Chopper’ Celebrates It’s 20th Anniversary With An Exclusive Re-Release
It’s time (again) for Uncle Chop Chop!
Mushroom Pictures and Pariah Productions are proud to announce that critically acclaimed and multi award-winning Australian cinema classic Chopper will have a strictly limited re-release in theatres across the country from August 26 to celebrate the iconic film’s 20th anniversary.
Never available on streaming services, this will be the first time the film has been available to view for many years – at more than 150 cinemas across Australia, digitally remastered. The screenings will also include bonus footage.
Produced by Pariah’s Michele Bennett with Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Pictures, Chopper is a bona fide Australian classic and a one-of-a-kind cinema experience. And it’s the film that turned Eric Bana into an international superstar.
“It’s amazing to see the film being presented to cinemas again after 20 years. There is now a whole generation of fans of the film who would never have had the chance to see it on the big screen. As a cinephile, I am excited by this very rare opportunity. The passage of time has been kind to the film, and it makes the risks taken by all involved worthwhile.”
Chopper tells the story of the late Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read, real-life convict, bestselling author and self-proclaimed “national icon”. “I’m just a bloody normal bloke,” he says in the movie. “A normal bloke who likes a bit of torture!”
“Bringing Chopper to the screen was one of Dad’s proudest achievements,” Matt Gudinski, CEO Mushroom Group, said. “He loved the fact that this Australian movie had become a cult classic around the world, as well as launching the Hollywood career of Eric Bana.”
Written and directed by Andrew Dominik, in his feature directorial debut, Chopper stars Eric Bana as the title character – he was recommended for the role by Chopper himself – and co-stars Vince Colosimo, Simon Lyndon, Kate Beahan and David Field.
The story is frightening, savagely funny and twisted. The son of a devoutly religious mother and one-time soldier with a fondness for sleeping alongside a loaded gun, Chopper dreams of making a name for himself as a legendary crime figure. He begins his journey as a wisecracking criminal failure inside a maximum-security prison but manages to twist his violent life into a story that fascinates and polarises both press and public. The film is an insight into what life was like in Pentridge’s infamous H-division in the ’70s and the Melbourne underworld in the ’80s.
“Chopper was controversial in the making – biopics about notorious criminals are a tricky territory,” producer Michele Bennett said. “But sometimes the most challenging experiences are the most rewarding. We had a fascinating character to portray and with Andrew’s bold direction and Eric’s incredible performance we created a classic that has stood the test of time. It’s thrilling to see it 20 years on through a fresh lens. I am still so proud of this film.”
Chopper was universally recognised for its outstanding performances and nominated for 9 AFI Awards, winning Best Director for Andrew Dominik, Best Actor for Eric Bana and Best Supporting Actor for Simon Lyndon. The film also won 4 Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards, 2 Inside Film Awards, Best Actor Award for Eric Bana from 2000’s Stockholm Film Festival and took out 2001’s Grand Prix Award at France’s Cognac Festival du Film Policier as well as winning their Critics Award.
It’s amazing to see the film being presented to cinemas again after 20 years. There is now a whole generation of fans of the film who would never have had the chance to see it on the big screen. As a cinephile, I am excited by this very rare opportunity. The passage of time has been kind to the film, and it makes the risks taken by all involved worthwhile.
– Eric Bana
Chopper was a number one smash hit at the Aussie box office, becoming the highest grossing R18+ film in Australian history at the time.
“Compelling viewing … one of the most startling, well-directed Australian films of the past 20 years … Spellbinding, powerful … Bana is outstanding.”
Jim Schembri, The Age (2000)
“One of the best Australian films of all time … horrifying, hilarious and genuinely original, with a central performance by Eric Bana of astonishing stamina and virtuosity.”
Evan Williams, The Australian (2000)
“Eric Bana is nothing short of sensational.”
David Stratton, Variety (2000)
“This is a masterpiece of a film, a sign that Australian cinema can reach monstrous heights of glory. Critically evaluating this film two decades on shows that its stature as an enduring classic will not wither with time.”
Andrew Peirce, The Curb (2020)
This anniversary re-release of Chopper puts a big story and a big personality back on the big screen, where it belongs. In cinemas for a strictly limited time across Australia from August 26.