Australian director Baz Luhrmann has come back to prominence with the release of elvis his sprawling and epic biopic of Elvis Presley, one of rock music’s giants. While Luhrmann is arguably the most prominent Australian director working today, the success of his most recent film is a timely reminder that the land Down Under has been responsible for many strong films over the decades, albeit often flying under the radar.

Luckily, Reddit users have helpfully identified a number of the best Australian films that should be deemed necessary for those who want to appreciate this country and its native cinema.


The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

Stream on Philo

The Adventures of the Desert Queen Priscilla

Since its release in 1994 The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is considered one of the best LGBTQ+ movies. Focusing on a trans woman and two drag queens traveling through the outback, it’s a film that’s both very moving and very funny, thanks in no small part to the chemistry between its leads: Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce.

It’s no surprise, then, that it’s garnered praise from Reddit users, including Kilordes, who called it “an incredible, hilarious, and heartwarming film.”

Strictly Ballroom (1992)

Stream on FuboTV

Baz Luhrmann was of course responsible for many great films, including is Ballroom only. It focuses on a young dancer who struggles with the limits of his style and decides to go his own way, no matter what the consequences.

It demonstrates Luhrmann’s distinctive visual style and thematic interests typical of many of his films. It’s also one that has emotionally connected many viewers, such as B. youngatbegold, who writes: “Ballroom only is the one I feel the most emotional connection to. I’ve seen this movie more times than I can count.”

Mad Max (1979)

Stream on Prime Video

That’s not surprising crazy max would appear on the list of great Australian films considering how the film spawned a very successful media franchise. However, there is no denying that it was the original film that helped set the stage for its eventual success by focusing on Mel Gibson’s Max, a man trying to survive in a turbulent and dangerous post-apocalyptic world .

CatalyticDragon calls it one of the “truly unique and wonderful films in the country worthy of your time”.

Razorback (1984)

Not available for streaming

The giant boar looking through a car window at a victim in Razorback

There have been many notable feature films about creatures in which malevolent creatures decide to wreak havoc on humans. Australia is no stranger to this film phenomenon, and razor is one of his most notable contributions to the genre. While there are times when the acting is a bit stilted, there’s no question that the film is still quite a chilling proposition, thanks in no small part to its sinister cinematography.

Swamp_roo particularly likes the film and writes, “I bought it razor on blu ray it is amazing. There are some spooky images and the dense fog with harsh pastel lights adds to the atmosphere. I love it lol.”

The Castle (1997)

Not available for streaming

Still from The Castle 1997

The castle is widely regarded, particularly in Australia, as one of the finest films the country has ever produced. The focus is on a family whose house is threatened by property developers.

It’s an eccentric film for sure, but also one that aims to both make the viewer laugh and feel good about the world and the characters. It made quite an impression on IllIIllllIIIlI, who writes, “I just finished watching it and loved it. I’m not usually into feel-good movies, but The castle made me smile like an idiot the whole time.”

News Front (1978)

Watch On Tubi

news site is remarkable for several reasons. In particular, it’s the sort of Australian film that serves as a useful introduction to a key point in the country’s history, focusing on a pair of brothers struggling with the various changes sweeping through the middle of the century.

QLE814 says: “news site is an offbeat one that I really enjoyed, although I’m not sure how familiar it would be to anyone who didn’t see IFC in the early 2000s.” Given its added focus on the advent of television, it’s a film that does international audience rewarded.

Muriel’s Wedding (1995)

Stream on Prime Video

Toni Collette in Muriel's Wedding (1994)

Widely regarded as one of Australia’s finest actresses, Toni Collette has acted in many great films. Muriel’s wedding is arguably one of her best, as it allows her to showcase her impressive comedic talents as the title character, a clumsy woman who moves to Sydney to seek a more glamorous life.

It’s the kind of movie full of humor and joy, thanks in no small part to Collette himself. As MSeanF says, “Muriel’s wedding is a whimsical delight.”

Waking Up in Terror (1971)

Stream on the Roku Channel

Donald Pleasence and Gary Bond in Wake in Fright (1971)

Wake up in shock is one of the most striking and disturbing films to come out of Australian cinema. Focusing on a young schoolteacher whose brief stint in a remote outback town leads to his steady degeneration, the film is a film destined to evoke a disturbing reaction from viewers, especially given its decided focus on his increasingly twisted psychology.

As JolinarOfMakshur puts it: “Wake up in shock is a great Australian psychological thriller.” It’s the kind of film that sticks with viewers long after it’s finished.

Crocodile Dundee (1986)

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Paul Hogan, Crocodile Dundee

Crocodile Dundee is considered one of the best comedies of the 1980s, and it’s easy to see why. With its light mix of adventure and comedy – as well as the performance of Paul Hogan – it manages to make the most of its fish-on-the-water premise.

It was to be a film that managed to impress audiences not only in Australia but also in various other countries. It is therefore fitting that GratefullyGodless calls it: ‘a classic of Australian cinema’.

The Strange Angry Shot (1979)

Not available for streaming

A group of men walking in The Odd Angry Shot

Of course there were a lot of great war movies, and The Strange Angry Shot deserves to be considered one of the best the genre has to offer. While most war films depict the horrors of battle – especially those that focus on the Vietnam War – this one takes a different tack, focusing mostly on the activities of the soldiers in their camp.

Lithos21 particularly praises the film and writes: “The Strange Angry Shot is one of the best, if not the best, film about the Vietnam War.” It manages to capture some of the difficulties inherent in the war.

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