Menu Close

Thinking pop culture

A Very Aussie Christmas?

I’m not patriotic. In fact, the whole idea makes me bristle (yes, yes, a conversation topic for another time). In the context of Christmas however, I do recognise the need for pop culture that offers… diversity.

If you want something Australian for the season, you can do no better than the excellent A Moody Christmas (2012). I really can’t recommend this 6-parter enough. This post however, focuses on Australian Christmas movies.

There’s certainly not a deluge of down-under offerings and I didn’t list any of them on 75 Christmas Films Worth Watching list. Nonetheless, I detail them here to open up the discussion on whether there’s really an “Australian Christmas” that truly differs from the celebrations elsewhere. Personally I’m not so convinced.

I’m listing these chronologically rather than in terms of quality. For reference however, my pick from this list is Force of Destiny (2015) which is a quiet and pretty decent film.

If you have any Australia cinema editions to add, please do comment. I may not be patriotic, but I’m certainly culturally curious.

1. Bush Christmas (1947)

I’ll be upfront and say that I don’t really understand the appeal of films set in the bush. I suspect however, that akin to the American fetishisation of the small town on screen - even though most people don’t live in small towns any longer - Australians do something similar with the bush.

A film about five children pursuing horse thieves. Amusing purely for the accents.

Bush Christmas (1947) - movie clip.

2. Dot and Santa Claus (1981)

An nutty sequel to Dot and the Kangaraoo (1977). Dot is a girl who, in this animated insanity, joins Santa Claus to peruse the festive celebrations of those around the world while searching for a missing kangaroo.

Dot and Santa Claus (1981) - movie clip.

3. Bush Christmas (1983)

A good 95% of Christmas films involve some kind of threat of foreclosure: be it to a dance studio, an ornaments factory or, in this case, a farm. See a teen Nicole Kidman in only her second movie credit.

Bush Christmas (1983) - trailer.

4. Bushfire Moon (1987) (also known as Miracle Down Under and The Christmas Visitor depending on the market)

A film about a little girl teaching a curmudgeon the spirit of Chirstmas. In the bush. Of course.

Bushfire Moon (1987) - full movie.

5. Dead Calm (1989)

It’s Christmastime and navy officer John (Sam Neill) has just returned home, expecting to be greeted by his family. Instead, he is met by two police officers informing him that there had been a car accident.

Dead Calm (1989) - movie clip.

5. Crackers (1998)

A sometimes funny film about a family converging for Christmas. Complete with a vague suicide attempt and a little adultery.

Crackers (1998) - full movie.

6. The Tree (2010)

Death features a lot in Christmas films. In this one, it’s Dad. And apparently his spirit has taken residence in a tree. Not quite as bad as it sounds.

The Tree (2010) - trailer.

7. Force of Destiny (2015)

Robert (David Wenham) is waiting for a new liver. While he waits, romance ensues. A quietly enjoyable film (although I saw it on a plane where, obviously, different rules apply).

Force of Destiny (2015) - trailer.

8. Red Christmas (2016)

An Australian attempt at a Christmas bloodbath. I actually haven’t managed to see a copy yet: if you have tips on where to access a copy, do get in touch.

Red Christmas (2016) - trailer.

Want to write?

Write an article and join a growing community of more than 183,800 academics and researchers from 4,961 institutions.

Register now