The Engineer’s Room: Summer Down Under

By: Richard Kroon, Director of Engineering, EIDR

January is mid-winter in the northern hemisphere – short days and deep snow in the upper latitudes or “that time of year when it might rain for a bit” as it is known in Los Angeles – but at the other end of the world it’s mid-summer. In Australia, schools take their summer holidays from before Christmas through the end of January, so January tends to be the busiest month of the year for local travel. So, if the beaches are too crowded and it’s too hot to do anything else, where do you turn? There was a time when an air-conditioned movie theater would be one of the few places to escape the summer heat. Now, air conditioning and indoor plumbing can be found most anywhere in Australia, so you don’t have to leave the house if you want to stay cool. With the explosion of Internet streaming services, you also don’t have to give up watching movies even when you are stuck indoors. But what to watch if you’re a patriotic Aussie?

In the winter of 2018 (that is to say, this past July), tasked 51 Australian movie critics to identify the 10 best Australian movies of the century (that is, 2010 to date). To ensure equal representation and avoid coming up with a list of nothing but movies about Australian rules football, their survey included 26 men and 25 women. When the results were finally compiled, they had a list of the 25 best Australian films of the 21st century (so far).

Two directors made the list twice: Australian native Warwick Thornton’s scored third with Samson & Delilah (2009) and eighth with Sweet Country (2017); Dutch émigré Rolf de Heer earned slots at 12 with Ten Canoes (2006) and 18 with The Tracker (2002).

David Gulpilil is the only actor to make the list three times — appearing in both of Rolf de Heer’s films and in The Proposition (2005), on the list at number seven — while Nicole Kidman appears twice — in both Moulin Rouge! (2001) at number 11 and Lion (2016) at number 17.

As it turns out, Australian movie critics are not that different from regular movie critics, so their composite list of the 25 best Australian movies does not align particularly well with the list of the top 25 most popular 21st century Australian movies in Australia, as reported by Screen Australia.[1] In fact, only 8 movies make both lists and only one movie appears in the top 10 on both lists: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) – coming in at number 1 on the critics’ list and a respectable number 6 at the box office.[2]

Regardless of how you rank them, all of these movies have earned their place in the EIDR Registry.

Top Australian Critics’ Choices

Rank Film (Year) EIDR ID
1 Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) 10.5240/6781-B329-A035-E4E3-7535-M
2 Animal Kingdom (2010) 10.5240/9232-E3E8-7073-42E5-0923-9
3 Samson & Delilah (2009) 10.5240/0F1C-377A-01C5-702B-2772-5
4 Chopper (2000) 10.5240/31E9-C32F-CF93-372B-E449-1
5 Lantana (2001) 10.5240/3A1C-EC51-1FB3-BA62-92C0-M
6 The Babadook (2014) 10.5240/17B3-4D4F-9492-FE49-AC78-T
7 The Proposition (2005) 10.5240/D142-232A-603A-E5C3-8BAC-B
8 Sweet Country (2017) 10.5240/3D41-F460-59B4-CAD7-1011-V
9 Snowtown (2011) 10.5240/E761-B154-3BC9-CC4A-1F67-Z
10 Mystery Road (2011) 10.5240/E8D4-C585-45F2-4050-BA91-3
11 Moulin Rouge! (2001) 10.5240/4F43-1BB5-91C8-62A7-E46D-4
12 Ten Canoes (2006) 10.5240/0912-E918-FBBD-260E-7D0B-E
13 Look Both Ways (2005) 10.5240/B9DF-4565-6DD6-69C6-E29D-8
14 Hail (2011) 10.5240/FA96-F64E-A1D2-400D-BA54-I
15 The Dressmaker (2015) 10.5240/2E6C-B469-E290-9A78-9DD6-A
16 The Dish (2000) 10.5240/1050-AFB0-5146-8A8F-452E-N
17 Lion (2016) 10.5240/056C-37E4-A3A5-03D3-19D5-4
18 The Tracker (2002) 10.5240/9AD0-63D1-69B1-960C-3D69-U
19 Noise (2007) 10.5240/52EC-5AB4-1A08-482C-8B35-5
20 Kenny (2006) 10.5240/C653-9F32-91BE-E26A-099C-Z
21 Sherpa (2015) 10.5240/95C2-51F2-71E8-1C59-EE36-M
22 Mary and Max (2009) 10.5240/F5E7-D67C-CA81-012C-A12D-N
23 Hacksaw Ridge (2016) 10.5240/7AFC-8D28-7075-52A6-F795-2
24 Wolf Creek (2005) 10.5240/7925-0BF7-3254-A846-D6B8-O
25 Predestination (2014) 10.5240/B921-8BEF-B548-DB02-C8CF-N


Top Australian Films at the Australian Box Office
(in Australian Dollars)

Rank Film (Year) Box Office EIDR ID
1 Australia (2008) $37,555,757 10.5240/C72F-E916-6B90-2F5F-5C55-G
2 Happy Feet (2006) $31,786,164 10.5240/D700-0122-F8B6-BDA9-1CF4-H
3 Lion (2017) $29,545,626 10.5240/056C-37E4-A3A5-03D3-19D5-4
4 Moulin Rouge (2001) $27,734,406 10.5240/4F43-1BB5-91C8-62A7-E46D-4
5 The Great Gatsby (2013) $27,383,762 10.5240/4C4E-7378-CB62-461F-865F-Y
6 Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) $21,685,344 10.5240/6781-B329-A035-E4E3-7535-M
7 Red Dog (2011) $21,475,077 10.5240/3AB3-BA09-49AF-F4F8-5769-J
8 The Dressmaker (2015) $20,278,133 10.5240/2E6C-B469-E290-9A78-9DD6-A
9 The Dish (2000) $17,999,473 10.5240/1050-AFB0-5146-8A8F-452E-N
10 The Water Diviner (2014) $15,869,187 10.5240/596D-8020-5750-EC2B-D680-1
11 Mao’s Last Dancer (2009) $15,440,315 10.5240/F3C6-F62D-263C-F888-9B90-R
12 The Sapphires (2012) $14,535,031 10.5240/880B-D350-ACAD-7919-1EE5-I
13 Tomorrow, When the War Began (2010) $13,510,000 10.5240/CBEB-105F-2ABF-5AB0-D4B7-6
14 Lantana (2001) $12,286,683 10.5240/3A1C-EC51-1FB3-BA62-92C0-M
15 The Wog Boy (2000) $11,449,799 10.5240/C64C-41E3-0EF9-3D95-41E8-2
16 Oddball (2015) $11,085,092 10.5240/66D6-59D5-22D3-7C8B-4A44-3
17 Happy Feet Two (2011) $10,694,917 10.5240/96EA-866F-6F2B-017F-A958-9
18 Paper Planes (2015) $9,654,965 10.5240/C948-A39F-E692-B172-558E-5
19 Hacksaw Ridge (2016) $8,857,936 10.5240/7AFC-8D28-7075-52A6-F795-2
20 Crackerjack (2002) $8,618,107 10.5240/662D-48C8-FB1B-4D6B-08B3-9
21 The Man Who Sued God (2001) $8,546,867 10.5240/05D3-5D8C-A096-37B0-907A-W
22 Ned Kelly (2003) $8,365,984 10.5240/2E1A-0E90-FE91-2167-F389-V
23 Looking for Alibrandi (2000) $8,280,335 10.5240/7722-C194-D22A-74A1-1926-X
24 Kenny (2006) $7,778,177 10.5240/C653-9F32-91BE-E26A-099C-Z
25 Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001) $7,759,103 10.5240/AE3A-D7D7-9B19-1971-394A-M


[1] The most popular movie overall is Avatar (2009), which has earned over $115 million at the Australian box office, while the most popular Australian movie of all time is Crocodile Dundee (1986) at A$47.7 million.

[2] Moulin Rouge! comes close, earning the number 4 slot at the box office and number 11 on the critics’ list.