Gallipoli film review

Essay by owain August 2008

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History Director: Peter Weir Producers: Patricia Lovell &Executive Producer: Francis O' Brien Robert Stigwood Screenplay: Michael Williamson Year of Production: 1981 Main Characters: Archie Hamilton played by Mark Lee and Frank Dunne played by Mel Gibson Gallipoli is a historical film based during World War 1. It portrays the lives of two young men called Archie and Frank who believe that if they join the Australian army, they will experience a great adventure and become heroes. The film is devoted to the relationship and traumas that develop between these two young men as they become engaged in war. It also highlights the media propaganda and empty promises which surrounded the enlistment of new, young soldiers to the ANZACS at this time.

Whilst both men are gifted runners, they share little else in common. Archie is a simple innocent, hard-working man who is always eager to do the ‘right thing’. He is inspired by news reports and public sentiment to join the fight against Germany.

However, Frank is more cynical, more selfish, and less patriotic. He gambles away what little money he has and concerns himself with money-making schemes. And he knows better than to volunteer to place himself in harm’s way, no matter how righteous the cause may be.

However, despite the initial differences between the characters, they become great friends during the movie and provide a great support to each other. Highlighting the differences between these two so early on in the film is particularly significant as it reinforces the futility of war and demonstrates how tragedy and trauma can bring together two people who would have otherwise been quite different.

Also, in one of the earlier scenes when Archie and Frank meet for the first time at a regional track event, Archie is seen to win the race.