Communications with headquarters have been cut during a disastrous attack at The Nek. As the men of the 10th Light Horse Regiment wait to learn if they too must go over the top, Frank (Mel Gibson) rushes to bring word that the attack has been postponed. The telephone rings, indicating the lines are working. Frank is too late.
The scene expresses the full weight of Peter Weir’s intentions in making Gallipoli – an almost unbearable combination of admiration, regret, sentimental detail (the rings and watches on bayonets) and accusation. The officer who orders the men to go via telephone was an Australian – but many viewers took him to be a British officer, sending 'our boys’ to a meaningless death. This is one of the most powerfully emotional scenes in all of Australian cinema, even if it was widely misunderstood.