Australian Cinema > types > American


Inclusive list of Australasian films with anything at all American about them: significant American actor, character, subject, writer, director, crew

Attack Force Z (Tim Burstall, 1982) Eastman colour, 35 mm, 110 min., prod. Lee Robinson for John MacCallum Productions & Central Motion Picture Corporation, wr. Roger Marshall, dp Lin Hung-Chung, music Eric Jupp, design Bernard Hides, ed. David Stiven; John Phillip Law, Mel Gibson, Chris Haywood, Sam Neill, Sylvia Chang, Koo Chuan Hsiang, John Waters; Phillip Noyce was the first director, but fell out with John MacCallum

beDevil (Tracey Moffatt, 1993) prod. Anthony Buckley; avant-garde trilogy of ghost stories, first major feature from an Aboriginal director, Tracey Moffatt; Mister Chuck, Choo, Choo, Choo; Lovin' the Spin I'm In; 90 min.

Bliss (Ray Lawrence, 1985) prod. Anthony Buckley for Window III Productions, wr. Peter Carey and Ray Lawrence from the novel by Peter Carey, dp Paul Murphy, music Peter Best, design Owen Patterson, ed. Wayne le Clos; Lynette Curran, Helen Jones, Barry Otto, Tim Robertson, Miles Buchanan, Gia Carides; Harry Joy's business partner is American; Eastman colour, 35 mm, 115 min.

Blood Oath (Stephen Wallace, 1990) aka Prisoners of the Sun (USA); Bryan Brown, George Takei, ... John Polson, Russell Crowe, ... Jason Donovan; war-crimes trials in Ambon

Boulevard of Broken Dreams (Pino Amenta, 1988) wr. prod. Frank Howson; John Waters, Penelope Stewart, Nick Paull, Kim Gyngell, Kevin Miles; highly successful playwright (Waters), dying of cancer, returns to Oz from US for final reunion with wife and child; melodrama; flashbacks in b/w; Waters Best Actor AFI 1988, Gyngell Best Supporting Actor; 94 min.

Caddie (Donald Crombie, 1976) wr. Joan Long, prod. Anthony Buckley; Helen Morse, Takis Emmanuel, Jack Thompson, Jacki Weaver, Melissa Jaffer, Ron Blanchard, Drew Forsythe, Kirrili Nolan, Lynette Curran, June Salter, John Ewart, John Gaden, Jane Harders, Phillip Hinton, Mary Mackay, Lucky Grills, Robyn Nevin, Simon Hinton, Marianne Howard, Pat Everson, Carmel Cullen, Brian Nyland, Willie Fennell, Les Foxcroft, Jack Allen; John Ewart plays an American who names the main character after a Cadillac

Coca-Cola Kid, The (Dusan Makaveyev, 1985) wr. Frank Moorhouse, based on two of his short stories; Eric Roberts, Greta Scacchi, Bill Kerr, Chris Haywood, Max Gillies, Kris McQuade, Tony Barry, Paul Chubb, David Slingsby, Tim Finn; Oedipal struggle of son against father, among many other things; Eric Roberts is a Coca-Cola executive sent to Australia to bring Coke into the back-blocks; story by Frank Moorhouse, who also wrote The Americans, Baby

Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (Simon Wincer, 2001) Paul Hogan, Linda Kozlowski, David Ngoombujarra (Arthur)

Crocodile Dundee (Peter Faiman, 1986) prod. John Cornell for Rimfire Films, wr. Paul Hogan, Ken Shadie, dp Russell Boyd ed. David Stiven, design Graham Walker; Paul Hogan, Linda Kozlowski, John Meillon, David Gulpilil (Neville Bell), Maggie Blinco, Steve Rackman, Gerry Skilton; Eastman colour, 35mm Panavision, 96 min.

Crocodile Dundee II (John Cornell, 1988) dp Russell Boyd; Paul Hogan, Linda Kozlowski, Ernie Dingo (Charlie)

Cut (Kimble Rendall, 2000) prod. Martin Fabinyi, Bill Bennett, Jennifer Bennett, wr. Dave Warner, exec. prod. Michael Gudinski, Mushroom Pictures, Beyond Films; released 25 February 2000, thriller, horror; Kylie Minogue, Tiriel Mora, Jessica Napier, Sarah Kants, Molly Ringwald, Simon Bossell, Stephen Curry; American actor Molly Ringwald is in this slasher

Dallas Doll (Ann Turner, 1993) Sandra Bernhard, Victoria Longley, Frank Gallacher, Jake Blundell, Rose Byrne; havoc when American golf instructor moves in with family; ABC finance; American actor Sandra Bernhard as Dallas Adair required for role of American lesbian, who is a 'morally questionable character who is simultaneously desired by and repelled by nearly every character' (O'Regan: see below)

Dark City (Alex Proyas, 1998) wr. Alex Proyas; Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly; US-funded and shot in Australia with actors including Americans Kiefer Sutherland, William Hurt: SF

Dead Calm (Phillip Noyce, 1989) dp Dean Semler; novel Charles Williams, The Deep; Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill, Billy Zane, George Shevtsov; ending was changed, v. Boland & Bodey, Aussiewood: 122; the villain is an American

Death of a Soldier (Philippe Mora, 1986) aka The Leonski Incident; wr. William L. Nagle, dp Louis Irving; James Coburn, Reb Brown, Bill Hunter, Maurie Fields, Max Fairchild, Belinda Davey, Randall Berger, Michael Pate; James Coburn as a senior American commander in Australia during the Second World War; dramatises the only time in Oz history when a foreign national was tried under the laws of a foreign country for crimes against Oz citizens in Australia; 93 min.

Delinquents, The (Chris Thomson, 1989) prod. Alex Cutler, Mike Wilcox; wr. Clayton Rohman, Mac Gudgeon; novel Criena Rohan; Kylie Minogue (Lola Lovell), Charlie Schlatter (Brownie Hansen) Angela Punch-McGregor, Bruno Lawrence; 102 min.; see the discussion in Wark, McKenzie 1999, Celebrities, Culture and Cyberspace: The Light on the Hill in a Postmodern World, Pluto, Sydney: 85-886, 89; see also: Adrian Martin in Murray 1995: 274: "becomes more interesting, however, if it is viewed as an old-style 'woman's melodrama' rather than a contemporary teen movie."; Schlatter is American

Dingo (Rolf de Heer, 1991) Colin Friels (as a trumpeter), Miles Davis, Bernadette Lafont, Helen Buday; review by Raymond Younis in Murray 1995: 337; filmed around Bungle Bungles, WA, and in Paris; Colin Friels plays a trumpeter; American Miles Davis really is one

Dirty Deeds (David Caesar, 2002) wr. David Caesar, dp Geoffrey Hall; Bryan Brown, John Goodman, Toni Collette, Sam Neill, Sam Worthington, Felix Williamson, Kestie Morassi, 98 min., national release 18 July; Best Production Design AFI Awards 7 November 2002: Chris Kennedy; Best Costume Design AFI Awards 7 November 2002: Tess Schofield; Brian McFarlane, "Dirty deeds and good clean fun: some recent Australian caper movies", Metro, 140, 2004: 48-52; John Goodman, American star, is the mafioso who comes to Sydney to take over the pokies

Dish, The (Rob Sitch, 2000) comedy; Sam Neill (Cliff Buxton), Kevin Harrington, Tom Long, Patrick Warburton [as seen in Seinfeld], Genevieve Mooy, Tayler Kane, Roy Billing, Bille Brown, Andrew S. Gilbert, Lenka Kripac, Matthew Moore, Eliza Szonert, John McMartin, Carl Snell; Toronto 2000; Working Dog Productions; Evan Williams review Weekend Australian Review 21-22 October 2000: 21 - 'Dish lacks real bite'

Doing Time For Patsy Cline (Chris Kennedy, 1997) prod. Chris Kennedy, John Winter, wr. Chris Kennedy, dp Andrew Lesnie (AFI award); Miranda Otto, Richard Roxburgh, Matt Day, Tony Barry, Roy Billing, Annie Byron, Gus Mercurio, Kiri Paramore, Wayne Goodwin; Ralph's (Matt Day) ambition is to play the Grand Ol' Opry in Nashville: in fantasy, he does; 96 min.

Duet for Four (Tim Burstall, 1982) aka Partners; prod. Tim Burstall, Tom Burstall, wr. David Williamson, dp Dan Burstall, music Peter Sullivan, design Herbert Pinter, ed. Edward McQueen-Mason; Mike Preston, Gary Day, Wendy Hughes, Diane Cilento, Sigrid Thornton, Michael Pate, Arthur Dignam, Vanessa Lee; Michael Pate plays an 'ugly American-Australian businessman' (Stratton: 116) in this midlife crisis comedy; Eastman colour 35mm, 100 min.

Evil Angels (Fred Schepisi, 1988) aka A Cry in the Dark; wr. Robert Caswell, Fred Schepisi, book John Bryson, dp Ian Baker; Meryl Streep, Sam Neill, Bruce Myles, Neil Fitzpatrick, Charles Tingwell, Maurice Fields, Nick Tate, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Lauren Shepherd, Bethany Ann Prickett, Alison O'Connell, Aliza Dason, Peter Hosking, Matthew Barker, Dennis Miller, Brendan Higgins, Ian Swan, Robert Wallace, Sandy Gore, Kevin Miles, Jim Holt, John Howard, Frank Holden, Tim Robertson, Patsy Stephen, Ian Gilmour, Mervyn Drake, Vincent Gil, Burt Cooper, Mark Little; American star Meryl Streep plays Lindy Chamberlain in an Australian accent

Green Card (Peter Weir, 1991) Gerard Depardieu, Andie MacDowell; counts as an Australian film because Oz put in much of the money (with France), but is set in the States, where Andie MacDowell is the American woman involved with (Frenchman) Gerard Depardieu

Gross Misconduct (George Miller, 1993) Jimmy Smits, Naomi Watts; academic-student liaison

Harlequin (Simon Wincer, 1980) aka Dark Forces; prod. Antony I. Ginnane for F. G. Film Productions, wr. Everett de Roche, dp Gary Hansen, music Brian May, design Bernard Hides, ed. Adrian Carr; David Hemmings, Robert Powell, Broderick Crawford, Carmen Duncan, Gus Mercurio, Alan Cassell, Neville Teede, Nita Pannell, Maurie Ogden, Jeremy Sims, Julia Moody, Leslie Wright, Ramsey McLean; shot in Perth, WA; Powell is faith-healer who is to cure politican's son of leukemia; Eastman colour, 35mm, 94 min.

In a Savage Land (Bill Bennett, 1999) wr. & prod. Bill Bennett, Jennifer Bennett; Maya Stange, Martin Harrison, Rufus Sewell, John Howard, Max Cullen; won two AFI awards 1999 (Sound, and Music), nommed for five others (incl. Best Actress); American Martin Harrison is required to play the anthropologist from Harvard

In the Wake of the Bounty (Charles Chauvel, 1933) wr. Charles Chauvel, dp Tasman Higgins, sound Arthur Smith, Clive Cross; Arthur Greenaway (narrator), Mayne Lynton (Bligh); Errol Flynn (Fletcher Christian); dramatised history, filmed Tahiti and Pitcairn; introduces Errol Flynn, in the fictionalised part of the movie, as Fletcher Christian; he will later be a big star in HW

Last Wave, The (Peter Weir, 1977) prod. Jim & Hal McElroy, wr. Peter Weir, Tony Morphett, Petru Popescu, dp Russell Boyd, design Goran Warff, ed. Max Lemon, music Charles Wain, sound Don Connolly; Richard Chamberlain, David Gulpilil, Olivia Hamnett; thriller; Eastman colour, 35mm, 104 min.

Lucky Break (Ben Lewin, 1994) aka The Cure, dp Vincent Monton; Gia Carides, Anthony LaPaglia, Rebecca Gibney, Jacek Koman; review by Jim Schembri in Murray 1995: 387; one of a number of Oz films with Anthony LaPaglia and partner Gia Carides; he is from South Australia, but sounds like an American because he has lived and worked there for much of his life

Mad Dog Morgan (Philippe Mora, 1976) prod. Jeremy Thomas for Motion Picture Productions, wr. Philippe Mora, book Margaret Carnegie, Morgan, dp Mike Molloy, design Robin Hildich, music Patrick Flynn, ed. John Scott; Dennis Hopper, Jack Thompson, David Gulpilil, Frank Thring, Michael Pate, Wallas Eaton, Bill Hunter, John Hargreaves, Martin Harris, Robin Ramsay, Graeme Blundell, Gregory Apps, Norman Kaye, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Christopher Pate, Grant Page, Bruce Spence; Sydney, colour wide-screen 102 min.

Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome (Dr George Miller, George Ogilvie, 1985) prod. George Miller, Doug Mitchess, Terry Hayes, wr. Terry Hayes, George Miller, dp Dean Semler, visual design Ed Verraux, design Graham Walker, costume design Norma Moriceau, music Maurice Jarre, sound Roger Savage; Mel Gibson, Tina Turner, Helen Buday, Frank Thring, Bruce Spence; Eastman colour, 70mm, 35mm, 102 min.

Man from Snowy River, The (George Miller, 1982) prod. Geoff Burrowes for Michael Edgley International, Cambridge Films, wr. John Dixon, Fred 'Cul' Cullen, from poem by 'Banjo' Paterson, dp Keith Wagstaff, music Bruce Rowland, design Leslie Binns, ed. Adrian Carr; Kirk Douglas, Tom Burlinson, Sigrid Thornton, Jack Thompson, Lorraine Bayly, Tony Bonner, Chris Haywood, Gus Mercurio; Eastman colour, 35mm, widescreen, 100 min.

Man from Snowy River 2, The (Geoff Burrowes, 1988) aka Return to Snowy River II, The Untamed; Brian Dennehy, Tom Burlinson, Sigrid Thornton

The Monkey's Mask (Samantha Lang, 2000) wr. Anne Kennedy from novel in verse by Dorothy Porter, prod. Robert Connolly, dp Garry Phillips; Kelly McGillis (Dr Diana Maitland), Susie Porter (Jill Fitzpatrick), Abbie Cornish (Mickey), Marton Csokas (Nick), Deborah Mailman; novel Dorothy Porter; lesbian private detective dives head first into murder, manipulation and the consuming power of sex; Toronto 2000; 93 min.

Newsfront (Phillip Noyce, 1978) wr. Phillip Noyce, orig. script Bob Ellis, prod. David Elfick, Palm Beach Pictures, dp Vincent Monton, design Lisa Coote, ed. John Scott; Bill Hunter, Wendy Hughes, Gerard Kennedy, Chris Haywood, John Ewart, Bryan Brown; first Australian film to be shown on an Australian airline; "in Newsfront there is the thematizing of the 'baleful American' influence on Australian popular culture and political culture." (O'Regan: 28); many AFI awards; Eastman colour, 35mm, 110 min. The image shows our own Wendy Hughes with the ugly 'American' Gerard Kennedy (born in Perth) with my friend Sharon Delmege next to him. She happened to be cast as an extra. They are all supposed to be watching the 1956 Russian-Hungary 'blood in the water' waterpolo match, tho they are looking in different directions.

Night We Called It a Day, The (Paul Goldman, 2003) wr. Peter Clifton, Michael Thomas, prod. Peter Clifton, Nik Powell, Emile Sherman; Joel Edgerton, Rose Byrne, Dennis Hopper, Melanie Griffith, Portia de Rossi; Frank Sinatra's season in Australia

Now and Forever (Adrian Carr, 1983) prod. Teisha Ghent for Now and Forever Film Partnership, wr. Richard Cassidy from novel by Danielle Steel, dp Don McAlpine, music Bruce Rowland, design Rene & Rochford ed. Adrian Carr; Cheryl Ladd, Robert Coleby, Carmen Duncan, Christine Amor, Aileen Britton, Alex Scott, Kris McQuade; Eastman colour, 35mm, 102 min.

Odd Angry Shot, The (Tom Jeffrey, 1979) prod. Sue Milliken, Tom Jeffrey for Samson Film Services, wr. Tom Jeffrey, novel by William Nagel, dp Don McAlpine, design Bernard Hides, ed. Brian Kavanagh; Graham Kennedy, John Hargreaves, John Jarratt, Bryan Brown, Graeme Blundell, Richard Moir, Ian Gilmour, Graham Rouse, John Allen, Tony Barry, Brandon Burke, John Fitzgerald, Mike Harris, Johnny Garfield, Ray Meagher, Frankie J. Holden, Roger Newcombe, Brian Evis, Rose Ricketts, Chuck McKinney, Freddie Paris, Sharon Higgins; Vietnam war, has some American characters; Eastman colour, 35mm, 90 min.

Paradise Road (Bruce Beresford, 1997) aka Beyond the Wire, A Voice Cries Out; Glenn Close, Susie Porter, Cate Blanchett

Phar Lap (Simon Wincer, 1983) prod. John Sexton for John Sexton Productions, Michael Edgley International, wr. David Williamson, dp Russell Boyd ed. Tony Paterson, music Bruce Rowland, design Larry Eastwood, ed. Tony Paterson; Vincent Ball, Tom Burlinson, Celia de Burgh, Ron Leibman, Judy Morris, John Stanton, Martin Vaughan; the horse dies in the United States; Eastman colour, 35mm, 118 min.

Quigley (Simon Wincer, 1990) aka Quigley Down Under (US) Tom Selleck, Laura San Giacomo, Alan Rickman, Chris Haywood, Ron Haddrick, Tony Bonner; western; American sharpshooter Quigley is hired to eliminate vermin, but they turn out to be indigenous people on the WA cattle station

Race for the Yankee Zephyr (David Hemmings, 1981) aka Treasure of the Yankee Zephyr; prod. John Barnett, Antony I. Ginnane, David Hemmings for F. G. H. Film Consortium, Zephyr Films, First City Films, wr. Everett de Roche, dp Vincent Monton, music Brian May, ed. John Laing, design Bernard Hides; Bruno Lawrence, George Peppard, Donald Pleasence, Ken Wahl, Lesley Ann Warren, Donald Pleasence; action thriller, search for money from crash; Eastman colour, 35mm, 100 min.

Razorback (Russell Mulcahy, 1984) prod. Jim & Hal McElroy, wr. Everett de Roche, novel Peter Brennan, dp Dean Semler, music Iva Davies; Gregory Harrison, Arkie Whiteley, Bill Kerr, Chris Haywood, David Argue, Judy Morris; horror parody; Carl (Gregory Harrison, American star) comes to Australia to avenge the death of his wife at the hands of the eponymous wild pig

Rebel (Michael Jenkins, 1985) prod. Phillip Emanuel, wr. Bob Herbert, Michael Jenkins from play by Bob Herbert, dp Peter James; Ray Barrett, Bryan Brown, Debbie Byrne, Kim Deacon, Matt Dillon, Bill Hunter, Julie Nihill; Kodak colour, 35 mm, 105 min.; Matt Dillon plays a GI deserter in Sydney hidden by a nightclub singer, Debbie Byrne

Reckless Kelly (Yahoo Serious, 1993) aka Ned Kelly; Yahoo Serious, Melora Hardin, Alexei Sayle, Hugo Weaving, Bob Maza; Reckless Kelly goes to the States, gets a job in the movies

Roadgames (Richard Franklin, 1981) prod. Richard Franklin for Quest Films, wr. Everett DeRoche, from short story by Richard Franklin, Everett De Roche, dp Vincent Monton, music Brian May, designer John Dowding, ed. Edward McQueen-Mason; Stacey Keach, Jamie Lee Curtis, Marion Edward, Grant Page, Thaddeus Smith, Alan Hopgood, Bill Stacey, Stephen Millichamp; Hitchcock-like thriller; Eastman colour, 35mm, 110 min.

Sundowners, The (Fred Zinnemann, 1960) wr. Isobel Lennart, novel Jon Cleary, dp Jack Hildyard, 133 min., Warner Bros; Deborah Kerr, Robert Mitchum, Peter Ustinov, Glynis Johns, Dina Merrill, Chips Rafferty, Michael Anderson, Lola Brooks, Wylie Watson, John Meillon, Ronald Fraser, Mervyn Johns, Molly Urquhart, Ewen Solon, Ray Barrett (two-up player), Leonard Teale (shearer), John Fegan; Pike & Cooper: 230-231

That Eye the Sky (John Ruane, 1994) prod. Peter Beilby, Grainne Marmion, wr. Tim Winton (novel), John Ruane & Jim Barton; Peter Coyote (Henry Esau), Lisa Harrow, Amanda Douge, Mark Fairall, Alethea McGrath, Jamie Croft; Peter Coyote (born Colver, PA) plays Henry Esau; 101 min.

Undercover (David Stevens, 1983) prod. David Elfick for Palm Beach Pictures, wr. Miranda Downes, dp Dean Semler, design Herbert Pinter, ed. Tim Wellburn; Sandy Gore, Caz Lederman, Michael Paré, Peter Phelps, Genevieve Picot, Andrew Sharp, John Walton; romantic comedy; Berlei story; expert from US arrives to run Oz business; Eastman colour, 35mm, wide-screen, 100 min.

Welcome to Woop Woop (Stephan Elliott, 1997) aka The Big Red; wr. Douglas Kennedy (novel) & Michael Thomas; Rod Taylor, Johnathon Schaech, Susie Porter, Dee Smart, Richard Moir, Maggie Kirkpatrick, Barry Humphries, Mark Wilson, Paul Mercurio

Yank In Australia, A (Alfred J. Goulding, 1942) wr. Alfred J. Goulding

Excerpt from O'Regan, Tom 1996, Australian National Cinema, Routledge, London: 52-53.

Similarly the 'American in Australia' and, to a lesser extent, the 'Australian in America' are constant figures in the local cinema. Sometimes American 'innocents' are done down but eventually triumph over the disturbed, psychotic, murderous or rampaging monsters who happen to be Australian. Stacy Keech and Jamie Lee Curtis are the only 'normal characters' in Roadgames (Franklin 1981). They do battle across the Nullarbor plains with an odd assortment of weird Australians including a sex murderer, unfriendly police officers, and cranky drivers. Jimmy Smits is the charismatic American University Professor in Melbourne falsely accused and imprisoned for rape in Gross Misconduct (George Miller 1993). He is the victim of the overheated sexual gaze of a beautiful female student who turns out to be a victim too - of incest - which retrospectively explains and justifies her actions. In Razorback (Mulcahy 1984), Carl (Gregory Harrison) comes to Australia to avenge the death of his wife at the hands of the eponymous wild pig, and in the process he also sorts out the malevolent local kangaroo shooters who have a symbiotic relationship with the pig.

American men provide love interests for Australian women in Chris Thomson's 1989 film The Delinquents - Charlie Schlatter is Kylie Minogue's love interest in this film of love on the wrong side of the tracks, and in the Second World War story Rebel (Jenkins 1985) - Matt Dillon plays a GI deserter in Sydney hidden by a night club singer, Debbie Byrne.

Americans are often 'problematic' figures and presences which Australians need to negotiate and come to terms with - often making the Australians feel inferior. In Mora's Death of a Soldier (1986), James Coburg plays a senior American commander in Australia during the Second World War dealing with the lines of demarcation between the American military police and the Australian

A National Cinema page 53

civil police force over an American soldier wanted by both for a series of murders of local women. Eric Roberts in Dusan Makavejev's The Coca-Cola Kid ( 1985) is a Coca-Cola executive sent to Australia to bring Coke into the back-blocks - like the Anthony Hopkins character in Spotswood he achieves his goal but in the process is changed. Dallas Doll (Turner 1993) has Sarah Bernhardt as a morally questionable character who is simultaneously desired by and repelled by nearly every character (all Australians) in this film. She seduces nearly everyone in the family - the father, the son and the mother. Eventually the Australians turn the tables on her, or, in the case of the mother, simply assert themselves.

Finally, American actors sometimes play Australian characters. Notably Meryl Streep in Evil Angels, Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr in The Sundowners (Zinnemann 1960), and Richard Chamberlain in The Last Wave (where the Chamberlain character is given as having a South American heritage).

References and Links

Broderick, Mick 2005, 'Septic tanks down under: representing American soldiers as "other" in Australian cinema', Post Script, Winter-Summer.

O'Regan, Tom 1996, Australian National Cinema, Routledge, London.

Rattigan, Neil 1991, Images of Australia: 100 Films of the New Australian Cinema, Southern Methodist University Press, Dallas: 33-35.

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