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Gallipoli: Unveiling Australian National Identity

Gallipoli focuses on two men who fought and died in order to provide an accurate representation of life in Australia. To illustrate what is uniquely Australian and what may be seen in current Australian movies and television series, they celebrated the national ideology. Gallipoli, for instance, communicates ideas of comradeship, nationalism, altruism, competitive spirits, opposition to authoritarianism, and perseverance.

Mateship and National Identity

Peter Weir makes an effort throughout his production to make the movie about two young guys rather than the war specifically. The concept of mateship develops through the use of Frank and Archy, and the author makes his point by getting the two buddies to work together to complete their tasks. They match to war together to show their level of being patriotic and again make their names to appear on the pyramids together (O’Regan 2002).

Australian notion of mateship exists through Frank and Archy’s relationships but seem unique as compared to the culture which defines Australian national identity. This form of relationship is exaggerated, when Weir makes one member to join the military because of one another (O’Regan 2002). The uniqueness of the mateship is also evident in the event where the two friends go for skinny-dipping in the ocean together. The author challenges Australian films through creativity which exists in the form of exaggeration and homoeroticism in the closeness of two people.

The Portrayal of Nationalistic Belief

The theme of nationalistic belief exists through the aspect of dramatizing and evaluation of elements closely related to the national character. Weir brings into the audience attention about the culture and spirit of Australia through the film. For instance, the urban larrikin and the bushman become friends, and their friendship evolves beyond human expectation to show how Australian citizens associate regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or any form of a negative divide (Freebury 1987). Additionally, Gallipoli provides insights regarding the production and the setting of Australian films. Perceptions and interpretation are the uniqueness portrayed by every artist to show their level of creativity when passing out the intended message through digital media (Rayner 1981). In the same way, Weir strives to convince the audience that there are national legends, and besides all, myths also exist in the society. There is the use of cinematic techniques to make fans believe in the existence of something not yet seen in the universe. Most of the Australian films also apply the same concept especially through narrative devices and visual symbolism to appreciate their culture, efforts of their heroes and the spiritual beliefs.

The Role of Competition in Developing Relationships

A competitive spirit is another theme highlighted in Gallipoli. Through Frank and Archy, there is an illustration of how competition assists in developing friends and creating a stronger relationship between different parties (O’Regan 2002). A typical example of the role of competition in the real life situation is the football played in the field of Cairo. Therefore, Weir’s ideas conform to the Australian national identity in a mature perception. The author's creativity is a challenge to other films produced in Australia. According to McKenna and Stuart (2007), most of the films focus on violence and the aspect of intimacy to pass the intended message. This idea is contrary to Gallipoli which participates in the national development through dwelling on competition and rivalry among mates.

Australia's Anti-Autocracy Movement

The national event of moving a step away from Britain also occurs in Gallipoli. Rayner (1981) suggests that anti autocracy is the issue which Weir presents through the battle which attracts individuals towards Australia as a country. Anti-authoritarian sentiments felt by Australian soldiers shown in the film came into existence to act as insights portraying the formal and respectful manner of the country (McKenna & Stuart 2007). The uniqueness of this theme is evident in that while other film directors intend to address personal desires, Weir takes the whole country’s problems at heart and campaigns for the implementation of the positive concepts.

Celebrating Australian National Identity

The themes and settings of Gallipoli are unique due to the principles which the author employs to reach the audience. This film celebrates national identity especially by pinpointing the relevance of relationships and positive competitive techniques. Weir makes Australians see themselves and their roles in the environment so they may appreciate their national identity. Therefore, Gallipoli plays a critical role in helping people to realize how Australian cinema contributes towards the country’s nationalism.


Freebury, Jane. Screening Australia: “Gallipoli-A Study of Nationalism on Film”. Media Information Australia 43, No 1 (1987): 5-8.

McKenna, Mark, and Stuart, Ward. “It Was Really Moving, Mate: The Gallipoli Pilgrimage And Sentimental Nationalism In Australia”. Australian Historical Studies 38, No.129 (2007): 141-151.

O’Regan, Tom. A National Cinema, the Film Cultures Reader. Graeme Turner, London & New York: 139 – 164. Routledge, 2002.

Rayner, Jonathan. Gallipoli (1981), and The Year of Living Dangerously (1982) The Films of Peter Weir, 2nd edition. New York: 119-151. Continuum, 2003.

April 06, 2023

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