Gallipoli (1981)


Gallipoli (1981) Synopsis

Mark Lee (Archy), Bill Kerr (Jack), Mel Gibson (Frank Dunne), Ron Graham (Wallace Hamilton), Harold Hopkins (Les McCann), Charles Yunupingu (Zac), Heath Harris (Stockman), Gerda Nicolson (Rose Hamilton). Focusing on two fleet-footed young Australians, Peter Weir's extraordinarily moving antiwar film examines the disastrous WW I invasion of Gallipoli by the Australian-New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). Archy (Mark Lee) and Frank (Mel Gibson) come from different backgrounds, but share a love of king, country, and life—never more appar¬ent than when the two speedsters race each other. Together, they join the army and become part of the ill-fated campaign to wrest control of the Dardanelles from the Ottoman Turks. Meeting heavy resistance from the well-entrenched Turks and their German allies, the ANZAC offensive bogs down on the beachhead, and poor general¬ship and worse communication eventually lead to a suicidal assault and a tremendous waste of young lives. Director Weir (PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK; THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY) and cinematographer Russell Boyd's re¬creation of the invasion and battle action is stunning, but what makes GALLIPOLI such an affecting film is its inti- mate presentation of the friendship between Archy and Frank (wonderfully essayed by Lee and Gibson). Weir uses the first part of the film to establish the vibrant optimism of their lives Down Under, then demonstrates how quickly and pointlessly such young lives can be snuffed out. Not always easy to watch, GALLIPOLI is both a fitting testi¬mony to the courage of the thousands of Australians and New Zealanders who died fighting for their country and one of the most powerful filmic examinations of the futility and tragic cost of war.