How useful is Peter Weir's film "Gallipoli" in the study of Australia's involvement in WWI and the creation of the ANZAC legend?

Essay by crimsonbutterflyJunior High, 9th gradeA+, June 2004

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In 1981, an Australian director, Peter Weir made the film Gallipoli. As the title suggests, this film follows Australia's involvement in the 1915 Gallipoli campaign, focusing on the fictional lives of two young idealistic mates - Archy Hamilton (Mark Lee) and Frank Dunne (Mel Gibson) who become best buddies and decide to enlist together for military service when they join the war effort. Despite the fact that the story of these two characters is fictional, Weir's eye for historical accuracy is precise and the events depicted in the film reflects the powerful national legend of Gallipoli and ANZAC day. This film provides insight on the attitudes to the war, enlistment, training, trench warfare and the danger of imminent death.

The movie opens off with the scene of Archy training for his hundred yards sprint. "What are your legs? Springs, steel springs. What are they going to do? They're going to hurl me down the track.

How fast can you run? As fast as a leopard. How fast are you going to run? As fast as a leopard. Then lets see you do it!" These are the words of motivation used by his Uncle Jack, which you will see used later in the movie.

When Archy hears about the outbreak of war, he is excited. Like most Australian men, he is keen to join the army because he deems it as his obligation for the reason that he is physically stronger but also thinks it would be a short war and a great adventure. Other reasons for enlistment were represented in the characters of the railroad workers who desired the approval of young women and the chance to quit their jobs and earn higher wages. Like Archy, they believed it would be a great adventure and did not understand the realities...