Australian Cinema > top ten. See below for top films in terms of earnings.

My Top Ten Australasian Films

See also my longer alpha order list of best Australasian feature films and my best films list by date. All just my opinion.

Lantana (Ray Lawrence, 2001) wr. Anthony Bovell; Anthony LaPaglia, Geoffrey Rush, Barbara Hershey, Kerry Armstrong, Rachael Blake, Vince Colosimo, Russell Dykstra, Daniella Farinacci, Peter Phelps, Leah Purcell, Glenn Robbins; AFIs 2001: best picture, direction, actor, actress &c.

Wake in Fright (Ted Kotcheff, 1971) aka Outback (US); wr. Evan Jones, novel Kenneth Cook, dp Brian West, ed. Anthony Buckley; Gary Bond, Donald Pleasance, Chips Rafferty, Sylvia Kay, Jack Thompson, John Meillon

Newsfront (Phillip Noyce, 1978) wr. Phillip Noyce, orig. script Bob Ellis, dp Vincent Monton; Bill Hunter, Wendy Hughes, Gerard Kennedy, Chris Haywood, John Ewart, Bryan Brown

Walkabout (Nicolas Roeg, 1971) wr. Edward Bond, novel James Vance Marshall, dp Nicolas Roeg; Jenny Agutter, Lucien John [Roeg], David Gulpilil, John Meillon; UK production about two white Australian children stranded in desert and helped to safety by young Aborigine

Limbo (Ivan Sen, 2023) wr. ed. dp music co-prod. Ivan Sen, co-prod. David Jowsey, Greer Simpkin, Rachel Higgins, prod. Bunya; Simon Baker, Rob Collins, Natasha Wanganeen, Nicholas Hope, Nick Buckland; shot Coober Pedy, SA; detective comes to SA outback town to investigate 20-year-old unsolved disappearance

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

Man of Flowers (Paul Cox, 1983) wr. Paul Cox, Bob Ellis, dp Yuri Sokol; Norman Kaye, Alyson Best, Chris Haywood, Sarah Walker, Julia Blake, Bob Ellis, Barry Dickins, Patrick Cook, Victoria Eagger, Werner Herzog

Animal Kingdom (David Michôd, 2010) Guy Pearce, Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Luke Ford, Jacki Weaver; crime; Cannes

Sunday Too Far Away (Ken Hannam, 1975) dp Geoff Burton; Jack Thompson, Max Cullen, Robert Bruning, Jerry Thomas, Peter Cummins, John Ewart, Sean Scully, Reg Lye, Graham Smith, Ken Shorter, Lisa Peers, Ken Shorter

Proof (Jocelyn Moorhouse, 1991) Hugo Weaving, Genevieve Picot, Russell Crowe

Beneath Clouds (Ivan Sen, 2002) wr. Ivan Sen, dp Alan Collins; Damian Pitt, Dannielle Hall; Best Director, Cinematography, AFIs 2002

Malcolm (Nadia Tass, 1986) dp David Parker; Colin Friels, John Hargreaves

Bad Blood (Mike Newell, 1981) Jack Thompson, Carol Burns; NZ; drama; VHS; 113 min.

Idiot Box (David Caesar, 1996) wr. David Caesar; Ben Mendelsohn, Jeremy Sims, John Polson, Susie Porter; Kev and Mick rob a bank cos it seems like a good idea at the time

Burning Man (Jonathan Teplitzky, 2011) Matthew Goode, Bojana Novakovic, Essie Davis, Rachel Griffiths, Kerry Fox, Kate Beahan

What follows for comparison is Evan Williams' top ten. I got this from Facebook where someone put it (June 2014) without a reference; I'm guessing it was published in The Australian newspaper. We have three films in common: Wake in Fright, Newsfront, and Lantana. I don't strongly disagree with any of the other seven he's chosen, tho I question his deeper reasons for choosing The Sapphires, which doesn't make it to my top hundred. The other six could equally well have been above as well as below. In fact, maybe I should ...


Top grossing features

The top ten Aussie films, in terms of grosses, @ 2018, were, according to Wikipedia:

Crocodile Dundee (Peter Faiman, 1986) Paul Hogan
Australia (Baz Luhrmann, 2008)
Babe (Chris Noonan, 1995) Dr George Miller
Happy Feet (Dr George Miller, 2006)
Lion (Garth Davis, 2015)
Moulin Rouge (Baz Luhrmann, 2011)
The Dressmaker (Jocelyn Moorhouse, 2015)
Crocodile Dundee 2 (John Cornell, 1988) Paul Hogan
Strictly Ballroom (Baz Luhrmann, 1992)
Mad Max: Fury Road (Dr George Miller, 2016)

Three of those ten are from Baz Luhrmann, three from Dr George Miller, two from Paul Hogan.

In 2013, Screen Australia had them in this order: Crocodile Dundee, Australia, Babe, Happy Feet, Moulin Rouge, Crocodile Dundee 2, Strictly Ballroom, Red Dog, The Dish, The Man from Snowy River. Three of those ten were from Baz Luhrmann, three from Dr George Miller, one from the other George Miller, two from Paul Hogan. Priscilla was then eleventh. IF had The Great Gatsby in sixth place (giving Baz a fourth in the top ten) but SA seemed not to count that as local (hooray!)

High grossing features from earlier decades

Also from Wikipedia:

1900s – The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906) (gross £20,000)

1910s – The Fatal Wedding (1911, not extant) (£18,000), The Life Story of John Lee, or The Man They Could Not Hang (1912) (£20,000), The Martyrdom of Nurse Cavell (1915, not extant) (£25,000)

1920s – For the Term of His Natural Life (1927) (over £40,000)

1930s – On Our Selection (1932) (£60,000), The Silence of Dean Maitland (1934) (£50,000)

1940s – Forty Thousand Horsemen (1940) (£130,000), Smithy (1946) (over £50,000), The Overlanders (1946) (£250,000), Sons of Matthew (1949)

1950s – Walk Into Paradise (1956)

1960s – They're a Weird Mob (1966) (over $2 million)

1970s – Alvin Purple (1973) ($4.72 million), Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) (over $5 million), Mad Max (1979)

References and Links

Screen Australia, Top 100 Australian feature films of all time, ranked by total reported gross Australian box office.

Scott McConnell, 'Why are Australian films now so unpopular?' Spectator Australia. This author uses 'benevolence' as a key term - but it's the wrong word in the context. He means 'positive' or 'optimistic' or 'melioristic', or whatever. However, the article includes useful data.

Garry Gillard | New: 19 May, 2007 | Now: 10 July, 2023