Five great war movies

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Everyone likes to commemorate ANZAC Day in a different way. If yours is enjoying a good war movie, then here are five that you may have seen, but want to rewatch this weekend.


In this 1981 tale of the fateful battle of Gallipoli in WWI, Mel Gibson delivers a truly magnificent performance. It’s a story of adventure and friendship between two Australian soldiers as they cross continents and oceans to join their regiment on the Turkish battleline. Director Peter Weir blends history and mateship in this movie of the legendary WWI confrontation.



Set on Papua New Ginuea’s famous and lethal track, Kokoda tells the story of a group of young, ill-equipped Australians sent to stop the ruthless and violent Japanese from taking Port Moresby, on the way to invading Australia.

Often brutal and confronting, you’re given a taste of how difficult it was for these Australian troops, cut off from their supply lines and communication. Not prepared for the harsh jungle climate, the group bond together, with allegiances formed, and strengths and weaknesses highlighted. Based on a true story, this tale of friendship in adversity shows true Aussie spirit.

Beneath Hill 60

A modern-day Australian war movie, Beneath Hill 60 is set in 1916 and is based on the true story of Oliver Woodward, who must leave behind his new young love to fight amongst the carnage of the Western Front. Woodward and his fellow tunnellers must defend a tunnel system packed with enough explosive and ammunition to change the course of WWI.

Breaker Morant

This classic Australian tale of injustice and the horror of war has become one of the most acclaimed Australian movies ever made. Telling the true story of Lieutenant Harry Morrant, the man they call ‘The Breaker’, who was sent on an ill-fated mission to fight the Boer on its terms. Directed by Bruce Beresford and starring Jack Thompson, Bryan Brown, Edward Woodward and John Waters, this truly is an iconic Australian war movie.

Paradise Road

Another Bruce Beresford movie, but this time focusing on a group of Dutch, American, English and Australian women who are imprisoned by the Japanese in Sumatra during World War II. Starring Glenn Close, Francis McDormond, Cate Blanchett and Pauline Collins, the film is based on real events and focusses on the women’s ability to survive hardship and atrocity through perseverance, solidarity and creativity.

Written by Debbie McTaggart


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