War movies are great. They’re vivid, gruesome, rammed with action and full of heroics. These are all great traits when it comes to the movies, it’s what we expect from most of the biggest blockbusters out there. That being said none of these things are what make war movies so special. A good war movie should play like a piece of history. It should remind us of exactly what the men and women that lived through each of these hard and horrific affairs went through. Not just the bad but the good too. When done correctly a war movie should move, teach and remind us of their plights so we can honour those people and never forget their journeys. There are plenty of great war movies out there that do just this and you’ll be glad to know that there are also some excellent flicks that cover Australian forces too. The following films are some of the best examples of those for you to enjoy.
Release – 1981
This deeply moving film is often the first film anyone will mention if you ask them what the best Australian war movies are. Gallipoli is directed by Peter Weir andstars Mel Gibson and Mark Lee who play two young and talented sprinters from Australia. As the first world war breaks out, they are filled with a sense of duty and wish to do their bit for the country, however when they enrol, they are rejected due to their young age. Undeterred by this roadblock they hop on a freight train and head straight to Perth, here their age won’t stop them from joining and it isn’t long until they board a troop ship all the way to Cairo for their training. Once completed they finally reach the front lines, they’re soon noticed for their speed and it’s here that they get picked as messengers in one of the wars bloodiest battles, the tragic charge at the Nek.
Beneath Hill 60
Release – 2010
Here’s another film set during the first world war, though this less a coming of age story and more a film about the tactics of the war. Beneath Hill 60is based on Captain Oliver Woodward’s account of the 1st Australian Tunnelling Company’s efforts on the Western front. The soldiers of the regiment were untrained and sent on a mission to mine tunnels beneath Hill 60 in Ypres Salient. They did this in order to lay explosives below the German lines in order the advancement of the British troops. The bombs themselves were absolutely huge, in fact if you read and history book on the subject it’ll tell you that these mines were actually some of the biggest non-nuclear artificial explosions to ever impact the earths soil, there are actually craters you can still visit there that give you an idea of how much damage their explosions really caused.