scar me quite as much as it did you. Hang in there, Tiger.

    April 26th, 2010 at 8:19 pm #

  62. Paulo Raul

    Adrian, thank you so much for making this list. I live in Bolivia and until now knew very little about Australian culture and the filmography as its best. These productions I’m sure will give me the insight I’ve been looking for. Long story short, Australia’s been in my heart for a long while now. Again, thank you. Paulo Raul

    September 9th, 2010 at 6:33 pm #

  63. Adrian Cooke

    Paulo, no worries and thanks for your comment. I’m happy to hear the list has been useful to you.

    September 9th, 2010 at 10:32 pm #

  64. Bluey

    Hey Paulo, on a side note it may be of interest to you that in the 1890s, a group of approximately one thousand Australians migrated from Australia to Bolivia. Around ten years ago there was some talk of making a film about this, but sadly it never got made.

    Keef, can’t agree with regarding He died with a falafel in his hand. Its a great movie with many many subtle moments. I’d rate it with the iconic Aussie movie Running on Empty from the 80s. Agree with you re Love Serenade, great movie full of stupid little quirky Aussie things that make an old expatiate extremely homesick!!!!!! (Thailand’s not so bad though!).

    Adrian, thanks for the Blog, enjoyed reading all the comments and opinions….and glad that a little piece of Connecticut loves Aussie film. My two personal Favorites from this era are in line with yours: Idiot Box – this is a personal classic of mine. The Castle – Australians are very unlike these characters whilst at the same time being exactly the same………. This movie i will watch again and again forever. I had the privilege of seeing it on the big screen both in Australia and New York. Liked your “straight to the pool room” comment…….. I occasionally enjoy shouting out, for no apparent reason, “Dad, I dug another hole”.

    There is a rugby league movie (2007 i think) called The Final Winter. I have been trying to get hold (download free) of it for over a year now, but to no avail. I would appreciate any reviews of it here so I can know if the $40 (plus shipping) cost to purchase the DVD can be justified??????

    September 15th, 2010 at 7:35 am #

  65. Adrian Cooke

    Bluey, glad you liked the list. The Castle is definitely one for the ages. I love Dale’s dug another hole line. “It’s filling with water.” Classic. Will keep an eye out for The Final Winter. This is the first time I have heard of it. I have a new one to add to the list, too: The Horseman. Boy is it violent, but damn good thriller. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    September 15th, 2010 at 8:20 pm #

  66. Warren

    The Proposition is an awesome film; one of the best Australia has produced. The Tracker by Rolf de Heer is one that fell under the radar, but a gem. Dating the Enemy; one of the better romantic comedies made, especially considering I normally HATE them. Life an almost unfindable film set in the AIDS ward of a prison – well worth a watch. What I have Written – another really hard one to find, but worth a look. Animal Kingdom – a modern day classic. I know you want to keep it to 1991, but could you extend it to include the Hawke years? Dogs In Space – granted it was done in the 80s. Ghosts of the Civil Dead; it was made in 1988, but WELL worth a watch.

    November 19th, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

  67. Adrian Cooke

    Warren, thanks very much for your suggestions. I don’t know how Dating the Enemy slipped by me but I’ve added it to the list. I can’t wait to see Animal Kingdom, it’s in my Netflix queue, saved for when it is released over here. I remember seeing the posters for Life at the Dendy in Brisbane all those years ago, but I didn’t realise it was an Australian movie. I added it to the Contenders list along with the others you mentioned. As for extending the list backwards, I’m not planning to do that because I want to present the list in light of the Mabo decision so as not to forget our unfinished business. But perhaps I will need to create an Honourable Mentions section at some point…

    November 20th, 2010 at 11:32 am #

  68. Rosie

    A friend and I watched this Oz movie a week or so ago… It was fantastic, also very scary..I was proud that it was an Australian movie as I thought it was well done. The music added to the The Reef (2011)

    March 9th, 2011 at 4:09 am #

  69. Adrian Cooke

    Thanks for the recommendation Rosie, I hadn’t heard about this one.

    March 9th, 2011 at 9:56 am #

  70. Rosie

    Gettin’ Square (2003), Last Ride (2009), Accidents Happen (2009), Three Blind Mice (2008), Beautiful Kate (2009), Blessed (2009), “Australia” on

    March 15th, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

  71. Adrian Cooke

    Rosie, thanks. I added The Reef (2011) to Contenders. Gettin’ Square (2003) made the list already. Thanks for the other recommendations.

    March 26th, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

  72. Jim

    The Magician (2005) great, no, awesome Australian cult movie.

    May 20th, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

  73. Adrian Cooke

    Thanks Jim, added it to Contenders. Looking forward to seeing that one.

    May 24th, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

  74. Jenny

    Okay, I realize that this is a very vague description but I am trying to recollect an Aussie film (comedy) about a lecherous guy and two young women. It is probably 13-15 yrs old.There was a wind mill in it!!! All I can remember is that it was quite quirky and funny. I thought the name was “valentino” Any ideas?

    July 9th, 2011 at 1:13 am #

  75. Kiri

    Ned Kelly (2003) is the best. Heath Ledger gave a really strong performance as the titular character and its pretty realistic. A must watch for any true blue aussie! :):)

    August 18th, 2011 at 4:57 am #

  76. Adam

    Thanks for the list, some films I’ve forgotten about and some I hadn’t heard of. The Proposition & Chopper, 2 of my favourites. Two I’d like to mention are Red Hill, a ‘modern’ western/thriller that ain’t half bad and The Loved Ones, a gruesome/sick/comedy is how I’d describe it. Cheers

    November 19th, 2011 at 8:50 am #

  77. Astrid

    What about Ruth Cracknell in Spider & Rose? Or Stone Brothers??

    December 8th, 2011 at 6:40 am #

  78. Andy

    A film I always remember was The Shiralee with Brian Brown. Fantastic movie about a man who finds his ex is not looking after his little girl. He struggles to make a living but takes the child with him anyway. Very good acting.

    December 14th, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

  79. Tondall

    Thanks for the list! WiSe many I haven’t seen. My dad would like to find out the name of an australian movie he saw in the late 80s or early 90s. Possibly a tele-movie?? A comedy/drama. Set in Sydney at time of filming, story of 4 friends… Who flashback to a past incident that happened when the group of friends, 2 guys and 2 girls were sharing a flat in the late 60s or early 70s (hippi era). Another person (possibly homeless man) dies (possibly drug overdose). They hide the body in the fireplace. One friend (possibly Wazza) hears that the flat is going to be demolished contacts and contacts the other 3 to work out what to do. Assuming they could be in trouble if the bones are found. Would love to hear if anyone knows the name of this movie!!

    December 27th, 2011 at 3:47 am #

  80. David

    It’s a Kiwi movie but if you want to include The Piano you should should watch Once Were Warriors.

    January 6th, 2012 at 2:11 am #

  81. Kim

    Mary and Max (claymation, 2009) and Romulus, My Father (2007). Both over-looked and wonderful films. Moullin Rouge was also great, although may not count as it received over-seas funding. Oranges and Sunshine (2010) also an excellent film. Filmed in collaboration with UK, so not sure whether it is officially an Aus film. My all time favourite however, would have to be The Proposition.

    January 14th, 2012 at 10:41 am #

  82. Belinda

    My favourite would have to be The Nostradamus Kid along with Silent Partner. There are so many excellent Australian movies but these two are rarely mentioned in lists.

    January 15th, 2012 at 5:24 am #

  83. Belinda

    Oh, and Samson and Delilah.

    January 15th, 2012 at 5:26 am #

  84. Joshua

    Radiance, starring Deborah Mailman. It’s a favourite of mine.

    January 22nd, 2012 at 7:22 am #

  85. Vladimir

    Hi there, Could someone tell me please the name of the movie i’m not sure if it’s an Australian – about a photographer who run away from his small town when he was a teenager who loved a girl and caught his Dad making love with her…and now he is back to this place again for his Dad or Mum funeral and he is meeting the “girl” and his “sister”..that’s what i remember…. Cheers, Vladimir from Auckland,NZ

    January 25th, 2012 at 4:56 am #

  86. Celia

    Can anyone tell me which of these films has a decent female monologue in it? It’s impossible to find a collection of Australian film monologues – if anyone can help I would very much appreciate it!!

    February 11th, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

  87. Jane Saunders

    What about Shame? That’s an Australian movie that I’d recommend.

    April 1st, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

  88. Easely

    What about Van Diemen’s Land (2009)? Australian cast & crew. Australian money and Australian landscapes – all rugged location work.

    April 16th, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

  89. Lily

    I’d love to add Beautiful Kate.

    May 4th, 2012 at 6:33 am #

  90. Lily

    Oh, and Blessed :)

    May 4th, 2012 at 6:34 am #

  91. Lily

    And Snowtown haha… Can’t stop now :P

    May 4th, 2012 at 6:36 am #

  92. Amanda

    I didn’t read every comment but what about Sexy Beast?

    June 3rd, 2012 at 12:34 am #

  93. Tonya

    Beautiful Kate was a GREAT movie as well. Very intense with the themes but I just love that movie. Jindabyne was also amazing. Based on an American short story “So Much Water So Close To Home” of which Paul Kelly wrote a song of that sam title for the Jindabyne Soundtrack. LOVE Cosi by Louis Nowra and The Castle is a classic; the best portrayal of Aussie humour/ values.

    June 17th, 2012 at 10:05 am #

  94. Adrian Cooke

    Notes on updates from the comments:

    1. Jenny, not sure about that one, but maybe someone else can help.
    2. Adam, added Red Hill and The Loved Ones.
    3. Astrid, added Spider & Rose and Stone Bros.
    4. Andy, sorry but The Shiralee is outside the time range of this list.
    5. Tondall, don’t recognise the movie you’re describing.
    6. David, you are right and I removed The Piano—it didn’t meet the definition (also, loved Once Were Warriors).
    7. Kim, added Mary and Max and Romulus, My Father and Sunshine and Oranges—a true co-production this one with one Londoner and one Sydneysider producing, set in both countries, actors from both countries.
    8. Belinda, added The Nostradamus Kid, Silent Partner and Samson and Delilah.
    9. Joshua, added Radiance.
    10. Vladimir, I don’t recognise that film. Hopefully someone else can help.
    11. Celia, memory is hazy but try Love and Other Catastrophes, Love Serenade and Rabbit-Proof Fence. More recently, Eye of the Storm.
    12. Jane, Shame is also outside of the time range of this list.
    13. Easley, added Van Diemen’s Land.
    14. Lily, added Beautiful Kate, Blessed and Snowtown.
    15. Amanda… this is a list of Australian movies (loved Sexy Beast though).
    16. Kiri and Tonya, thanks for your comments.

    Thanks to everyone for your suggestions and thoughtful comments.

    July 6th, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

  95. ken f rottman

    i dont see one of the best mock doc comedys of late 1990s ‘BIGGER THAN TINA’. aussie answer to ‘this is spinal tap’.. made in melbourne.. the rise and fall of a muso who is a legend in his own mind and gets taken for a ride. cant download it anywhere. nor can i find the brilliantly funny soundtrack

    July 28th, 2012 at 2:05 am #

  96. Adrian Cooke

    Ken, I love The Fauves’ song “Bigger Than Tina” but didn’t know about the movie. Amazon has it via an independent reseller, which might be the only way I can get it over here. Thanks for pointing it out. Hope I can get my hands on it. Damn I loved that song. (Added the movie to Contenders.)

    July 28th, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

  97. Aidan

    Charlie and Boots had to be one of the funniest movies ever. Especially when they are gettin towed.

    September 29th, 2012 at 3:58 am #

  98. Adrian Cooke

    Good one Aidan, thanks. Added it to the list.

    September 30th, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

  99. Vic Stathopoulos

    I live abroad and I always look forward to seeing Australian films. Not that many films are shown in the cinemas abroad, but the ones that are shown are fantastic. The film list is very useful for me because it reminds me of those fantastic classics like Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Wolf Creek, Red Dog, Rabbit Proof Fence and lots more.

    October 18th, 2012 at 6:34 am #

  100. Jane

    Why not try Spotswood (1992), filmed funnily enough in Spotswood, Melbourne. Starring Anthony Hopkins and Ben Mendelsohn, also called The Efficiency Expert (US 1992). It has a young Russell Crowe and Toni Collette. An endearing and funny movie surrounding Balls moccassin factory.

    February 3rd, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

  101. Adrian Cooke

    Thanks Jane, I added it to Contenders.

    February 3rd, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

  102. Linda Calder

    Hi there,
    This is a terrific list of great Australian movies! I am wondering if you have seen “A Man’s Gotta Do” – not sure when it was made as it has been around for awhile, but it is a riot and a good story. Typical Australian quirkieness and humour, definitely should be on the contender list.

    March 4th, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

  103. Adrian Cooke

    Thanks for the recommendation Linda. Found it (released in 2004) and added it to the Contenders list.

    March 4th, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

  104. Shane Spilsted

    What about the movie “Bootmen” (2000) starring Sam Worthington , Adam Garcia and Sophie Lee. It was filmed around Newcastle

    March 13th, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

  105. Adrian Cooke

    Hi Shane, thanks. I added Bootmen to Contenders.

    March 22nd, 2013 at 7:50 am #

  106. Gil

    What about Paperback Hero, is that one Australian

    April 6th, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

  107. Adrian Cooke

    Thanks Gil, yes it is. Added it to Contenders.

    April 6th, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

  108. Corky

    My two favorite Australian movie are A Woman’s Tale (1991) and Bliss.

    September 23rd, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

  109. Lily

    What is wrong with you?
    Samson & Delilah is one of the best Australian films ever made.

    October 2nd, 2014 at 12:15 am #

  110. Adrian Cooke

    Great question Lily. Long answer. Haven’t seen it yet, but will take your word for it until I do.

    October 4th, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

  111. Tanya

    What was the name of a movie, set in Sydney, late 90’s/ real early 2000’s. The plot is a girl is forced to leave her share house after she finds out her b/f is cheating on her, her friends finds her a new sharehouse. Her new male flatmate has just broken up with his g/f and compensates by having lots of sex with lots of different women. The girl also looses her job and, again with her friends help, she finds a new one, in a cafe. She’s al, good for a while then she has a fight with her best friend. I won’t say anymore cause I don’t want to spoil the ending. Also, she drives a Niki in the movie and they have a house warming party without her best friend but her best friend’s b/f shows up

    December 9th, 2014 at 11:09 pm #

  112. Adrian Cooke

    Hi Tanya, this one’s not ringing any bells for me.

    December 13th, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

  113. Wolf lover :)

    Nothing what I’m looking for any ideas of a boy in a forest friends with animals my iPad won’t tell me I almays watched it when I was little I can’t remember it ;( plzz reply

    December 17th, 2014 at 11:48 pm #

  114. Wolf lover :)

    Charlie boots one ?

    December 17th, 2014 at 11:51 pm #

  115. Wolf lover :)

    Fast lane fever or whale sharks????? Idk

    December 17th, 2014 at 11:54 pm #

  116. Wolf lover :)

    I have an old movie from1994 it says what ur looking for its called killer of guardians or one from 2009 it’s also what ur looking for its dogs are in the dessert

    December 17th, 2014 at 11:57 pm #

  117. Glenn Fitzpatrick

    Floodhouse (2003) Miro Bilbrough

    May 13th, 2016 at 12:19 am #

  118. Jeffrey

    Maybe someone can help. Saw an Aussie movie years ago about a criminal couple who forcibly take over a local house in order to hide out. The homeowner turns out to be more psychotic than both of them. Sorry, a little hazy with plot details, but remember enjoying it. Had a really stock one or two word title that wouldn’t initiate interest. Thanks to anyone who can make something out of this weak remembrance.

    June 4th, 2016 at 11:45 pm #

  119. julian Hanna

    I am wondering if someone can help. I saw a great Australian movie a couple of years ago. It was about a group of young people. They break into a mans house catch him tie him up, blind fold him and then make him eat a whole bottle of pills with the intention of killing him. This man turns out to have been having a love affair, with a girl from the group who has just taken her own life. And this man had the relationship with the girl when he was her teacher during highschool, and the group have been told by the dead girls best friend that her head was still messed up by this male teachers actions then and since. The murder goes wrong when the bottle of pills that he is foced to consume turn out to be only child strength low toxin pills and the man escapes. And one thing leads to anther to create a stuff up of nightmare proportions.

    June 10th, 2016 at 6:09 am #

  120. Anonymous

    Wyrmwood Road of the Dead

    October 26th, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

  121. Brazilian bitch

    Hey people, I’m sure I watched twice a horror movie from the early 90s, set on a castle during a masquerade ball/costume party, where people starts to get murdered,the main character was a Blonde girl with curly hair and I remember that on the plot her ex-boyfriend was a character named Max and there was another character named Colette, I’m 90% sure that this was an australian movie (unless I am mistaking the information on the box with some other movie) and searched google many times to find out the name of this movie, but so far, I haven’t reached a single information about it; has anyone on this page ever seen this picture?
    Has anyone, any clue about this film?

    I REALLY would LOVE to watch it again, it has been 17 years since I watched it, but I don’t have the slightest idea about the moive’s name and it seams impossible to find any info about it, if anyone knows the movie I’m talking about and it’s name, please reply to this comment.

    March 28th, 2017 at 10:43 pm #

  122. Brazilian bitch

    Also, if I’m not mistaken I remember that this horror movie was supposedly released in 1992.

    March 28th, 2017 at 10:45 pm #

  123. Matt

    Welcome To Woop Woop was Aussie and one weird and freaky film … Logans Run … and i also remember one that was very bad about schoolies i forget the name of

    April 9th, 2017 at 1:17 pm #

  124. Adrian Cooke

    Glenn, I added Floodhouse to Contenders, thanks.
    Matt, I added Woop Woop to Contenders, thanks.
    Anonymous, Wyrmwood’s in Contenders, thanks.
    Wolf, Jeffrey, Julian, Brazilian: not sure on any of these, sorry.

    September 9th, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

Zero to One-Eighty contains writing on design, opinion, stories and technology.