The Office Picnic 1972
Bored employees in a mindless bureaucracy are barely more than automatons until released by alcohol at the office picnic, during which sexual and generational differences explode.
On Our Selection 1932
This film was technically innovative and, when it opened in 1932, a box office sensation, rejuvenating the local film industry.
On Our Selection 1920
On Our Selection is a landmark of the silent era in Australian cinema, and one of the key films in the career of Raymond Longford, the greatest director of that period.
One Night the Moon 2001
One Night the Moon, from director Rachel Perkins, reintroduces song into the Australian landscape. For Indigenous peoples, song has been one of the central means of land management.
Boxing contests between men and kangaroos, as shown in this film, were a frequent ‘attraction’ in travelling tent shows.
The Overlanders 1946
As the Japanese threaten northern Australia in 1942, a drover takes a mob of prime beef cattle across 2,600 kms of hazardous country to Queensland.
Oyster Farmer 2004
Writer-director Anna Reeves spent four years immersed in the culture of the beautiful Hawkesbury River area before making this drama.
Director Chris Löfvén was heavily involved in the rock music scene. Oz was his attempt to rework The Wizard of Oz for a mid-1970s youth audience.
Palm Beach 1979
The underrated Palm Beach, set on Sydney’s northern beaches, is very daring in its use of sound.
Patrick proved that Australia had the capacity to produce exportable exploitation movies and is better regarded now than it was in 1978.
Though promoted as a lusty yarn, the frequent and fairly explicit sex scenes between the film’s unhappy characters are hardly titillating.
The Phantom Stockman 1953
A bushman known as ‘the Sundowner’ helps cattle station heiress Kim Marsden investigate the death of her father.
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.
The Piano 1993
The Piano is a film about an artist and the story of a woman whose passionate nature is akin to a form of madness. Both themes are common to Jane Campion’s work.
On St Valentine’s Day 1900, three schoolgirls from an exclusive English-style boarding school go missing, along with a teacher, at Hanging Rock, in central Victoria.
The Picture Show Man 1977
The comic performances from John Meillon and John Ewart as the last of the itinerant vaudevillians are superb.
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.
Praise has alcohol and tobacco, acid and heroin, sex and oblivion and is like a grungy version of Last Tango in Paris.
This is a textbook example of how to make a film logistically simple without sacrificing complexity and dramatic impact.
The Proposition 2005
Many Australian films present the outback as a dangerous place but probably only Wake in Fright can offer an outback with predatory instincts to match The Proposition.
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.
Pure S 1975
Pure S was originally banned from release and remains one of the most unusual and frank films about drug use ever made in Australia.
The Quiet Room 1996
Why does a seven-year-old girl refuse to speak? Increasingly vicious arguments between the parents are not the whole story.
Rabbit-Proof Fence 2002
For many white Australians, this popular film was the first direct emotional experience of what it meant to be one of the 'stolen generations’.
This is a rare exploration of the emotional interior lives of Indigenous women, in this case, three sisters.
The Rage in Placid Lake is a comic drama, tinged with the absurd, and musician-turned-actor Ben Lee plays the title character with the required amount of chutzpah.
Rangle River 1936
NSW legislation required exhibitors and distributors to invest in, and show, Australian films — but not for long.
The Rats of Tobruk 1944
The Rats of Tobruk may not be Charles Chauvel’s best movie, but it deserves serious consideration as his best movie about war.
There are 350,000 young dancers in Australia and the film shows how hard they work — and how much more sensible they are than adults.
The Removalists 1975
The story is a savage microcosm of Australia, rather than just a look at the then-topical issue of police hypocrisy and brutality.
Return Home 1990
Suburbs in Australian cinema are usually the place that characters flee from; this film suggests you can also go back.
Road to Nhill 1997
Four lady bowlers roll their car outside a country town. Amid chaos and panicking menfolk, they save themselves.
A US travel writer and a group of tourists on a boat trip in the Northern Territory are menaced by a giant crocodile.
Romeo + Juliet 1996
Baz Luhrmann’s radical update of Romeo + Juliet boldly shattered conventional wisdom that said Shakespeare as he wrote it would never appeal to a mass audience.
Romper Stomper 1992
Romper Stomper makes viewers participants, forcing them to confront how they feel about violence as entertainment.
Romulus, My Father 2007
This film is one of a small number of high quality films dealing with the lives of migrants, but it doesn’t labour this point.
Samson and Delilah 2009
A heartbreaking and thought-provoking film about two Indigenous teenagers growing up in central Australia.
Director Raymond Longford and leading lady Lottie Lyell wrote this together and it is probably their most successful collaboration.
September is an engrossing film about the economic co-dependency between blacks and whites, made intensely dramatic and personal through the story of a friendship.
The Set 1969
Aspiring young designer Paul Lawrence is drawn into the hedonistic world of Sydney’s upper-class society.
This film catapulted both director Scott Hicks and actor Geoffrey Rush onto the international stage.
The Shiralee 1957
Arguably there are two major themes in Australian cinema – the problem of the landscape, and the related problem of masculinity – and both are the subject of The Shiralee.
Maverick filmmaker Jim Sharman’s first film is unique – an engaging potpourri of sci-fi, rock’n'roll, anarchic comedy and psychological drama.
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.
Renowned filmmaker Ken G Hall was concerned that this film would incite religious anger, but it was a smash hit instead.
Smithy was Charles 'Bud’ Tingwell’s first film. With characteristic modesty, he later said he won the part as a control tower officer because he supplied his own uniform.
Snapshot holds some sort of distinction in thriller ranks for its use of a Mr Whippy ice-cream van as a deadly instrument.
Soft Fruit 1999
This comedy, drenched in grief and family conflict, would be a tragedy if it were not so funny and affectionate.
Abbie Cornish was 21 years old when this film was made and the integrity and vulnerability of her performance is astonishing.
Son of a Lion 2007
The story behind this brave independent film, shot secretly in Pakistan and depicting everyday life there, is as fascinating as the film itself.