15 of the best films made in Victoria

film Where the wild things are

Jessica Taylor Yates

Posted October 06, 2022

From ballroom dancers to talking spiders and dressmakers, we’ve rounded up the best blockbuster films made right here in Victoria. 

“A man’s home is his castle.” 

“You really are a gutless wonder.”

“Such is life.” 

Quote one of these to any cinephile, and they’ll probably know what movie you’re talking about. Becoming as well-known as Victorianisms like 'parma' and 'servo', great films made in Victoria have become a staple of popular culture Down Under. 

While some of our most beloved films such as Muriel’s Wedding or Priscilla, Queen of the Desert were filmed north of the Murray, many filmmakers have turned their back on Hollywood to create movie magic in Victoria.  

In no particular order, here’s a list of 15 of our favourite films made in the garden state. 

Movies filmed in Victoria 

The Castle (1997)

“Ah, the serenity!”

 The classic Australian film that’s as embedded in our culture as thongs, AFL and Big Things, the 1997 comedy was filmed over 11 days in and around Melbourne.

Lauded as one of the greatest Australian films ever made that deserves to go straight to the pool room, it focuses on the Kerrigan family and their home next to Melbourne airport. When the airport authorities want them to vacate to make room for a new runway, they tell him he’s dreamin’ – with some classic larrikin laughs along the way. 

Mad Max (1979)

“I think we've got some hoon trouble...”

Arguably putting the Australian film industry, our cars, and Mel Gibson on the global entertainment map, Mad Max has become one of Australia’s most successful exports, going on to become an apocalyptic film franchise that has made over US$475 million worldwide. 

The original Mad Max, where it all began, was filmed right here in Victoria, in the regional areas of Geelong, Little River and Clunes and Point Wilson, as well as in the coastal suburb of Seaford and the Melbourne metropolitan area.

Strictly Ballroom (1992)

“A life lived in fear is a life half-lived!” 

From Australian director Baz Luhrmann (who recently filmed Elvis on the Gold Coast), came the black comedy Strictly Ballroom, catapulting actors like Sonia Kruger to instant fame. 

Scenes for the film about an Aussie ballroom dancing competition were shot in St George’s Theatre in Yarraville, as well as what is now known as the AIA Centre in Richmond. 

The Dressmaker (2015)

“Revenge… one stitch at a time.”

Starring British Oscar winner Kate Winslet with a convincing Australian accent, the film set in the 1950s Outback focuses on a woman who comes back home after years away to solve a mystery. Along the way, she brings her high couture skills to the community as she takes revenge on those who crossed her path. 

The set for the fictional town was built on the Mount Rothwell Conservation and Research Reserve in the You Yangs Regional Park, roughly 50 kilometres southwest of Melbourne. 

Where the Wild Things Are (2009)

“Let the wild rumpus start!”

Based on the beloved book of the same name, Where the Wild Things Are focuses on a boy who escapes reality into a fantasy world of Wild Things.

The movie was primarily filmed at the Docklands Studios, Melbourne. Combining voice effects, animatronics, live-action and CGI, it also was merchandised into a video game, toys, a novel, skateboards and shoes. 


Aussie favourite The Castle was filmed in just 11 days around Melbourne and Victoria. Image: Alamy.
Mad Max was filmed in just 12 weeks on a budget of $350,000. Image: Alamy.
Strictly Ballroom was inspired by the ballroom dancing competitions director Baz Luhrmann participated in during his youth. Image: Alamy

Chopper (2000)

“Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”

The true-crime drama about one of Australia’s most well-known criminals is certainly not for the faint of heart. 

The Eric Bana-led biopic is based on Mark ‘Chopper’ Read’s biography, with primary scenes filmed at Pentridge Prison in Coburg (which has now become part of Palace Cinemas). 

The Wog Boy (2000)

“Get tzatziki with it!”

Starring Greek Australian comedian Nick Giannopolous in the title role, The Wog Boy has become a cult classic, spawning two sequels, an ARIA soundtrack nomination, and making household names out of the title cast, including Vince Colosimo. 

An extension of Giannopoloulos’ tv and stage show personas and shows, locals will recognise plenty of cosmopolitan Melbourne in the film, including the Chapel Street precinct, Yarraville and the CBD. The third instalment, Wog Boys Forever, is out in September 2022. 

RACV Members save on the latest film releases.  

Charlotte’s Web (2006)

“Some pig.”

Not to be confused with the 1973 animation, the most recent Charlotte’s Web (starring Julia Roberts) was filmed right here in Melbourne. The film was about a pig who befriends a barn spider was based on the novel by E.B White, and has sold more than 45 million copies worldwide. 

Another one of our favourite book-to-film adaptations, the movie was principally shot in Greendale, roughly 80 kilometres north-west of Melbourne, as well as Heidelberg and Spotswood. 

On the Beach (1959)

“The biggest story of our time.”

Fred Astaire, Ava Gardner and Gregory Peck, all here in Melbourne? It happened, and it was even nominated for two Academy Awards.

The year was 1959, when the film showing the aftermath of nuclear war was released around the globe. Scenes for the classic apocalyptic drama were filmed all over the city – with beach scenes in Mount Eliza, a train platform in Frankston, the streets of Berwick, the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit and even aboard the HMAS Melbourne. 

Ned Kelly (2003)

“Such is life.”

While obviously a legendary Aussie tale, the story of the Aussie outlaw brought some of our finest actors including the late great Heath Ledger, Naomi Watts, Geoffrey Rush, and Britain’s Orlando Bloom to the big screen. 

While you can experience his life for yourself at the Old Melbourne Gaol, Ned Kelly filmed in a range of locations around Victoria including Melbourne, Geelong, Hepburn Springs, Broadford, Glenfern, Clunes, and Mount Rothwell. 


Filming locations for Charlotte's Web included Bacchus Marsh, Melbourne, and the Heidelberg West Football Club ground. Image: Alamy.
The producers of Lion refused offers to change the location to the US, wanting to stay true to the source material set here in Victoria. Image: Alamy

Animal Kingdom (2010)

“There are no saints in the animal kingdom. Just breakfast and dinner.”

Australia’s answer to Martin Scorsese came alive in this critically acclaimed crime thriller, loosely based on the Walsh Street police shootings in Melbourne in 1988. 

Scoring an Oscar nomination for Jackie Weaver, who played the family matriarch, the movie was filmed around Ivanhoe in Melbourne’s East, as well as the metropolitan area. 

Kenny (2006)

“He’s number one with your number two.”

Catapulting Shane Jacobson to the top of the Australian entertainment scene, Kenny is a mockumentary about a plumber for a portable toilet company. 

The movie was filmed around some well-known hotspots in Melbourne, including Chapel Street, Flemington Racecourse, Calder Park, Avalon Airport, Maidstone and St Kilda, with a fitting premiere in the town of Poowong, Victoria. 

Lion (2016)

“The true story of a life lost and found.”

Pulling at the heartstrings of cinemas everywhere, the true story of how a boy used Google Maps in Melbourne to find his biological family in India was turned into a film starring Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel. 

Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, scenes were filmed in India and Tasmania, as well as in the Melbourne suburbs of Elwood, Carlton, Northcote, Parkville and the CBD. 

Mary and Max (2009)

“Sometimes perfect strangers make the best friends.”

Okay, so while it is stop-motion, we would be remiss not to include the critically acclaimed animation from Australian filmmaker Adam Elliot. 

Starring Toni Collette, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Eric Bana and Barry Humphries, the stop-motion Claymation short was set in Mount Waverley, with the characters and sets handmade and filmed in St Kilda.

Oddball (2015)

“Every underdog has his day.”

The true story and family favourite about a dog who saves a penguin colony was set and filmed in Warrnambool on the Great Ocean Road

Additional scenes were also filmed in Hobson’s Bay, Werribee, and at Docklands Studios in Melbourne. 


Honourable mentions: Ghost Rider, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Queen of the Damned, Knowing, Crackerjack, The Man from Snowy River, Proof, Ride Like a Girl, Predestination, Romulus, My Father