5.0 2
Director: Peter Weir

Cast: Mel Gibson, Mark Lee, Harold Hopkins


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The first of two consecutive films to see director Peter Weir team with Mel Gibson (the other being The Year of Living Dangerously), Gallipoli follows two idealistic young friends, Frank (Gibson) and Archy (Mark Lee), who join the Australian army during World War I and fight the doomed Battle of Gallipoli in Turkey. The first half of the film documentsSee more details below


The first of two consecutive films to see director Peter Weir team with Mel Gibson (the other being The Year of Living Dangerously), Gallipoli follows two idealistic young friends, Frank (Gibson) and Archy (Mark Lee), who join the Australian army during World War I and fight the doomed Battle of Gallipoli in Turkey. The first half of the film documents the lives of the young men in Australia, detailing their personalities and beliefs. The second half of the movie chronicles the ill-fated and ill-planned battle, where the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps is hopelessly outmatched by the enemy forces. Gallipoli was the recipient of eight prizes at the 1981 Australian Film Institute Awards.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
This ambitious 1981 Australian epic boosted the international stock of leading man Mel Gibson -- already a cult favorite as a result of his work in Mad Max (1979) -- and helped make him a legitimate movie star. An intelligently written, finely calibrated story focusing on the relationship of two men enveloped by war, it also tagged director Peter Weir (Witness) as a filmmaker to be reckoned with. The 1915 Battle of Gallipoli, a signal event in the first World War, is to Australians what the siege of the Alamo is to Americans: a heartbreaking defeat rationalized over the years into a tremendous moral victory. It began when a modest army of Australian and New Zealand troops attempted to capture Istanbul and thus control the Dardanelles waterway. When Allied generals bungled the assault, the defending Turks rallied and subsequently inflicted heavy losses on the would-be invaders. In this movie, Weir more than adequately covers the historical record, but he never allows the siege to overwhelm the story of Frank Dunne (Gibson) and Archy Hamilton (Mark Lee), whose unlikely friendship is forged on the battlefield in the midst of bitter fighting and much bloodshed. The conflict is dramatized in Weir’s skillful depiction of battle scenes but also on a more intimate scale, seen through the eyes of the men embroiled in it. Gibson, playing the up-and-coming track star who abandons a promising career to enlist in the Australian Army Corps, exhibits a sensitivity that at this time had not yet been manifest in his acting. He makes Frank thoroughly believable, helping turn what might have been a routine war movie into a profoundly moving drama. In this he admirably serves Weir’s vision, which encompasses the human aspects of the war as well as the “big picture” details of the siege itself. Gallipoli triumphs at several levels, but its greatest accomplishment was establishing Gibson as a serious leading man, and it remains one of his finest motion pictures.
All Movie Guide
Full of unforgettable imagery and stirring adventure, Gallipoli is both one of the cinema's best anti-war tracts and a poignant meditation on the nature of friendship. Beneath the film's war-is-hell message lies the simple tale of a young man who yearns to break away from the isolated life he has known since birth. A golden-skinned athlete, he radiates promise and naivete, and he symbolizes the generation lost to World War I. But wisely, director Peter Weir refrains from exploiting such symbolism to its treacly maximum. Instead, he makes Mark Lee's Archy a foil for Mel Gibson's more ironic, world-weary Frank, using them to fashion a parable about the loss of innocence and the vindication of cynicism. Some of the film's most stunning aspects lie in its images. Weir's landscapes appear simultaneously stark and lush, with the blinding sands of the Australian outback underscoring both geographical and existential isolation; the chaotic, lively setting of the film's battles makes the specter of death even more surreal and terrible. Perhaps the film's most striking image is that of Australian soldiers swimming underwater during a daytime air attack; the sight of their nude bodies silently thrashing through reddening water is one of troubling beauty. Preferring to take a somber rather than accusatory standpoint on the battle of Gallipoli, the film nonetheless manages to be a profound indictment of the stupidity and misjudgment that defined the catastrophic battle. Taken with its compelling portrait of the friendship of its two leads, Gallipoli makes its subject a highly personal one, giving a human face to the statistical cost of human failings.

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Product Details

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Special Features

Closed Caption; Entrenched: The Making of Gallipoli - 6 documentaries; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Mel Gibson Frank Dunne
Mark Lee Archy
Harold Hopkins Les McCann
Ronny Graham Wallace Hamilton
Stan Green Sgt. Major
Robert Grubb Billy
Heath Harris Stockman
Graham Dow Gen. Gardner
David Argue Snowy
Bill Hunter Maj. Barton
Bill Kerr Jack
Jenny Lovell Waitress
Tim McKenzie Barney
John Morris Col. Robinson
Gerda Nicolson Rose Hamilton
Paul Sonkkila Sniper
Max Wearing Col. White
Charles Yunupingu Zac
Harold Baigent Camel Driver
Reg Evans Official
Jack Giddy Official
Dane Peterson Announcer
Paul Linkson Recruiting Officer
Steve Dodd Billy Snakeskin
Phyllis Burford Laura
John Murphy Dan Dunne
Peter Ford Lieutenant Gray
Geoff Parry Sgt. Sayers
Moshe Kedem Egyptian Shopkeeper
Don Barker N.C.O. at Ball
Brian Anderson Railway Foreman

Technical Credits
Peter Weir Director,Original Story,Screenwriter
William M. Anderson Editor
Su Armstrong Production Manager
Alison Barrett Casting
Russell Boyd Cinematographer
Steven Richard Courtley Special Effects
Mark Egerton Asst. Director
Mont Fieguth Special Effects
Ben Gannon Producer
Patricia Lovell Producer
Judy Lovell Makeup
Brian May Score Composer
Chris Murray Special Effects
Francis O'Brien Executive Producer
Herbert Pinter Art Director
Terry Ryan Costumes/Costume Designer
John Seale Camera Operator
Robert Stigwood Producer
Wendy Stites Production Designer
Wendy Weir Production Designer
David Williamson Screenwriter

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Gallipoli
1. As Fast as a Leopard [2:12]
2. The Distant War [7:35]
3. The Late Entry [:27]
4. Not Coming Home [7:22]
5. Journey to Perth [:33]
6. The Light Horse [4:37]
7. The Infantry [3:49]
8. Foreign Exchange [1:02]
9. Mates [6:56]
10. Front Lines [6:11]
11. A Blind Eye [2:02]
12. The Runner [7:17]
13. Push On [1:12]
14. The Final Race [5:45]
15. End Credits [1:53]


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