Social Realism

Inclusive list of social realist Australasian films and films partly in social realist style

See lower down for the same films arranged by type/genre/category.


27A (Esben Storm, 1974) alcoholism

Angel Baby (Michael Rymer, 1995) mental illness

Animal Kingdom (David Michôd, 2010) dysfunctional, recidivist family

Australian Rules (Paul Goldman, 2002) racism

Beneath Clouds (Ivan Sen, 2002) racism

Between Wars (Michael Thornhill, 1974) PTSD

Black and White (Craig Lahiff, 2002) racism

Black Balloon, The (Elissa Down, 2008) autism

Blackfellas (James Ricketson, 1993) racism

Blood Money (Chris Fitchett, 1980) crime, family drama

Boys, The (Rowan Woods, 1997) crime (rape and murder)

Breakaway (Don McLennan, 1989) aka Escape from Madness; prison escapee takes hostage

Candy (Neil Armfield, 2006) drugs

Candy Regentag (James Ricketson, 1989) aka Kiss the Night; prostitution

Careful He Might Hear You (Carl Schultz, 1983) disputed custody

Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, The (Fred Schepisi, 1978) racism

Chopper (Andrew Dominik, 2000) crime

Combination, The (David Field, 2009) gangs

Cosi (Mark Joffe, 1996) mental illness

Dead Heart (Nick Parsons, 1996) racism

Deadly (Esben Storm, 1992) black deaths in custody

Delinquents, The (Chris Thomson, 1989) delinquency maybe

Dream Children, The (Robert Chuter, 2014) same-sex marriage; adoption

Every Night ... Every Night (Alkinos Tsilimidos, 1994) prison

FJ Holden, The (Michael Thornhill, 1977) delinquency

For the Term of his Natural Life (Norman Dawn, 1927) prison

Fortress (Steve Gordon, 1993) kidnapping

Fran (Glenda Hambly, 1985) custody

Ghosts ... of the Civil Dead (John Hillcoat, 1989) prison

Heart of the Stag (Michael Firth, 1986) NZ; incest

Heartbreak Kid, The (Michael Jenkins, 1993) drugs

High Tide (Gillian Armstrong, 1987) parental custody

Holidays on the River Yarra (Leo Berkeley, 1990) delinquency

Hoodwink (Claude Whatham, 1981)

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

Interview, The (Craig Monahan, 1998) crime (murder)

Jammed, The (Dee McLachlan, 2007) sex slavery

Jenny Kissed Me (Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1986) custody

Life (Lawrence Johnston, 1995) prison

Lilian's Story (Jerzy Domaradzki, 1996) incest

Little Fish (Rowan Woods, 2005) drugs

Looking for Grace (Sue Brooks, 2015) family melodrama

Love Brokers (Garnet Mae, 1998) former prostitutes now petty criminals

Mad Max (Dr George Miller, 1979) hoons

Mallboy (Vincent Giarrusso, 2000) delinquency

Metal Skin (Geoffrey Wright, 1995) hoons

Mouth to Mouth (John Duigan, 1978) street kids

Mr Reliable (Nadia Tass, 1996) aka My Entire Life; hostage situation

No Escape (Martin Campbell, 1994) aka Escape for Absolom

No Worries (David Elfick, 1993) poverty

Queensland (John Ruane, 1976) poverty

Rabbit-Proof Fence (Phil Noyce, 2001) racism

Romper Stomper (Geoffrey Wright, 1992) racism

Running on Empty (John Clark, 1982) hoons

Shame (Steve Jodrell, 1988) culture of misogyny

Slate, Wyn and Me (Don McLennan, 1987) abduction

Sleeping Beauty (Julia Leigh, 2011) prostitute literally sleeps with clients

Son is Born, A (Eric Porter, 1946) prod. Eric Porter, wr. Gloria Bourner; family melodrama

Stir! (Stephen Wallace, 1980) prison

Stone (Sandy Harbutt, 1974) bikie gang

Sweetie (Jane Campion, 1989) mental illness

Teesh and Trude (Melanie Rodriga, 2002) poverty, custody

Turkey Shoot (Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1982) prison (futuristic fantasy)

Waiting City, The (Claire McCarthy, 2009) adoption

Winter of our Dreams (John Duigan, 1981) junkie prostitute

Yolngu Boy (Stephen Johnson, 2001) petrol-sniffing

Alcoholism

27A (Esben Storm, 1974) alcoholism

Crime

There are many more films listed in the crime films file. In those films, crime is a well-established genre used partly in the service of entertainment. The few listed in this file are those in which the crime involved springs from some pre-existing social problem, such as a dysfunctional family or borderline mental disorder.

Blood Money (Chris Fitchett, 1980) crime, family drama

Boys, The (Rowan Woods, 1997) crime (rape and murder) also a dysfunctional family situation

Chopper (Andrew Dominik, 2000) crime

Interview, The (Craig Monahan, 1998) crime (murder)

Delinquency

Delinquents, The (Chris Thomson, 1989) delinquency maybe (or not)

FJ Holden, The (Michael Thornhill, 1977) delinquency

Holidays on the River Yarra (Leo Berkeley, 1990) delinquency

Mallboy (Vincent Giarrusso, 2000) delinquency

Shame (Steve Jodrell, 1988) culture of misogyny

Deracination

No Worries (David Elfick, 1993) poverty Drugs

Candy (Neil Armfield, 2006) drugs

Heartbreak Kid, The (Michael Jenkins, 1993) drugs

Little Fish (Rowan Woods, 2005) drugs

Yolngu Boy (Stephen Johnson, 2001) petrol-sniffing

Dysfunctional family

See also Incest (down a bit).

Animal Kingdom (David Michôd, 2010) dysfunctional, recidivist family; also concerned with crime

Blood Money (Chris Fitchett, 1980) crime, family drama

Boys, The (Rowan Woods, 1997) crime (rape and murder)

Careful He Might Hear You (Carl Schultz, 1983) disputed custody

Dream Children, The (Robert Chuter, 2014) same-sex marriage; adoption

Fran (Glenda Hambly, 1985) custody

High Tide (Gillian Armstrong, 1987) parental custody

Jenny Kissed Me (Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1986) custody

Son is Born, A (Eric Porter, 1946) prod. Eric Porter, wr. Gloria Bourner; family melodramax

Teesh and Trude (Melanie Rodriga, 2002) poverty, custody

Waiting City, The (Claire McCarthy, 2009) Radha Mitchell, Joel Edgerton ; adoption

Gangs

Cedar Boys (Serhat Caradee, 2009) Lebanese gangs in Sydney

Combination, The (David Field, 2009) Lebanese gangs in Sydney

Stone (Sandy Harbutt, 1974) bikie gang

Homelessness

Mouth to Mouth (John Duigan, 1978) street kids

Hoons

Mad Max (Dr George Miller, 1979) hoons

Metal Skin (Geoffrey Wright, 1995) hoons

Running on Empty (John Clark, 1982) hoons

Incest

Heart of the Stag (Michael Firth, 1986) NZ; incest

Lilian's Story (Jerzy Domaradzki, 1996) incest

Hostage

Breakaway (Don McLennan, 1989) aka Escape from Madness; prison escapee takes hostage

Fortress (Steve Gordon, 1993) kidnapping

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

Mr Reliable (Nadia Tass, 1996) aka My Entire Life; hostage situation

Slate, Wyn and Me (Don McLennan, 1987) abduction

Mental Illness

Angel Baby (Michael Rymer, 1995) mental illness

Between Wars (Michael Thornhill, 1974) PTSD

Black Balloon, The (Elissa Down, 2008) autism

Cosi (Mark Joffe, 1996) mental illness

Sweetie (Jane Campion, 1989) mental illness

Prison/Gaol/Jail

See also: list of prison films.

Every Night ... Every Night (Alkinos Tsilimidos, 1994) prison

For the Term of his Natural Life (Norman Dawn, 1927) prison

Ghosts ... of the Civil Dead (John Hillcoat, 1989) prison

Life (Lawrence Johnston, 1995) prison

No Escape (Martin Campbell, 1994) aka Escape for Absolom

Stir! (Stephen Wallace, 1980) prison

Turkey Shoot (Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1982) prison (futuristic fantasy)

Poverty

No Worries (David Elfick, 1993) poverty

Queensland (John Ruane, 1976) poverty

Teesh and Trude (Melanie Rodriga, 2002) poverty, custody

Prostitution

Candy Regentag (James Ricketson, 1989) aka Kiss the Night; prostitution

Love Brokers (Garnet Mae, 1998) former prostitutes now petty criminals

Sleeping Beauty (Julia Leigh, 2011) prostitute literally sleeps with clients

Winter of our Dreams (John Duigan, 1981) junkie prostitute

X (Jon Hewitt, 2011) aka X - Night of Vengeance prostitution

Racism

Australian Rules (Paul Goldman, 2002) racism

Beneath Clouds (Ivan Sen, 2002) racism

Black and White (Craig Lahiff, 2002) racism

Blackfellas (James Ricketson, 1993) racism

Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, The (Fred Schepisi, 1978) racism

Dead Heart (Nick Parsons, 1996) racism

Deadly (Esben Storm, 1992) black deaths in custody

Rabbit-Proof Fence (Phil Noyce, 2001) stolen generation

Romper Stomper (Geoffrey Wright, 1992) racism

Sex Slavery

Jammed, The (Dee McLachlan, 2007) sex slavery


Bibliography

Brownlow, Kevin 1990, Behind the Mask of Innocence: Sex, Violence, Prejudice, Crime: Films of Social Conscience in the Silent Era, Jonathan Cape, London.

Maltby, R. 1983, Harmless Entertainment: Hollywood and the Ideology of Consensus, Scarecrow Press, Metuchen.

Neale, Steve 2000, Genre and Hollywood, Routledge, London & New York: 112-118.

Roffman, P. & J. Purdy 1981, The Hollywod Social Problem Film: Madness, Despair and Politics from the Depression to the Fifties, Indiana University Press, Bloomington.

Ross, S. J. 1998, Working-Class Hollywood: Silent Film and the Shaping of Class in America, Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Sloan, K. 1988, The Loud Silents: Origins of the Social Problem Film, University of Illinois Press, Urbana.


New: 30 October, 2006 | Now: 16 January, 2017