ANZACS Part I Gallipoli (1985)

I need to thank Soldier’s Mail who left a comment on my post Australian War Movies: A List mentioning ANZACS. This is really, really worth watching.

ANZACS has five episodes in total and I have just watched the first one that could be called “Gallipoli”. I would say it is easily as good – if in parts not even better – as Peter Weir’s movie Gallipoli (one of my top 10!).

The series starts in Australia where the young guys, full of enthusiasm and inspired by a sense of adventure, enlist. While some of their parents think it is their duty towards their motherland (some can still not fully grasp the idea of being independent by now), the young men see the war as a means to travel and see the world. A bit of fighting will be great as well. Why not bash some Germans? Sounds sporting, right?

They are a composite little group heading off to Europe (as they think). Some are farmers, some are sports heroes, others are students.

When they finally arrive in Gallipoli, they are told that they will fight the Germans by entering the back door. Once they have overrun the Turks there will be no stopping them and victory will be certain.

Gallipoli is one of those names that stands for an unsuccessful campaign and battles in which losses were extremely high. The young lads are mown down by Turkish guns like weeds and the sporting spirit dies as soon as they have lost the first among their ranks. I couldn’t help wondering whether the British sent the Australians on purpose on this futile mission but considering that they lost as many and more of their own in France and Belgium, it seems more likely that high command had simply no clue what they were doing. Anyone reading this who is better informed is welcome to explain/contradict.

I liked the way this first part was told. It seems very accurate, very realistic, not overly emotional. There is a couple of brothers and friends who are devastated by the loss of their siblings and friends but this isn’t overly exploited.

I’m extremely curious to see how this will develop and whether the next episodes will be equally good or even better. At the end of episode one they were ready to move on to France.

Here is part one of episode I

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15 thoughts on “ANZACS Part I Gallipoli (1985)

  1. warmoviebuff says:

    Rats! It is not available on Net Flix. You did not find the acting cheesy? I am referring to the clip.

  2. So glad you finally have the chance to see the series! It has been a very long time since I watched it (aired on network TV in the 1980’s), but I still vividly remember many of the scenes. I don’t think the acting is particularly “cheesy”, but you also have to make certain allowances for 1980’s production values (remember, this was created as a TV miniseries). Overall, I think it’s really great, especially in its treatment of WWI from the perspective of an ensemble cast. Can’t wait for your next episode’s review!

    • I totally agree, you have to bare in mind that it was done in the 80s and Gallipoli has it’s cheesy moments as well, I would say, overall even some more. I just watched episode two and hope to be reviewing it shortly. Thanks again for telling me.

  3. Curvy Kitty says:

    There ANZACS were sent to Gallipoli as they were the closest forces at the time – they’re were too many troops in England so they’d been doing their training in Egypt. Like most WW1 disasters, the slaughter was the result of bad high command, poor communication and lack of understanding of ‘modern’ warfare. But I say this as an Australian, not as someone who is a particular expert on WW1!

    • I think high command was quite incapable but when watching part II I got the feeling that the directors wanted to underline that British high command deliberately sacrificed the Australians for numerous reasons, one being their tendency to insubordination (from a British point of view). Thye also had gotten rid of the death penalty.
      Did you watch it?

  4. Curvy Kitty says:

    The rather relaxed attitude to authority was certainly a thorn in the side of the British! The Australians were certainly sacrificed as they were inexperienced – the British didn’t want to remove battle hardened troops from the Western front to risk in what the war office considered a Middle Eastern ‘adventure’.

    I can only vaguely remember this series. It has Paul Hogan in it yes? I see that it’s still available to buy so I might track it down. I can get stuff from any library service in Australia, so I’m sure I’ll find it somewhere! I clearly need to brush up on my WW1 knowledge!

    • Yes, Hogan is in it. I reviewed Beneath Hill 60 earlier this year. That’s equally good. And of course the ones from the Australian New Wave, The Lighthorsemen and Gallipoli. They make fun in the series of this realxed attitude towards authority and it doesn’t make the British look good.

  5. Curvy Kitty says:

    If you want relaxed attitude to authority, you should try 40 Thousand Horsemen.

  6. [...] I enjoyed part II even more than part I (see review here). [...]

  7. Curvy Kitty says:

    Just finished watching the series. Most entertaining. Thanks for reminding me of it!

  8. [...] are the reviews of Part I Gallipoli and Part II The Somme and a List of Australian War [...]

  9. [...] centers on the Armistice and the ANZACS’ return home to Australia. Here are the reviews of Part I Gallipoli, Part II The Somme  and Part III [...]

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