Australian New Wave

Australian New Wave

20 Episodes

It came from a land down under . . . From the early seventies through the mideighties, a resurgence of government funding for national film production gave birth to a generation of brave, unconventional new voices who made Australia the home to a brief but bright-burning cinematic renaissance. Among the filmmakers who emerged from this artistic flowering were pivotal figures like Peter Weir, George Miller, Gillian Armstrong, Bruce Beresford, Fred Schepisi, and Phillip Noyce, many of whom went on to successful international careers. Encompassing subversive visions of Australian history (PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK, MY BRILLIANT CAREER), a dystopian science-fiction cult classic (THE CARS THAT ATE PARIS), groundbreaking coming-of-age dramas (THE DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND, PUBERTY BLUES), and beyond, these formally bold, thematically provocative films delved into the intricacies of Australian society and identity with newfound fearlessness. Among their most urgent concerns was for the country’s relationship to and mistreatment of its Indigenous people, as seen in works like THE CHANT OF JIMMIE BLACKSMITH, WALKABOUT, STORM BOY, and THE LAST WAVE, the last three of which all star legendary Aboriginal actor David Gulpilil, who stands as one of the movement’s most enduring faces.

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Australian New Wave
  • Voices of the Australian New Wave

    Episode 1

    This short documentary contains archival interviews with David Gulpilil, Peter Weir, Gillian Armstrong, Bruce Beresford and more.

  • Walkabout

    Episode 2

    Directed by Nicolas Roeg • 1971 • Australia
    Starring Jenny Agutter, Lucien John, David Gulpilil

    A young sister and brother are abandoned in the harsh Australian outback and must learn to cope in the natural world, without their usual comforts, in this hypnotic masterpiece from Nicolas Roeg. Alon...

  • The Cars That Ate Paris

    Episode 3

    Directed by Peter Weir • 1974 • Australia

    The small town of Paris, Australia, deliberately causes car accidents, then salvages and sells all valuables from the wrecks.

  • Picnic at Hanging Rock

    Episode 4

    Directed by Peter Weir • 1975 • Australia
    Starring Rachel Roberts, Vivean Gray, Helen Morse

    This sensual and striking chronicle of a disappearance and its aftermath put director Peter Weir on the map and helped usher in a new era of Australian cinema. Based on an acclaimed 1967 novel by Joan Lin...

  • Sunday Too Far Away

    Episode 5

    Directed by Ken Hannam • 1975 • Australia
    Starring Jack Thompson, Robert Bruning, Reg Lye

    One of the first films to draw international attention to the Australian New Wave, the debut feature from director Ken Hannam is a vivid look at the experiences of men working on a sheep station in the outb...

  • The Devil’s Playground

    Episode 6

    Directed by Fred Schepisi • 1976 • Australia
    Starring Arthur Dignam, Nick Tate, Simon Burke

    Fred Schepisi’s celebrated first feature is a lushly photographed period drama detailing a young boy’s coming of age in a strict Catholic seminary in 1950s Victoria. A semiautobiographical retelling of th...

  • Storm Boy

    Episode 7

    Directed by Henri Safran • 1976 • Australia
    Starring Greg Rowe, Peter Cummins, David Gulpilil

    This deeply affecting classic of the Australian New Wave is one of the most moving films ever made about the relationship between children and animals. Cut off from the world by his reclusive father (Pe...

  • Don’s Party

    Episode 8

    Directed by Bruce Beresford • 1976 • Australia
    Starring John Hargreaves, Jeanie Drynan, Ray Barrett

    “Mr. And Mrs. Donald Henderson request your presence at a little get-together.” When you mix a left-wing teacher, a loudmouthed sex maniac, a mild-mannered accountant, a failed philosopher, a prom...

  • The Last Wave

    Episode 9

    Directed by Peter Weir • 1977 • Australia
    Starring Richard Chamberlain, Olivia Hamnett, Gulpilil

    Richard Chamberlain stars as Australian lawyer David Burton, who takes on the defense of a group of aborigines accused of killing one of their own. He suspects the victim has been killed for violatin...

  • The Getting of Wisdom

    Episode 10

    Directed by Bruce Beresford • 1977 • Australia
    Starring Susannah Fowle, Hilary Ryan, John Waters

    Told with a delicate blend of satire and nostalgia, this award-winning coming-of-age tale introduces one of Australian literature’s most beloved characters, Laura Tweedle Rambothan (Susannah Fowle), ...

  • Newsfront
    1:46:22
    Episode 11

    Newsfront

    Episode 11

    Directed by Phillip Noyce • 1978 • Australia
    Starring Bill Hunter, Wendy Hughes, Chris Haywood

    This sweeping look at Australian social change traces nearly a decade of upheaval from the late forties through the midfifties, as experienced by two daredevil newsreel cameramen and brothers (Bill Hun...

  • Long Weekend

    Episode 12

    Directed by Colin Eggleston • 1978 • Australia
    Starring John Hargreaves, Briony Behets

    Nature fights back in a tense, terrifying Ozploitation classic with an urgent ecological message. Attempting to resurrect their failing marriage, Peter (John Hargreaves) and Marcia (Briony Behets) set out on a...

  • The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

    Episode 13

    Directed by Fred Schepisi • 1978 • Australia
    Starring Tommy Lewis, Freddy Reynolds, Ray Barrett

    One of the most powerful films to address Australia’s history of racism and exploitation of its Indigenous people, Fred Schepisi’s acclaimed adaptation of the novel by Thomas Keneally follows the down...

  • Money Movers

    Episode 14

    Directed by Bruce Beresford • 1978 • Australia
    Starring Terence Donovan, Tony Bonner, Ed Devereaux

    Directed with lean, mean efficiency by Bruce Beresford, this gritty crime thriller centers on an armored-car company that has become the target of repeated heists. As company leadership begins enfo...

  • The Plumber

    Episode 15

    Directed by Peter Weir • 1979 • Australia

    A mysterious tradesman (Ivar Kants) shows up unbidden at the home of an academic couple (Judy Morris, Robert Colby) and proceeds over the next few days to disassemble their bathroom and related fixtures. The wife seems particularly disturbed by the man's...

  • My Brilliant Career

    Episode 16

    Directed by Gillian Armstrong • 1979 • Australia
    Starring Judy Davis, Sam Neill

    For her award-winning breakthrough film, director Gillian Armstrong drew on teenage author Miles Franklin’s novel, a celebrated turn-of-the-twentieth-century Australian coming-of-age story, to brashly upend the co...

  • Breaker Morant

    Episode 17

    Directed by Bruce Beresford • 1980 • Australia
    Starring Edward Woodward, Jack Thompson, John Waters

    At the turn of the twentieth century, three Australian army lieutenants are court-martialed for alleged war crimes committed while fighting in South Africa. With no time to prepare, an Australian ...

  • Gallipoli
    1:51:35
    Episode 18

    Gallipoli

    Episode 18

    Directed by Peter Weir • 1981 • Australia
    Starring Mel Gibson, Mark Lee, Bill Kerr

    Director Peter Weir captures a decisive moment in Australian history in one of the most shattering antiwar films ever made. Opening in Western Australia in 1915, GALLIPOLI follows Archy Hamilton (Mark Lee) and Fra...

  • Puberty Blues

    Episode 19

    Directed by Bruce Beresford • 1981 • Australia
    Starring Nell Schofield, Jad Capelja, Jeffrey Rhoe

    Adapted from the popular novel by Gabrielle Carey and Kathy Lette, this Australian coming-of-age classic is a frankly realistic look at the experiences of two teenage girls growing up in early 1980s...

  • Starstruck

    Episode 20

    Directed by Gillian Armstrong • 1982 • Australia
    Starring Joey Kennedy, Ross O'Donovan, Margo Lee

    For the follow-up to her acclaimed first feature, MY BRILLIANT CAREER, Australian New Wave leader Gillian Armstrong turned to a very different type of project: a gloriously over-the-top, shiny pop m...