Gallipoli (1981) - Rotten Tomatoes

Gallipoli (1981)




Critic Consensus: Peter Weir's devastating anti-war film features a low-key but emotionally wrenching performance from Mel Gibson as a young soldier fighting in one of World War I's most deadly and horrifying battles.

Movie Info

The first of two consecutive films to see director Peter Weir team with Mel Gibson (the other being The Year of Living Dangerously), Gallipoli follows two idealistic young friends, Frank (Gibson) and Archy (Mark Lee), who join the Australian army during World War I and fight the doomed Battle of Gallipoli in Turkey. The first half of the film documents the lives of the young men in Australia, detailing their personalities and beliefs. The second half of the movie chronicles the ill-fated and ill-planned battle, where the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps is hopelessly outmatched by the enemy forces. Gallipoli was the recipient of eight prizes at the 1981 Australian Film Institute Awards. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovimore
Rating: PG (adult situations/language, nudity, violence)
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 29, 1999
Paramount Home Video - Official Site


Mel Gibson
as Frank Dunne
Mark Lee
as Archy
Harold Hopkins
as Les McCann
as Wallace Hamilton
Stan Green
as Sgt. Major
Heath Harris
as Stockman
Graham Dow
as Gen. Gardner
Bill Hunter
as Maj. Barton
Jenny Lovell
as Waitress
John Morris
as Col. Robinson
Gerda Nicolson
as Rose Hamilton
Max Wearing
as Col. White
Harold Baigent
as Camel Driver
Reg Evans
as Official
Jack Giddy
as Official
Dane Peterson
as Announcer
Paul Linkson
as Recruiting Officer
Steve Dodd
as Billy Snakeskin
John Murphy
as Dan Dunne
Peter Ford
as Lieutenant Gray
Geoff Parry
as Sgt. Sayers
Moshe Kedem
as Egyptian Shopkeeper
Don Barker
as N.C.O. at Ball
Brian Anderson
as Railway Foreman
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Gallipoli

Critic Reviews for Gallipoli

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (3)

Well acted and, within its limited terms, well made, Gallipoli represents a failure of nerve as well as design.

Full Review… | January 18, 2010
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

The central section devoted to training in Egypt sags badly through its crass buddy antics and its crude caricatures of wogs and pommies.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Weir's work has a delicacy, gentleness, even wispiness that would seem not well suited to the subject. And yet his film has an uncommon beauty, warmth, and immediacy, and a touch of the mysterious, too.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Set in 1915, Weir's excellent anti-war film centers on the disastrous battle of Gallipoli, featuring an excellent performance by Mel Gibson as a young fleet-footed soldier

Full Review… | December 19, 2010

... deflated the romantic notions of glory under fire to show the reality of Gallipoli and mourn the men who gave up their lives for a war they had no stake in.

Full Review… | November 18, 2010
Turner Classic Movies Online

Gallipoli is Australia's quintessential war movie that works as a stirring tribute to the ANZAC's and a condemnation of the travesty which is war.

Full Review… | July 7, 2010
Matt's Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Gallipoli

A strong, character-building exercise amongst the backdrop of WWI and the battle of Gallipoli in Turkey, and how two young men (Mark Lee, Mel Gibson), both sprinters, become good friends in their journey to help serve in the Australian army. A buddy film for most its entirety, when it makes the hard shift over to the difficult decisions and circumstances these two characters face, we care about them and if they will survive it all. Both Lee and Gibson are excellent in their respected roles, and the film's cinematography makes for quite a different setting for war to take place in. The last scene of the movie is utterly heart-wrenching, complete with a lasting image of anti-war imagery that will stick in your mind for a long time.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

Gallipoli is a superbly crafted war drama from director Peter Weir. Weir assembles a fine cast of talented actors who all give stunning performances. Gallipoli shows the chaos of the war and tells a compelling and engaging story. This is quite a different war film, and in many ways it succeeds at delivering an experience that we've never seen in the genre. The film is very well done, but lacks in accuracy. I feel that they should have done research a bit more while they were writing the script, as the accuracy of this failed campaign would surely have made this one of the definitive WWI films. As it stands this is a brilliant piece of work that could have been improved upon, but is nonetheless a well structured picture that shows the price of war. Mel Gibson is great here and you can clearly see his craft as an actor developing further with Gallipoli. The film focuses more on the cost of war than on effective action, and it pulls it off very well. Although not the definitive classic of WWI, it is one of the few films that are actually worth seeing on the subject. The acting is wonderful, and the plot is engaging from beginning to end. What makes this film stand out is the fact that is fairly subtle, yet convincing in showing the costs and chaos of war. The film will surely delight history buffs and war film buffs alike. If you want a terrific drama war film, then give this one a shot. The accuracy like I said is questionable, but it may spark an interest in the subject, which I believe is always a good thing. This is a strong effort from director Peter Weir and it is a powerful picture despite its imperfections.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer

Fantastic Australian story of two champion runners who volunteer as soldiers in 1915 to see the worlds.
The result is thrilling and amusing, thanks to the script from playwright David Williamson. Themes of mateship, sports and class warfare cleverly thread the glorious landscape shots.
Really sad for losing one of soldiers through the shoot-out war at the ending.

Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

Gallipoli Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Gallipoli on our Movie forum!