Some believe that Newsfront, set in the late 1940s and incorporating extensive newsreel footage, is Australia’s best film.
This savage satire on the neuroses of the privileged of Sydney’s eastern suburbs was written by the great novelist Patrick White.
Patrick proved that Australia had the capacity to produce exportable exploitation movies and is better regarded now than it was in 1978.
Snapshot holds some sort of distinction in thriller ranks for its use of a Mr Whippy ice-cream van as a deadly instrument.
Third Person Plural 1978
A look at the emotional entanglements of four Sydney friends who take a weekend boating trip.
Breaker Morant 1979
Much of the film is about youth versus experience, honesty versus cynicism and political expediency – an interesting ethical domain given that it’s a film about war crimes.
Near the remote town of Andamooka a group of opal miners work for Tarzan, a tough foreman known as ‘the last of the knucklemen’ for his fighting abilities.
Mad Max 1979
Mad Max was a piece of impolite, independent cinema that had a profound effect on audiences and filmmakers across the world.
Money Movers 1979
Money Movers was ahead of its time, and may have suffered because of that. It’s a 'crime procedural’, a genre that is now much more popular.
My Brilliant Career 1979
This feminist warrior and role model came to life on film in the same year as the road warrior in the masculine fantasy Mad Max.
The Odd Angry Shot 1979
Australia’s role in Vietnam was still a raw issue when this film emerged and some criticised it for not condemning that involvement.
Palm Beach 1979
The underrated Palm Beach, set on Sydney’s northern beaches, is very daring in its use of sound.
Australia’s only postmodern vampire movie, Thirst is a highlight of the ‘Ozploitation’ films made in the late 1970s and early 80s.
A terrorist visits his family in Western Australia after detonating a bomb in Sydney on Anzac Day.
The Chain Reaction 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 1980
The Club, adapted from David Williamson’s play, is set at a time when professionalism was taking over the game.
A lonely, philosophical monster ruminates on the stupidity of men, whose heads he occasionally devours.
Smoothly directed in widescreen, Harlequin is one of the more polished Australian films of its day and a notch above the ordinary genre film.
Tasmania, 1830. Joanna, a little white girl, is adopted by Manganinnie, an Aborigine who has survived a slaughter.
This revealing film about prison life has a violent tone and very bad language, but this helps give it credibility.
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 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.
This political thriller is loosely based on the disappearance of Sydney heiress and anti-development campaigner Juanita Nielsen.
Lonely Hearts 1981
Comedian and satirist John Clarke wrote this film with Paul Cox: no wonder it is full of bright impish humour.
Mad Max 2 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.
Monkey Grip 1981
In inner-city Melbourne in the late 1970s, Nora falls madly in love with Javo, an actor, but he loves heroin more.
Puberty Blues 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.
Winter of Our Dreams 1981
It was surprising that this uncompromising film about a junkie prostitute’s failure to find love, would work so well with audiences.
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.
The Clinic 1982
Medical student Paul Armstrong spends a day at a Melbourne VD clinic.
An architect and an activist from opposing sides unite against a crooked developer.
The Man From Snowy River is an iconic Australian western. It’s a naive film of epic proportions, but the naiveté is calculated to appeal to a sense of American nostalgia, and Australian chauvinism.
Next of Kin 1982
On her mother’s death, Linda Stevens inherits an isolated retirement home. Strange events occur, leading Linda to believe an evil force dwells in the house.
Gillian Armstrong’s Starstruck is an energetic rock musical comedy, with a kitsch aesthetic very much influenced by the style of early ’80s video clips.
Turkey Shoot 1982
Without doubt one of the most notorious Australian films ever made, Turkey Shoot has attracted both wildly positive and negative reactions over the years.
Race relations is the theme that is constantly lurking in this story about one woman’s life on an outback station.
The Year of Living Dangerously was Peter Weir’s last film about Australia, or his first film about the rest of the world, depending on how you look at it.
BMX Bandits 1983
A young Nicole Kidman stars in a story of BMX bikes and wannabe bandits.
Buddies is a comedy, dressed up as a frontier romance, and it is relatively unknown and underrated.
Going Down 1983
Four women friends leave behind the feral days of youth after a night of uncontrolled excess in inner-city Sydney during the early 1980s.
Man of Flowers 1983
An elderly aesthete who regularly hires a young woman to strip for him finds his life becoming entwined with hers.
Phar Lap 1983
The film is well constructed, both as a folkloric tale of a young man’s bond with a special horse and as an exciting spectacle with a couple of magically charged moments.
A docudrama based on the memories of Wattie and Agnes Doig, a miner and his wife involved in the Gippsland coal workers’ strike of 1937.
My First Wife 1984
Director Paul Cox made this film about a disintegrating marriage after going through a painful break-up himself.
To say Bliss was ahead of its time is an understatement: the bold metaphors and sharp satire weren’t appreciated by everyone in 1985.
The Coca-Cola Kid 1985
The Coca–Cola company sends its top trouble shooter to boost sales in Australia. He plans to win customers away from a much loved, old-style soft-drink maker.
Crocodile Dundee 1985
This is not just the most commercially successful Australian film ever made, but also one of the most successful non-Hollywood films.
A vivacious young mother is married to a violent man. Her desperate need for love leads her to some tragically inappropriate choices.
Playing Beatie Bow 1985
Playing Beatie Bow has the sumptuous look and feel of a period film, thanks to its award-winning cinematography and production design.
Short Changed 1985
The script is beautifully weighted so that the political context of the film does not inhibit the personal journey of the characters.