From a legend we'll always remember
comes a story you'll never forget
Peter Weir's Film of
Robert Stigwood ö Rupert Murdoch
Assoc. R & R Films Pty Ltd
Archy Hamilton (LaSalles) Mark Lee
Jack Bill Kerr
Les McCann Harold Hopkins
Zac Charles Yunupingu
Stockman Heath Harris
Wallace Hamilton Ron Graham
Rose Hamilton Gerda Nicolson
Frank Dunne Mel Gibson
Bill Robert Grubb
Barney Tim McKenzie
Snowy David Argue
Railway Foreman Brain Anderson
Athletics Official 1 Reg Evans
Athletics Official 2 Jack Giddy
Announcer Dane Peterson
Waitress Jenny Lovell
Billy Snakeskin Steve Dodd
Camel Driver Harold Baigent
Mary Robyn Galwey
Lionel Don Quin
Laura Phyllis Burford
Gran Marjorie Irving
Franks Father John Murphy
Major Barton Bill Hunter
Mrs Barton Diane Chamberlain
Lt. Gray Peter Ford
Army Doctor Ian Govett
Sgt. Sayer Geoff Parry
English Officer 1 Clive Bennington
English Officer 2 Giles Holland-Martin
Egyptian Shopkeeper Moshe Kedem
Col. Robinson John Harris
N.C.O. at Ball Don Barker
Solider at Beach Kiwi White
Sniper Paul Sonkkila
Observer Peter Lawless
Sentry Saltbush Baldock
Sgt. Major Stan Creen
Col. White Max Wearing
General Gardner Graham Dow
Radio Officer Peter R. House
Director Peter Weir
Director of Photography Russell Boyd A.C.S
Camera Operator John Seale
Editor William Anderson
Art Director Herbert Pinter
Screenplay David Williamson
Story by Peter Weir
Executive Producer Francis O'Brien
Produced by Robert Stigwood
Associate Producers Martin Cooper
Production Manager Su Armstrong
Production Manager Egypt Ahmed Sami
Original Music Brain May
Non-Original Music Tomaso Albinoni (Adagio in C)
Georges Bizet (Les Pecheursde Perks)
Jean-Michel Jarre (Oxygene)
The Men of Port Lincoln and Adelaide The 16th Air Defence Regiment
Cadets ö No1 Recruit training unit Edinburgh South Australia.
Australian Film Commission
South Australian Film Commission
Roadshow Entertainment (Aust)
CIC / Paramount Pictures (USA)
Australia, United States 1981
Adelaide, South Australia
Port Lincoln, South Australia
Quorn, South Australia
Australian Film Institute: 1981
K Best Film: Robert Stigwood; Patricia Lovell Gallipoli (1981)
K Best Actor in a Lead Role: Mel Gibson Gallipoli (1981)
K Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Bill Hunter Gallipoli (1981)
K Best Director: Peter Weir Gallipoli (1981)
K Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted: David Williamson Gallipoli (1981)
K Best Achievement in Cinematography: Russell Boyd Gallipoli (1981)
K Best Achievement in Editing: William M. Anderson Gallipoli (1981)
K Best Achievement in Sound: Don Connolly; Greg Bell; Peter Fenton Gallipoli (1981)
Australian Cinematographers Society: 1982
K Cinematographer of the Year: Russell Boyd Gallipoli (1981)
Also Nominated For
K AFI Best Actor in a Lead Role: Mark Lee Gallipoli (1981)
K AFI Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Bill Kerr Gallipoli (1981)
K AFI Best Achievement in Costume Design: Terry Ryan; Wendy Weir Gallipoli (1981)
K AFI Best Achievement in Production Design: Herbert Pinter; Wendy Weir Gallipoli (1981)
K Golden Globe Awards Best Foreign Film 1982
At The Box Office
The following figures can be found through the AFC (Australian Film Commission) website http://www.afc.gov.au.
K Australia: rank number 11, total box office sales of $11,740,000
K United States: ranked number 30 (of Australian films released in US), box office sales of $5,732,587
K United Kingdom: unfortunately no box office information is available. However, in 1981 Gallipoli was ranked at Number 1 upon release.
There are a variety of reviews available on the Internet. However, a great majority of these reviews deal with the release of the film on DVD and Video.
K http://club-culture.com/cinema/cvo40.htm (in French)
In an attempt to access critical reviews of the film that where published on or around its release in 1981, a search of Australian Newspapers online archives was undertaken.
Unfortunately, The Australian was the only newspaper containing either an interview with Peter Weir or reviews within its online archive, however to view or download these files the user must be a subscriber to The Australian Newspaper. It should also be noted that different newspapers and magazines have reviewed the film. This can be seen by examining the back of the video case, which contains various quotes. These media outlets and quotes are as follows.
K Sydney Morning Herald - ãPerhaps just once or twice a year you walk out of the darkness of a cinema knowing that you've seen the perfect thing. GALLIPOLI is such a film·ä
K Penthouse Magazine - ãThere aren't enough superlatives in the dictionary to describe the quality of Peter Weir's film GALLIPOLI.ä
K Brisbane Courier Mail - ãTo sum it up, superb.ä
K New York Post - ãAn awesome epicä
K Phillip Adams, The Age - ãGALLIPOLI's qualities would bring honour to any nation, to any film industry. See it and be proud.ä
K The National Times - ãQuiet simply, this is a great film.ä
K The London Sun - ãIt is a powerful and brilliant film which grips the emotions with its stunning realism.ä
The Murdoch University Library also contains The Story of Gallipoli (1981). This book contains two chapters of Bill Gammage's The ANZAC Experience (Bill Gammage held an advisory role during the making of the film.), David Williamson's Screenplay (1981) for the film as well as a Preface (1981) by Peter Weir that gives a brief explanation into the inspiration behind the making of the film. The book may be found under reference 940.4260922 GAM 1981.
Interviews With the Filmmaker
In searching for interviews that where given by Peter Weir, the following two web sites where the only ones found. Both do not specifically deal with the making of Gallipoli (1981) but do offer insight into his film making techniques.
Peter Weir: The Truman Show by Paul Kalina: http://www.urbancinefile.com.au/home/view.asp?Article_ID=5504
Weir'd Tales by Kyla Ward:
The majority of the information that I was able to gather was through the Internet. This provided, film reviews as well as the two interviews with Peter Weir. However as noted previously the reviews found deal mainly with the release of the film on DVD and video, not with its release in 1981. This may be because the movie was first released 21 years ago and much of the information including interviews and reviews from that time may not have found their way onto the Internet. Also, as stated previously the Murdoch University library did provide The Story of Gallipoli (1981) that includes the screenplay to the film as well as Bill Gammage's The Anzac Experience (1981).
Overall, the films online presence is rather poor considering the popularity of the film within Australia and the popularity of the ANZAC tradition that is shown each year on April 25.
The Story of Gallipoli (1981) did however provided interesting insights into the making and inspiration that went into the production of the movie. This book may be found in the Murdoch University library.
Plot, Synopsis and Personal Commentary
ãGallipoli is about two young men on the road to adventure; how they crossed continents and great oceans, climbed pyramids and walked through the ancients sands of Eygpt and the deserts
of the outback to their appointment with destiny at Gallipoliä
(Weir, 1981: III)
Set in 1915 during Australia's entry into the 1st World War, Peter Weir's film of Gallipoli (1981) follows the journey of two young West Australian sprinters as they travel from the Kimberley region to Perth in their attempt to join the greatest adventure of the early twentieth century, World War One.
Archy Hamilton (LaSalles) played by Mark Lee is the idealistic eighteen-year-old farm boy eager to join the famed Australian Light Horse, break the bonds of boyhood and travel the world much as his role model Uncle did at the same age. Frank Dunne played by Mel Gibson, on the other hand is only looking to return to Perth to open up a Bike shop and has no want to gallop of and join an ãEnglish war.ä
However, both men soon find themselves thrust into the bitter reality that is Gallipoli.
The power and drama of Gallipoli (1981) does not come from over bearing bloody war scenes, as is seen in many war films released over the past few years, but from the way the two lead characters are constructed and portrayed by their actors. Peter Weir invites the audience to care for the fate of the men as they enter an arena that neither man is prepared for and will ultimately bring doom to one of them.
Many reviewers and critics have noted Peter Weir's Gallipoli (1981) as a powerful anti-war film that shows there is no glory in war. However, I see it as more than an anti-war film but as a careful construct that illustrates and attempts to show the reasons behind why an entire generation of young Australian and New Zealand men felt compelled to travel to the other side of the world to fight at ANZAC Cove in Turkey.
Through the use of character development and outstanding performances from Mel Gibson, Mark Lee and Bill Hunter, Peter Weir offers insight into their personalities rather than concentrating on the ensuing events that envelop their lives.
ãOur story became more about the journey than the destination,
about people rather than events. To go back to Eisenstein
and his breakthrough on Alexander Nevsky: Îit was no
longer stones that appealed to us and told us their history,
but the people who laid them'ä (Weir, 1981: 6)
These factors combined with the stunning visual landscapes provided by Cinematographer, Russell Boyd, Brain May's haunting and emotional soundtrack (particularly Tomaso Albinoni's ãAdagio in G Minorä) act to magnify the ending for the audience as Archy runs his final race and is left frozen in time in a classic sprinters finishing pose.
Circumstances of Production and Release
Gallipoli was release in 1981 however Peter Weir's inspiration for the film began during a visit to ANZAC cove during October of 1976 ã·I had no more than a vague idea of making a film about the Gallipoli campaign, and thought a visit to the location might give me some ideasä (Weir, 1981: 5). During the following four years, Peter Weir teamed with writer David Williamson to develop the story further and to construct the screenplay for the film . During this period they worked closely with the films Military Advisor Bill Gammage, the author of The Broken Years (1974), ã·with its comprehensive collection of soldiers letters and diaries, became a major reference work for both David and Iä(Weir, 1981: 6).
Upon gaining funding from the Australian Film Commission and the South Australian Film Commission, filming began in South Australia. Unfortunately, I was unable to gather any information concerning the amount of funding that was appropriated to make the film. However, as noted previously in the Box Office Statistics the film has grossed $11.7M and is ranked at number 11 for highest grossing Australian films within Australia.
Prior and Subsequent Work
Peter Weir (Director)
Since completing Gallipoli (1981) Peter Weir has gone on to become one of Australia's most successful filmmakers, making the transition from ãQualityä Australian films to Hollywood Blockbusters. The Internet Movie Database states that· ãHis Films very often deal with people, who find themselves in surroundings, where they do not fit in.ä This is truly the case with Gallipoli (1981) where the two young men, Archy and Frank find themselves on foreign shores. Other films that Peter Weir has directed such as Witness (1985), The Truman Show (1998), The Year of Living Dangerously (1982) also exhibit this particular trait.
Below is a list of films Directed by Peter Weir since 1971. This list was compiled with the use of the Internet Movie Data Base http://www.moviedatabase.com/ .
J Master and Commander (2003) (to be released)
J Truman Show, The (1998)
J Fearless (1993)
J Green Card (1990)
J Dead Poets Society (1989)
J Mosquito Coast, The (1986)
J Witness (1985)
J Year of Living Dangerously, The (1982)
J Gallipoli (1981)
J Plumber, The (1979) (TV)
J Last Wave, The (1977)
J Luke's Kingdom (1976) (mini) TV Series
J Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
J Cars That Ate Paris, The (1974) ·aka Cars That Eat People (1974) (USA)
J Homesdale (1971)
Russell Boyd (Cinematography)
Russel Boyd is one of Australia's premiere Cinematographers. In 1982, he won the Australian Cinematographers Society, Cinematographer of the Year for his work on Gallipoli (1981). Other films of note that he has worked on include, Forever Young (1992) which also stared Mel Gibson, Crocodile Dundee (1986), Crocodile Dundee II (1988), The Year of Living Dangerously (1982) which again starred Mel Gibson and was also directed by Peter Weir and another of Peter Weir's films Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975). Russell Boyd also won best Cinematographer awards from BAFTA in 1977 and the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films in 1979 for Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975). The Internet Movie Database has a fully complied list of films that Russel Boyd has been involved in. http://www.moviedatabase.com/.
David Williamson (Screenplay)
David Williamson has done a variety of screenplays for film in his career including Gallipoli (1981) in which he won an AFI award for Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted. Other films include Phar Lap (1983), The Club (1980) that was originally a theatre production. The Club (1980) also earned him an AFI nomination in 1981. Stork (1971), was also originally a theatre production called The Coming of Stork that was adapted to the big screen.
Mel Gibson (Frank Dunne)
Mel Gibson is now one of Hollywood's most popular film stars. As director and producer of Braveheart (1985) Mel Gibson won two Oscars for Best Film and Best Director. However, he would be best remembered for his starring roles in the Mad Max (1979, 1981, 1985) trilogy and the Lethal Weapon (1987, 1989, 1992,1998) films. He is currently starring in the Vietnam War movie Once Where Soldiers (2002).
Mark Lee (Archy Hamilton, LaSalles)
Nominated alongside Mel Gibson for an AFI award for Best Actor in a Lead Role , Mark Lee has been involved in various film and television project since the release of Gallipoli (1981) . These include the television mini series / series such as Vietnam (1986), G.P. (1988), Water Rats (1996), and Nowhere to Land (2000).
Position of Australian Film
Gallipoli (1981) continues to remain as one of Australia's most loved films, stirring the emotions of its viewers and giving them a sense of a past now long gone. At the time of its release, Gallipoli (1981) may have been seen as a ãQualityä film as it not only proved popular with the local audience but also manage to gain acceptance within the United States and well as the United Kingdom. This may be demonstrated through its box-office appeal especially in the United Kingdom where it opened in the Box Office at number 1.
Much like Bruce Beresford's Breaker Morant (1980) the film contains an anti British sentiment especially once the main characters land at Gallipoli and are thrust into battle at the Nek. This anti British sentiment was popular within films of the period and played upon the, us and them factor, where the young naive Australians fate is determined by the all-powering British rule.
English Language Cinema
Coming from a medium sized English language cinema Gallipoli (1981) has been able to break into other English speaking markets and prove to be a popular film with their audiences. It does this by ensuring that the characters portrayed and the story told are carried across the cultural divide so that an American or British audience is able to relate. Gallipoli (1981) does this extremely well. Instead of alienating the foreign audience by assuming they know the details behind the battles that took place at Gallipoli in 1915, and through the use of overbearing typical aussie slang, the film concentrates on the characters and emphasises the bonds of friendship that are formed by ordinary men in extraordinary circumstances.
It should also be remembered that at the time of Gallipoli's (1981) release that Peter Weir had not yet made his shift to Hollywood Blockbusters and that Mel Gibson's star power had not yet risen. Therefore, the film itself did not rely upon a Directors name or the star pulling power to gain mainstream acceptance within the American and indeed other English Markets.
As Epstein (1994) suggests in Tom O'Regan's Australaian National Cinema (1996: 96) Australian filmmakers ã·don't have the money, we don't have the manpower, we don't have the movie stars to compete with expensive American films head on. All we are left at the end of the day is lower budgets, ingenuity, freedom and imagination.ä And if one was to compare Gallipoli (1981) with many of the war genre films that have been released by Hollywood, films from a medium sized English language cinema may be better off.
O'Regan, Tom., (1996) Australian National Cinema, Routledge: London
Murray, Scott editor., (1994) Australian Cinema, St Leonards: Allen & Unwin
Weir, Peter., Gammage, Bill., Williamson, David., (1981) The Story of Gallipoli, Penguin Books: Ringwood Victoria
Gallipoli, (1981) dir Peter Weir. Duration 110mins. Assoc. R & R Films Pty Ltd