The land down under, otherwise known as Australia, otherwise known as penal colony 1114, is a place of mystery and fascination to many people who don't live there. And since it costs a lot of money to fly, a reasonable alternative to an Australian vacation is a trip to the ol' video store. Say g'day to 5 fantastic movies set in Australia, and don't forget your sunblock and kangaroo repellant! Sit back, relax, crack open a Foster's and enjoy. Good day, friend.


The Square

This twisty neo-noir from Australia might not make you want to visit the former prison colony, but it's still very entertaining. Basically, it's what would happen if Fargo had a baby with Friday the 13th and it got adopted by some Australians. The plot is pretty standard noir material, with a bunch of low-luck mopes trying to get rich quick at the expense of their morality, etc. But not only are these schemes ineffective, they tend to lead to various creatively violent demises. Not only that, but it's incredibly fun to watch these schemes go awry. G'day, mate!


Strictly Ballroom

OK, so a movie called Strictly Ballroom isn't going to win you any macho points. But if you're looking for a fantastic movie set in Australia, and you don't mind a bunch of over-the-top ballroom-dancing-related hinjinx, this is the movie for you. It's a funny, interesting, and original look at the world of ballroom dancing. If you DO mind that stuff, perhaps the next movie in the list will be more to your liking.


Mad Max: The Road Warrior

Perhaps the definitive fantastic movie set in Australia, The Road Warrior isn't just one of the best movies set in Austrailia (or a post-apocalyptic Australia, anyway), but one of the most loved action movies of all time. The reason its so beloved by so many? Probably its exciting and expertly edited action scenes, which still hold up after 30 years. Or maybe it's Mel Gibson. Anyway. it's too bad it'll take a worldwide apocalypse for you to be able to visit the world of Mad Max, instead of just an expensive plane ticket. Oh well, good things are worth the wait.



From the Something You Might Not Know department: Babe, the surprise hit film about the pig and his animal friends, is actually set in Austrailia. Sure, some of the characters were overdubbed with American accents for an American release, but the movie remains as Australian as English Bob. And it's status as a hit shouldn't have come as a surprise: Babe is as warm and funny as they come. See? Some fantastic movies set in Australia are Australian without you even knowing about it. That's the magic of film for you.


The Last Wave

Australian director Peter Weir has made at least one more famous movie set in Australia (Picnic at Hanging Rock), but The Last Wave just might be the best. And the "wave" of the title doesn't refer to the thing that lame people do at baseball games—it's a tidal wave. As in, a tidal wave to end all tidal waves. It's a suspenseful and tense thriller about a man's gradual realization that the world may be coming to an end according to prophesy. End of the world type stuff. What is it with Australian movies and the apocalypse?