Strictly Ballroom Collection

Acknowledgement of Country

The NFSA acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander peoples as the Traditional Custodians of the lands and waterways across Australia. 

We pay respect to their Elders, past and present. 

A life lived in fear is a life half lived.


How to navigate this exhibition... a quick run-through

It's easier than a Bogo Pogo!

Simply click on the dots and chapter headings on the left of your screen.

The arrow controls at bottom left and right of screen allow you to move back and forward between slides within each chapter.

You can also use the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate.

We hope you enjoy this exhibition! 

He resorted to his own flashy, crowd-pleasing steps!

Les Kendall

Strictly Daring

'There's never been a film like it!'

Sit back and enjoy the ride as we begin with the official extended movie trailer.

The Morning After

Cannes Film Festival

Margaret Pomeranz ('The Movie Show', SBS) introduces Baz Luhrmann and Paul Mercurio after the film's premiere midnight screening at Cannes. It won the 'Award of the Youth' prize.

And the award goes to...

Cleaning up at the AFI Awards

This compilation highlights how Strictly Ballroom scooped the pool at the 1992 AFI Awards ceremony.

AFI wins and nominations

Strictly Ballroom received 13 nominations and won eight awards, including Best Film and Best Director.

A Global Smash

The roaring success of Strictly Ballroom didn't stop at the AFI awards. 

Along with many other international and local award wins, the film received eight BAFTA nominations in 1993, resulting in three wins, plus a Golden Globe nod in 1994, sealing its place as a global smash hit. 

Listen to the rhythm. Don't be scared.


Looking back...

25 Years of Strictly Ballroom

Paul Mercurio and Tara Morice relive their Scott and Fran days in these snapshots from their recent exclusive interviews with the NFSA

First Timers

It was Baz's Story

Producer Tristram Miall talks about Baz Luhrmann and why he hired a first-timer to direct the film.

'A microcosm for the world at large'

Great dancing, great drama!

Director Baz Luhrmann introduces us to the themes behind his first feature film in this behind-the-scenes interview.

He started doing his own thing... improvising.

Federation President Barry Fife

Diabolical Beauty

Catherine Martin's Design

Catherine Martin talks about the look and feel of the ballroom world.

Location location

A prime location in the inner-west suburb of Marrickville, with rooftop views of Sydney's skyline, was chosen for Kendall's Dance Studio. Catherine Martin loved the iconic Coca-Cola sign in Sydney's Kings Cross and decided to build her own version for the top of the dance studio and have Coca-Cola pitch in to pay for it! 

Throw in a Hills Hoist clothesline for a strictly Aussie touch, and the result was a gorgeous backdrop for some of the most beautiful scenes in the film.

People often ask...

Where is Fran's House?

Fran's family home and milk bar was purpose-built from scratch in Pyrmont, a Sydney suburb near Darling Harbour. The site was an old railway goods

yard and was very rundown at the time. The most expensive scene in the film was shot here, involving a train going past the rear of the house.

The milk bar set was so convincing that a group of workers in hi-vis gear entered one day during the shoot and tried to order lunch. 

The rhumba is the dance of love. Look at me like you're in love.

Scott Hastings

Dance rehearsals

Paul and Tara talk flamenco

Paul Mercurio talks about his love of flamenco and Tara Morice recalls being shown up on the dance floor by a group of little kids.

Strictly Ballroom

Tara and Paul: Learning Ballroom

Tara Morice pokes fun at Paul's 'ballet-stiff hips' and Paul Mercurio reveals that learning ballroom dancing was more difficult than he expected.

'You're a Matador'

John O'Connell Choreography

Strictly Ballroom choreographer John 'Cha Cha' O'Connell reveals how he gets the best performance from his actors.

And it's something that I must believe in,
and it's there when I look in your eyes.

'Love Is In The Air'

Love is in the Air

JPY Live at the AFI Awards

John Paul Young closes the 1992 AFI Awards ceremony with a live performance of his classic hit.

Ballroom Mix

Reviving a 1970s hit

Singer John Paul Young talks about re-recording 'Love Is In The Air' for the film soundtrack and how 'Strictly Ballroom' revived the hit song.

She sings as well...

Recording 'Time After Time'

Tara Morice talks about recording the Cyndi Lauper classic 'Time After Time' with Mark Williams for the film soundtrack.

Labour of Love

Embracing the World of Ballroom

Composer David Hirschfelder talks about his work on 'Strictly Ballroom' and surrendering to the ballroom style.

That was unexpected.

Kylie Hastings

Did you know...

Paul Mercurio badly injured his ankle before filming and was on crutches for three weeks after shooting wrapped.
The costume designers bought every Swarovski crystal in Australia but it wasn't enough, so they had to swap them between costumes during filming.
The 'Frangipani-del-la-squeegie-mop' speech was written by Tara Morice while developing Fran's character for the original stage production.


With special thanks to Tristram Miall, Paul Mercurio, Tara Morice and John O'Connell.

Thanks also to Albert Music, John Paul Young, David Hirschfelder, Australian Film Institute / Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the Stomping Ground Brewing Co, Collingwood. 

'Love is in the Air' by Vanda/Young, Performed by John Paul Young © Boomerang Investments Pty Ltd admin by BMG AM Pty Ltd, Licensed courtesy of BMG AM Pty Ltd.

  • Exhibition producer: Mel Bondfield
  • Curatorial: Jennifer Coombes
  • Film compilations: Richard Carter
  • Filmed interviews: Michael Karris, Matt Jasper
  • Filmed interview editing: Michael Karris
  • Clearances: Bronwyn Dowdall, Anna Yates
  • Oral History, Sound recordist: Bronwyn Murphy
  • Document photography: Darren Weinert
  • Design elements: Cameron Emerson-Elliott

Explore our Strictly Ballroom curated collection.