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Top 10 Australian Movies

Updated on October 11, 2015

Crocodile Dundee starring Paul Hogan

#1 Top Grossing Australian Film - Crocodile Dundee, 1986

Crocodile Dundee is hilarious even though the storyline is not very original. Paul Hogan plays the rough Aussie outback bloke who is transplanted into the unfamiliar New York environment alongside love interest Linda Koslowski.

My favourite part of the film is where some New York toughs try to mug Hogan threatening him with a knife and he pulls out his own much bigger blade, saying "that's not a knife - this is a knife".

The film grossed $47,707,045 million dollars in 1986 (about $100 million in today's money).

Tradesman turned comedian, Paul Hogan is an Australian Icon, famous for his TV show (The Paul Hogan Show). His brand of humour is about as Australian as you can get and he had broad appeal as a working-class average Aussie bloke.

Paul Hogan was a household name in Australia in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, so you can image the public outcry when he dumped long-time loyal wife Noelene and got together with Dundee co-star Linda Koslowski. It was one of the bitterest and most notorious public separations in Australian history. He is now married to Linda Koslowski and they have a teenaged son, Chance. Paul Hogan also became famous for his conflict with the Australian Tax Office, when they sued him for unpaid taxes of approximately $100 million. He eventually settled with them for a far lesser amount.

Crocodile Dundee - "That's not a knife"

Except from The Paul Hogan Show

'Autralia' Starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman

#2 Top Grossing Australian Film - 'Australia', 2008

Starring Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and Bryan Brown among many others, this epic historical romance is set in Northern Australia during WWII. This Baz Luhrmman epic is stunningly beautiful to watch. The iconic Australian locations are perfectly photographed. Unfortunately the underlying theme is somewhat unoriginal - posh upper class woman leaves civilisation for the frontier, has hostile relationship with cowboy type and then falls for him later on. This film also tackles racial themes starring a number of Aboriginal Australian actors (David Gulpilil, Brandon Walters). 'Australia' is epic in entertainment value, over the top, yes, but extremely entertaining.

The film grossed $37,555,757 million dollars in 2008 (about $40 million in today's money).

Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in 'Australia'

Source

#3 Top Grossing Australian Film - Babe, 1995

Babe - the story of a pig who desperately wanted to be a sheepdog. This wonderfully entertaining family feature was nominated for no less than six Academy Awards, winning the Oscar for its stunning visual effects.

Babe is the story of a little pig who is taken in by farmer Hoggett because he believes that he and Babe share a common destiny. Little Babe is then adopted by a resident border collie who raises Babe as a puppy. Babe's adventures and his companions make for a truly enjoyable and moving experience.

The film grossed $36,776,544 million in 1995 (about $55 million in today's money).

After Babe (and also after the 1998 sequel 'Babe: pig in the city') was released the Australian pork industry suffered a huge downturn in sales.

Babe wins the show!

Happy Feet 2006 Soundtrack

#4 Top Grossing Australian Film - Happy Feet, 2006

An animated penguin love story come musical adventure starring the vocal talents of Robin Williams, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, and Elijah Wood. Mumble the penguin is born without the ability to sing and so cannot sing the song that all penguins in Happy Feet need to sing to secure true love. Instead he decides to dance.

This is not just a kids flick. Yes it is about animated dancing flightless birds, but it is an extremely professionally made animation that tells an epic adventure story and has an underlying environmental message.

This film also has an amazing soundtrack featuring artists including Pink, Prince, The Beach Boys, KD Lang, Hugh Jackman, and songs like 'Boogie Wonderland'. Songs by Prince, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney and Freddie Mercury are also included in the soundtrack.

The film grossed $31,786,164 million dollars in 2006 (about $36 million in today's money).

Happy Feet - An Environmental Love Adventure

Moulin Rouge Starring Nicole Kidman

#5 Top Grossing Australian Film - Moulin Rouge, 2001

If you like musicals then this is definitely for you. Moulin Rouge was nominated for a staggering eight Academy Awards winning two Oscars for Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction. Starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan MacGregor, this tragic historical romance is set in Paris in 1900. Without spoiling the plot, it centres around a doomed romance and has themes of money, social position and artistic creation in Paris's famous bohemian quarter.

In typical Baz Luhrmman style this film is over the top and you will either be completely entranced by the sheer scope of the drama and of course the prowess of the actors, or you will be exhausted within the first half hour of watching!

The film grossed $27,734,406 million in 2001 (about $36 million in today's money).

Nicole Kidman and Ewan MacGregor in Moulin Rouge

Source

Crocodile Dundee II

#6 Top Grossing Australian Film - Crocodile Dundee II, 1988

Like a lot of sequels, Crocodile Dundee II does not live up to the standards set by the first film. It is slower and less fun than Crocodile Dundee. The plot sees the protagonists, played by the irrepressible Paul Hogan and partner Linda Koslowski, running into difficulties with Columbian drug lords and returning to Australia to avoid them. Of course the Columbians follow Hogan and Koslowski to Australia and this is where the adventure occurs. Not a bad viewing experience, but not as entertaining as the original.

The film grossed $24,916,805 million in 1988 (about $48 million in today's money).

Paul Hogan and Linda Koslowski

Source

Strictly Ballroom Starring Paul Mercurio

#7 Top Grossing Australian Film - Strictly Ballroom, 1992

I really loved this film, one of my all time favourite Australian movies. It's a comedy, a romance and a social commentary richly done in typical Baz Luhrmman style. It has so many themes, the underdog triumphing, the non-conformist, the ugly duckling, being true to one's self, being a migrant in Australia, to name a few. Hugely entertaining and well worth watching.

Starring a young Paul Mercurio, the storyline involves a dancer's passion for dancing and his challenge against the 'establishment' in the stuffy world of ballroom dancing. He ends up on a quest to find the perfect, most authentic 'paso doble' and meets a young woman who helps him to succeed.

Strictly Ballroom started a huge sensation in ballroom dancing in Australia in the 1990s and really boosted Paul Mercurio's career. Paul Mercurio is a dancer, actor and now a celebrity foody in Australia. He is the son of a famous Australian soap star, Gus Mercurio.

The film grossed $21,760,400 million in 1992 (about $35 million in today's money).

Strictly Ballroom Trailer

The Paso Doble - Strictly Ballroom

Red Dog - Canine Adventure

#8 Top Grossing Australian Film - Red Dog, 2011

Based on a true story, the film traces the trials and tribulations of the extremely loyal Red Dog. Red Dog suffers a tragedy and in trying to deal with his loss, travels throughout Western Australia, bringing people together.

Set in the mining communities and open spaces of Western Australia, the imagery is stark and confronting. So are some of the characters.

Like many canine adventures, this film demonstrates that dogs really are the best people.

Red Dog won the best film award at the inaugural Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts awards. Koko, the canine star of the Red Dog won the best dog in a foreign film award at the Golden Collar Awards in Los Angeles.

In an extremely sad turn of events, Koko died in Perth in late 2012 aged 7, of congestive cardiac disease. Members of the the crew of Red Dog were said to have been devastated at his loss.

The film grossed $21,467,993 million in 2011 (almost $22 million in today's money).

If you love dogs this is a must see.

Koko, star of Red Dog 2011

Source

Red Dog Trailer

The Dish - Australian Comdey

#9 Top Grossing Australian Film - The Dish, 2000

The Dish is a comedy focusing on the Parkes Observatory and its role in the broadcast of the Apollo 11 moon mission in 1969 when the first moonwalk occurred. The film is loosely based on true events but is mostly fictional. It was made by the same people that made 'The Castle'.

The Dish is a comedy that does not have to use adult themes, violence or some shocking factor to get a laugh. It relies on its characters and the play of events for comedic tension. Honest, non-pretentious and downright funny, The Dish is an excellent film.

The film grossed $17,999,473 million dollars in 2000 (about $24 million in today's money).

The Parkes Observatory Dish in New South Wales

Source

The Man from Snowy River - Australian Classic

#10 Top Grossing Australian Film - The Man From Snowy River, 1982

Classic Aussie movie based on the classic 1890 Aussie poem of the same name by Banjo Patterson. This movie is a tale of Australian folklore, starring Kirk Douglas, Jack Thompson, Tom Burlinson and Sigrid Thornton.

This Australian style western features plenty of larger than life characters, family feuds, a love story and a coming of age theme. The settings in the Snowy Mountains are gorgeous despite the films age.

A must see if you love horses and the Aussie bush.

The film grossed $17,228,160 million dollars in 1982 (about $40 million in today's money).

Interestingly the horse actor who plays Jim's horse also starred in Black Beauty.

The Man from Snowy River

Source

Sources

  • Screen Australia: https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/statistics/mrboxaust.aspx
  • The 40 Best Australian Actors/Actresses,IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/list/2O6oQZL7nUM/
  • The Australia Day Movie Guide - best ever Aussie movies, Herald-Sun: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/movies/australia-day-movie-guide-the-best-ever-aussie-movies/story-e6frf9h6-1226560231228
  • The Inflation Calculator: http://www.westegg.com/inflation/infl.cgi
  • Wikipedia
  • IMBD
  • Rotten Tomatoes
  • Red Dog Star Koko Dies, ABC News, 19 Decemver 2012: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-18/red-dog-star-koko-dies/4434600

Aussie Movie Quiz

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    • Mel Jay profile image
      Author

      Mel Jay 4 years ago from Australia

      Yes, she adopted a couple of children when she was with Tom Cruise and clearly they are both capable of having children, I wonder if it was an ethical thing like Madonna and Angelina Jolie or for career reasons? But as you say, it seems like all is well now :)

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 4 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      After being married to Tom Cruise, she deserved a break on the man front. It looks like they have created a nice family unit now with their two little girls, so I hope they are happy.

    • Mel Jay profile image
      Author

      Mel Jay 4 years ago from Australia

      Yes I don't think I could handle the loss of privacy. It really must warp you after a while. I'm glad she has found a nice man, just goes to show that no matter how famous you are, the same things still matter. She is such a great actress - I must admit to not being a big fan of hers, but I do really respect her skills as an actress. She is versatile and very believable. She has proven herself time and time again, but I still think one of my favourites of her was Dead Calm - utterly chilling movie.

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 4 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      I watch American Idol, where Keith Urban is a judge and he does seem to be a really nice, friendly down-to-earth bloke. In a strange way it improved the way I viewed Nicole Kidman, as they seem to be a very solid couple. I suppose being a huge star can put you off the fan thing. There are a lot of demanding people out there who don't understand boundaries and respecting people's privacy.

      I haven't seen 'The Sapphires' yet, but it is on my wish list.

    • Mel Jay profile image
      Author

      Mel Jay 4 years ago from Australia

      Hi CMHypno, Strictly ballroom is one my all time favourites too, which was great as I got to cover it here. But I also loved Muriel's Wedding, so I had to do another hub to cover that too! But I have to say that out of all of the movies I did in both hubs, The Sapphires is my favourite. Hugh Jackman is incredibly huge here - he is loved everywhere he goes. Nicole Kidman is also loved by many, but yes she is perceived as being distant. Staying away from Australia for so long did not help this. She has been a big star for such a long time, perhaps she is over the whole fan thing? Ironically she is married to someone who is absolutely loved in Australia, particularly the area you were in - Keith Urban. He is also perceived as friendly, like Hugh Jackman. And she did return here to be with him, which many Australians liked her for. I wonder how she goes dealing with all the attention he gets though? Anyway, thanks for visiting, Cheers, Mel

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 4 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      My favourite Australia movie is Strictly Ballroom, probably followed by Muriel's Wedding. I was travelling in Australia in 2007 when they were filming 'Australia' and they were in Bowen when I was going up the QLD coast and arrived in Kununurra just after they left. The consensus always seemed to be that the locals loved Hugh Jackman because he was so friendly, but thought Nicole Kidman was stand-offish and stuck up

    • profile image

      Skin Deep 5 years ago

      Those are two I will have to put on my list. Haven't seen them... yet.

    • Mel Jay profile image
      Author

      Mel Jay 5 years ago from Australia

      Great idea - other favourtites of mine that missed the list were The Castle and The Sapphires - I'd better get cracking :) Cheers, Mel

    • profile image

      Skin Deep 5 years ago

      My two favorite Australian movies missed the mark in terms of box office gross, but Mad Max and Romper Stomper are two great movies that need a new list so that they can be showcased.

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