Most Famous Australian Movies

Most Famous Australian Movies

Not all the great movies are made overseas and Aussies have made some great movies, so for all you Aussies abroad read on for bragging rights.

The Aussie film industry has been around for a long time. In fact, Australia made the world’s first full length feature film in 1906, The Story Of Ned Kelly. In the years that followed many Australian flicks focused on the lives led by bushrangers. Did Australians invent the western genre? Maybe! However, it was short-lived. At one stage at the turn of last century Australia had some of the world’s first dedicated film studios producing early ­feature-length films, Australia was at the forefront of the industry until commercial complications and studio closures ended our silver screen dreams.

The Aussie film industry has been referred to as a boom and bust industry because no movies are made for years then a glut of films come. We only made two pictures a year between 1952 and 1966 but things picked up with the Australian “New Wave” which saw government initiatives to support films and the arts. From this initiative Australia has made some great flicks that we can be proud of. That’s right Aussie’s, we do have some bragging rights when it comes to films. Ozzies Abroad takes a look at the most famous Australian films from days gone by, our commercially most successful and our favorite top 10.

Movies From Days Gone By

We take a brief look at the beginnings of the Aussie film industry and the most famous Australian movies from that era. Back in the 1930s, a good-looking swashbuckler by the name of Errol Flynn was cast in The Wake Of The Bounty. Flynn went on to become one of Hollywoods most notorious bad boys. We had a few other international stars heralding from the early days by the names of Chis Rafferty, Peter Finch, Ron Randell and Rod Taylor. Let’s take a look at the most famous Australian movies from days gone by:

Most Famous Australian Movies
He was da man.
  1. Diggers (1931)
  2. The Haunted barn (1931)
  3. The Sentimental Bloke (1932)
  4. In The Wake Of The Bounty (1933)
  5. Kokoda Front Line (1942)
  6. The Rats Of Tubrok (1944)
  7. Jedda (1955)
  8. They’re A Weird Mob (1966)

The New Wave

  1. Alvin Purple (1973)
  2. Picnic At Hanging Rock (1975)
  3. Storm Boy (1976)
  4. Mad Max (1979)
  5. Breaker Morant (1980)

Most Commercially Successful

The New Wave of increased government spending on the arts saw an increase in Australian film making and a few blockbusters too. Let’s look at Australia’s most internationally successful films.

Most Famous Australian Movies
That’ll Do Pig!
  1. Happy Feet (2006) gross $384,000,000
  2. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) gross $375,836,354
  3. Crocodile Dundee (1986) gross $328,203,506
  4. Babe (1995) gross $254,134,910
  5. Crocodile Dundee 2 gross $239,606,218
  6. Australia (2008) gross $211,342,221

Other notable films are Lion (2016), Moulin Rouge (2001) and Strictly Ballroom (1992).
Crocodile Dundee is the highest grossing film in Australian cinemas. Good Onya Mic!

Best Australian Movies

Here goes! We know we’re stomping on some sensitive ground here. We have thought long and hard to give top 10 best Australian movies. Let us know what you think. Go on! Get vocal in the comments section below.

Drum roll Please…

Ozzies Abroad Best Top 10 Australian Movies.

10. Romper Stomper (1992)

Staring Russell Crowe and tells the story of a neo Nazi group in Melbourne. The film was highly controversial (and at times a little bit hard to watch) because of its violence and racist content. It was well-received by critics and fans and has 80% approval rating on Rotten tomatoes.

Most Famous Australian Movies

Sonny Jim: “We came to smash everything and ruin your life. God sent us”.

9. Wolf Creek (2005)

I rarely get scared by horror movies but this one scared the s#*t out of me! Backpackers meet serial killer in outback with nowhere to run. The film is loosely based on true events and the actor portraying the serial killer used to be on Playschool ( A children’s TV show), I grew up with him singing nursery rhymes every morning on TV. Arrggghhhh!!! So creepy!

Most Famous Australian Movies
No More Nursery Rhymes!

Mick Taylor: “I’m going to do something now they used to do in Vietnam. It’s called making a head on a stick”.

8. Rabbit Proof Fence (2002)

Powerful and compelling showing the plight of the Aboriginal people. This film also based on true events and won a string of accolades. The film follows two Aboriginal girls as they walk 2,400 km across the Australian rabbit proof fence to return to their community. A must see with 88% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

A.O. Neville: “Just because people have Neolithic tools, Inspector, doesn’t mean they have Neolithic minds”.

7. The Adventures Of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert (1994)

A surprise hit in both Australia and abroad. The film went onto become a hit musical and won the Academy Award For Best Costume Design. The film follows two drag queens and a transgender woman across the outback from Sydney to Alice Springs in a tour bus they named Priscilla. It’s a hilarious lighthearted comedy drama that has a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It also has a great soundtrack.

Most Famous Australian Movies

Bernadette: “Now listen here, you mullet. Why don’t you just light your tampon, and blow your box apart? Because it’s the only bang you’re ever gonna get, sweetheart!”

6. Mad Max (1979)Most Famous Australian Movies

Mad max is one of the first dystopian action films and set a precedent for the popular genre. Mel Gibson landed the led role straight out of acting school and it helped to catapult him into stardom. Set in the future when there isn’t much left of society a vengeful policeman gets embroiled in a feud with a motor cycle gang. It once held a Guinness world record for most profitable film and it’s still a cult classic that gave rise to three sequels. Mad max has 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.


Nightrider: “I am the Nightrider. I’m a fuel injected suicide machine. I am the rocker, I am the roller, I am the out-of-controller!”

5. Strictly Ballroom (1992)

Most Famous Australian Movies

Strictly ballroom was another surprise hit. The movie follows a young ballroom dancer with his own style of dance while coming out on top to win the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix Dancing Championship. A feel good romantic comedy that was a commercial success in both Australia and overseas. Directed by Baz Luhrman of Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge. Strictly Ballroom won a tonne of awards and has a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Fran: “A life lived in fear is a life half lived”.

4. Crocodile Dundee (1986)

Most Famous Australian Movies
Immortalized In Wax!

The film made on a $10,000,000 budget went on to become a huge success. There are actually two versions of the film, an Australian one with more Aussie slang and an international one with more understandable language. Although, Australians are presented a bit ockerish the film is extremely likable. You can thank Crocodile Dundee for foreigners thinking that you live in the outback. Thanks, Mic! Rotten tomatoes rating is 90%.

Sue Charlton: Is it dead? Michael J. “Crocodile” Dundee: [looks at the crocodile with his knife in its skull] Well, if it isn’t, it’ll be a helluva job skinning the bastard.

3. Muriel’s Wedding (1994)

The 1994 feel good comedy follows socially awkward Muriel, a young woman, who wants to be someone else. Her ticket out of Purpoise Spit, a fictional coastal town and into a socially mobile life in Sydney is to get married. It’s full of hilarious Australianisms and put Toni Collette on the road to stardom. It scored only 78% on Rotten tomatoes but it’s a funny movie and worth a watch. Go on then, put it on!

Most Famous Australian Movies

Joanie: ‘You’re terrible, Muriel.”

2. Chopper (2000)

Chopper is an Australian crime drama film based on the exploits of real life crime figure Mark “Chopper” Read. The film shot Eric Bana into international stardom and Read himself suggested that Bana play the leading role. The film won a string of awards and is an absolute Australian cult classic. It’s got 71% on Rotten tomatoes but who cares, if u haven’t seen it then you must.

Most Famous Australian Movies

Chopper: “Look. The bloke’s been me best mate since 1975. We’ve had our fallouts from time to time, it’s no big deal. Y’know, it’s like… if ya mum stabs ya, whaddya do? Y-ya don’t get upset. Ya don’t get angry, ya go, “Shit, mum’s stabbed me, I better get off to the hospital.”

1. The Castle (1997)

We put The castle at number one because it’s just too damn funny. It’s full of great quotes and Australian humour. The Castle was a surprise hit and was filmed in just 11 days on a budget of $750,000. The movie grossed only $10,000,000 at the Australian Box office but later became a cult classic when it hit the video stores. US rights were bought by Miramax for a rumored $6 million. It’s got an 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. What can I say? It’s just a great Aussie flick.

Most Famous Australian Movies

Dale: “Dad reckoned that fishing was 10% brain and 95% muscle. And the rest was just good luck”.

Other Great Movies.

Don’t worry we haven’t left out your other favorites. But seriously, if you haven’t seen these flicks then you must. As well as the most commercially successful movies listed above, we recommend you get acquainted with the following:

Press Watch Here to watch on YouTube.

  • Gallipoli (1981) Watch HereMost Famous Australian Movies
  • Dead Calm (1989) Watch Here
  • Two Hands (1999) Watch Here
  • Ned Kelly (2003)
  • Japanese Story (2003)
  • Somersault (2004)
  • The Proposition (2005)
  • Animal Kingdom (2011)
  • Snowtown (2011)
  • Red Dog (2011)

There You have It

Now you have all the knowledge you need to step out into the big bad world and represent for the Aussie film industry. You know the most famous Australian movies and even more, so go on and make some great recommendations to your friends.

Leave your comments down below. We love hearing from our friends out there.

See ya!







6 Replies to “Most Famous Australian Movies”

  1. Wolf Creek & Crocodile Dundee are two of my favorite movies. I did not know that they were Australian though. This was a very interesting article to read. I really did learn a lot about movies I’ve seen multiple times. It’s good to know Australians movies have a spot in Hollywood and may even become their own Hollywood soon.

  2. I LOVE Australian movies and am always ensuring I go to the cinema to support our industry. Priscilla is definitely one of my favourites and the quotes you gave, “I no like you anyway, you have little ling-ling” are gold! And the ping-pong ball scene – I could go on and on!

    And Muriel – what can you say about her – just a brilliant movie – “stick your drink up your ass Tanya, I would rather drink razor blades than drink with you. Oh by the way I’m not alone. I’m with Muriel.”

    I’ve seen all the ones you’ve rated and agree with you in your choices although I would have liked to see Looking for Alibrandi and The Dressmaker on there too.

    1. Ha Ha Nice one Megan! Ill be writing part 2 shortly and will add those titles.

      “You can’t stop progress” 

      Thanks for your comment.

  3. Hi Dave,

    Your post about famous Australian movies make a fun and informative read. When I was in college, years ago, one of my favorite professors was a big movie buff. He taught philosophy and he believed that movies were often more effective in demonstrating varies philosophical tenants than some well reviewed classic books on the subject.
    I think. for example, he would have argued that Mad Max and Crocodile Dundee effectively showed two opposite views of how the social environment impacts the way people relate to each other.

    I think movies also have a wonderful way of connecting us to the beauty of a country, such as yours, that no other medium can.

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