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The Best Films Made in Melbourne

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by Paul Bonadio (subscribe)
Portfolio -
Published May 9th 2012
Melbourne isn't exactly Hollywood. We don't have the sets, stars or a huge white row of letters overlooking the city. Still, did you know that our humble town produced the world's first full length feature? Yep, that's right (feel free to take note Trivial Pursuit enthusiasts and random fact collectors).

The Story of The Kelly Gang (1906) ran for just over 70 minutes and pulled in over 25,000 pounds. Shot in Heidelberg, it told the story of Ned Kelly's death and the downfall of his infamous gang. In addition to being wildly successful, the movie also spawned a series of violent acts after its release, including five overenthusiastic kids breaking into a photographic studio and holding several children at gunpoint (yikes).

Given that we produced this landmark in world cinema, it seems only right that we have a look at other successful films made in Melbourne. Due to popular demand - well, it's my own preference, actually - Ghost Rider (2007) has not been included on this list. Feel free to file your complaints in the comments section below.

The Castle (1997)

Has any other film depicted the lives of Aussie battlers as accurately or as humorously as The Castle? Telling the tale of Darryl Kerrigan and his efforts to save his 'castle', the film explores the great Australian dream of owning a home and takes a subtle poke at the uneasy relationship between our government and the people it leads.

What do you call this, love? Credit: DBillings (wikimedia commons)

Shoot locations: Strathmore, Melbourne Airport, Essendon Airport, Brunswick, Queens Street, Supreme Court of Victoria.
Best line: "Dale dug a hole. Tell 'em Dale."

Mad Max (1979)

Mad Max is our finest action flick, a film that launched the careers of Mel Gibson and director George Miller (heck, it even got Steve Bisely a gig on Water Rats). Set in a future Australian society bathed in dust and unlawfulness, it focuses on central character Max Rockatansky taking revenge on the gang that slaughtered his family.

Mel Gibson before he went a lil whacky. Credit: BelovedFreak (wikimedia commons)

Shoot locations: Little River
Best line: "I think we've got some hoon trouble"

On The Beach (1959)

By far the greatest lineup of actors to star in a film made in Melbourne and most likely Australia. Take a glimpse at the following; Gregory Peck (To Kill A Mockingbird), Ava Gardner (The Killers), Fred Astaire (Broadway extraordinaire) and Anthony Perkins (Pyscho). It was also directed by Stanley Kramer (It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World).

On The Beach - an outstanding cast. Credit: Andrzejbanas (wikimedia)

Based on a book of the same name, it sees Australia as one of the few inhabitable areas following World War 3 nuclear destruction.

Shoot locations: Cowes (Phillip Island), Berwick, Frankston.
Best line: "I'm not against wishful thinking. Not now"

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)

Based on a true story, the film reveals the story of Jimmie Blacksmith, a part European, part Aboriginal man who kills a family of farmers over a wage dispute. Groundbreaking and still violently shocking today, it was the first movie told from an Aboriginal perspective and is considered one of our most culturally important films.

Shoot locations: Melbourne
Best line: "You think it might only take a long time to decide to kill someone, believe me, it only takes a second."

Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001)

Daring, inventive and ingenious… nah, just kidding.

Know of any other flicks filmed in Melbourne that should've made the list? Feel free to comment below.
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Why? Because Melbourne is much more than those empty film studios in the Docklands
Your Comment
Yes 'Malcolm' is one of the most famous where you can see many of the sites of the city of Melbourne. And it has a major scene with a tram that breaks in two. Also of later 'The Cup' obviously considering it is about the Melbourne Cup winner and jockey - I was an extra in it. There are so many more others too.
by Leanne Sampson-Bowden (score: 2|133) 2075 days ago
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