10 Movies to Watch Before You Study Abroad in Sydney

Mar 25, 2014 10:18:00 AM / by Stephanie Sadler

Studying abroad in Sydney? One of our favorite ways to drum up our excitement about a new location is through movies! Enjoy a rainy evening at home with one of our 10 movie recommendations below.

1. LOOKING FOR ALIBRANDI. This comedy film follows the journey of Josephine Alibrandi, a 17-year-old Australian of Italian descent. Based on the novel of the same name, this film is a great snapshot of what it is like to try to find your place in the world. Sydney is showcased beautifully, with special mention of the amazing scenery of the Sydney ANZAC Bridge and the more ethnically skewed suburbs of Glebe and Leichardt. It stars Pia Miranda as Josephine and Anthony LaPaglia, who is best known in the US for his role as Jack Malone on the US TV series ‘Without a Trace’.

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2. TWO HANDS.
This film focusing on the character of Jimmy, a young Australian man who accidentally gets involved in crime and struggles to find a way out. It offers a clever depiction of the gritty side of Sydney in the 1990s. This film also showcases a number of Australian cars. Stars are Heath Ledger and Rose Byrne.


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3. RED DOG.
A unique Australian comedy film, Red Dog tells the story of a famous kelpie/cattle dog cross who was well known for befriending miners in Western Australia in the 1970s. This film gives a real sense of what it was like to be Australian back then. It stars Josh Lucas of ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ fame and Rachael Taylor, an Aussie actress who has also appeared in Transformers as well as TV roles in ‘Charlie’s Angels’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’.

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4. MURIEL'S WEDDING.
This comedy film focuses on the character of Muriel, a socially awkward woman who longs to break free from her family and dreary hometown to follow her dream of moving to Sydney and creating a better life. The methods she employs to try to make her way there are very creative and entertaining! Stars are Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths.

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5. AUSTRALIA.
An historical epic by director Baz Luhman, this film follows the journey of a woman in outback Australia who struggles to run her faltering cattle station. The film also gives insight into Aboriginal culture as well as illuminating the treatment of Aboriginal people by white landowners of the time. Filmed on location in Sydney, Darwin, Kunurra and Bowen, the film highlights the country’s varied and beautiful landscapes. Tourism Australia launched a campaign off the back of the sweeping scenery shown in this movie and it is not hard to see why! It stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.

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6. THE CASTLE.
This is a comedy film depicting a truly Australian attempt to ‘stick it to the man’. The Australian government wants to buy an Australian family’s house so they can expand the airport, but they weren’t prepared for the patriarch of the family to take his resistance all the way to the High Court. This film is often presented as the quintessential Aussie film and it also has the honour of being Eric Bana’s film debut. Stars are Eric Bana and Michael Caton.

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7. BRA BOYS: BLOOD IS THICKER THAN WATER.
Bra Boys is a film that tells the story of the notorious Australian gang based in the beachside Sydney suburb of Maroubra, from which they take their name. The twist is that this documentary-style film was written and directed by the members of the gang, giving a unique insight into surfing and gang culture in Sydney. It is narrated by Russell Crowe.

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8. THE SAPPHIRES.
A musical comedy film, The Sapphires tells the story of an all-female indigenous band that are successful enough to travel to Vietnam in the 1960s to entertain Australian troops. It stars Chris O’Dowd of Bridesmaids and The IT Crowd fame, Australian Idol runner-up Jessica Mauboy and Deborah Mailman.

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9. TOMORROW WHEN THE WAR BEGAN.
This film follows the journey of a group of teenagers who go camping in the deep bush, only to discover when they emerge that Australia has been invaded. Most of the filming took place in the Blue Mountains and the nearby Hunter region. Based on the bestselling Australian book series by John Marsden, Tomorrow When the War Began is a gripping film to watch. You'll see Caitlin Stasey who also appears in the TV show ‘Reign’, Phoebe Tonkin who also stars in the TV show ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and Rachel Hurd-Wood who is best known for her role as Wendy Darling in ‘Peter Pan’.

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10. NED KELLY.
This historical drama film tells the story of Australia’s most famous bushranger, Ned Kelly. Although an outlaw, Ned Kelly was charismatic enough to have garnered a lot of positive attention that has continued since his death in the 1880s – it’s definitely worth knowing about this slice of Australian history! Stars are Heath Ledger, Orlando Bloom and Naomi Watts.

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Topics: Sydney, Australia