While there’s nothing quite like seeing a movie together at the ANU Film Group, we’ve put together this list of recommended films to keep our members entertained and connected from the comfort and safety of your own homes. Some are old favourites that we’ve screened before, while others are hidden gems you may not have heard of yet.
We’ve done our best to source these films from free (and legal) streaming platforms, and have noted where fees may apply for viewing on certain services.
This list will be updated on a weekly basis – so if you have any suggestions you’d like to share, please send them through to email@example.com along with why you think the film should be seen and details on where the film can be found.
Happy viewing, and feel free to share and discuss these films with your friends, family and loved ones!
A Swedish border guard finds new meaning in her life after meeting a mysterious stranger. This is a film best experienced with as little knowledge as possible. All you have to know is that it is an unpredictable – and oddly timely – subversion of a laundry list of genres from Nordic noir to fantasy and even romance.
A suicidal man (Paul Dano) stranded on an island befriends a corpse (Daniel Radcliffe) that washes ashore, and soon discovers that his new friend has a myriad of supernatural abilities which may be able to help him get home. This comedy-drama is as bizarre as it sounds but also rewardingly and refreshingly original.
A group of teenagers spend the weekend at a deserted cabin, but soon fall victim to horrors lurking in the woods. Sure, this may sound like your typical horror/slasher film – but it is so, so much more. Again, the less said, the better but know that you are in for an astonishingly clever film that turns the genre on its head.
Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem star in this psychological thriller ostensibly about a couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home – but the metaphorical (and violent) nature of Darren Aronofsky's film generated much confusion and discussion upon release. Not for the faint of heart.
Yorgos Lanthimos may now be best known for Oscar-winning period drama The Favourite, but the Greek director's filmography is full of uniquely offbeat cinematic treats like Dogtooth and The Lobster. This unsettling thriller about a doctor whose life is turned upside down by a teenage boy is an equally acquired taste.
Don't let the zombies scare you off! It may be about an undead outbreak aboard a train, but there's a reason this became one of the most successful South Korean blockbusters of all time. This is a highly original and entertaining cracker of a film, with spectacular action, social commentary, pathos and humour by the trainload.
One of the most acclaimed films of 2018, this South Korean adaptation of a Haruki Murakmi short story chronicles the tense relationship that between an aspiring novelist, his childhood friend, and a wealthy businessman. The less you know about this unforgettable psychological thriller, the better...
Before Parasite and Snowpiercer, South Korean director Bong Joon-ho bent genres by combining dark humour and social satire within the context of a riveting monster movie. When a monster emerges from a local river and kidnaps a food vendor's daughter, it's up to him and his highly dysfunctional family to rescue her.
Based on a true story, this powerful drama tells the story of ten Korean women who were dragged away from their homes and forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese army during WWII. Exploring their plight through the courts, it presents an overlooked chapter of South Korean history that will no doubt tug at your heart strings.
This solid, stylish South Korean remake of Hong Kong director Johnnie To's 2012 film Drug War has plenty to keep you hooked. In it, a police detective seeks out the help of a gang member to finally catch the mysterious head of Asia's biggest drug cartel. An intense and intelligent thriller that would put Hollywood to shame.
Director Justin Kurzel (Snowtown) delivers a new take on an Australian legend with this fictionalised, revisionist account of the life of Ned Kelly (1917's George MacKay) and his outlaw gang as they violently rebel against authorities in the 1870s. A terrific cast and a bold, stylish vision – just don't expect a history lesson.
In 1825, a young convict (newcomer Ainsling Franciosi) seeks revenge against a British soldier (Sam Claflin) for a terrible act he committed against her family. Winner of six AACTA Awards, director Jennifer Kent's (The Babadook) sophomore feature bravely depicts the brutality of colonial Tasmania. Not for the faint of heart!
After a white lie spirals out of control, the eldest son (Osamah Sami) of a Muslim cleric must follow through with an arranged marriage – even though he's madly in love with the girl of his dreams. This offbeat rom-com shines the spotlight on Australia's migrant community, made even sweeter by its basis in writer-star Sami's own life.
Indigenous detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen) arrives in the Outback town of Goldstone to investigate a missing person, but soon uncovers a web of crime and corruption in this acclaimed Aussie noir thriller with plenty to say. For the complete story, be sure to check out 2013's Mystery Road as well as the ABC spin-off series.
This Australian coming-of-age drama centres on a teenage girl dealing with her mother transitioning to become a man over the course of a year. Director Sophie Hyde's (Animals) debut feature was filmed each Tuesday for an actual year in suburban Adelaide with first-time actors – to frank, fearless and poignant results.
Think you've been cooped up at home for long? This stranger-than-fiction documentary tells the story of seven siblings who were confined to their New York apartment for 14 years and learnt all they know about the outside world by watching films. A fascinating and bizarre look at the power of movies, it has to be seen to be believed.
In 1940, the Ministry of Information recruits a team to produce a film about the Allied evacuation of Dunkirk, in the hopes that it will help boost the morale of the British people as WWII rages on. With an excellent cast led by Gemma Arterton and Bill Nighy, this comedy-drama offers a charming slice of cinematic nostalgia.
Long overshadowed, Carol (Lake Bell) sets out to make her own voice heard by competing against her famous father, known as the king of movie trailer voiceovers. This witty, satirical comedy shines a light on an oft-overlooked (but no less engrossing) area of filmmaking – along with writer/director/star Bell's considerable talent.
This terrific coming-of-age British comedy follows two schoolboys in the 1980s who unexpectedly bond over their love of First Blood, which brought Sylvester Stallone's Rambo into the world. Joining forces, they set out to make their own action epic for a filmmaking competition – with no budget but plenty of imagination and heart.
Paul Thomas Anderson's star-studded opus may be about films of the pornographic variety but it is a dazzling look at the lives of the filmmakers as they struggle with the decline of their industry in the 1970s. Full of humour and colourful performances from the likes of Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore and, yes, even Mark Wahlberg.
This acclaimed, AACTA-winning Australian sci-fi thriller from the Sperig Brothers stars Ethan Hawke as a temporal agent on his final assignment who travels back in time in pursuit of an elusive criminal. Twisty and mind-bending but with a strong emotional punch thanks to breakout star Sarah Snook, it's not to be missed.
In this smart, heartfelt and low-fi little indie, three magazine employees head out on assignment to interview a man who has placed a classified ad in the paper seeking a companion for time travel. As they learn more about him, they begin to question whether he is just crazy or if he has actually managed to build a real time machine.
A young boy accidentally joins a band of time-travelling dwarves, as they skip through time attempting to steal treasures from different historical eras. Terry Gilliam reunites with fellow Pythons John Cleese and Michael Palin for this hit time travel fantasy that also features the likes of Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall and the late Ian Holm.
Dean is a scientist who wants nothing more than to create the perfect romantic weekend for his girlfriend. But when his plans are disrupted by her ex-boyfriend, he attempts to travel back in time and undo the damage. This terrific low-budget Aussie rom-com is an inventive, clever and bizarre rift on well-worn time travel concepts.
Released nearly two decades ago, Richard Kelly's cult classic is still just as weird and wonderful. In it, a troubled teen (Jake Gyllenhaal) is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit telling him that the world will end in 28 days. Seeking answers, the teen investigates time travel in an attempt to prevent the impending apocalypse.
In 1950s New Zealand, a couple meet and fall in love – but disastrous dates, parental disapproval and family secrets all threaten to tear them apart. Their bittersweet love story is told in toe-tapping fashion with the aid of new takes on beloved songs by iconic Kiwi artists such as Crowded House, Bic Runga and The Swingers.
In this charming American indie dramedy, a widowed ex-musician (Nick Offerman) spends the summer before his daughter (Kiersey Clemons) heads off to college recording music together. When their song becomes an unexpected hit online, he is torn between fulfilling his dreams or letting his daughter find her own path.
An intensely moving portrait of a relationship, as two bluegrass musicians fall in love and dive headfirst into a sweeping romance, before being hit by an unexpected tragedy that tests everything they know. This Oscar-nominated Belgian musical drama is intoxicating and heartbreaking – with a fantastic soundtrack to boot.
This Israeli comedy-drama was one of 2007's best received films and even became a Tony-winning stage musical a decade later. It follows eight Egyptian musicians who get stranded by mistake in a small Israeli town where they must overcome ethnic barriers in a clever, poignant exploration of cross-cultural differences.
Yes, it's another musical about relationships, but this sincere little indie is one worth seeking out. Starring Anna Kendrick in one of her best performances yet, it follows a relationship over the course of five years, as told in a non-linear narrative that alternates between the couple's beginnings in 2009 and their eventual divorce in 2014.
Kaytetye filmmaker Warwick Thornton (Samson and Delilah, Sweet Country) is perhaps one of Australia's best directors working today. Here, he takes an eye-opening look at the Southern Cross constellation and its significance in Indigenous culture in a mischievous yet important discussion about race, history and identity.
The landmark Mabo decision – which overturned the Terra Nullius doctrine in favour of native title recognition in Australia – is a demonstration of what can be achieved when people come together to combat injustice. Directed by Rachel Perkins, the film chronicles Eddie Mabo's highly personal campaign for Indigenous land rights.
Following The Tracker and Ten Canoes, David Gulpilil's third collaboration with Dutch-Australian director Rolf de Heer scored him the Best Actor prize at Cannes in 2013 – and for good reason. The Yolngu screen icon is extraordinary here as an Aboriginal man facing an all-too-common plight: lamenting the loss of his culture.
A evocative audio-visual journey into the life of one of Australia's most beloved musicians: Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu. Blind from birth, Gurrumul – aka Dr G Yunupingu – found purpose through music inspired by his community and country but struggled to strike a balance between culture and celebrity in modern Australia.
Released 65 years ago, this was the first Australian feature film to be shot in colour, and more importantly, the first to star Indigenous actors in leading roles. It tells the story of an orphaned Aboriginal girl who is taken in by a white family. As she grows up, she finds herself trapped between two cultures, but belonging to neither.
The powerful true story of Bryan Stevenson (Jordan), a Harvard law grad who dedicates his career to defending the wrongly convicted. One of his first cases is that of Walter McMillan (Foxx), an African-American man sentenced to die despite all evidence pointing to his innocence – one of many victims of systemic racism.
Samuel L. Jackson narrates this essential, Oscar-nominated documentary which explores the history of racism in the United States through the writings of social activist James Baldwin. Baldwin devoted his life to putting his experience of being a Black man into words, making crucial observations on American race relations.
Set during one of the largest race riots in American history, this film recreates a racially-charged incident of police brutality that occurred at the Algiers Motel in 1967. John Boyega – one of the strongest celebrity voices at the heart of the recent movement – stars as a security guard who is unwillingly caught up in the inhumane acts.
Ava DuVernay (Selma) directs this documentary that likens the widespread mass incarceration of coloured people in America to a continuation of slavery. Named after the US constitution's 13th amendment, which abolished slavery in 1865, the Oscar-nominated film is provocative, challenging and packed with information.
Racism exists in Australia too, and it would be remiss of us not to mention Indigenous AFL footballer Adam Goodes as a confronting example of this. This acclaimed documentary focusses on the final chapter of Goodes’ playing career when he took a stand on racism and became the centre of a debate that divided the nation.
The influential debut of both Mikkelsen and director Refn (Drive, Bronson), this grisly Danish crime thriller follows a drug pusher (Bodnia) as he desperately tries to recoup a large debt after a deal gone wrong. Mikkelsen plays his dimwitted skinhead sidekick – who goes on to become the lead character in Refn's 2004 sequel.
With a bleeding tear duct and a memorable torture scene, Mikkelsen's turn as villainous banker Le Chiffre is bound to live on in the pantheon of Bond baddies. Daniel Craig's stellar back-to-basics debut as 007 also finally gave Mikkelsen international recognition, as the two men face off in a high-stakes game of poker.
The deserving recipient of a bevy of accolades – including for Best Actor – this unforgettable Danish drama stars Mikkelsen as a kindergarten teacher who is wrongly accused of sexually abusing a child at his school. The false claim sees the man become a target of mass hysteria as his town's tight-knit community turn against him.
This lavish period romance was released the same year as The Hunt and couldn't have been more different. Mikkelsen plays an 18th century royal physician whose devotion to his King and country is upended by an affair with the young Queen (Vikander). What follows is the true story of a revolution that changed Denmark forever.
In terms of one-man shows, you could do worse than spending 100 minutes with Mads in the snow. Here, he plays a man stranded after a plane crash in the Arctic circle whose makeshift livelihood is disrupted by the arrival of an unexpected visitor. Even in the absence of dialogue, Mikkelsen manages to deliver a stunning performance.
Perhaps the quintessential Cannes film, Federico Fellini's 1960 Palme d'Or winner is the extravagant tale of a jaded celebrity journalist who has just seven days in Rome to find the eponymous sweet life. It gave the world everything we associate with modern Italy – style, fashion, even paparazzo – while cementing Fellini's reputation.
Jane Campion's sensual period drama is still infamously the only Palme d'Or winner to be directed by a woman. Set in mid-19th century New Zealand, a mute pianist (Hunter) finds her loveless marriage to her new husband (Neill) falling apart when he sells her prized piano – and inadvertently her affection – to another man (Keitel).
Francis Ford Coppola filmed this 1974 Palme d'Or winner at the same time as a little sequel by the name of The Godfather Part II. In this tense thriller that remains as relevant as ever in today's techno world, a surveillance expert (Gene Hackman) faces a moral dilemma when one of his recordings appears to reveal plans for a murder.
Does any other Palme d'Or winner have as much cultural relevance as Quentin Tarantino's 1994 masterpiece? From that dance to Sam Jackson's Ezekiel speech, this postmodern crime film is undeniably iconic and forever changed expectations of what independent cinema could be. Plus, it made John Travolta cool again (for a bit).
At 196 minutes long, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s 2014 Palme d'Or winner will test your patience, but those who stick through it will be rewarded with a beautiful meditation on class inequalities in Turkey and beyond. The fable-like drama follows a Turkish landowner as he deals with conflicts from both his own family and his aggrieved tenants.
After making her feature film debut just one year earlier in Bruce Beresford's Paradise Road, Cate's performance as Elizabeth I catapulted her to international stardom. This look at the early years of the embattled monarch's reign also scored Cate her first Oscar nod, along with Best Actress wins at the Golden Globes and BAFTAs.
Within less than a decade, Cate had become one of the world's most sought-after actresses. She stars here alongside Brad Pitt as an estranged couple on vacation in the Moroccan desert – in this ensemble drama from director Alejandro G. Iñárritu (The Revenant, Birdman) about the interlocked lives of seemingly random people.
Cate delivers a tour de force performance as a Manhattan socialite who has fallen on tough times in Woody Allen's dark comedy-drama. Critics heralded the performance as one of Cate's best – and she received more than 40 awards on the way to a Best Actress Oscar, her second after winning Best Supporting Actress in 2005.
After playing one of many Bob Dylans in Todd Haynes' I'm Not There, Cate reunited with the director for this 1950s-set drama about a forbidden love affair between a woman going through a divorce and a younger department store clerk (Mara). This beautiful and intoxicating romance was one of the best films of 2015.
One of five (!) films she appeared in during 2015, this experimental feature has Cate playing no less than 13 characters as she recites famous manifestos from artists over varying time periods in contemporary scenarios. Originally designed as an art installation, this 90-minute film version is no less of a masterclass in performance.
Unbeknownst to its mortal inhabitants, Berlin is populated by invisible angels who observe the humans and listen to their thoughts – until one of the angels (Ganz) falls in love with a woman. One of the greatest German films ever made, it was remade in 1998 as City of Angels, starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan and set in Los Angeles.
A Hong Kong cop goes undercover with the Triads, while a rival gang member infiltrates the police force and rises through the ranks. Despite being remade in 2006 by Martin Scorsese as The Departed – which eventually won the Best Picture Oscar – the original remains a slickly-told crime thriller that more than holds its own.
This darkly comedic Norwegian revenge thriller was remade by the same director in 2019 as Cold Pursuit, starring Liam Neeson. Although the end result was similar, we prefer the original starring Stellan Skarsgård as a mild-mannered snow plow driver who seeks bloody vengeance against the drug dealers who killed his son.
In 1980s Stockholm, a bullied young boy begins a friendship with the peculiar girl who has just moved in next door, unaware that she is a vampire. Beautiful and unexpectedly intelligent, the Swedish original was remade in 2010 as Let Me In – a commendable, if redundant, American re-telling of the tale starring Chloë Grace Moretz.
A dentist (Matthau) finds himself caught in a lie with the woman he wishes to marry (Hawn, who won an Oscar for her early role) and recruits his longtime nurse (Bergman) to pose as his soon-to-be ex-wife. This rom-com classic was remade in 2011 as Just Go With It, starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. Need we say more?
It's been nearly five years since the last Bond film, but that's nothing compared to the six-year series hiatus that GoldenEye broke when it came along 25 years ago. Featuring Pierce Brosnan's first go-around as 007, this post-Cold War thriller is one of the best in the series. And have we mentioned every Bond film is streaming on Stan?
Michael Caine stars as Harry Palmer, a sly criminal-turned-spy tasked with investigating the kidnapping of scientists in this British espionage classic. Released the same year as Sean Connery's Thunderball, Palmer was designed to be the 'anti-Bond': a working-class civil servant more interested in cooking than saving the world.
After her family is murdered, a 12-year-old girl (Portman) is reluctantly taken in by a hitman (Reno) and soon becomes his protégée as he trains her to be an assassin. Stylish, violent and undeniably arresting, Luc Besson's iconic action-thriller has a lot going for it – not least the film debut of then-child actor Portman.
A former hitman comes out of retirement to get revenge on the gangsters that took everything from him. A practically perfect pairing of role and actor in Keanu Reeves, this stylised actioner kicks off a ferociously fun franchise that gets even better with each subsequent entry (Chapters 2 and 3 are also available on Netflix).
What this South Korean action-thriller may lack in depth, it certainly makes up for with stunningly choreographed and ultra-violent action sequences. Trained as a killer since she was a young girl, Sook-Hee travels to South Korea with the promise of starting a quiet new life – but her dark past eventually catches up with her.
One of the first casualties of Australian cinemas shutting down, Pixar's latest is now available to stream at home. Their 22nd feature film, this heartwarming and modern twist on the fantasy-adventure genre follows two suburban elf brothers who set out on a quest to find an artefact that will bring back their deceased father.
This Studio Ghibli co-production has no dialogue whatsoever but more than makes up for it with a deceptively simple, yet no less masterful, fairy tale about a man shipwrecked on a deserted island who befriends a giant red turtle. Special mention: 21 more of Studio Ghibli's beloved animated features are now streaming on Netflix.
This Swiss-French film combines adorable stop-motion animation with a surprisingly weighty exploration of childhood innocence. After his mother's sudden death, a young boy nicknamed Zucchini is sent to a foster home, where he learns to trust and love as he searches for a new family. English dubbed version.
As far as you could get from a kid's film, this stop-motion animated drama comes from the distinctive mind of American writer-director Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich). Profound and thought-provoking, it follows a lonely inspirational speaker whose finds his life re-invigorated after meeting a unique woman.
One of this year's Oscar nominees for Best Animated Feature Film, this French animated fantasy tells the macabre tale of a severed hand (yes, you read that right) as it scours the streets of Paris for its owner, a lovestruck young man. Intricately imaginative and utterly unique. Available in English and French.
Making history this year by winning four Oscars including Best Picture, Bong Joon-Ho's masterpiece is not to be missed. This darkly comedic South Korean thriller follows the members of a poor family who plot and scheme to intertwine their lives with a wealthy family – but their beautiful home hides dark secrets too.
Winner of the 2006 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, this suspenseful and powerful thriller follows a member of the East German secret police (Mühe) who is assigned to spy on a couple in their Berlin apartment. The more he learns about them, the more he becomes increasingly absorbed in their lives.
Directed by Canberra-raised Cate Shortland – whose next film is Marvel's Black Widow – this psychological thriller centres on an Aussie backpacker (Palmer) exploring Berlin. After spending the night with a German man, she discovers that she has been taken hostage by her would-be lover and trapped in his apartment.
Lift your spirits with this rom-com classic and 1960's Best Picture Oscar winner in which insurance worker Bud (Lemmon) lends his Upper West Side apartment to his bosses to use for their extramarital affairs. Bud falls for the elevator operator (MacLaine) at work, who in turn is having an affair with Bud's boss.
Hong Kong comedian Stephen Chow directs and stars in this hilarious and loving homage to kung fu cinema. In 1940s China, an aspiring gangster (Chow) inadvertently triggers a war between the notorious Axe Gang and the eccentric residents of a rundown slum of apartments – who are all secretly kung fu masters in hiding.
This year's Oscar winner for Best Adapted Screenplay, writer-director Taika Waititi's WWII satire follows a lonely Hitler Youth member named Jojo (Davis), who discovers that his mother (Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic. With his world turned upside down, Jojo turns to an imaginary Adolf Hitler (also Waititi) for advice.
Taika Waitii brings his trademark wit to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the hilarious – but no less action-packed – third instalment in the Thor series. Imprisoned on the other side of the universe, Thor (Hemsworth) but find a way back to his home world of Asgard before the ruthless Hela (Blanchett) brings an end to his civilisation.
In Taika Waititi's fourth feature, rebellious Ricky Baker (Dennison) runs away into the New Zealand bush, pursued by his foster uncle (Neill). Branded as outlaws by authorities, the two must put aside their differences to survive. Charming, offbeat and poignant, this is the most successful film ever at the Kiwi box office – and rightfully so!
A coming-of-age comedy set in 1980s New Zealand, this is Taika Waititi's second feature – and the second highest-grossing film in NZ box office history. In it, an 11-year-old Michael Jackson fan (Rolleston) finally gets the chance to reconnect with his criminal father (Waititi) when he returns home to recover a buried bag of money.
A bonus blast from the past to round out our spotlight on Taika Waititi: this 2004 short film is one of the Kiwi writer-director's earliest efforts and it earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Live Action Short. Two young boys and a girl develop a budding friendship as they wait for their parents in a parking lot outside a rural pub.