Gallipoli The Movie
Ask most Americans to think of famous actors in a war movie and their thought will immediately turn to Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan or Ben Affleck in Pearl Harbor. Ask the same question to the average Australian and they will be almost unanimous in naming Mel Gibson for his role as Frank Dunne in the classic movie Gallipoli. Indeed despite the movies Mel Gibson had starred in before the release of Gallipoli, many consider this to be the film that made him an A list star.
The 1981 film by Peter Weir is set against the backdrop of the Gallipoli campaign of 1915, in which around 100,000 men were killed including many from Australia and New Zealand. The sacrifice of those involved in the terror of the Turkish trenches is commemorated each day on April 25th, known across Australia and New Zealand as ANZAC Day.
From Innocence to War
The story begins in western Australia and centres on two young men and how they went to war. Archie is an innocent young man who is greatly influenced by his uncle’s reading of the Jungle Book. He decides that just as it was time for Mowgli to leave the wolves who raised him and make his own way in the big bad world, so he too needed to become a man and fight in the military. He meets Frank at an athletics carnival and they travel together to Perth to enlist for military service.
Their journey takes them through exotic Cairo where the young men live it up in the bars and brothels of the city before being dispatched to the hellish scenes of Gallipoli in Turkey. The scenes vividly portray the brutality of trench warfare, with the two men fighting desperately for the Allies while seeing death and destruction pile up around them.
Ironically none of the scenes were shot in Turkey, with all of the battle sequences carefully recreated in South Australia. Only the scenes at the Pyramids and in the bazaars were filmed in Egypt.
Go to Turkey today and you’ll find that the battlefields at Gallipolli provide a sombre but highly recommended visit for those wishing to learn more about the history of the bloody battle fought here almost 100 years ago. From Antalya resort and all along the holiday coast you’ll find excursions that take visitors to the scenes of the 1915 battle and allow them to pay their respects to the fallen and get a glimpse of how difficult life would have been for the troops in 1915.
The trenches have long gone but the sacrifices made by the young men in battle make this a hugely important places to visit for those whose ancestors fought and paid the ultimate price.