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The 20 best Australian movies to stream
Aussie films can be hard to find on streaming services, so here's a list of the best ones available.
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Australian cinema has never quite hit the heights of Hollywood, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of great Aussie flicks to watch. The catch is that it can be rather challenging to get a hold of them on the country's leading streaming services.
That's why we've collected a list of the 20 best Australian films that you can stream on services available Down Under, from Netflix and Stan to Foxtel Now, Prime Video and SBS On Demand. Without further ado, get the popcorn ready and settle in for a rewarding marathon.
1. Red Dog
Cast: Josh Lucas, Rachael Taylor, Rohan Nichol, Luke Ford
Winner of the AACTA award for Best Film and AFI Member's Choice Award, Red Dog is the perfect example of a great Australian movie – and an instant classic. The red cloud kelpie played by Koko is a character fitting of the title of man's best friend. After all, he united a disparate local community while roaming the Australian outback in search of his long lost master. If you're in the mood for an emotional watch, you're in the right place.
2. Mad Max
Cast: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley
1979's Mad Max is set in a post-apocalyptic world where civilisation has descended into utter chaos. Officer Max, after having a horrific experience with a gang that emerged from the rubble, makes it his mission to seek vengeance. The film and its cast won eight awards from both AFI and Avoriaz. Buckle in for a memorable ride.
3. Mad Max: Fury Road
Cast: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult
Important alliances are formed in an immoral, war-ravaged society that has not been able to recover from complete collapse. The film is the fourth instalment in the Mad Max franchise, winning 238 awards, including six Oscars. More importantly, it's exhilarating, bonkers and totally worth the hype.
4. Happy Feet
Cast: Elijah Wood, Brittany Murphy, Hugh Jackman
While emperor penguin Mumble's singing ability may be subpar to his vocally gifted colony, his tap dancing talent helps him shine in the Antarctic. Happy Feet won 19 awards, including one Oscar and one Golden Globe. It's a fun watch for the little ones, while having plenty to offer viewers of all ages. You'll be thoroughly entertained.
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Shea Adams
Set in northern Australia before World War II, this lavish movie follows an English aristocrat who inherits a sprawling ranch and reluctantly pacts with a stockman in order to protect her new property. Epic and visually stunning, Australia was made to impress. It's safe to say it succeeds, and then some.
6. Paper Planes
Cast: Sam Worthington, David Wenham, Deborah Mailman, Ed Oxenbould
Distraught by his mother's sudden death after a devastating car crash, young Dylan turns to making paper planes after he discovers the skill is an inherited ability. While there are a few setbacks on the way, Dylan is persistent and his ability improves to reach national levels. An old-fashioned and heartwarming family film, Paper Planes remains a delight both kids and adults can enjoy.
7. Mao's Last Dancer
Cast: Chi Cao, Bruce Greenwood, Kyle MacLachlan
An autobiography on the life of Li Cunxin, Mao's Last Dancer is set in rural China during the cultural revolution. As an 11-year-old, Li is selected to leave his impoverished hometown to travel to Beijing for years of training to become a world-esteemed ballet dancer. The rest, as they say, is history. If you're craving a sentimental biopic, this one does the trick.
Cast: Shane Jacobson, Travis Golland, Chris Davis, Alf Scerri
This Australian mockumentary follows the fictional life of plumber Kenny, who works for a portable toilet organisation. As The Guardian describes it, "Kenny is stocked-up with an arsenal of true-blue expressions and one-liners." Hilarious. Not convinced yet? The movie has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Watch it immediately.
Cast: Shane Jacobson, Coco Jack Gillies, Sarah Snook, Alan Tudyk
Based on true events, Oddball is a magical adventure surrounding the dwindling fairy penguin (or "little penguin") population on Middle Island. Trained by a chicken farmer and his granddaughter, mischievous family dog Oddball helps protect the island from the foxes threatening the endangered penguins. Fun for the entire family!
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes, Hugo Weaving
Matthew and Catherine pick up all of their belongings and move out of a large town and into the Australian Outback. Everything is turned upside down when their son and daughter go missing, dredging up rumours of the family's troubled past. With a tremendous cast and wonderful landscapes, Strangerland is eerie and engrossing. All the more reason to tune in.
11. Oranges and Sunshine
Cast: Emily Watson, Aisling Loftus, Stuart Wolfenden
Oranges and Sunshine follows the factual story of a Nottingham-based social worker Margaret Humphreys, who exposes the organised covert deportations of British children to Australia. Humphrey learns of youngsters-turned-labourers enduring lifetimes of slavery and abuse. She persists to reunite adult children with their long-lost parents in the UK. As you might have guessed, it's a gut-wrenching flick, but one definitely worthy of your attention.
12. Wolf Creek
Cast: Nathan Phillips, Cassandra Magrath, Kestie Morassi
Three backpackers stranded in the Australian outback are plunged in a hellish nightmare of insufferable torture by a sadistic psychopathic local. If you're a horror fan, Wolf Creek should go to the top of your watchlist. It's bold, shocking and gruesome. Once you're done, you might want to check out the Stan original series as well.
13. Muriel's Wedding
Cast: Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths, Bill Hunter
Although she's never had a date, a young woman goes about the business of landing herself a husband. That's the basic premise behind this beloved rom-com, which is perfect to watch after a particularly long day. Filled with compassion, humour and oddball characters, it will make you feel good in no time.
14. The Hunter
Cast: Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill, Morgan Davies
Employed by the shady biotech corporation Red Leaf, a mercenary hunter is tasked with finding the almost-extinct Tasmanian Tiger population and wiping it out so that no other competing organisation can get its hands on the precious DNA. The movie is based on the 1999 novel of the same name by Julia Leigh and does the source material justice, featuring a tremendous performance from Willem Dafoe.
15. The Nightingale
Cast: Aisling Franciosi, Sam Claflin, Michael Sheasby
A period drama that's often tough to watch, The Nightingale is a meditation on the horrors of Australian colonisation. The story follows a young Irish convict who chases a British officer through the rugged Tasmanian wilderness, bent on revenge. Raw and powerful, it will stay with you long after the end credits roll.
16. True History of the Kelly Gang
Cast: George MacKay, Essie Davis, Nicholas Hoult, Ben Corbett
True History of the Kelly Gang is an exploration of Australian bushranger Ned Kelly and his gang as they attempt to evade authorities during the 1870s. Bloody, gritty and boasting unexpected depth, the movie benefits from sharp writing and a talented ensemble cast. The direction is also very polished, so we recommend you enjoy this on a bigger screen.
17. Little Monsters
Cast: Lupita Nyong'o, Alexander England, Kat Stewart, Diesel La Torraca
An international co-production from Australia, the UK and the US, Little Monsters isn't your typical zombie adventure, proving there's still room for fresh takes on the genre. The movie centres on a washed-up musician who teams up with a teacher and a kids' show personality to protect young children from a sudden outbreak of zombies, to hilarious results. The movie is wholesome and has a great cast, with Lupita Nyong'o in great form. Prepare to laugh out loud.
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18. I Am Mother
Cast: Rose Byrne, Hilary Swank, Clara Rugaard
This suspenseful sci-fi thriller revolves around a teenage girl who is being raised by a robot designed to repopulate Earth. However, their bond is tested when a stranger arrives with alarming news. Featuring both an exciting plot and thoughtful social commentary, I Am Mother will give you plenty to think about.
Cast: Martin Freeman, Simone Landers, Anthony Hayes, Susie Porter
An Aussie post-apocalyptic horror drama? Yes, please! Cargo follows an infected father stranded in rural Australia in the aftermath of a violent pandemic, who struggles to protect his infant son. It’s more character-driven, but it’s still riveting enough to keep the audience engaged and on the edge of their seats.
20. Ride Like a Girl
Cast: Teresa Palmer, Sam Neill, Sullivan Stapleton, Brooke Satchwell
Ride Like a Girl tells the true, inspirational story of Michelle Payne, the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup despite facing odds of 100 to 1. A sports movie for the ages, it’s heartwarming and well-acted, making for a memorable viewing experience.
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