1. Gallipoli (1981)
This is an iconic Aussie movie for two reasons – the story is about a dramatic and well documented battle in Australian military history, and it was one of Mel Gibson’s early Australian movies that made him a major force in Hollywood.
2. The Man from Snowy River (1982)
One of the most iconic of all Australian movies, based on a beloved and much quoted poem by Andrew ‘Banjo’ Patterson. It introduced Sigrid Thornton, who was famously described by Steven Spielberg as having the ‘most beautiful face he had ever seen.’
3. BMX Bandits (1983)
An icon of the Australian film industry because it was the movie debut of a certain Aussie redhead who has remained a luminous fixture in the Hollywood firmament – Nicole Kidman.
4. Crocodile Dundee (1985)
Starred Paul Hogan as an outback croc hunter, dealing with New York foibles such as knife wielding punks, transvestites, pimps and hot dogs.
He embodied everything the world wanted to believe about Australia, even as other rising stars and iconic movies were doing their best to change perceptions.
5. For Love Alone (1986)
This Australian movie was showered with nominations at the Australian Film Industry (AFI) awards and didn’t win one of them.
It died at the box office, but at three of the actors never looked back – Sam Neill, Naomi Watts and Hugo Weaving went on to become international stars in movies like Jurassic Park, King Kong and Matrix.
6. Muriel’s Wedding (1994)
Audiences and critics alike fell in love with Toni Collette, who would go on to build a huge international career, while her co-star, Rachel Griffiths also made a respectable career in movies and on TV.
7. The Sum of Us (1994)
The unstoppable force that is Russell Crowe had to start somewhere, and long before Gladiator, he starred in this iconic Australian film starring Jack Thompson and Crowe as Harry, a widowed father and his gay son Jeff, both looking for love and happiness.
8. Shine (1996)
This is where it all began – Captain Barbossa, Lionel Logue, Sir Francis Walsingham, Peter Sellers, the Marquise de Sade – all those iconic roles played by the gifted stage actor Geoffrey Rush.
The exuberance of his performance as eccentric pianist David Helgott won him the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1997.
9. Oscar and Lucinda (1997)
This remarkable movie starred one of the most widely admired women in the film industry – Cate Blanchett, who went on to play Queen Elizabeth I and elf queen Galadriel in Lord of the Rings.
10. Two Hands (1999)
That disarming smile, the smoldering screen presence – Australians knew they couldn’t keep Heath Ledger to themselves for long. Soon after making Two Hands he set off for the USA to make 10 Things I Hate About You and became an international star.
His death robbed the cinema of one of its greatest actors.