There’s no better way to get a taste for Australia right now, than to watch Australian movies online.
While we’re mostly stuck in the US (and other countries around the world) as the COVID-19 pandemic rages, armchair travel is the most many of us can hope for.
Watch Australian movies online
So whether you’re dreaming of a trip to the land downunder, or an Aussie, expat wanting a hit of nostalgia, this list will hopefully keep you happy.
After I began writing about Australian TV shows that you can watch from the US, I realised that list was becoming a bit of a monstrosity. It turns out we’ve created a lot of TV and haven’t had problems exporting it to streaming services overseas.
This post is an attempt to separate the movies from the TV shows and make it all a little more readable.
I’ll try to keep these as up-to-date as possible, but feel free to let me know of anything I’ve missed, in the comments below.
Acute Misfortune – Amazon
This 2020 release is a film adaptation of Erik Jensen’s biography of artist Adam Cullen. Cullen, who won the Archibald Prize for his portrait of actor David Wenham, convinced Jensen to write his biography by referencing a fake publishing contract. Their relationship spirals into abusiveness – Cullen shot Jensen during a hunting trip, and pushed him from a speeding motorbike in another incident. It’s available to buy for $9.99 or you can rent the movie for $4.99.
The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert – Amazon
One of my favourite Aussie movies and a total classic. This film was released in 1994, and Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce, and Terence Stamp as three queens on a drive to Alice Springs. There’s gowns to die for, the make up is epic, and the storyline will tug at your heartstrings. You’ll have to rent ($3.99) or buy ($13.99) this film from Amazon.
Animal Kingdom – Amazon
Jackie Weaver’s chilling performance as Melbourne Underworld scheming grandmother Janine in Animal Kingdom, really put her on Hollywood’s radar. The crime drama follows Joshua “J” Cody who goes to stay with extended family after his mother dies. Unfortunately, the family is heavily involved in crime, and J has to decide whether to give them up to the police. It’s available to buy for $12.99 or you can rent the movie for $3.99.
Australia – Amazon Prime
The 2008 epic film stars Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, and David Gulpilil. Set on a cattle station in outback Australia during World War II, the Baz Luhrmann movie was filmed in Sydney, Darwin and Kunnunura.
The Balibo Conspiracy – Amazon Prime
Starring Anthony LaPaglia as war correspondent Roger East, who travels to East Timor to investigate the murders of a group of five Australian television journalists. The Balibo Five, as they are known as, were killed in the lead up to the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in October 1975.
Becoming Bond – Hulu
A documentary on the bizarre but true story of Australian mechanic George Lazenby who was somehow cast as iconic MI6 operative James Bond, despite having no acting experience.
Breath – Netflix
Best on the novel by legendary Australian author Tim Winton, Breath is the story of two teenage boys growing up on the Western Australian coast. Because it’s Tim Winton, and that’s what he writes best.
Cargo – Netflix
This apocalyptic drama is set during a pandemic (so maybe a little close to the bone in 2020) that turns people “rabid” within two days. The Rose family are living on a houseboat in rural Australia, but run short on supplies. Both parents are bitten, leaving the father to find someone to care for their baby daughter before he “turns”.
The Castle – Amazon
If you were born in the 80s or 90s and haven’t grown up quoting this movie, I’m shocked. The Castle is an Aussie classic story about a man who refuses to sell his home near the airport to developers. It has given us pop-culture references like “Tell him he’s dreaming” and “How’s the serenity?”. You’ll have to rent ($3.99) or buy ($12.99) this movie and be warned that it has been somewhat Americanised for the US market.
The Charge of the ANZACs – Amazon Prime
The Australian Light Horse soldiers became legends in 1917 when they charged to victory in a World War I battle. Almost a century later, 40 Australians retraced their footsteps from the pyramids to ANZAC Cove, in this documentary.
Charlie’s Country – Amazon Prime
With no way to live a traditional lifestyle in his Aboriginal community, Charlie, who is aging, struggles to make his own way of life. Starring David Gulpilil.
Crocodile Dundee – Amazon
This 1986 film might not stand the test of time for everyone. It’s about a reporter from the US who heads to Australia to interview legendary bushman Mick Dundee (Paul Hogan). He then accompanies her to America, where he is extremely out of place. You’ll have to rent ($3.99) or buy ($13.99) this film.
Crocodile Dundee II – Amazon
In this sequel to the above movie Linda – the reporter and now Mick’s girlfriend – is abducted by drug dealers. Mick uses his “outback smarts” to save her. You’ll have to rent ($3.99) or buy ($12.99) this film.
Da Kath & Kim Code – Netflix
Kim discovers that Brett is having an affair. Kath and Kel Knight’s union is tested by Michael Buble, while netball fiend Sharon finds love online.
Danger Close – Amazon Prime
This 2019 film is set during the Battle of Long Tan in the Vietnam War. A Major is tasked with leading more than 100 inexperienced soldiers through an impossible battle.
The Dish – Amazon
The true story of Australia’s involvement in broadcasting the 1969 moon landing and Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon. The eccentric Australian scientists were responsible for operating a satellite dish located on an outback sheep arm.
The Dressmaker – Amazon Prime
Billed as a revenge comedy drama film, The Dressmaker stars Kate Winslet, whose character was blamed for the death of a classmate as a child. She returns to the small country town years later as an accomplished dressmaker to seek revenge on the locals for their false accusations.
Gallipoli – Amazon Prime
The World War I tale of the Gallipoli campaign is well taught in Australian schools. So that by the time we were old enough to watch Peter Weir’s 1981 film about it, the story was already ingrained in our heads. Starring Mel Gibson and Mark Lee as two sprinters who are sent to fight in Turkey during the war.
Going for Gold – Netflix
When American teen Emma moves to Australia with her family, she introduces a group of misfits to cheerleading and leads them into competition.
Goldstone – Netflix
This film is a crime thriller meant to be a sequel to the TV show Mystery Road. Indigenous detective Jay Swan is sent to a small mining town called Goldstone to investigate a missing tourist. It was mostly shot in Middleton, Queensland, and includes a host of familiar names like David Gulpilil, Jacki Weaver, and David Wenham.
Holding the Man – Netflix
Based on the international best-selling memoir by Timothy Conigrave, Holding the Man is a story of love between two high school boys. It follows their relationship over 15 years. If you don’t have Netflix you can rent from Amazon for $3.99 or buy for $9.99.
Hotel Coolgardie – Amazon Prime
The 2017 documentary focuses on two Finnish women who take jobs at the Western Australian pub. They’re basically treated as “fresh meat” and beset upon by leering men. It’s a look into companies that send backpackers to work in remote pubs.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople – Hulu
This is a New Zealand movie, but since us Aussies are so hell-bent on stealing everything from New Zealand and claiming it as our own, I figured this should be included.
It stars Sam Neill, and Julian Dennison (he of Deadpool 2 fame), and is directed by Taika Waititi. Ricky (Dennison) is a defiant city kid who ends up in a foster home in the New Zealand bush with an aunty (Rima Te Wiata) and a reluctant uncle (Neill). A series of events leads Ricky and his uncle into the wilderness, and Child Protective Servies follows on a national manhunt.
This is a cute, touching movie, and it’s pretty funny, if a tiny bit long.
Last Cab to Darwin – Amazon Prime
This is a story that is sure to pull at your heart strings. Rex (Michael Caton) is a terminally ill taxi driver who decides to drive from his home in Broken Hill, NSW, to Darwin for voluntary euthanasia. Along the way he picks up an Aboriginal woman and a backpacker.
Lion – Amazon
If you feel like curling up on the couch with a box of tissues and having a cry, Lion is the movie for you! Five-year-old Saroo is separated from his family in India and ends up on a train to Calcutta. He is eventually adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty years later he goes back to India, in search of his home town. This is the film adaptation of the memoir A Long Way Home, by Saroo Brierley. You can rent this film from Amazon for $3.99 or buy it for $9.99.
Little Monsters – Hulu
A comedy horror film that follows a washed-up musician, who teams up with a teacher to protect young children from a sudden outbreak of zombies on a primary school trip. Stars Lupita Nyong’o and Alexander England.
It’s pretty funny, but also fairly gorey, so be warned this probably isn’t one for young kids.
Mad Dog Morgan – Amazon Prime
The story of Australian bushranger Daniel Morgan, dubbed Mad Dog, who committed highway robbery and was sentenced to 12 years hard labour. It set him on a track to become one of the country’s most infamous bushrangers.
Muriel’s Wedding – HBO Streaming
I’ll be honest, Muriel’s Wedding is an acquired taste. If you haven’t spent a considerable amount of time in Australia (and even if you have), you might not “get it”. Muriel (played by Toni Collette) was constantly sidelined in her hometown of Porpoise Spit. So she moves to Sydney where adventure ensues.
Ned Kelly – Amazon
The 2003 film about the infamous bushranger Ned Kelly, stars Heath Ledger, Orlando Bloom, and Naomi Watts. The film paints Kelly as an innocent man who becomes one of the most wanted criminals in Australia. You’ll have to rent ($3.99) or buy ($14.99) this film.
The Nightingale – Hulu/Amazon Prime
Set in Tasmania in 1825, then known as Van Diemen’s Land, The Nightingale is the story of a young convict woman’s quest for revenge after terrible acts of violence and assault are visited upon her and her family. This movie is available on Hulu or Amazon Prime users can rent it for $3.99 or buy it for $14.99.
Occupation – Netflix
Moving towards the science fiction genre, we have Occupation. A classic alien invasion story that units a group of townspeople in the fight. If you don’t have Netflix, this film is also available to rent from Amazon for $3.99 or buy for $9.99.
Outback Rabbis – Amazon Prime
The documentaries just keep coming! This road trip film follows two Chabad Hasidic Rabbis who decide to seek out Jewish people living in regional and rural Australia.
Palm Beach – Amazon Prime
A group of old friends reunite at Palm Beach in New South Wales to celebrate a birthday.
The Proposition – Amazon Prime
Musician and songwriter Nick Cave, best known as frontman of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, wrote The Proposition as an Australian Western film. Set in colonial settlement days, the film starts with the apprehension of an outlaw, who is given nine days to kill his older brother.
Rabbit-Proof Fence – Amazon
The Australian Government policy to remove Aboriginal children from their family and train them as servants damaged countless families. Rabbit-Proof Fence is based on the true story of Molly Craig, her half-sister Daisy, and their cousin Gracie as they escape from their internment camp and try to find their way home. It is the film adaption of the book Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington. You’ll have to rent ($3.99) or buy ($4.99) this film.
Red Dog – Amazon Prime
Also based on a true story, Red Dog is a heartfelt and at times gut wrenching movie about a dog that unites communities as he wanders the outback looking for his original owner.
Ride Like a Girl – Netflix
Jockey Michelle Payne has to push against the odds and stereotypes of her profession to become the first female to win the Melbourne Cup. If you don’t have Netflix, you can rent from Amazon for $3.99 or buy for $4.99.
Rubber Jellyfish – Amazon
Rubber Jellyfish is a documentary created and directed by Australian conservationist Carly Wilson. It digs into the way our use of helium balloons effects the environment and wildlife around us. She travels around Australia to see the effects first hand.
The Sapphires – Amazon Prime
Set during the Vietnam War, The Sapphires tells the story of four Aboriginal girls who who left Australia to sing for the troops in the warzone. The Sapphires is based on a true story of Laurel Robinson, Beverly Briggs, Naomi Mayers, and Lois Peeler, who were talent spotted and sang soul music. The film stars Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy and Chris O’Dowd.
Servant or Slave – Amazon Prime
Australia’s history is a dark one, especially after the invasion and colonisation by British settlers. This movie tells the story of thousands of Aboriginal girls who were part of the Stolen Generations, taken from their families and made to be servants by the Australian Government. It follows the lives of five women who were first domestic servants and then forced into slave labour.
Shame – Amazon Prime
Shame tells the story of a lawyer traveling through the Australian outback on holiday. She stops in a small Western Australian town when her motorbike breaks down, and ends up helping the mechanic’s daughter who was raped by the son of the wealthiest man in town.
Stormboy – Amazon Prime
This 1976 Australian classic was remade in 2018 (David Gulpilil features in both iterations). The newest version is available on Amazon, and if you don’t already know the story, it is about a retired businessman who begins reliving his childhood memories of rescuing and raising a pelican named Mr Percival. Of course it’s based on the book of the same name.
Strictly Ballroom – Amazon
Put your dancing shoes on and join Paul Mercurio in this classic romantic ballroom dance film. A maverick dancer must decide whether to risk his career by performing his own dance moves, and find a new partner to compete with. You’ll have to rent ($3.99) or buy ($13.99) this film.
Sweet Country – Amazon Prime
An Australian “Western”, set in the Northern Territory in the 1920s. An Aboriginal farmhand shoots a white man in self defense and goes on the run.
Swinging Safari – Amazon Prime/IMDB TV
Get ready to hark back to 1970s suburban Australia in this hilarious film about a group of neighbours who decide to try a swingers party one night. There’s also a side-story of a rotting whale washed up on the town’s beach. Starring Kylie Minogue and Guy Pearce.
Tracks – Amazon
Based on a true story, Tracks follows adventurer Robyn Davidson’s walk across the Australian outback in 1975. She trekked from Alice Springs to the Western Australian coast with four camels and her dog for company.
Unfinished Sky – Amazon Prime
The 2007 drama stars William McInnes as an outback sheep farmer who lives in isolation. He begrudgingly takes in an Afghan refugee (Monic Hendrickx) who has escaped from a brothel. They pair set out to find her relatives.
Wadjemup: Black Prison White Playground – Amazon Prime
Rottnest Island, commonly referred to as ‘Rotto’ by locals, is now a beautiful island off the coast of Western Australia, filled with tourists and quokkas. It is also a place of cultural significance to the Aboriginal people, which was turned into a nightmare for them. Hundreds of Aboriginal men were tortured here and are buried in unmarked graves.
The Water Diviner – Amazon
Another World War I film, this time directed by and starring Russell Crowe. The Water Diviner is a tale of a man who travels to Turkey after the Battle of Gallipoli, to search for his three missing sons. You will have to rent ($2.99) or buy ($7.99) this film.
Wild Australia – Amazon Prime
This documentary captures the essence of the Australian wilderness and the fascinating creatures that live in it.
Wolf Creek – Amazon
Not for the feint of heart, Wolf Creek stars John Jarratt as one of the scariest backpacker killers you pray you’ll never meet.
Wolf Creek 2 – Amazon Prime
In the same vein as the previous film, this one follows exchange student Paul as he visits the Wolf Creek Crater.
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