The narrative begins in Western Australia in 1915 and follows the paths of Archie Hamilton and Frank Dunne, before and after their enlistment in the Australian Imperial Forces. Hamilton is the patriotic son of a grazier and Frank Dunne is a drifter with no great desire to fight for the British Empire. They meet as runners in an outback footrace and become best mates. After training in Egypt, they land at Gallipoli, just as the great Allied assaults of August 1915 are to begin.
Source: Australian Screen.
'Historians have long sought to compare Australian and New Zealand Anzac commemoration, finding that Australian commemoration tends to be more nationalistic and celebratory, while New Zealand’s is more solemn and inclusive of Māori, women’s and pacifist perspectives. This article examines war commemoration in Australia and New Zealand during the centenary of the First World War through the medium of four Anzac-themed television productions: Australia’s Gallipoli and The Power of Ten and New Zealand’s When We Go to War and Field Punishment No. 1. Due to their capacity to attract mass audiences, television and film are useful mediums for elucidating major cultural trends, including the changing nature of war commemoration and its relationship to ideals of nationhood. In particular, the article argues that the coexistence of myth-challenging representations in Australia with productions that reinforce the traditional Anzac legend reflects a longstanding tension between supporters of the state-sanctioned nationalist trope and its critics in artistic and academic communities; alternatively, the less controversial nature of the Anzac legend in New Zealand helps account for the more prosaic tone of some of its Anzac-themed television.' (Publication abstract)
'On May 1, 1980, I was invited to attend a reception held at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney, at which two of Australia’s best-known businessmen made an important announcement to the invited guests. The men, Rupert Murdoch and Robert Stigwood, were Australians who were well known around the world: the “media magnate and [the] entertainment entrepreneur” (as The Sunday Telegraph reported a few days later) used the occasion to announce the formation of a new company, R&R (later known as Associated R&R Films), a joint venture between News Corporation and the Robert Stigwood Organisation; the latter company had been responsible for hit films such as Tommy, Saturday Night Fever and Grease. A total of $10m would be invested in local productions, the first — and, as it turned out, the last — of which would be Gallipoli, directed by Peter Weir, produced by Patricia Lovell and scripted by David Williamson.' (Introduction)