Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online

Titles from the 1980s

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1980

Against the Grain: More Meat than Wheat feature film – 1980

A terrorist visits his family in Western Australia after detonating a bomb in Sydney on Anzac Day.

Age Before Beauty documentary – 1980

Age Before Beauty cleverly identified an issue that has since become familiar territory for most women in the western world.

All the Green Year – Episode 2 television program – 1980

This mini-series about growing up in the years between the world wars recalls a type of small-town society which is now fading into the past.

Australia in World War 1 documentary – c1980

Hubert Wilkins, official Australian war photographer, would have shot most of this footage, some of which is recreated.

The Chain Reaction feature film – 1980

The lives of car mechanic Larry and his wife Carmel are placed in danger following an accident at a nuclear waste facility in central Australia.

The Club feature film – 1980

The Club, adapted from David Williamson’s play, is set at a time when professionalism was taking over the game.

Dugong Dugong documentary – 1980

Depending on the individual viewer’s attitude, scenes of dugong hunting can be exhilarating or disturbing.

Flamingo Park documentary – 1980

Fashion designer Jenny Kee had talent but so did the film’s crew, many of whom went on to make outstanding documentaries.

Franklin River Journey documentary – 1980

Amateur botanist Antonius Moscal says that rafting down the wilderness of the Franklin River reminds him of the definition of God.

The Franklin Wild River documentary – 1980

Bob Brown takes a rubber dinghy through spectacular rapids as part of a filmed campaign to halt plans to flood the Franklin River.

Give Trees a Chance: The Story of Terania Creek documentary – 1980

This recording of an anti-logging protest is one of many documentaries made in the 1980s that reflect growing concern about progress at the expense of the environment.

Gold Gold Gold: 4 x 100 Metres Men’s Medley Relay spoken word – 1980

Norman May’s dramatic swimming-race call at the 1980 Olympics which has remained close to the hearts of Australians.

Grendel Grendel Grendel feature film – 1980

A lonely, philosophical monster ruminates on the stupidity of men, whose heads he occasionally devours.

A Hard God television program – 1980

A Hard God, based on the play of the same name, is the story of a working-class Irish-Australian Catholic family in Sydney in the 1940s.

Harlequin feature film – 1980

Smoothly directed in widescreen, Harlequin is one of the more polished Australian films of its day and a notch above the ordinary genre film.

The Inventors television program – 1980

Panellist Diana 'Bubbles’ Fisher is expected to play the 'dizzy dame’, so she can be guaranteed to talk about the colour of the gadget while the guys talk knowingly about its science.

Kingswood Country – There’s No Place Like Rome television program – 1980

A sitcom that lampoons suburban Australian culture, while being equally fascinated with it.

Lucinda Brayford television program – 1980

Wendy Hughes, Sam Neill, Carol Burns and Barry Quin feature in the saga of an Australian heiress who marries into British aristocracy.

Manganinnie feature film – 1980

Tasmania, 1830. Joanna, a little white girl, is adopted by Manganinnie, an Aborigine who has survived a slaughter.

Morning Star Painter documentary – 1980

A portrait of Djiwul (Jack) Wunuwun, the Morning Star Painter, set in his homeland community of Gamedi in Arnhem Land.

Rusty Bugles television program – 1980

Based on a banned 1948 stage play, this telemovie follows a group of soldiers posted to a remote base in the Northern Territory during the Second World War.

Sale of the Century – Series 1 Episode 1 television program – 1980

Host Tony Barber invites contestants to compete for prizes by answering general knowledge questions.

Stepping Out documentary – 1980

Stepping Out draws attention to the talents of people with intellectual disabilities. The group went on to perform at the Sydney Opera House.

Stir feature film – 1980

This revealing film about prison life has a violent tone and very bad language, but this helps give it credibility.

Torque – Series 4, Episode 10 television program – 1980

Peter Wherrett is great talent. He knows cars and can warn of the dangers of the road without sounding preachy.

A Town Like Alice television program – 1980

This mini-series, based on the novel by Nevil Shute, tells an epic love story that begins in Malaya during the Japanese occupation of 1941–45.

1981

Backs to the Blast, an Australian Nuclear Story documentary – 1981

Made 25 years after nuclear tests were conducted in SA in the 1950s, this documentary stirred up a political hornet’s nest.

A Big Country – The Darcys of Mallapunyah television program – 1981

A Big Country launched some of Australia’s best-known journalists and filmmakers, including Bob Connolly, Paul Williams, Chris Masters and Andrew Olle.

A Big Country – The Drover television program – 1981

Jack loves his job and his life on the road. The filmmakers have captured both the hardship and the freedom of a life on the ‘long paddock’.

Bitter Herbs and Honey documentary – 1981

While this study of Jews in Carlton re-enacts how Jewish boys were bullied, it is also a celebration of family and citizenship.

Bread and Dripping documentary – 1981

Four women recall raising families during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The film also looks at the activism of women and the beginnings of the early feminist movement in Australia.

Down Under music – 1981

Released in 1981, this catchy pop song was written as a light ‘tongue-in-cheek’ dig at Australian values. It became a number one hit in Australia, the UK and US and is still played regularly today as an unofficial Australian national anthem.

Gallipoli feature film – 1981

Gallipoli remains one of the most loved of all Australian films. It’s one of Weir’s most nakedly emotional films and one of his most poetic.

Goodbye Paradise feature film – 1981

This evocative picture of the Gold Coast as paradise lost includes a gaudy, sleazy fun park, tawdry politics and busloads of old ladies singing.

I Can Jump Puddles television program – 1981

Based on the autobiographical novel of the same name by Alan Marshall, this story of struggle and courage has become a classic Australian tale.

The Killing of Angel Street feature film – 1981

This political thriller is loosely based on the disappearance of Sydney heiress and anti-development campaigner Juanita Nielsen.

Lonely Hearts feature film – 1981

Comedian and satirist John Clarke wrote this film with Paul Cox: no wonder it is full of bright impish humour.

Mad Max 2 feature film – 1981

Mad Max 2 is a more self-consciously mythic film than its predecessor, in a much more primal landscape, with a lot more action.

A Personal History of the Australian Surf: Being the Confessions of a Straight Poofter documentary – 1981

His father told young Sydney-born theatre director Michael Blakemore that the world was divided into three groups, 'fools, crooks and gentlemen’.

Puberty Blues feature film – 1981

When the two teenage girls at the heart of this film buy a surfboard and teach themselves to surf, they become their own role models.

Public Enemy Number One documentary – 1981

Public Enemy Number One gives insight into journalist Wilfred Burchett’s motives in covering wars from the enemy’s point of view.

Two Laws documentary – 1981

The concept of two laws – colonial and Indigenous law – can also be spoken about as two ways of storytelling or filmmaking.

Waterloo documentary – 1981

Tom Zubrycki’s skills as a documentary filmmaker are clearly evident in this history of the redevelopment of Waterloo in Sydney.

We Have Survived music – 1981

The No Fixed Address version of Bart Willoughby’s ‘We Have Survived’ has became an unofficial anthem for Australia’s Aboriginal community.

Winter of Our Dreams feature film – 1981

It was surprising that this uncompromising film about a junkie prostitute’s failure to find love, would work so well with audiences.

Wrong Side of the Road feature film – 1981

Most black bands before this were playing country and western – Us Mob, Coloured Stone and No Fixed Address were among the first to play rock or reggae.

1982

1915 television program – 1982

The television series 1915 cleverly uses First World War historical footage and successfully moves between the action at the front and events at home in Australia.

The Australian Way: A Salute to Aussie Sex Appeal documentary – 1982

This is a time capsule of what was considered sexy, naughty and outrageous in the early 1980s — by commercial television anyway.

A Big Country – Gulf Battlers television program – 1982

Vintage A Big Country featuring Elton and Maude beating the odds to run a small cattle station in the Gulf country of northern Australia.

The Blainey View – Footprints television program – 1982

Geoffrey Blainey, one of Australia’s foremost and most controversial historians, later coined the term 'black armband view of history’.

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