Gallipoli (1982): Peter Weir About the Australian Battle, Starring Mel Gibson and Mark Lee

The battle in Gallipoli, in which thousands of Australians and New Zealanders lost their lives, in large part due to stupidity, arrogance, carelessness, bad decision-making, and even worse channels of communication.

The epic story is told through the friendship between two young Australians, Archy (Mark Lee) and Frank Dunne (Mel Gibson), who became flee-foot messengers during that crucial year of WWI.

The beachhead battle, in which the ANZAC offensive forces were outnumbered by the Turks and their German allies, is beautifully recreated by ace lenser Russell Boyd; moments of it are really tough to watch.

Thematically, but not stylistically, “Gallipoli’ bears resemblance to Stanley Kubrick’s “Paths of Glory,” which also deals with the stupidity and arrogance of the military elite, albeit in France.

The film is extremely well-acted by Mark Lee and especially the young an handsome Mel Gibson, who appeared in Weir’s epic tale right after his international success in the “Mad Max” film series.

Up until “Gallipoli,” Weir was known for his excellent, mysterious and even metaphysical works, made in Australia, such as “Picnic at Hanging Rock” and “The Last Wave.” The artistic success of this picture led to American movies with bigger budget and bigger stars, such as the riveting political thriller, “The Year of Living Dangerously,” co-starring Sigourney Weaver and Mel Gibson

 

 

            Cast

Archy (Mark Lee)

Uncle Jack (Bill Kerr)

Frank Dunne (Mel Gibson)

Wallace Hamilton (Ronnie Graham)

Lee McCann (Harold Hopkins)

Zac (Charles Yunupingu)

.           Stockman (Heath Harris)

Rose Hamilton (Gerda Nicholson)

Billy (Robert Grubb)

Barney (Tim McKenzie)

 

            Credits

Produced by Robert Stigwood and Patricia Lovell

Directed by Peter Weir

Screenplay: David Williamson, based on a story by Weir

Camera; Russell Boyd

Editor: William Anderson

Music: Brian May

Production design: Wendy Weir

Art direction: Herbert Pinter

Running time: 110 Minutes