The Top 22 Australian Contemporary Drama Films of the 1970s & 1980s

“Contemporary drama films” is not a commonly used genre, but I am using it to distinguish these films from ‘period dramas’ (which I covered earlier). My definition is based largely on what contemporary drama films are not: they are NOT period drama films, NOR are they comedies, action films, crime-dramas or horror films. They are simply drama films set roughly in the same period that they are made.

So, this page is about Australian drama films both made in the 1970s or 1980s and set in the 1970s or 1980s. These years marked the early years of the Australian Cinema Revival, and ‘contemporary drama film’ was not the most popular category in those years, when directors seemed to prefer period dramas, action films, comedies and even horror films. (Contemporary drama films became both more common and successful after the 1990s ‘second wave’.)

Nevertheless, there were quite a few interesting contemporary drama films made before 1990, which capture the feel of the era, and I have picked out the twenty-two that I think are the best (see note). Some of the films look at life in the Outback, some look at life in country towns, but most look at life in Australia’s big cities where most Australians live. The films look at the lives of men, women, teenagers, children, Aboriginal people, punks, couples, siblings, parents and more.

Interestingly the top two contemporary drama films of the era were made by foreign directors, who saw Australia through the shrewd eyes of the outsider. Given that this website is interested in stories about Australia rather than only films made by Australians, these films are celebrated for their unique look at Australians trying to survive the harshness and isolation of our Outback.

So let’s examine what Australian stories in the 1970s and 1980s the best film-makers chose to tell about their own era.

1. Walkabout (1971) (Nicolas Roeg)

When a teenage girl and her young brother from the city are left alone in the Australian desert, a young near-naked Aboriginal teenager guides them for many days through the wilderness back to safety. There is a curiosity and sexual tension between the two adolescents, even though they cannot speak each other’s language. They are surrounded by and engulfed in the seemingly endless natural world, and forced to live for a time by a different set of rules. This classic 1971 outback film was made by idiosyncratic British director and cinematographer, Nicolas Roeg, who brought his outsider’s eye to bear on Australia’s unique wilderness and the relationship between the Aboriginal people and the European inhabitants. This film is characterised by its beautiful cinematography, its vivid colours, its wonderful shots of Australian animals, birds and plants, and its jagged cuts from one scene to another and back to encompass multiple simultaneous experiences. The film features 18-year-old British actress Jenny Agutter, as the white Australian teenager, 17-year-old David Gulpilil in his debut role as the Aboriginal teenager (he went on to make nearly twenty movies and become one of Australia’s finest actors), plus Australian veteran John Meillon in a brief role as the father. All are outstanding in this epic of two lost white children and the young Aboriginal man who helps them. This film, along with Wake In Fright, also made by a foreign director, reawakened interest in our stories, and particularly our outback environment, and helped stimulate the local industry. It’s a wonderful story of innocence, cultural difference and tragedy, and still stands up after all these years, despite a few 1960s arthouse peccadilloes which might look pretentious now. (See here for more information)

2. Wake in Fright (1971) (Ted Kotcheff) 

In a totally different look at the Australian Outback, Wake In Fright tells the story of young teacher from Sydney, working at an isolated one-teacher school in Outback NSW. When he tries to get back to Sydney for the summer holidays, he gets stranded in a rough Outback town full of drunken, rowdy larrikins, and gets slowly drawn into their lifestyle. This early 70s film brings Kafka to the Australian Outback. Taken from Kenneth Cook’s novel, the film is another of his disturbing indictments of Ocker values and a warning for city folks to steer clear of the Bush. This film contrasts with previous Aussie films which portrayed Outback men as “salt of the earth” types: full of manly virtues of mateship, bravery and uncomplaining endurance. The men here are not generally evil, but the mateship is aggressively alcohol-fuelled and alcohol-dependent and, while the men are generous to the penniless city bloke in their midst, their pleasures (drinking, swearing, gambling, fighting and shooting) seem unfulfilling and even barbaric to the outsider. English actor, Gary Bond plays the stunned young Sydney teacher, and the film also features great Australian actors such as Chips Rafferty (in his last role), Jack Thompson (in his first major film) and John Meillon. The film was made by Canadian director Ted Kotcheff before Australian cinema’s 1970s revival, and he does a great job in capturing the dark side of the Outback, making it seem an Oz version of Dante’s Inferno. Along with Walkabout, also directed by a foreigner, this film helped stimulate the regrowth of our own film industry. (See here for more information)

3. Evil Angels (aka A Cry in the Dark) (1988) (Fred Schepisi)

Evil Angels tells the true story of Lindy Chamberlain, a mother whose baby disappeared on a camping trip in 1980, who was later tried and wrongly convicted of murder. American actress Meryl Streep puts on a pretty good broad Queensland accent in this denunciation of media hysteria and failure of the justice system in Australia. Streep plays Lindy Chamberlain, who was imprisoned for killing her baby in 1982, only to be released after three years, when new evidence was found to support her claim that a dingo took her baby from their tent. Streep plays Lindy as a down-to-earth Christian mother of three who is unable to understand the intense media and public interest in her case, and who was convicted partly because a media campaign against her. (The media portrayed her cool demeanor during years of questioning and scrutiny, as ‘unfeeling’ and ‘unnatural’, and helped arouse public suspicion over her membership of a fringe Christian group.) The film, made by Australian director Fred Schepisi on his return to Australia after a spell in Hollywood, captures Lindy’s straightforwardness when confronted by both the tragedy of her loss and the media campaign against her, as well as by the injustice of the court case. The film won the AFI awards for Best Film and Best Director, and Streep and Neil won the Best Actress and Best Actor awards. (See here for more information)

4. Storm Boy (1976) (Henri Safran) 

Ten-year-old Mike (nicknamed Storm Boy by his friend Fingerbone) lives an isolated life in a shack on a windswept beach in the Coorong district of South Australia, with only his fisherman father and Mr. Percival, a pelican, for company. He is also befriended by Fingerbone, a young runaway Aboriginal man who roams the Coorong, and his life becomes slightly less lonely. This is a beautiful and moving family film, rewarding for both adults and children. The touching story of a young boy and his few companions living on the amazingly wild South Australian coastal region of Coorong, with its endless lagoons, bush and beach, is yet another glimpse of the vastness, beauty and variety of the Australian continent. Although Greg Rowe, the young actor, is excellent, and David Gulpilil is wonderful as Fingerbone, in the end Mr Percival the pelican steals the show. This film is one of only a few to highlight our amazing wildlife. Storm Boy deservedly won the AFI best film award in 1977. (See here for more information)

5. Man of Flowers (1983) (Paul Cox) 

Dutch-born director Paul Cox made more Australian films than any other director, and his films generally dealt with romance and the difficulties of human relationships, in a very sensitive and European way. His films were generally set in the cities, where most of the Australian population live, and where European migration was changing society, rather than in the Bush. In Man of Flowers, an older wealthy man, living alone in a beautifully decorated old house in Melbourne, spends his life appreciating beauty: playing classical music, collecting art and flowers, and paying a pretty woman to undress for him. This is Paul Cox’s best film mixing European aesthetics and high culture with Australian humour. We are taken into the obsessions of this gentle, troubled man and his relationship with the young woman who strips for him. Paul Cox, who died recently, was always interested in aesthetics and human fragility. Norman Kaye, who played the lead role, won the AFI best actor award for this film. (See here for more information)

6. Dogs in Space (1986) (Richard Lowenstein) 

Like Man of Flowers, Dogs in Space takes place in inner-city Melbourne, but this film focuses of the pop culture of the young, in this case the anarchic lives of a group of young punk musicians and their friends in the late 70s. Not everyone will like this film about disorganised young punk musicians, but if you like the music of Iggy Pop or Nick Cave, you should like this. Michael Hutchence (the lead singer of real band INXS) plays a young singer, and his naturalistic performance carries the film along, in this recreation of the late 70s Melbourne art-punk scene that produced such acts as Nick Cave and his then band The  Boys Next Door. The film also captures inner-city Australia of that time with the squats, group-houses, rundown terraces, pubs with live music every night, parties, gigs, happenings, a mix of students, dole-fiends, punks, hippies, druggies, and young people trying to hook up and enjoy themselves, of old bomb cars full of friends and music gear, contempt for conformity, poverty, boredom, excitement and delusion. The lives of the band members and their friends and girlfriends are followed through their unruly path, with the odd departure due to misadventure or drug overdose. Much of this film rings true, and the soundtrack is excellent, if of course you like this kind of thing. It includes two versions of Nick Cave’s ‘Shivers’ and other live sets by Melbourne bands. (See here for more information)

7. The Last Wave (1977) (Peter Weir)

When an Aboriginal man dies in Sydney, the group of Aboriginal men with him are charged with murder, and the white lawyer, who is chosen to defend them, becomes involved in esoteric Aboriginal spiritualism, as the weather becomes stranger and stranger. Peter Weir’s fourth film, made soon after his success with Picnic at Hanging Rock, continues to explore mystical Aboriginal themes, this time in modern Australia. Richard Chamberlain plays David Burton, the lawyer who tries to understand the group of Aboriginal people who seem more concerned with hiding the secrets of their culture than revealing the facts of the death. Two of the group, Chris Lee (David Gulpilil) and Charlie (Nandjiwarra Amagula) are more communicative, but Burton still feels that things are being hidden from him. Meanwhile the rain continues to fall, houses develop leaks, branches break windows, and the city feels besieged. As his investigation continues, Burton has strange dreams and premonitions as he feels the weight of Aboriginal spirits and a coming apocalyptic last wave. This film is an effective mystery though, in Weir’s style, more is hinted at rather than revealed. (See here for more information)

8. High Tide (1987) (Gillian Armstrong)

Lilli is a washed-up backup singer who ends up stranded in a small coastal town in NSW when her car breaks down. Here she runs into Bet, the mother of her dead husband and realises the 15 year-old surf chick with Bet is the daughter Lilli left behind when her husband died. Judy Davis won her third AFI Best Actress Award playing Lilli, a frustrated and frustrating free-spirit, who has chosen a life on the road, and a life free of responsibility. When she comes face-to-face with the daughter she abandoned during a time of personal grief, she is forced to re-evaluate her life. Gillian Armstrong always makes interesting films about women’s complex lives and links up with Judy Davis here for the only time after My Brilliant Career. But in reality Davis shares the acting plaudits with Jan Adele, who is excellent as the strong, loving Bet, who fears losing the girl to Lilli, and the 14-year-old Claudia Karvan who is very convincing as the young Ally, who misses having a mother in her life. Colin Friels also plays a local fisherman who falls for Davis, but the women dominate the story, as they all try to get what they need in their lives. (See here for more information)

9. Lonely Hearts (1982) (Paul Cox) 

A shy 30-year-old virgin meets a 50-year-old piano-tuner bachelor through a dating service, and they try to date, despite lacking the required social skills or confidence. This is one of Paul Cox’s most accessible films due in part, no doubt, to the co-writing charm of Australia’s kiwi comic genius, John Clarke.  The film is a sweet but awkward romance between two shy people, both set in their ways and held back by the expectations of their friends and family. It’s a beautifully understated film, with delightful performances by Wendy Hughes (who somehow managed to look dowdy for a while) and Norman Kaye, who did his best work with Cox. The films won the 1982 AFI Best Film Award, and Cox, Hughes, Kaye and Clarke were all nominated for awards. (This contemporary drama borders on romantic comedy but  the dramatic element is stronger than the comedy, hence its inclusion on this page.) (See here for more information)

10. Shame (1988) (Steve Jodrell)

A woman on a big motor bike gets stuck in a small town for a few days, and uncovers a culture of gang rape and shame in the town. Deborra-Lee Furness plays Asta, a tough city barrister off on a cycle tour, who gets stranded in a nameless small town when her bike needs parts. Asta discovers that the daughter of the mechanic was recently raped by a number of boys, but is reluctant to press charges. She further unearths a culture of what would now be called ‘toxic masculinity’, with young men badgering and taunting girls, raping a number of them, and then ridiculing them as ‘sluts’. This culture is enabled by the toleration of the boys’ parents, who explain the behaviour as boyish hijinks; the shame of the girls’ parents who want to deny the rapes; and the disinterest of the local policeman in the inconvenience having the girls press charges for the rapes. The film effectively conveys the seriousness of the topic, and the difficulty in changing things, but it’s also an interesting and thrilling story about a woman fighting against the local establishment for the rights of the weak. The film was shown in some Australian schools as part of a discussion on sex education and consent. As a condemnation of Australian male behaviour in some outback towns, this film stands with Wake in Fright (1971). (See here for more information)

11. Heatwave (1982) (Phil Noyce)

When a developer uses strong-arm tactics to take over terrace-houses in inner-city Sydney for a large high-rise housing development, a young woman tries to organize resistance, and the architect on the project finds himself caught in the middle. This film is based on the true story of Juanita Neilson, an activist who tried to stop the destruction and redevelopment of streets in Kings Cross, an inner-city suburb of Sydney, in the mid-1970s, and who disappeared mysteriously. The film changes some details but keeps many elements of the true story, such as the involvement of sleazy underworld figures from the Cross, corrupt police, thugs violently evicting residents and squatters, the green bans by building unions and subsequent rise of rival, business-friendly building unions, and tricky deals by developers to maximize their profits. The film has a strong narrative and captures the feeling of the era, when protest, idealism and direct-action was common. Judy Davis is excellent, as usual, as Kate, the Juanita Neilson character, and Richard Moir is also wonderful as the young architect, hoping to get his beautiful ecological building constructed, but increasingly feeling conflicted about the developer’s methods. As someone who lived in Sydney at the time, it’s a delight to see areas I am familiar with, and sobering to realize that wholesale destruction and redevelopment of countless suburbs of Sydney has occurred since 2000, with barely a whimper of protest. (See here for more information)

12. The Fringe Dwellers (1986) (Bruce Beresford)

A Queensland Aboriginal family living on the edge of an outback town attempts to move into a better house in the main town. Beresford’s film, updated from Nene Gare’s 1961 novel, provided one of the first glimpses on film into the current situation of Aboriginal people trying to co-exist with a mainstream white society that has largely supplanted their own ancient culture. Given the past tragedies and current levels of deprivation and dispossession faced by many Aboriginal people, particularly those on the fringes of country towns, this film could have been quite distressing, but Beresford manages to make the film not only insightful, but entertaining and surprisingly upbeat. The little-known actors bring life and a naturalism to these characters, and help us understand their situation in a sympathetic way. The film was nominated for the AFI Best Film award. (See here for more information)

13. The Plumber (1979) (Peter Weir)

A young married woman, working from home in a campus apartment complex, feels harassed by an exuberant young plumber, who gradually wrecks her bathroom as he turns a short job into one lasting several days. This little film was made by Peter Weir between his Australian masterpieces, Picnic at Hanging Rock and Gallipoli, but its atmosphere is more like his early claustrophobic films or The Last Wave. Judy Morris, plays Jill, a married woman living on campus with her lecturer husband while she tries to finish her masters anthropology degree, when she is interrupted by an uninvited plumber who comes to ‘check the pipes’ but stays for days, working, chatting, singing and joking. It’s a study in unease, the type everyone feels with tradesmen working in your home, but overlaid with the potential for sexual threat. Both Jill and we spend the film trying to work out whether the plumber is genuine or has some other agenda. It works pretty well as a thriller, while commenting on class differences and relations between the sexes in Australia (both favourite themes of film-makers in the 70s). (See here for more information)

14. Puberty Blues (1981) (Bruce Beresford)

Two schoolgirls learn about life when they are accepted into a gang of ‘surfie-chicks’, who are groupies for local surfers (or ‘surfies’) in seaside Cronulla. This film is based on a best-selling 1979 book of the same name by Cathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey, which documented the position of young teenage schoolgirls involved in Sydney’s surfing culture. Lette and Carey’s book caused controversy in the late 70’s, for its depiction of underage sex and drugs, but was also important for its humorous feminism, as it revealed the oppression of girls in the macho-surf culture of Sydney. Whereas boys got to enjoy the thrills and camaraderie of surfing, their girlfriends were given subservient roles, and expected to be feminine, to defer to the boys, to buy food for them and be available for unsatisfactory sex. This film captures the atmosphere of the era, but lacks some of the humour and satire which made the book so popular. Nevertheless, the main characters are very likeable and the film does show the poor situation of the schoolgirls, as well as make strong points about sexism in Australia and the need for equality for girls. The film shows the dangers of rape, pregnancy and bullying that girls faced in those days. The story has more recently been the subject of a TV series which was also well-made and well-received. (See here for more information)

15. The Removalists (1975) (Tom Jeffrey)

Two policemen, a grizzled veteran and a rookie on his first day in the job, attend a domestic violence case, and get caught up in an argument between the wife, the husband and the wife’s elder sister. This is the film version of a classic David Williamson play, and is typically hilarious and outrageous in equal measure. Full of sexual politics, class conflict, police brutality, working-class cheek, upper-class snobbery, jealousy and contempt, this is classic David Williamson. The cast is excellent with future stars John Hargreaves, Jacki Weaver and Chris Haywood as well as established stage actress Kate Fitzpatrick, ensuring the dialogue is quick-fire, clever and cutting. All of the characters reveal both strengths and weaknesses, but most are found wanting when the pressure is really on.  (See here for more information)

16. Sweetie (1989) (Jane Campion)

Kay and Dawn are a strange pair of sisters: Kay is shy, repressed and superstitious, but she manages to hold down a job in some large workplace; Dawn, called ‘Sweetie’ by her family, is loud, undisciplined and has some level of mental illness which causes her family concede to her whims for a bit of quiet. When Dawn moves out of her parents’ home and into the house where Kay is trying to forge a relationship with Louis, things spin out of control, and the sisters’ equally odd parents, Gordon and Flo, come back into the picture. This was Jane Campion’s cinematic debut, after making a number of acclaimed shorts and a TV film, and it’s full of witty arthouse weirdness, focusing on one strange family from Australian suburbia. Though Sweetie is the weirdest and most disruptive of the family, none of the others is exactly normal. Kay is a loner at her work, she chooses her boyfriend Louis (whom she steals from a colleague) according to a fortune-teller’s advice, and has a fear of trees as well as a fascination with porcelain horses. She has problems with sex, unlike Sweetie, who enjoys loud and frequent sexual encounters with the wacked-out boyfriend Bob who she brings to live in Kay’s house for a time. There are heaps of hilarious supporting characters as well, from Kay’s bitchy workmates, to Flo’s dancing jackeroos, to the little kid next door who loves to play with Sweetie. None of the main characters is exactly happy, although they though do have some happy moments. The film is both funny and sad and touching in its own strange way. (See here for more information)

17. Annie’s Coming Out (1984) (aka A Test of Love) (Gil Brealey)

Jessica Hathaway takes a job as a therapist at Brentwood hospital for severely disabled children, and meets young Annie O’Farrell, whom Jessica realizes is actually intelligent despite the fact that she cannot easily communicate with anyone. Jessica teaches Annie ways to communicate, and when Annie turns 18 launches a court case on her behalf to be released into Jessica’s care. Despite the potential for sentimentality inherent in the subject of disabled children and their neglect, this film stays mainly positive in its depiction of a dedicated therapist and a little girl who flourishes in her care. Despite opposition from the medical staff at the hospital, Jessica sees something in Annie that even her parents do not. Though Jessica’s obsession with Annie at times upsets her boyfriend David, she persists and eventually prevails. Angela Punch McGregor gives one of her best performances as Jessica, and won the AFI Award for Best Actress in 1984. The film was also voted the AFI Best Film. (See here for more information)

18. Backroads (1977) (Phillip Noyce)

A white drifter teams up with an Aboriginal man to steal a car in outback Australia, and head for the coast, visiting various friends and family and picking up other drifters, until the law catches up with them. This was Phil Noyce’s debut and is one of a very few 70s films featuring Aboriginal actors in lead roles. Aboriginal actor and activist Gary Foley appears alongside Bill Hunter in a rare lead role, to create an ‘odd couple’ road movie with a political edge. The film incidentally shows the poverty of outback Aboriginal communities alongside the casual racism with which they are forced to live. The film was a collaborative affair, and features improvised dialogue to which Foley substantially contributed, and which lends a naturalism to the story. Though short and low-budget, the film packed a political punch, and is still an entertaining and provocative film today. (See here for more information)

19. My First Wife (1984) (Paul Cox)

A married couple with a young daughter go through a painful separation, when the wife has an affair with a colleague. Most of Paul Cox’s many films deal with love, sex and human relationships, and this one deals with what happens when one person grows tired of a long relationship. Paul Cox won his second AFI Best Film Award for this film, and it’s very well made, although the painful subject matter makes the film a difficult watch at times. Fortunately the film is blessed with two of the finest Australian lead actors of the 80s, John Hargreaves and Wendy Hughes, who play the middle-class couple going through the painful breakup. Hughes plays a version of her usual sweet and sensible self, but Hargreaves does the heavy lifting as the husband who is taken by surprise by the discovery that his wife was having an affair, and who takes the breakup particularly badly, with anger, violence and suicidal impulses. It all feels brutally honest, and the audience feels the pain as well as the characters. The fact that Hargreaves’ character is a classical music expert with his own radio show allows the film to be suffused with emotional classical music that accentuates the emotional turmoil of the characters. It’s one of Paul Cox’s best films, though there aren’t a lot of laughs in this one, of course. (See here  for more information)

20. In Search of Anna (1979) (Esben Storm)

Tony, a young man recently released from jail, hits the road in search of his old girlfriend, Anna, and he hitches a lift with Sam, a troubled woman with a cool vintage car. This is an intriguing road-trip through 1970s Australia, with two troubled characters getting to know each other on the several days they take to drive along the coast from Melbourne to Sydney, and later to Queensland. As they travel, Tony’s story is told in flashbacks, explaining why he is adrift, after serving six years in jail for a robbery when his mates somehow avoided jail-time. Sam’s story, is more opaque, involving frustration with her photographer boyfriend and artistic friends. They make an unlikely couple as they cruise Highway One discussing life to pass the miles. Richard Moir and Judy Morris were two of Australia’s most likeable actors of the era, and, although their characters (Tony and Sam) are both going through tough times and behave somewhat erratically through frustration, their underlying charm remains. The other attraction of this film, like many films of the era, is that it shows Australia the way it was then, buildings that have been pulled down, and the unusual dress sense we had at the time. (See here for more information)

21. Monkey Grip (1982) (Ken Cameron)

Nora, a free-spirited young single mother living in inner-city Melbourne share-houses falls in love with Javo, a ruggedly attractive young man with an unfortunate heroin habit. This film successfully captures the chaotic love lives of young people in the late 70s (and early 80s). Noni Hazlehurst is enormously likeable as the optimistic Nora, even when she makes a number of unwise emotional choices, and the film is full of interesting characters playing her friends and lovers. Harold Hopkins, Christina Amphlett, Candy Raymond, Cathy Downes, and Michael Caton are all very good, and the film contains a number of performances by the band The Divinyls, who form part of Nora’s circle of friends in this film version. Colin Friels has the thankless role of Javo, and makes him occasionally likeable, as well as often frustrating due to his junkie dishonesty. Alice Garner is also excellent as Nora’s young daughter, full of wisdom from her observation of the erratic adult population around her. The film probably doesn’t live up to Helen Garner’s enormously successful 1977 novel of the same name. Partly because novels dealing with people’s internal lives can be difficult to render in film, and partly because stories about junkies are generally depressing, the film does not entirely capture the depth and humour of the book. Despite that, the film is an interesting time capsule of the period when inner-city terraces represented a cheap rental alternative for the young, poor and arty. Aside from the central relationship, the film also illustrates the downsides that ‘free-love’ promiscuity had for friendships, as jealousy and resentments persisted despite ideology. (See here for more information)

22. Winter of Our Dreams (1981) (John Duigan)

Two people, a bookshop owner and a prostitute/junkie, meet in their search for the reasons behind the death of a mutual friend. Judy Davis shines in this film as a Kings Cross heroin junkie trying to turn her life around after a close friend’s death, a performance for which she won the first of her six AFI Best Actress Awards. Films looking at heroin addiction are usually a bit depressing, due to the hopeless condition in which addicts find themselves, but Judy Davis’s portrayal lets one believe that some can get their lives back together with a little encouragement. The film is also an interesting look at what happened to student radicals of the 1960s: how some sold out and became middle class, some became drug addicts and some soldier on with their radicalism.  Bryan Brown’s character is both interesting and frustrating. He plays an ex-student radical who’s now a bookshop owner. He maintains his leftist beliefs, but is no longer an activist. Instead he lives a comfortable life in an artsy inner-city suburb (Balmain) where he lives in an open relationship with his wife. He wants to help Judy Davis’s character, but is a bit too taciturn to make a real difference. It’s an interesting portrait of 1980s inner Sydney and the types that roamed there. The film was also nominated for AFI Best Film and Best Director awards. (See here for more information)

~ ~ ~

* This list was compiled by considering three sources: 1) my personal opinion, 2) the weight of critical opinion (a soon-to-be-published updated version of this page), and 3) your combined opinions, as represented by your ratings and votes at IMDb, all sorted by an algorithm of great sophistication and mystery.

I recommend all of these films, and I encourage everyone to leave comments with your thoughts on these and any other Australian films.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. elainelennon says:

    What an amazing roundup and still a few I would love to see. I think I missed Shame because I lived in France at the time and Monkey Grip and The Plumber remain on my To See list. Walkabout – well I knew Nic a little – he was going to shoot one of my scripts but it never happened. What an astonishing film. I loved it as a child and I am still shaken by it every time I watch it again. Great post, as ever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ozflicks says:

      Hi Elaine, I didn’t know you were a scriptwriter as well as a film reviewer extraordinaire! Thanks for your kind words. I was in Japan when Shame came out, so I only caught up with it recently, but it’s very powerful. Thanks for commenting. Peter

      Liked by 1 person

      1. elainelennon says:

        Unmade scriptwriter, living in development purgatory. But Nic was my fave director and he was such a gentleman. Meeting him was a dream come true.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great work here. I cut my teeth watching some of these. (Not literally of course) And nice to see my dear cousin Richard Moir remembered. Cheers Nick

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ozflicks says:

      Thanks Nick. I thought these films covered life in these decades pretty well.
      Richard Moir was a great actor, and I always liked him in films. Unfortunately he suffered like other Aussie actors in the 80s from the shortage of great scripts in the decade when money was king.


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