Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online

All documentaries

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B (continued)

Backs to the Blast, an Australian Nuclear Story 1981

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

The Balanda and the Bark Canoes 2006

There are many humorous moments when director Rolf de Heer’s directions to the actors get lost in translation.

Banners Held High 1956

The narrator, former wharfie Jock Levy, is one of the founders of the Waterside Workers’ Federation Film Unit.

The Barefoot Bushman: Dancing With Dingoes 1997

The film includes footage of Bruce Jacobs, who established a dingo sanctuary in Victoria and bred dingoes for domestic sale.

Barred Wives 1993

Not all these stories of marrying prisoners end well: one woman was murdered by her bridegroom upon his release.

Bastards from the Bush, A Journey with Bob Ellis and Les Murray 1998

The ridicule poet Les Murray experienced at school, contributed to a nervous breakdown 30 years later, he says.

The Battle for Byron 1996

The Byron Bay whaling station operated between 1954 and 1962, producing more than 10,000 tonnes of oil from 1,146 whales.

The Battleships 2000

Included is a dramatic recreation of Japan’s 1941 attack on Pearl Harbour, which brought the US into the Second World War.

The Beach 2000

A documentary about Australians’ love affair with the beach.

Beating About the Bush 1993

The filmmakers set out to record a music documentary with a happy ending but end up with coverage of a goodwill disaster.

Beautiful Lies: A Film About Peter Carey 1986

This documentary explores the relationship between Australian novelist Peter Carey and his country.

Behind the Big Top 1949

The Wirth Brothers Circus, one of Australia’s largest and most successful, survived another 15 years after this film was made.

Behind the Sun 1988

Robert Klippel, who sculpts from discarded materials, is one of the artists featured in this documentary compilation.

Belsen For Example 1985

The recollections of concentration camp survivors, now living in Australia, and rescuers, are extraordinary.

Benny and the Dreamers 1992

Freddy West Tjakamarra, a member of the Pintubi people, thought that tinned food contained human flesh.

Betelnut Bisnis 2004

Betelnut is the fourth most consumed legal substance in the world after tobacco, alcohol and caffeine.

Betty Pounder 1988

Being successful in theatre, says dancer Betty Pounder, requires passion, and that may have to come at the expense of family.

Beyond Sorry 2003

The filmmakers get to the heart of the consequence of child removal, yet tell a story that is painfully humane, and never compromising the humanity and beauty of its subjects.

Big Bag’s Japanese Adventure 1998

The Geelong-based Big Bag Band was invited to Japan to inspire that country’s fledgling arts and disability scene.

The Big Boomerang 1962

This promotional film about Qantas has information about the company’s only foray into aircraft construction, which was in 1926.

Bigger than Texas 1992

WA’s need for a hero and corporate excess created Alan Bond, who features heavily in this quite personal documentary.

Big Girls Don’t Cry 2002

This is about Indigenous women living with renal disease, and their strength pulls at the heart strings.

Big Hair Woman 1996

An aid organisation chose to 'gently educate’ a television audience about PNG using comedy, hiring Mary Coustas for the job.

Big People, Small People 1991

Cartoonist Michael Leunig and then opposition member John Howard have very different views on the desire for more.

Billal 1996

Skilled documentarian, Tom Zubrycki, set out to make a film about young Lebanese-Australians in Sydney but had to change tack.

Birth of the Red Kangaroo 1965

This CSIRO documentary details the reproductive cycle of the red kangaroo, its mating habits and growth in the pouch.

Bitter Herbs and Honey 1981

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

Black and Dusty 2005

This is a film for those addicted to speed and dust. Filmmaker Warwick Thornton is one of the Indigenous participants in the 2005 Finke Desert Race from Alice Springs.

Black Harvest 1992

When coffee prices plunged, it sparked drama of epic proportions in this, the third film in a celebrated trilogy set in PNG.

The Black Road: on the front line of Aceh’s war 2005

This compelling inside view on Aceh’s struggle for independence from Indonesia, raises many questions about journalistic ethics.

Black Soldier Blues 2004

African American veterans talk candidly about the friendliness of Australians compared with their callous treatment by white American servicemen.

Black Sunday 1926

This silent footage was probably used as a promotional tool for fundraising in the wake of the 'Black Sunday’ bushfires of Valentine’s Day 1926 that swept Victoria.

The Black Swan: Meryl Tankard Choreographer 1995

Meryl Tankard was on a high at the Australian Dance Theatre in this 1995 documentary; the controversial dispute was later.

Blood Brothers – Broken English 1993

Arrernte man Max Stuart was sentenced to death in 1959 for murder but, nearly 35 years later, he talks about the case on camera.

Blood Brothers – Freedom Ride 1993

This documentary about Indigenous campaigner Charlie Perkins was made by his daughter Rachel, giving it extra intimacy.

Blood Brothers – From Little Things Big Things Grow 1993

An exploration into the life of Kev Carmody, portraying the years he spent in an orphanage when forcibly removed from his family by Queensland authorities at ten years old.

Blood Brothers – Jardiwarnpa 1993

The orchestration of Warlpiri ceremonies in this film challenges the concept that indigenous culture is stagnant.

Blowin’ in the Wind 2005

David Bradbury argues against weapons that use depleted uranium, and says they have already been tested in Australia by the US.

Blue Ice 1954

The story of the 1954 Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition to set up the first Australian base on the Antarctic continent.

Body Work 1988

Death is a taboo subject but not in this stylised documentary about those who 'make a living out of dead bodies’.

Bomb Harvest 2007

This documentary follows an Australian bomb disposal specialist training a team in Laos to clear bombs left from the ‘secret war’ the US waged at the time of the Vietnam War.

Boys and Balls 1994

Greig Pickhaver and John Doyle, aka 'Roy and HG’, are the commentators: of course the sport theme is tackled with humour.

Bra Boys 2007

This first-hand look at localism and tribalism, identity and belonging, is set deep within Maroubra’s surf culture.

The Bradman Era 1982

The documentary intercuts archival footage with former test cricketer Bill O’Reilly’s recollections of Don Bradman and notable 1930s test matches.

Bran Nue Dae 1991

There’s nothing I would rather be than to be an Aborigine’ is probably the most famous line from the successful stage musical.

Bread and Dripping 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.

The Breaker 1973

The Breaker reveals the details of Henry 'Breaker’ Morant’s life before he went to the Boer War and was executed for murder.

Breakout 1984

Japanese POWs were not trying to escape from their Cowra prison in 1944 so much as escape from the dishonour of capture.

A Breath 1998

Calligrapher Huang Miaozi and painter Yu Feng opposed the Japanese occupation of China through their art.

Bridewealth for a Goddess 1999

Bridewealth for a Goddess is a remarkable record of a ritual that may never be repeated.

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