I am from north coast NSW and Sydney, and have also lived in Europe and Japan. I have seen around 300 Australian films in the last 50 years, which I have ranked from 1-300, as a guide for those interested in seeing some Australian cinema, and perhaps to stimulate some discussion as we all have our own favourites. My rankings are based on my personal enjoyment of these films. I don’t claim that these are the best Australian films, rather they are films that I like the best, that is, my favourites. If your taste is at all similar to mine, you may enjoy these films. If your taste is for action, violence or horror, you will obviously have other preferences. Of course, all such rankings are subjective, and everyone’s taste is different, so here is a rough guide to my criteria:
- My taste guide: Movies are rated higher for beauty, intelligence, comedy and good dialogue; lower for violence or stupidity. Comedies, successful satires, small dramas and historical dramas are rated higher: action movies, stupid comedies and violent dramas (especially horror) are rated lower, even if well made. Unfortunately, over the years my tolerance for depressing movies has diminished, so a large number of otherwise excellent movies have been omitted due to the downbeat subjects.
I have a confession to make: my name is Peter and I’m a listaholic. I’ve noticed this is spilling over into this blog, and I’ll try to improve the variety. Otherwise I’ll have to rename the blog ‘Oz Film Lists’ or somesuch. Wish me luck.
Thoughts on rating and ranking films
In my discussion of Oz films, I have both rated and ranked each film, in order to give some guidance to others about my opinion of the films.
Rating films is an activity fraught with uncertainty as our enjoyment or appreciation of a film depends on so many random factors, apart from the overall qualities of the film itself: our personality and outlook on life, the age we are when we see the film and our own personal history up to that point, whether we see the film in a cinema or on a television screen or on a computer or aeroplane, whether we saw the film alone or with friends and how they liked or disliked it. Some films improve in the memory, and films we liked when we were young tend to maintain a golden glow. Sometimes however, old favourites can appear hopelessly dated when we watch them decades later, making us wonder about our previous ‘jejuneosity’ as Woody Allen put it in Love and Death.
I have watched the films in this list over some fifty years. About half I saw at the cinema, the other half I watched on DVD, apart from a handful I saw on Youtube or even on the tiny aeroplane screens. Watching a film at the cinema always gives you a more favourable impression of the film than watching it on a smaller screen, and I have probably rated films I saw at the cinema more highly than if I had watched all films on some sort of level playing field.
All these random factors have doubtlessly affected my ratings. On top of that, I have also attempted to rank the films I have seen from 1 to 300, a foolhardy enterprise if there ever was one. My rankings have all been affected by the same random factors, and so should be taken with a grain of salt. It is almost impossible to compare a new comedy, a 70s period film and a 90s rom-com, all of which have you have given 3 stars and say which is better. Nevertheless, I have attempted to do this by asking, which did I ‘enjoy’ more, where ‘enjoyment’ encompasses not only pleasure but intellectual and emotional engagement. I can only say I feel more certain about my rankings at the top and the bottom than those in the middle which were harder to call and tend to move around a bit depending on my mood. So there we have it.
Feel free to contact me about anything on this site.