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Film Retrospectives: Australian Film

The Great Australian Cinema program at ACMI presents a wide survey of the history of Australian film, from early iconic works to the 'First Wave' of the Seventies to contemporary classics. Here you can access film details and synopses of the many works that have screened in ACMI Cinemas.

OZ: A Rock n Roll Road Movie

An Aussie rock n roll take on the 1939 Hollywood classic.

Animated Documentaries

Check out this collection of works created over a 30 year period.

Going Down

The exploits and adventures of four girls out on the town.

Classic Queer Shorts

A collection of recent and historical gay and lesbian shorts presented with Midsumma.

Bryan Dawe Presents Liyarn Ngarn

A new documentary brings a new hope of reconciliation.


Before the Big Day Out there was Sunbury.

The Overlanders

Australian action star Chips Rafferty stars in this classic outback adventure.

The Set

Regarded as the first Australian feature to deal with lesbian and gay relationships.

Witches and Faggots, Dykes and Poofters

A ground breaking documentary plus two gems from the archive.

Darling! The Pieter Dirk-Uys Story

A portrait of AIDS activist, female impersonator and satirist, Pieter Dirk Uys.


Based on a short story by Raymond Carver, starring Gabriel Byrne.

All My Friends are Leaving Brisbane

A new Australian romantic comedy from the Sunshine state.

Gary Simmons Presents Look Both Ways

Stars William McInnes. Winner, Best Direction and Best Film, 2005 AFI Awards.

New Fiction Shorts

A collection of the latest short films from World of Women Festival 2007.

New Drama Shorts

A collection of the latest drama films from World of Women Festival 2007.

Two Hands

Gregor Jordan's confident debut feature is a gripping and often funny thriller starring Heath Ledger.


Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish star in Neil Armfield's debut film.

New Documentary Shorts

Young female filmmakers capture their world in these powerful documentaries.

Best of WOW 2007

Three of the best films from this year's World of Women Festival.

Beneath Clouds

The cinematic debut of indigenous filmmaker Ivan Sen.

Nolan on Film

Celebrate the life of Sidney Nolan, arguably one of Australia's most famous artists.


From deep within the vaults comes this political drama.


Jazz great Miles Davis makes his acting debut playing an inspirational jazz trumpeter.

Hey Hey it's Esther Blueburger

A new Australian comedy with Whale Rider's Keisha Castle-Hughes and Toni Colette.

Tan Lines

A new Australian surfer film with a twist!

ABBA: The Movie

ABBA, the spirited Swedish pop group who skyrocketed to fame in the 1970s, takes centre stage in this cult classic.

Chapel of Chic

Chapel Street identities and local designers provide a behind-the-scenes look at the Australian fashion scene.


From the imagination of filmmaker, visual artist and photographer Tracey Moffatt comes this innovative rendering of three childhood mysteries.

Taxi to the Dark Side

Oscar-winning documentary that takes a critical look at the Bush Administration's policy on torture.

Yakkety Yak

Literally a classic underground comedy, Yakkety Yak follows a university lecturer as he attempts to make a film in the basement of a building.

Gold Diggers of 1933

Busby Berkeley's greatest musical featured some truly extraordinary art deco costumes, created by Australian-born designer John Orry-Kelly.

Dad and Dave Come to Town

Dad unexpectedly inherits a women's fashion emporium in the city, and he moves the Rudd family from the country to take charge.

The Heartbreak Kid

When high school teacher Christine falls for the charms of 17-year-old student Alex all hell breaks loose.

Head On

Celebrating 10 years since its first release, Head On tells the tale of 19-year-old Ari as he confronts both his sexuality and his Greek heritage.

Kung Fu Killers

Brian Trenchard-Smith's 1974 documentary takes leading Australian stuntman Grant Page to Hong Kong to find Bruce Lee's successor.

The Naked Bunyip

Employing strategic use of cartoon bunyip and bleeps, John B. Murray turned a raucous comedy into a bold  statement on censorship.

Howling III: The Marsupials

Philippe Mora's horror comedy stars Barry Otto as a scientist and professor searching for a rare breed of - that's right - werewolf marsupial.

Monkey Puzzle

The Blue Mountains form a dramatic backdrop to this new Australian film about a group of friends who embark on a trek to find the world's oldest tree.


The first ever documentary about Australian living legend, boxer Lionel Rose, combines rare archival material with contemporary footage.

End of the Rainbow

An award-winning Australian documentary following the relocation of gold mining operations from Indonesia to a remote area of Guinea in West Africa.

Not Quite Hollywood: the Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!

Take a hedonistic, nostalgic, Bazz-tastic ride through a forgotten period of Australian cinema from the 70s and 80s, otherwise known as Ozploitation.

William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet

Starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Claire Danes, Baz Luhrmann's restless, post-modern interpretation of the ultimate teen romance never lets up.

Storm Warning

Director Jamie Blanks is spearheading a genre revival with his latest film, a thriller about a young couple caught in the mother of all storms.

Little Deaths

Ten short films by ten directors make up this new Australian portmanteau of films, a triumph in local low-budget filmmaking.

Struck by Lightning

Presented in conjunction with the Homeless World Cup, Jerzy Domaradzki's 1990 drama follows the fortunes of a disabled soccer team.

They're a Weird Mob

A hapless Italian migrant finds that life in his new country is not quite what he expected. Followed by a panel discussion hosted by the AFCA.

A Tribute to Pip Starr

ACMI pays tribute to acclaimed Melbourne documentary maker Pip Starr.


A documentary about the conflict told by the soldiers on both sides.

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Burke & Wills

A darkly humorous tale of the archetypal Aussie house-sharing experience. Join filmmakers Matt Zeremes and Oliver Torr for a Q&A after the screening.

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Annie's Coming Out

A truly inspiring story of an imprisoned mind released, starring Angela Punch McGregor.

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Two Hands

Inventive and engaging, Gregor Jordan's confident debut feature stars Heath Ledger and Bryan Brown.

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Eureka Stockade

Chips Rafferty stars as Peter Lalor, the Irish-born leader of the celebrated miners' rebellion.

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Strictly Ballroom

Baz Luhrmann uncovers a rich vein of humour in the refined world of ballroom dancing.

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Gary Hillberg Presents

Don't miss this opportunity to catch some of editor Gary Hillberg's utterly addictive work, and chat with him after the screening.

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Scripted by David Williamson, Tim Burstall's energetic study of inarticulate aspiration launched Jack Thompson as a major star.

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Mary Tomsic Presents

Author and academic Mary Tomsic presents: Beyond and Behind the Silver Screen: The Hidden History of Australian Women's Work With Film.

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Cherie Nowlan's whimsical comedy puts fun in family dysfunction. A special free preview presented with MEAA and Film Victoria.

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The Sentimental Bloke

Raymond Longford's delightful take on the story of a hard-drinking city larrikin tamed by love.

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Mad Max 2

Hyper-kinetic in it's execution, Mad Max 2 saw vehicular mayhem and sensational stuntwork shift into maximum overdrive.

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The F.J. Holden

Michael Thornhill affectionately portrays the everyday world of 1970s Australian suburbia.

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Shane Maloney Presents Death in Brunswick

Much-loved Australian crime-writer Shane Maloney introduces a personal favourite. Presented with the Australian Film Institute.

Love Serenade

Winner of the Camera D'Or at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival, Shirley Barrett's first feature is daring, bitingly funny and consistently surprising.

Naked on the Inside

Bold, heartfelt, and quite unlike anything you've seen before. Special screening presented with the AFI.

Anthony Carew Presents Cane Toads: an Unnatural History

Melbourne journalist and man-about-town Anthony Carew introduces a cracking Mark Lewis documentary double.

Digital Projections

Includes a stunning array of clips for local and international bands, award winning animations, side splitting shorts and haunting surreal visions.

Wedding Sari Showdown (Episodes 1 & 2)

Melbourne filmmaker Kylie Boltin follows the turbulent romance between an Australian/Indian couple.

Megan Spencer Presents Jisoe

Filmmaker and critic Megan Spencer introduces two powerful documentaries that rank amongst her personal favourites!

Paperback Hero

Fresh and endlessly entertaining, this romantic screwball-comedy marked Hugh Jackman's feature film debut.

Paul Harris Presents Money Movers

Melbourne film and radio personality Paul Harris introduces Bruce Beresford's tautly paced heist thriller.


Mark Joffe's Capra-esque homage to old-fashioned corporate paternalism.


This uncompromising prison classic confronts hidden social issues surrounding the treatment of prisoners in Australia.

Dead Calm

Phillip Noyce's nail-biting, nautical suspense flick.

Modern Love

A starkly filmed gothic psychodrama about a family man afflicted by radical personality change in a weird coastal town.

Pure Shit

This underground Aussie cult classic captures Melbourne's drug culture of the mid 1970s. Presented with the AFI.


Fred Schepisi's criminally underrated masterpiece is a witty, dry and intensely absorbing adaptation of David Hare's acclaimed play.

A Sting in the Tale

Diane Lane conspires to become Australia's first woman Prime Minister. Presented with the Australian Film Critics Association.

The Independent

A film about the ill fated journey of political hopeful Marty Browning, co-presented with the AFI.

High Rolling

Take a trip back, 70s style, with the sweet sounds of Sherbert!

Bush Christmas

Evoking 1950s outback, this classic Aussie tale stars Nicole Kidman.


A cheerfully raucous comedy about the horrors of a family Christmas.

footy shorts

Get into the spirit of the AFL Grand Final with an engaging and often humorous selection of shorts from the ACMI Collection.

australian rules

Paul Goldman's powerful and affecting look at issues of racial intolerance, mateship and football in a small Australian town.

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Rachel Perkin's warm, and beautifully constructed debut feature stars Trisha Morton-Thomas, Rachael Maza and Deborah Mailman.

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spider & rose

Bill Bennett's disarming, witty and genuinely touching generation-gap road movie stars Ruth Cracknell.

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don's party

Bruce Beresford adroitly translates to the screen David Williamson's acidly funny and unrelenting take on 60s suburbia.

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no worries

David Elfick's warm, entertaining film paints an affecting portrait of outback farmers and their lot in life.

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adolescence: navigating the agony & the ecstasy

Don't miss this unintentionally hilarious (and often unconsciously disturbing) collection of instructional and educational shorts.

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summer of the seventeenth doll

Based on Ray Lawler's groundbreaking play, Summer of the Seventeenth Doll stars Ernest Borgnine, John Mills and Angela Lansbury.

we of the never never

Based on the classic Australian novel, this big, bold and magnificently scenic picture stars Angela Punch McGregor.

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Lawrence Johnston introduces his FIPRESCI-winning film.

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the devil's playground

Schepisi's semi-autobiographical account of seminary school life in the 1950s offers an unusually tough-minded approach to the coming-of-age theme.

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our queer recollection

This collection of shorts features exploratory works that first gave voice to Australian queer experience.

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A curious cross between a violent thriller and a sympathetic exploration of biker lifestyle.

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gettin' square

Character-driven and cleverly scripted, Jonathan Teplitzky's crime comedy features a superlative combination of suspense and laughs.

the bounty

Mel Gibson stars as the enigmatic Fletcher Christian in this intriguing and complex retelling of the most famous mutiny to take place on the high seas

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Smiley is a mischievous country schoolboy who determines to save enough money to buy a bicycle and become the 'speed king' of Murrumbilla.

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thank god he met lizzie

Cherie Nowlan's feature debut chronicles the romantic exploits of sensitive, new age Guy, who is on the prowl for the perfect woman.

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winter of our dreams

A wry contemplation of the disturbing nexus between self-expression and personal responsibility in relationships.

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shirley thompson versus the aliens

The story of a 'widgie' in 1950s Sydney who is visited by aliens from outer space.

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sons of namatjira + hepzibah

Two films from award-winning independent filmmaker Curtis Levy; Sons of Namatjira and the inspirational story Hepzibah.

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phar lap

Ramp up your adrenalin levels during the Spring Carnival with Wincer's take on the brief, tumultuous career of Australia's most famous racehorse!

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the castle

Rob Sitch's comic treasure embraces its characters in the full bloom of glorious eccentricity.

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incident at raven's gate

An impressive combination of genres, Rolf de Heer's tale of an alien encounter in the Australian outback plays out with a grim sense of humour.

return to eden

Wallow in betrayal, murder, intrigue and plastic surgery in this marathon of Australia's most successful eighties mini-series!

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dad & dave come to town

When Dad inherits a dress salon in a bustling city, the Rudd Family travel from the country to investigate their windfall.

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crocodile dundee

Peter Faiman's legendary adventure comedy still retains its status as the highest grossing local film in the history of Australian cinema.

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head on

Based on the novel Loaded by Christos Tsiolkas, Head On is full of power, aggression, antipathy and a groaning sexuality, starring Alex Dimitriades.

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Based on Peter Carey's highly imaginative first novel, and directed by Ray Lawrence, this surreal black comedy still retains its caustic bite.

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the glenrowan affair

Guerrilla filmmaker Rupert Kathner chronicles the bushranging exploits of Ned Kelly and his 'wild colonial boys'.

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looking for alibrandi

Kate Woods translates Melina Marchetta's award-winning rites-of-passage tale to the screen.


Phillip Noyce's first feature spans a decade, telling the story of news cameramen who went out and brought the daily newsreels to an eager nation.

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on the beach

Based on the popular novel by Nevil Shute, Stanley Kramer's quietly devastating sci-fi drama condemns war without firing a single shot.

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the killing of angel street

Donald Crombie's gritty political thriller stars Elizabeth Alexander and the sensational John Hargreaves.

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dogs in space

Writer/director Richard Lowenstein navigates the world of drugs, dropouts and punk music in late 1970s inner-suburban Melbourne.

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A tale of dark secrets, this contemplative film features Martin McGrath's riveting cinematography and Cezary Skubiszewski's resplendant score.

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bush christmas

Celebrate Christmas in July this year with Ralph Smart's delightful children's comic adventure story.

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picnic at hanging rock

Weir's mesmerising tale is about a party of schoolgirls and their schoolmistress who disappear from Hanging Rock on Valentine's Day 1900.

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kiss or kill

Drawing on familiar film noir conventions, the stylish Kiss or Kill plays out with velocity, irreverence and an unexpectedly playful humour.

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John Duigan's sequel to his highly acclaimed The Year My Voice Broke offers another delicate foray into the world of adolescent rites of passage.

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monkey grip

This engaging adaption of Helen Garner's ground-breaking novel is a sensous evocation of inner-suburban Melbourne in the late seventies.

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a town like alice

Based on Nevil Shute's evocative and much-loved novel, A Town Like Alice is a dramatic love story set during WWII.

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Tim Burstall artfully translates D.H. Lawrence's novel to the screen.

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the last wave

The Last Wave was one of the first films to address the cultural divide between white Australians and indigenous populations.

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Ken Hall's last feature tells the adventurous tale of early Australian pioneer aviator Charles Kingsford Smith's historic flight across the Pacific.

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moulin rouge

Would-be poet Christian (McGregor) falls for the beautiful courtesan Satine (Kidman) whom a jealous Duke covets in Baz Luhrmann's stylish musical.

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Sheer madness, Razorback satirises contemporary issues with abandon, from the dingo baby case to environmental protesters and filmmaking traditions.

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This clever, character-driven comedy centres around the blind Martin who is so distrusting of people that he takes photos to prove they really exist.

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backroads + castor & pollux

Early double from acclaimed director Phillip Noyce, one of the boldest and stylistically innovative young Australian directors to emerge in the 1970s.

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the spag + clay

Two works from Giorgio Mangiamele, one of the first migrant filmmakers in Victoria to dramatise the migrant experience.

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Richard Franklin's penchant for Hitchcock is evident in this engaging comedy-thriller journey across the Nullabor Plain.

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the adventures of priscilla, queen of the desert

Brashly scripted, featuring outrageous costumes and a high-camp soundtrack, The Adventures of Priscilla is a bitchy, gaudy, kitsch comedy classic.

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the last of the knucklemen

This energetic action-drama follows wildcat miners' lives in the outback, coping with heat, hard work and boredom with booze, gambling and fighting.

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the phantom stockman

An engaging Australian 'western' that tells the tale of young cattle station heiress who is convinced that her father has been murdered.

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jedda + night cries: a rural tragedy

Charles Chauvel's Jedda is a dreamlike story of an Aboriginal baby raised by 'whites' on a cattle station. This is followed by Moffatt's Night Cries.

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This tightly woven and visually striking mystery drama from director Ken Hannam centres on a new schoolteacher (Nick Tate) in a small seaside town.

children of the revolution

Writer/Director Peter Duncan's audacious comedy plumbs the depths of diehard communism. Starring Judy Davis and Richard Roxburgh.



Spierig brothers redefine low-budget horror with this zombie splatter fest! FIPRESCI Prize Winner at the 2003 Melbourne International Film Festival.

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the big steal

Nervous teenager Danny is so desperate to seduce the beautiful Joanna that he has to quickly acquire a Jaguar to prove he isn't a liar.

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David Swann's cheerfully raucous comedy about the inevitable horrors of a family Christmas reunion is often hilarious and at times genuinely moving.

next of kin

A young woman's nostalgic return home morphs into a journey of terror.

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Helen Morse delivers a spirited performance as a suburban housewife working through the Depression to support herself and her family.

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man of flowers

Portrays the life of Charles Bremer, a wealthy recluse who is obsessed with aesthetic harmonies of form and colour in flowers and exquisite artworks.

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the shiralee

The Shiralee, based on D'Arcy Niland's much loved novel, marked Peter Finch's return to Australian cinema.

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the sundowners

This tale of the vagabond droving life delights in Aussie bush rituals.

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ghosts.of the civil dead

Acclaimed for its stunning power, Ghosts.of the Civil Dead is based on events which occurred at the highest-security US Federal Penitentiary.

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the adventures of barry mckenzie

Barrington Bradman Byng McKenzie is sent to England "to further the cultural and intellectual traditions of the McKenzie dynasty".

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death in brunswick

Some days it just doesn't pay to clean up your life and grow up.

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the back of beyond

Considered by many to be one of Australia's best films, John Heyer follows an outback postie on his mail run along the Birdsville track.

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walking on water

Tony Ayres' feature debut explores with humanity and humour the responses of family and friends to Gavin's long illness and subsequent death.

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sunday too far away

The moving tale of shearer Foley (Jack Thompson), capturing the essence of Australian outback life.

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in search of anna

In this AFI award-winner, ex-con Tony and liberated model Sam embark on an east coast road trip.

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mad max

George Miller's iconic Mad Max depicts a futuristic world of violence and mayhem with shocking vigour.

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the man from snowy river

Engaging antipodean rites-of-passage story based on 'Banjo' Paterson's poem.

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bad boy bubby

Rolf de Heers controversial tale of an escaped man-child in a surreal new world.

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careful he might hear you

Engaging melodrama of two aunts who battle for custody of their late sister's child.

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muriel's wedding

Writer-director PJ Hogan's quirky, enduring tale of suburban life in Porpoise Spit.

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rats of tobruk

The legendary defence of Tobruk is dramatised through the lives of three ordinary soldiers.

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Jane Campion's accomplished first feature is a bizarre black comedy about family tyrannies.

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the year my voice broke

John Duigan provides a tough, quirky and often raw exploration of a rights-of-passage tale.

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the boys

Multi-award winning film exploring a dark and violent side of Australian life.

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crystal voyager

A pinnacle of the surf-movie genre, Crystal Voyager features the psychedelic accompaniment of Pink Floyd.

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wrong side of the road

Road movie, musical and docu-drama in one, this innovative film inspires and disturbs.

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the odd angry shot

The Odd Angry Shot is less a war film than a study, often played for comedy, of the mateship and camaraderie of men confronting the dangers of combat.

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the cars that ate paris

The townspeople of Paris, a small country town in New South Wales, make a living from car accidents and salvaging parts.

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the man from hong kong

This martial arts thud-and-blunder thriller is known for its spectacular and unforgettable opening sequences.

you can't see 'round corners

One of few Australian films that reference the impact of the Vietnam War on Australian life.

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the getting of wisdom

Laura Tweedle-Ramsbotham is a high-spirited country girl who is sent to an exclusive and very strict boarding school in Melbourne in 1910.

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storm boy

This popular children's film focuses on Mike 'Storm Boy' Kingsley  and his encounter with an Aboriginal youth 'Fingerbone' Bill.

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my brilliant career

Based on Miles Franklin's classic turn-of-the-century novel about a sensitive, passionate young woman with hopes for a career as a writer.

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