Australian
Screen

an NFSA website

All titles in the ‘Action’ genre

41 titles - sorted alphabetically or by year

1910s

The Enemy Within feature film – 1918

Snowy Baker stars as a secret agent who smashes a ring of German spies in Sydney during the First World War.

The Man from Kangaroo feature film – 1919

John Harland, a bush parson, is dismissed from his job for teaching children how to box. Harland moves to another town, where he combats ruffians and rescues his girlfriend from a forced marriage.

1930s

Lovers and Luggers feature film – 1937

This entertaining film is packed with action, romance and comedy — the cocktail Ken G Hall’s usually offers — but also sophistication.

1950s

The Phantom Stockman feature film – 1953

A bushman known as ‘the Sundowner’ helps cattle station heiress Kim Marsden investigate the death of her father.

King of the Coral Sea feature film – 1954

A pearler in the Torres Strait uncovers an illegal people smuggling operation.

1970s

The Man from Hong Kong feature film – 1975

The film has great energy and a series of superb action sequences, including quite possibly the best car chase in Australian cinema before Mad Max.

The Sullivans – On the Brink of War television program – 1976

The first four episodes of the long-running hit series cover the period leading up to the declaration of the Second World War in Australia on 3 September 1939.

The Last of the Knucklemen feature film – 1979

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 feature film – 1979

Mad Max was a piece of impolite, independent cinema that had a profound effect on audiences and filmmakers across the world.

1980s

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.

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.

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.

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.

Turkey Shoot feature film – 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.

All the Rivers Run television program – 1983

This program won a swag of awards and has arguably been watched by more people, more often, than any other Australian mini-series of the prolific ’80s.

BMX Bandits feature film – 1983

A young Nicole Kidman stars in a story of BMX bikes and wannabe bandits.

Scales of Justice television program – 1983

The quasi-documentary style of this series adds a gritty reality to the typical car patrol of a police crew on any evening shift around Sydney streets.

Bodyline television program – 1984

This mini-series recreates the 1932-33 cricket test series that threatened ties between Australia and England and changed cricket forever.

Robbery Under Arms television program – 1985

Before this 1985 version there had been five attempts to tell this story, the best known being the Australian–British feature film of 1957 starring Peter Finch as Captain Starlight.

Winners – Quest Beyond Time television program – 1985

Simply told, and not too frightening, Quest Beyond Time shows the changes that could occur in the world if a nuclear war takes place.

Dead-end Drive-in feature film – 1986

In the 1990s authorities convert a drive-in into a jail for unemployed youths. Falsely imprisoned with his girlfriend, Jimmy ‘Crabs’ Rossini attempts to escape.

The Surfer feature film – 1986

Vietnam veteran Sam Barlow uncovers a conspiracy in Surfers Paradise involving police, politicians and a Vietnamese gang.

The Time Guardian feature film – 1987

The Time Guardian is one of the great missed opportunities of Australian cinema and symbolic of its wavering fortunes in the 1980s.

The Dirtwater Dynasty television program – 1988

In this 1980s epic production from the Kennedy Miller stable, Richard Eastwick, born in a London slum, dreams of establishing a family dynasty.

Dead Calm feature film – 1989

Nicole Kidman was 20 when she was cast in Dead Calm. Within a year of the film opening, she was in Hollywood – partly as a result of her performance in this film.

1990s

Dead to the World feature film – 1991

Two women battle for control of an inner-city boxing school.

Fatal Bond feature film – 1991

Fans of iconic 1960s cars will be able to see a Valiant S series take on a Citroen Goddess in the final scenes.

Phoenix – Top Quality Crims television program – 1991

Seminal procedural police drama, loosely based on the bombing of Victoria’s Russell Street Police Station in 1986.

Metal Skin feature film – 1994

Social misfit Joe is befriended by the cool and confident Dazey. Their shared passion for drag racing leads to conflict and tragedy.

Romeo + Juliet feature film – 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.

Water Rats – Dead in the Water television program – 1996

This feature-length pilot packs in more action, location shoots and story strands than a standard episode of Water Rats.

Wildside – Series 1 Episode 1 television program – 1997

The raw style of Wildside is characterised by intense, semi-improvised performances, observational camerawork and sometimes frenetic editing.

2000s

Cybergirl – Series 1 Episode 1 television program – 2000

Cybergirl crashes to earth. Pursued by evil replicant bounty hunters, she takes refuge with Jackson and his father Hugh.

Love Tricycle short film – 2003

Love Tricycle is like Grease with bicycles instead of people, complete with a high school, a love affair and a showdown between rivals on the racetrack.

The Alice television program – 2004

A disparate group of people are heading for the outback to watch a solar eclipse. Strange things begin to happen as their fates entwine.

The Proposition feature film – 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.

Cactus feature film – 2007

Cactus, while full of thrills and suspense, gradually reveals a more humanistic agenda as it employs genre conventions to explore notions of masculinity, class and power.

Rogue feature film – 2007

A US travel writer and a group of tourists on a boat trip in the Northern Territory are menaced by a giant crocodile.

Sea Patrol – Cometh the Hour television program – 2007

Adventure-driven navy drama revolving around the crew of a patrol boat and set in the waters of northern Australia.

Australia feature film – 2008

Three outsiders – an aristocrat, a stockman and a vulnerable child – are set against the malevolent forces of greedy neighbours, a world war and assimilationist policy.

Broken Sun feature film – 2008

Imagination and resourcefulness helped this small filmmaking team, lead by Brad Haynes, overcome the constraints of having only $50,000.