Australian cinema has a long and colourful history. From its beginnings in the early 20th century, the lovable larrikins and curious characters of Aussie film have delivered some iconic quotes. We dig into the archives to find the films behind some of our favourites.
The Castle (1997) dir. Rob Sitch
‘This is going straight to the pool room’
Arguably the most quotable film in Australian cinematic history, The Castle is the David and Goliath tale that sees the Kerrigan’s take on property developers who want their home. Quintessentially Australian, it brings to life the modest reality of working class life.
Whether you’re sending it straight to the pool room, going to Bonnie Doon or trying to win a court case based on ‘the vibe’, The Castle is wall-to-wall quality quotes. It’s no surprise that the Kerrigan family became the picture of true blue Australia. And if anyone disagrees, just tell ‘em they’re dreaming.
Crocodile Dundee (1986) dir. Peter Faiman
‘That’s not a knife… that’s a knife’
Despite the fact it’s responsible for some of the more questionable stereotypes of Australian culture, there’s no doubting Crocodile Dundee’s place in this list. The film brought Australia to American audiences and did so with great success. So well, in fact, it became the second highest grossing film released in the States that year.
Although some of the language and attitudes of the film fall slightly flat with contemporary audiences, there’s no denying that ‘That’s not a knife… that’s a knife’ is one of the most iconic quotes of Australian cinema. It’s been satirised and spoofed and become part of pop culture folklore.
Muriel’s Wedding (1994) dir. P.J. Hogan
‘You’re terrible, Muriel’
ABBA obsessed and desperate to have the wedding of her dreams, socially awkward Muriel is on a mission to improve her life. Growing up in the fictional seaside town of Porpoise Spit, she’s ridiculed by her emotionally abusive father and steals his money to move to Sydney.
Much like The Castle, Muriel’s Wedding paints a picture of the complexities of suburban Australia. Despite her efforts to prove herself, there’s no escaping those three familiar words: ‘you’re terrible, Muriel’.
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) dir. Stephan Elliott
‘How many times do I have to tell you? Green is not your colour!”
Now a hugely successful musical, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert was streets ahead of its time. It tracks the journey of two drag queens and a transgender woman across outback Australia and brought LGBTQI themes into the mainstream.
It’s chock-full of soul and feisty one-liners as the trio challenge stereotypes and attitudes of rural Australia. If you ask us, a cock in a frock on a rock is just what this country needs.
Words by Bonnie Parker