Director Peter Weir, and his long-time collaborator, Cinematographer Russell Boyd, made cinema history with David Williamson’s legendary screenplay. The film was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film amongst a string of other awards and romped home at the box office.
Set in 1915 Western Australia, this film follows two very different young men who enlist in the army and are sent to the bloody battlefields of Gallipoli in Turkey. Archy Hamilton (newcomer Mark Lee, who was cast after taking part in a photo session for promoting the film) is a stockman and a prize-winning sprinter. His Uncle (Bill Kerr) has been training him all his life, but Archy decides to enlist and can’t be swayed.
At first Archy is turned away for being too young, but then he meets Frank (Mel Gibson) an unemployed railway labourer and a charismatic drifter, with whom he strikes up a friendship. Together they travel to Perth and enlist. Though they are separated in Cairo, they are reunited in Turkey, where so many young Australian men met their maker.
This iconic film deals with the loss of innocence of so many young men sent to war. There is a fascinating juxtaposition between our sport obsessed nation and warfare. A recruiter who beckons the young men towards their fate, even calls war “the greatest game of them all.”
There has been much discussion of the ground-breaking score of the film. Though original music was created by Australian composer Brian May (Mad Max I & II) it was French electro pioneer Jean Michel Jarre whose music is carved into one’s memory, used during the running scenes. Though the film was mostly shot in South Australia, some key scenes were filmed on location in Egypt to make this film a haunting epic that will stay with you forever. –Dungog Film Festival
Known for making moody, complex dramas that often focus on the emotional struggles of men caught up in social change and/or upheaval, Australian director Peter Weir is regarded as one of the most solid directors in both his native country and in Hollywood. His many accomplishments include making vehicles that promoted such stars as Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Robin Williams, and Jim Carrey into the realm of “serious” acting, something that further established Weir as one of the foremost interpreters of the inner lives of men.
The son of a real estate agent, Weir was born in Sydney on August 21, 1944. After giving his father’s business a try, he spent time traveling around Europe. Upon his return to Australia, Weir secured a job with the Commonwealth Film Unit, where he learned his craft on the sets of documentaries and educational films. He made his directorial debut in 1971 with Three to Go, an effort that went largely unnoticed by audiences and critics alike. His next feature… read more
Hopkins appeared in Bruce Beresford’s Don’s Party and The Club and Peter Weir’s Gallipoli.
Updated through 5/23. "Bill Hunter, the archetypal working class Australian of a multitude of movies including the quirky trio Muriel's Wedding