Biopics

Australasian biopics arranged by field of endeavour of protagonist/type of film


Adventure/War

Breaker Morant (Bruce Beresford, 1980) [war criminal/hero]

Fragments of War: The Story of Damien Parer (John Duigan, 1988) (TV) [war cameraman]

One Crowded Hour (Kim Mordaunt, 2015) [Neil Davis combat photo-journalist]

Parer's War (Alister Grierson, 2014) [Damien Parer, war cameraman]

Rabbit-Proof Fence (Phillip Noyce, 2001) [Molly, Daisy, Grace walk out of custody]

Smithy (Ken G. Hall, 1946) [Charles Kingsford-Smith, pioneer pilot]

World's Fastest Indian, The (Roger Donaldson, 2006) [Burt Munro, NZ motorcyclist]

Sport

Archer's Adventure (Denny Lawrence, 1985) aka Archer [story of first Melbourne Cup winner: the horse, that is]

Cliffy (Dean Murphy, 2013) telemovie; long distance runner Cliff Young

Dark Horse, The (James Napier Robertson, 2014) based on Genesis Potini, chess champion

Dawn! (Ken Hannam, 1979) [Dawn Fraser, swimmer]

Four Minute Mile, The (Jim Goddard, 1988) wr. David Williamson; Richard Huw (Roger Bannister) Nique Needles (John Landy) Adrian Rawlins (Chris Chataway) John Philbin (Wes Santee) Michael York (Franz Stampfl); telemovie

Never Tell Me Never (David Elfick, 1998) Claudia Karvan as Janine Shepherd, skier whose legs are injured in traffic accident; broadcast Channel 10, 19 December 2001

Phar Lap (Simon Wincer, 1983) [race-horse]

Swimming Upstream (Russell Mulcahy, 2002) [Anthony Fingleton, swimmer]

Crime

Chopper (Andrew Dominik, 2000) [Mark Read, standover man]

Evil Angels (Fred Schepisi, 1988) [Lindy Chamberlain, accused of infanticide]

Mr Reliable (Nadia Tass, 1996) [Wally Mellish hostage siege in Glenfield, 1968]

Ned Kelly (Tony Richardson, 1970) NOT Australasian [bushranger]

Ned Kelly (Gregor Jordan, 2003) [bushranger] - and many other Ned Kelly films

Postcard Bandit, The (Tony Tilse, 2003) telemovie [Brendan Abbott, bank robber]

Squizzy Taylor (Kevin Dobson, 1982) [organized crime figure]

Through My Eyes (Di Drew, 2004) (TV) [Lindy Chamberlain, accused of infanticide]

Service

Sister Kenny (Dudley Nichols, 1946) NOT Australian [nursing sister]

Mary MacKillop: That Very Troublesome Woman (John Mabey, 1996) [nun, saint]

Mary: The Inspiring Life of Mary MacKillop (Kay Pavlou, 1994) [nun, saint]

Molokai: The Story of Father Damien (Paul Cox, 2000) [heroic priest]

Arts/Entertainment

Angel at my Table, An (Jane Campion, 1990) [Janet Frame, NZ writer]

Bright Star (Jane Campion, 2009) John Keats biopic; Abbie Cornish, Ben Wishaw

Death Defying Acts (Gillian Armstrong, 2007) [Harry Houdini, escapologist]

Flynn (Brian Kavanagh, Frank Howson, 1993) aka My Forgotten Man [Errol Flynn, actor]

Forbidden Lie$ (Anna Broinowski, 2007) documentary [Norma Khouri, writer]

Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts (Scott Hicks, 2007) documentary [Philip Glass, musician]

Hunt Angels (Alec Morgan, 2006) [Rupert Kathner, Alma Brooks, film-makers]

Iris (Tony Isaac, 1984) aka Out of Time; telemovie; drama; Helen Morse, Philip Holder, John Bach; biopic of NZ author Robin Hyde (irl Iris Wilkinson)

King, The (Matthew Saville, 2007) [Graham Kennedy, 'King' of TV entertainment]

Mao's Last Dancer (Bruce Beresford, 2009) [story of dancer Li Cunxin]

Passion: The Story of Percy Grainger (Peter Duncan, 1999) [musicologist, composer, pianist]

Shine (Scott Hicks, 1996) [David Helfgott, pianist]

Shout! The Story of Johnny O'Keefe (Ted Robinson, 1985) (TV) [pop singer]

Slim Dusty Movie, The (Rob Stewart, 1984) [singer/song-writer]

Sylvia (Michael Firth, 1985) NZ; biopic of educationist Sylvia Ashton-Warner

Tasmanian Devil: The Fast and Furious Life of Errol Flynn (Simon Nasht, 2007) [Errol Flynn, actor]

Tudawali (Steve Jodrell, 1987) (TV) [Robert Tudawali, star of Jedda]

Wherever She Goes (Michael S. Gordon, 1951) [Eileen Joyce, classical pianist]

Aboriginal people

Mabo (Rachel Perkins, 2012) TV movie; [Koiki Eddie Mabo]

Black and White (Craig Lahiff, 2002) David Ngoombujarra [Max Stuart, Aboriginal man sentenced to death for murder] with Ben Mendelsohn as Rupert Murdoch

Rabbit-Proof Fence (Phillip Noyce, 2001) [Molly Kelly and Daisy Kadibil escape custody in the 1930s]

Tudawali (Steve Jodrell, 1987) Ernie Dingo [Robert Tudawali, star of Jedda]

Other

Annie's Coming Out (Gil Brealey, 1984) [Anne McDonald, person with cerebral palsy]

Fortunate Life, A (Marcus Cole, Henri Safran, 1986) mini-series [Albert Facey, survivor]

Home Song Stories, The (Tony Ayres, 2007) [Tony Ayres' story of his mother's life and death]

Hostage: The Christine Maresch Story (Frank Shields, 1983) [what it says]

Romulus My Father (Richard Roxburgh, 2007) [Raimond Gaita's story of his father]

Underground (Robert Connolly, 2012) [Julian Assange, activist]


Inclusive list of Australasian biopics in alpha order


Angel at my Table, An (Jane Campion, 1990) NZ; based on autobiographies of Janet Frame: To the Island, Angel at my Table, Envoy from Mirror City); Kerry Fox; made as a three-part mini-series, but also screened as a feature; 158 min.

Annie's Coming Out (Gil Brealey, 1984)

Black and White (Craig Lahiff, 2002) [Max Stuart, Aboriginal man sentenced to death for murder]

Breaker Morant (Bruce Beresford, 1980) Edward Woodward, Jack Thompson, John Waters, Bryan Brown

Chopper (Andrew Dominik, 2000) Eric Bana, Vince Colosimo (Neville Bartos), Simon Lyndon, David Field; screened Toronto 2000; 94 min. [Mark "Chopper" Read]

Cliffy (Dean Murphy, 2013) telemovie; long distance runner Cliff Young

Dark Horse, The (James Napier Robertson, 2014) based on Genesis Potini, chess champion

Dawn! (Ken Hannam, 1979) [Dawn Fraser, swimmer]

Evil Angels (Fred Schepisi, 1988) [Lindy Chamberlain, accused of infanticide]

Fortunate Life, A (Marcus Cole, Henri Safran, 1986) mini-series

Fragments of War: The Story of Damien Parer (John Duigan, 1988) (TV)

Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts (Scott Hicks, 2007) documentary

Home Song Stories, The (Tony Ayres, 2007) [Tony Ayres' story of his mother's life and death]

Hostage: The Christine Maresch Story (Frank Shields, 1983)

Hunt Angels (Alec Morgan, 2006) [Rupert Kathner and Alma Brooks]

King, The (Matthew Saville, 2007) Stephen Curry, Shaun Micallef, Garry McDonald; story of Graham Kennedy

Mao's Last Dancer (Bruce Beresford, 2009) prod. Jane Scott, wr. Jan Sardi; Chi Cao, Bruce Greenwood, Kyle MacLachlan; biopic: story of dancer Li Cunxin

Mabo (Rachel Perkins, 2012) TV movie; [Koiki Eddie Mabo]

Mary MacKillop: That Very Troublesome Woman (John Mabey, 1996) 62 min.

Mary: The Inspiring Life of Mary MacKillop (Kay Pavlou, 1994) Lucy Bell, Brendan Higgins, Vanessa Downing, Brian Harrison, Brian McDermott, Dean Nottle, Linden Wilkinson, James Hagan

Molokai: The Story of Father Damien (Paul Cox, 2000)

My Brilliant Career (Gillian Armstrong, 1979) wr. Eleanor Witcombe, novel Miles Franklin, dp Don McAlpine; Judy Davis, Wendy Hughes, Sam Neill; 100 min.; six AFIs 1979

Ned Kelly (Tony Richardson, 1970) wr. Tony Richardson, Ian Jones; Mick Jagger; NOT Australasian

Ned Kelly (Gregor Jordan, 2003) Heath Ledger, Orlando Bloom, Joel Edgerton, Anthony Hayes, Naomi Watts; 105 min.; William D. Routt, 'Red Ned', Metro, 136: 10-17.

One Crowded Hour (Kim Mordaunt, 2015) [Neil Davis combat photo-journalist]

Parer's War (Alister Grierson, 2014) [Damien Parer]

Passion: The Story of Percy Grainger (Peter Duncan, 1999) prod. Matt Carroll; Richard Roxburgh, Barbara Hershey, Emily Woof, Claudia Karvan, Simon Burke, Linda Cropper, Julia Blake

Phar Lap (Simon Wincer, 1983) Tom Burlinson; 118 min. [Phar Lap - a horse]

Postcard Bandit, The (Tony Tilse, 2003) telemovie

Rabbit-Proof Fence (Phillip Noyce, 2001) wr. Christine Olsen, based on book by Doris Pilkington Garimara, dp Christopher Doyle; Everlyn Sampi, Kenneth Branagh, David Gulpilil, Tianna Sainsbury, Ningali Lawford, Laura Monaghan, Deborah Mailman, Jason Clarke, Myarn Lawford, Roy Billing, Anthony Hayes (Reg), Garry McDonald, David Ngoombujarra (kangaroo hunter); Molly Kelly and Daisy Kadibil appear briefly at the end; based on true story about Aboriginal children escaping custody in the 1930s; shot in SA (partly in WA: the scenery without people), but set in WA; Best Film, Best Sound, Best Original Score AFI Awards 7 November 2002: Peter Gabriel; 94 min.

Romulus My Father (Richard Roxburgh, 2007)

Shine (Scott Hicks, 1996) Geoffrey Rush (AA), Noah Taylor, John Gielgud, Googie Withers, Lynn Redgrave; Academy Award; 130 min. [David Helfgott]

Shout! The Story of Johnny O'Keefe (Ted Robinson, 1985) (TV) [pop singer]

Sister Kenny (Dudley Nichols, 1946) story of Australian nurse; NOT an Australasian film

Slim Dusty Movie, The (Rob Stewart, 1984)

Smithy (Ken G. Hall, 1946) [Charles Kingsford Smith]

Squizzy Taylor (Kevin Dobson, 1982) David Atkins, Allen Cassell, Cul Cullen, Robert Hughes, Michael Long, Kim Lewis, Jacki Weaver; 97 min.

Swimming Upstream (Russell Mulcahy, 2002) wr. Anthony Fingleton, dp Martin McGrath; Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis, Jesse Spencer, Tim Draxl, Mitchell Dellevergin, 115 min., first screened 31 October 2002; national release in Australia 27 February 2003; written by Anthony Fingleton, it is his own story of growing up in Brisbane in the 1950s; Mulcahy's first Australian film since Razorback (1984); Metro, 136: 26-29.

Through My Eyes (Di Drew, 2004) dp Phil Cross; telemovie; Miranda Otto (Lindy Chamberlain), Craig McLachlan (Michael Chamberlain), Peter O'Brien; disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain; shot in and around Brisbane, Qld; broadcast November 2004 Ch7

Tudawali (Steve Jodrell, 1987) Ernie Dingo [Robert Tudawali, star of Jedda]

Underground (Robert Connolly, 2012) Rachel Griffiths, Callan McAuliffe, Anthony LaPaglia, Alex Williams; biopic of Julian Assange

Wherever She Goes (Michael S. Gordon, 1951) [Eileen Joyce]; 81 min.

World's Fastest Indian, The (Roger Donaldson, 2006) Invercargill, NZ; Anthony Hopkins; life of Burt Munro who set land speed records on his Indian Scout motorcycle


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