On this day: Crocodile Dundee screens overseas
“THAT’S NOT A KNIFE. That’s a knife.”
Who could forget the classic lines of Mick ‘Crocodile’ Dundee in the 1986 film?
On 26 September 1986, Crocodile Dundee opened on 879 screens in the US. It would go on to rack up the biggest profit of any Australian film before or since – over $10 million more than runner up, Australia.
It was an instant sensation, almost paying for itself by the end of its opening US weekend. And, more than 25 years later, the film remains the sixth-highest-grossing Australian film – home-grown or international – to have ever graced the Australian box office.
Mick ‘Crocodile’ Dundee: our knife-wielding ambassador
The story line follows Aussie adventurer and larrikin Dundee, played by Paul Hogan, as a female reporter investigates tales of his legendary bushcraft skills in the Northern Territory and New York. Hogan would win a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for his charismatic lead.
Hogan had been named Australian of the Year in 1985, following his extensive work with the famed “shrimp on the barbie” Tourism Australia ads. His Mick Dundee was seen as a natural progression to help sell the laid-back and adventurous image Australia was trying to cultivate.
“Crocodile Dundee put Australia on the map in America,” says Julia Redwood, director of 2000 documentary, Selling Australia which covered the film’s impact. “Hogan’s character shaped the American view of Australia and is still relevant today. If you show a picture of Paul Hogan to an American today, they’ll know exactly who it is.”
Keeping the colour of the original Crocodile Dundee
In 2001 Crocodile Dundee became one of 50 Australian films selected for preservation by the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia for its Restoration Project. The project remastered these films to ensure that they retain their original quality as it was intended.
“For Crocodile Dundee, a new print was created as the original film was scratched and damaged,” explains Simon Drake, collection access officer at the National Film and Sound Archive.
In 1990, Paul Hogan went on to marry Linda Kozlowski, who played Dundee’s leading lady Sue Charlton in the film. They would both star in all three Dundee films. The couple are still together and reside in California.