Features

The 25 greatest Australian films of the 21st century: How every critic voted

Liaising with 51 film critics and counting their votes, for our poll of 21st century Australian films, was a time-consuming process. As you will see from the list below, this is a diverse and highly talented group. If the critics we polled shared one thing in common, it would be a passion for Australian cinema (and of course cinema in general).

Instructed that the films needed to be feature length, it was then up to each critic to determine for themselves what constitutes an ‘Australian’ film. The votes were counted using a weighted scoring system, the #1 film assigned the most points and #10 the least.


Our film poll coverage

* The 25 greatest Australian films of the new century
* How every critic voted
* Analysis: How a new generation defined 21st century Australian cinema
* Eight things you probably didn’t know about Mad Max: Fury Road


Adolfo Aranjuez (Metro Magazine)
1. Samson & Delilah
2. The Babadook
3. 52 Tuesdays
4. Moulin Rouge!
5. Animal Kingdom
6. Rabbit Proof Fence
7. The Dressmaker
8. The Sapphires
9. Look Both Ways
10. Snowtown

Rhett Bartlett (ABC Radio, The Hollywood Reporter)
1. Moulin Rouge!
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
3. Animal Kingdom
4. Lion
5. Noise
6. Lantana
7. The Dressmaker
8. Hacksaw Ridge
9. Burning Man
10. Downriver

Luke Buckmaster (Flicks, The Guardian)
1. The Babadook
2. Samson & Delilah
3. Mad Max: Fury Road
4. Chopper
5. Hail
6. Casting JonBenet
7. Boxing Day
8. Mary and Max
9. Sweet Country
10 The Goddess of 1967

Lesley Chow (Bright Lights)
1. Sleeping Beauty
2. Dreams for Life
3. Careless Love
4. Ten Canoes
5. The Dressmaker
6. Bran Nue Dae
7. Mental
8. The Silent Eye
9. The Babadook
10. Till Human Voices Wake Us

Dave Crewe (CCpopculture, freelance)
1. Chopper
2. Sherpa
3. 52 Tuesdays
4. The Dressmaker
5. The Babadook
6. Mad Max: Fury Road
7. Wolf Creek
8. Not Quite Hollywood
9. Mystery Road
10. Tracks

Jason ‘Jabba’ Davis (Sunrise)
1. Chopper
2. The Matrix Reloaded
3. Hacksaw Ridge
4. Sweet Country
5. Lion
6. Mad Max: Fury Road
7. Samson & Delilah
8. The Rocket
9. Fat Pizza
10. Noise

Donna Demaio (3AW)
1. Animal Kingdom
2. Chopper
3. The Mule
4. Lantana
5. Romulus, My Father
6. The Hunter
7. Mystery Road
8. Bran Nue Dae
9. The Bank
10. The Eye of the Storm

Jason Di Rosso (Radio National)
1. My Tehran for Sale
2. Casting JonBenet
3. Ten Canoes
4. Strange Colours
5. Hail
6. Samson & Delilah
7. Upgrade
8. Daybreakers
9. Mad Max: Fury Road
10. Animal Kingdom

Ella Donald (ABC Radio, freelance)
1. The Dressmaker
2. Moulin Rouge!
3. Razzle Dazzle
4. Mad Max: Fury Road
5. The Babadook
6. Holding the Man
7. Girl Asleep
8. Bran Nue Dae
9. Tracks
10. Partisan

Adelle Drover (Roll Credits)
1. Animal Kingdom
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
3. The Proposition
4. Sweet Country
5. The Babadook
6. Ten Canoes
7. The Square
8. Not Quite Hollywood
9. Candy
10 Wolf Creek

Glenn Dunks (freelance)
1. Moulin Rouge!
2. Lantana
3. Dreamland
4. Noise
5. Sweet Country
6. Mad Max: Fury Road
7. Ukraine is Not a Brothel
8. Lake Mungo
9. Look Both Ways
10. Japanese Story

Glen Faulkenstein (FalkenScreen, 2SR)
1. Mad Max: Fury Road
2. The Dish
3. Sweet Country
4. Moulin Rouge!
5. The Rover
6. Strangerlandr
7. Girl Asleep
8. The Daughter
9. That’s Not Me
10. Last Cab to Darwin

Simon Foster (Screen-Space, Sci-Fi Film Festival
1. Chopper
2. Lantana
3. Sherpa
4. Lake Mungo
5. Wolf Creek
6. Animal Kingdom
7. Tracks
8. The Oyster Farmer
9. The Loved Ones
10. Girl Asleep

Garth Franklin (Dark Horizons)
1. Mad Max: Fury Road
2. The Dish
3. Animal Kingdom
4. Samson & Delilah
5. Not Quite Hollywood
6. Ten Canoes
7. Mystery Road
8. Sweet Country
9. Chopper
10. The Babadook

Sandra Hall (Fairfax Media)
1. Lantana
2. Breath
3. Chopper
4. The Dish
5. Suburban Mayhem
6. Happy Feet
7. The Tracker
8. Animal Kingdom
9. Mystery Road
10. My Year Without Sex

Rebecca Harkins-Cross (The Monthly, The Lifted Brow)
1. Samson & Delilah
2. The Home Song Stories
3. Mystery Road
4. The Goddess of 1967
5. Hail
6. Sleeping Beauty
7. Lantana
8. Love, Lust and Lies
9. Innocence
10. Charlie’s Country

Paul Harris (Film Buffs Forecast)
1. Kenny
2. The Square
3. Snowtown
4. Chopper
5. Ten Canoes
6. Samson & Delilah
7. The Dish
8. Mary and Max
9. Japanese Story
10. Noise

Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (Senses of Cinema, Alliance of Women Film Journalists)
1. Chopper
2. Partisan
3. Mad Max: Fury Road
4. The Babadook
5. The Darkside
6. In the Cut
7. Casting JonBenet
8. Wolf Creek
9. Girl Asleep
10. Mystery Road

Zak Hepburn (ABC News Breakfast)
1. The Proposition
2. Samson & Delilah
3. The Rover
4. Snowtown
5. Look Both Ways
6. Noise
7. Ten Canoes
8. Chopper
9. Beautiful Kate
10. The Loved Ones

Blake Howard (Flicks, One Heat Minute)
1. The Proposition
2. Animal Kingdom
3. Goldstone
4. Mad Max: Fury Road
5. Chopper
6. Lantana
7. Sweet Country
8. The Babadook
9. Lion
10. Not Quite Hollywood

Sharon Hurst (2GB, 3CR, Plenty Valley FM)
1. Samson & Delilah
2. Lantana
3. Predestination
4. The Tracker
5. Mary and Max
6. Look Both Ways
7. Mad Max: Fury Road
8. Animal Kingdom
9. Romulus, My Father
10. Neon

Kate Jinx (freelance)
1. Samson & Delilah
2. Terror Nullius
3. Ten Canoes
4. The Babadook
5. Animal Kingdom
6. Bright Star
7. Toomelah
8. Sherpa
9. 52 Tuesdays
10. Love, Lust and Lies

CJ Johnson (ABC Radio)
1. Snowtown
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
3. Samson & Delilah
4. Mystery Road
5. Wish You Were Here
6. Kenny
7. Chopper
8. Boxing Day
9. Noise
10. The Babadook

Travis Johnson (Filmink)
1. Mad Max: Fury Road
2. Sweet Country
3. The Proposition
4. Animal Kingdom
5. Chopper
6. Mystery Road
7. Balibo
8. Lantana
9. Hounds of Love
10. Rabbit Proof Fence

Cynthia Karena (freelance)
1. Animal Kingdom
2. Predestination
3. The Dressmaker
4. Rabbit Proof Fence
5. The Proposition
6. Lion
7. The Dish
8. Chopper
9. The Sapphires
10. Sherpa

Greg King (filmreviews.net.au, 3WBC, The Good the Bad and the Ugly Film Show)
1. Mad Max: Fury Road
2. Hacksaw Ridge
3. Lantana
4. Kenny
5. Red Dog
6. Animal Kingdom
7. Chopper
8. Mystery Road
9. The Babadook
10. Wolf Creek

Maria Lewis (Junkee, SBS Movies)
1. Mad Max: Fury Road
2. Animal Kingdom
3. Wolf Creek 2
4. Not Quite Hollywood
5. Looking for Alibrandi
6. Mary and Max
7. The Loved Ones
8. The Hunter
9. Mystery Road
10. Red Hill

Sophie Ly (2ser)
1. Mad Max: Fury Road
2. Looking for Alibrandi
3. The Hong Song Stories
4. Happy Feet
5. The Proposition
6. Holding the Man
7. The Babadook
8. Ten Canoes
9. Beneath Clouds
10. Rabbit Proof Fence

Wenlei Ma (News.com.au)
1. Lantana
2. Animal Kingdom
3. Sweet Country
4. Mad Max: Fury Road
5. The Proposition
6. Samson & Delilah
7. Mary and Max
8. Beautiful Kate
9. The Daughter
10. The Dressmaker

Alicia Malone (Turner Classic Movies, FilmStruck)
1. Animal Kingdom
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
3. Snowtown
4. Chopper
5. Moulin Rouge!
6. The Babadook
7. Mary and Max
8. Lantana
9. Samson & Delilah
10. Wolf Creek

Lisa Malouf (The Limerick Review)
1. Lantana
2. Sweet Country
3. Women He’s Undressed
4. Predestination
5. Rabbit-Proof Fence
6. Charlie’s Country
7. Sherpa
8. Remembering the Man
9. The Sapphires
10. Japanese Story

Sarinah Masukor (freelance)
1. Lantana
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
3. Look Both Ways
4. Hail
5. Partisan
6. Ten Canoes
7. The Proposition
8. Looking for Alibrandi
9. Suburban Mayhem
10. Mystery Road

Craig Mathieson (Fairfax Media)
1. Mad Max: Fury Road
2. Animal Kingdom
3. Samson & Delilah
4. Chopper
5. Mystery Road
6. The Babadook
7. Hail
8. Japanese Story
9. Forbidden Lies
10. The Infinite Man

Danielle McGrane (ABC Radio, AAP)
1. Lion
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
3. Hacksaw Ridge
4. Animal Kingdom
5. Mystery Road
6. Breath
7. Moulin Rouge!
8. Sherpa
9. Somersault
10. Swinging Safari

Simon Miraudo (Student Edge, ABC Radio)
1. Lake Mungo
2. The Babadook
3. Mad Max: Fury Road
4. Animal Kingdom
5. The Tracker
6. The Dish
7. Mary and Max
8. Girl Asleep
9. The Darkside
10. Predestination

Josh Nelson (Plato’s Couch, Philmology)
1. Hail
2. Lore
3. Snowtown
4. Mad Max: Fury Road
5. Look Both Ways
6. The Tracker
7. Samson & Delilah
8. Chopper
9. Noise
10. Not Quite Hollywood

Leigh Paatsch (News Corp)
1. Mad Max: Fury Road
2. Lantana
3. Samson & Delilah
4. Animal Kingdom
5. Sweet Country
6. Chopper
7. Rabbit Proof Fence
8. Noise
9. The Dish
10. Little Fish

Maragaret Pomeranz (Foxtel)
1. Samson & Delilah
2. Chopper
3. Animal Kingdom
4 Lantana
5. The Babadook
6. Snowtown
7. Look Both Ways
8. Noise
9. Last Ride
10. Black

Vicky Roach (News Corp)
1. Mad Max: Fury Road
2. Samson & Delilah
3. The Babadook
4. Look Both Ways
5. Chopper
6. Snowtown
7. Lantana
8. Somersault
9. Ten Canoes
10. Animal Kingdom

Stephen Romei (The Australian)
1. Lantana
2. Chopper
3. Japanese Story
4. The Proposition
5. Mullet
6. Beautiful Kate
7. Snowtown
8. Silent Partner
9. The Oyster Farmer
10. Gettin’ Square

Adam Ross (freelance) 
1. Chopper
2. Lantana
3. The Proposition
4. Mad Max: Fury Road
5. Hounds of Love
6. Lion
7. Wolf Creek
8. Sweet Country
9. Mary and Max
10. All This Mayhem

Eloise Ross (The Cultural Capital, freelance)
1. Samson & Delilah
2. Look Both Ways
3. Letters to Ali
4. Hail
5. The Silences
6. Noise
7. Charlie’s Country
8. Terror Nullius
9. The Home Song Stories
10. One Night The Moon

Stephen A Russell (SBS Movies, Joy 94.9, The Lowdown Under)
1. Sweet Country
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
3. Animal Kingdom
4. Gurrumul
5. Mystery Road
6. Snowtown
7. Balibo
8. 52 Tuesdays
9. These Final Hours
10. The Dressmaker

Rochelle Siemienowicz (SBS Movies, Hell is for Hyphenates, ScreenHub)
1. Lantana
2. The Tracker
3. Moulin Rouge!
4. The Proposition
5. Bright Star
6. Red Dog
7. Samson & Delilah
8. The Sapphires
9. Ten Canoes
10. The Daughter

David Stratton (The Australian)
Mullet
Lantana
Look Both Ways
Animal Kingdom
Beautiful Kate
Blessed
Samson & Delilah
The Babadook
The Turning
Charlie’s Country
Sweet Country
Note: These films are unranked and 11 were submitted

Keeva Stratton (Rescu)
1. Animal Kingdom
2. Little Fish
3. Beneath Hill 64
4. The Proposition
5. Ten Canoes
6. The Sapphires
7. Swinging Safari
8. Wolf Creek
9. Snowtown
10. Kenny

Madeleine Swain (Golden Days Radio)
1. Embrace
2. Kenny
3. Last Cab to Darwin
4. Japanese Story
5. Forbidden Lies
6. Look Both Ways
7. Samson & Delilah
8. Sherpa
9. Mad Max: Fury Road
10. Lion

Sarah Ward (Flicks, Concrete Playground, ArtsHub, Screen Daily)
1. Samson & Delilah
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
3. Goldstone
4. The Babadook
5. Sweet Country
6. Snowtown
7. The Proposition
8. Animal Kingdom
9. 52 Tuesdays
10. Tanna

Emma Westwood (Plato’s Cave, Diabolique Magazine)
1. Samson & Delilah
2. Chopper
3. The Proposition
4. Sweet Country
5. Mystery Road
6. Animal Kingdom
7. Lake Mungo
8. Wolf Creek
9. The Babadook
10. Partisan

Jake Wilson (Fairfax Media)
1. Mad Max: Fury Road
2. Stargazers *
3. Careless Love
4. Sleeping Beauty
5. Charlie’s Country
6. The Tracker
7. My Year Without Sex
8. Samson & Delilah
9. The Dressmaker
10. Corroboree
* Completed 1999; first public screening 2005.

Lee Zachariah (Hell is for Hyphenates)
1. Balibo
2. The Goddess of 1967
3. Mad Max: Fury Road
4. Animal Kingdom
5. The Babadook
6. The Proposition
7. Dreamland
8. Sleeping Beauty
9. Chopper
10. Japanese Story



Related articles