Netflix is a giant, amazing video streaming service, but it hails from the States and most of what it has to offer — including most of its Originals — are made for US viewers. For us Aussies, though, there’s some salvation. Here are the best 10 Australian movies and TV shows available right now on Netflix.
Gizmodo’s weekly Netflix movie night is presented by the new HP Spectre x360. Any way you bend it, the Spectre x360 delivers. With four modes, lightning-fast performance, and impressive battery life, this convertible PC has the best of all worlds and the shortcomings of none.
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And, yes, all of these movies are available on Netflix Australia. Enjoy!
The Tunnel was one the early successes of crowd-funding, selling individual digital frames of the movie through the “$135K Project”. 90 minutes, 135,000 frames, one dollar each, and a $135,000 filming budget. What emerged was a great Australian horror flick in the tradition of The Descent and other claustrophobic, dark, downright creepy monster thrillers. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: After the government abandons plans to revamp old railway tunnels, a journalist and her crew discover that something menacing is haunting the depths.
IMDb: An investigation into a government cover-up leads to a network of abandoned train tunnels deep beneath the heart of Sydney. As a journalist and her crew hunt for the story it quickly becomes clear the story is hunting them.
Walkabout is an Australian classic, released in 1971 in the golden age of Aussie movie making — it even showed at Cannes. Shot in the harsh outback, Walkabout uses the absolutely beautiful and stunning scenery of our sunburnt country to tell a story of struggle and survival, all with very sparing use of dialogue. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: Horrific circumstances strand two siblings in the Australian outback, where they’re found by an aboriginal boy who helps them return to their city.
IMDb: Two young siblings are stranded in the Australian Outback and are forced to cope on their own. They meet an Australian boy on “walkabout”: a ritual separation from his tribe.
Rake is great — Richard Roxburgh at his best as Cleaver Greene, the utterly antiheroic attorney at law apparently based loosely upon the real life of Charles Waterstreet, himself one of the series’ producers. It’s smart, funny, witty and gloriously irreverent. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: While Cleaver Greene is a brilliant and driven attorney, he’s also an ex-druggie, a current gambling addict and loathed by many of his colleagues.
IMDb: Criminal lawyer Cleaver Greene defends the indefensible – from bigamists to cannibals and everything in between. He is champion of the lost cause, both in the court room and in the bedroom.
Moulin Rouge isn’t set in Australia, but stars Nicole Kidman and benefits from the cinematic prowess of Baz Luhrmann. Set in the giant red windmill of the Parisian red light district, it’s a classic tale of love and music — and that music is very good fun. Once you’ve seen Moulin Rouge, track down Luhrmann’s other masterpieces, Strictly Ballroom and Romeo + Juliet. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: A naïve poet falls in love with a cabaret star, and their ill-fated romance serves as a convenient peg on which to hang a dazzling array of songs.
IMDb: A poet falls for a beautiful courtesan whom a jealous duke covets in this stylish musical, with music drawn from familiar 20th century sources.
Wake In Fright is another bleakly Australian classic, set in the terrifying alien outback. A school teacher tries to travel from his rural post back to Sydney, but is waylaid in the mining town of Bundanyabba. This was the “lost film” of Aussie cinema, never being released on VHS or DVD or shown in cinemas after its initial debut, until a 2009 remastered re-release appeared on Blu-ray and now Netflix. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: A teacher arrives in a rough outback town, planning to stay overnight. But, as his one night stretches to five, he plunges toward his own destruction.
IMDb: John Grant, a bonded teacher, arrives in a rough outback mining town planning to stay overnight before starting his holiday. But one night stretches to several and with the aid of alcohol he plunges headlong toward his own destruction.
Black Sheep is the first of a couple of honourary Australian films in this list, and it more than deserves its place — because it’s very funny, very silly and has a stupidly fun concept. Genetically modified sheep run riot on a quiet
New Zealand Australian outback farm. How could you not love it? Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: On a quiet New Zealand ranch, a genetic experiment has gone horribly wrong, transforming a calm flock of sheep into killers hungry for human blood.
IMDb: An experiment in genetic engineering turns harmless sheep into blood-thirsty killers that terrorize a sprawling New Zealand farm.
Paper Giants tells the story of the birth of Cleo, that bastion of Australian magazine excellence. Asher Keddie’s Ita Buttrose is peerless, and the inside story of the Packer media kingdom is just as interesting as the wave of feminism and liberation that Paper Giants follows. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: In 1972, “Cleo” is bold and naughty, riding the wave of feminism and sexual liberation. Skirts are up, pants are down, and girls can have it all.
IMDb: The Whitlam era as seen through the eyes of Cleo magazine and its young editor, Ita Buttrose.
Not Quite Hollywood is a 2008 documentary on the uniquely Australian “Ozploitation” genre of the ’70s and ’80s. It’s most notable for its great interviews with Quentin Taratino and George Miller on the way we Aussies film the best car chases and the fetishistic way we treat our motor vehicles. Watch this, then go out and watch Mad Max. Several times. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: Explore the unofficial history of Australian cult film with this provocative documentary on the “Ozploitation” flicks of the 1970s and ’80s.
IMDb: The story of the Australian exploitation genre cinema of 1970s and 80s.
The Loved Ones is gory, rough, brutal and one of the best Australian horror flicks of the last decade. With just a touch of the spine-tingling rural cringe that makes films like Wake In Fright and Wolf Creek work, The Loved Ones is more a demonstration of unhinged characters, teenage angst, and what happens when you give a schoolgirl inadequate parenting and a power drill. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: A high school student’s plans for prom go awry when his secret admirer and her father kidnap him for their own macabre evening in this spine-chiller.
IMDb: When Brent turns down his classmate Lola’s invitation to the prom, she concocts a wildly violent plan for revenge.
Rabbit-Proof Fence tells a simple story, but does so in an incredibly powerful way; it is the heart-breakingly real-life story of Aboriginal children stolen from their parents by force and relocated to distant orphanages, where they are taught to become servants. Three girls escape this ignominy, and set out to return home — following thousands of kilometres of rabbit-proof fence that criss-crosses the country. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: During Australia’s aboriginal integration program, three girls who were torn from their families and placed in an abusive orphanage vow to get home.
IMDb: In 1931, three aboriginal girls escape after being plucked from their homes to be trained as domestic staff and set off on a trek across the Outback.
Animal Kingdom follows the great Aussie tradition of gritty urban crime in cinema — like Two Hands and Chopper — in following a family intricately tied into the underworld, and the people whose lives they affect. The movie has a star-studded Australian cast, but the entire film is stolen by Jacki Weaver’s excellent performance as the family’s matriarch. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: A teenager finds himself drawn into the clutches of a diabolical criminal family until a good-hearted detective tries to change the boy’s fate.
IMDb: A seventeen year-old navigates his survival amongst an explosive criminal family and the detective who thinks he can save him.
LOTR: Fellowship deserves a special mention in this list, because we as Australians are very good at taking things that a certain other country does and calling them our own.
New Zealand Australian treasure, Peter Jackson, did an amazing job with the beautiful New Zealand Australian outback and created one of the most visually stunning New Zealand Australian films of all time. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: From the idyllic shire of the Hobbits to the smoking chasms of Mordor, Frodo Baggins embarks on his epic quest to destroy the ring of Sauron.
IMDb: A meek hobbit of the Shire and eight companions set out on a journey to Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring and the dark lord Sauron.
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