1981 | War | 111 minutes | English
Archy and Frank are young, penniless Australians who decide to hop a freight train and join the Australian army. Australia is part of the British Empire that is in the midst of fighting Germany and the Ottoman Empire in World War I. Frank and Archy end up together and are sent to the Gallipoli peninsula as infantrymen. The aim of the battle is to defeat the Turkish troops and capture the vital port of Constantinople. Frank is recruited to be a messenger when phone communications break down. The dug-in Turks have the high ground and are able to wreak havoc on the British and Australian troops below. Major Barton wants to halt the attack and prevent what he fears will be a slaughter. But he is erroneously told that, in fact, the attack was partially successful. Colonel Robinson, in a fatal decision, orders the attack to continue. Frank sprints back and informs Barton to continue attacking. Archy and Frank now are part of the attack. The British and Australian troops are being mowed down by the well-entrenched Turks. Historians would list this battle as one of the greatest tragedies in military combat.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 91%
- Metacritic Score: 65
Australian Film Institute Awards: Winner, Best Film; Best Direction (Peter Weir); Best Screenplay (David Williamson); Best Actor (Mel Gibson)
Golden Globe Awards: Nominated, Best FilmNational Board of Review: Listed, Top Ten Films of the Year
Venice Film Festival: Nominated, Golden Lion Award
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GALLIPOLI richly deserves its place at the top.
Against a backdrop broader than his previous outings, Weir has fashioned what is virtually an intimate epic. A very big big picture by Aussie standards, the film is all the same a finely-considered story focusing closely on the relationship that builds between Frank and Archy and how it is affected by events on the battlefield of Gallipoli.
Director Peter Weir’s work has a delicacy, gentleness, even wispiness that would seem not well suited to the subject. And yet his film has an uncommon beauty, warmth and immediacy, and a touch of the mysterious, too.
Not always easy to watch, GALLIPOLI is both a fitting testimony to the courage of the thousands of Australians and New Zealanders who died fighting for their country and one of the most powerful cinematic examinations of the futility and tragic cost of war.
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