The Last Wave PG

A man stands alone on an empty beach, wearing a long coat and with his back facing the camera. There is rubbish strewn on the beach in front of him.
18 March
Arc Cinema
$12 / $10 or 5 film season pass $50 / $40
Dir: Peter Weir, PG, Australia, 1977, 106mins, DCP,

In Sydney, business lawyer David Burton (Richard Chamberlain) is given the pro bono assignment of defending 5 First Nations men accused of murder.

None of Burton's clients are willing to speak about what happened, even in their own defence, and the medical examiner on the case can't figure out how the victim died.

But Burton has seen one of the men, Chris (David Gulpilil), in a recurring dream. Burton is also troubled by the increasingly terrifying apocalyptic visions he's having, leading him to think Australia may soon be destroyed.

Peter Weir’s films defy simple definitions of reality. But The Last Wave, visually stunning from start to finish, goes further insisting on the tangible power of spiritual life.

The Last Wave is bold and wonderfully strange. It comes packed with rain-soaked foreboding and a then-progressive, muscular attitude to Indigeneity in 1970s Australia’ – Fiction Machine 

‘Weir’s magnificent follow-up [to Picnic at Hanging Rock] has an unsettling surreal energy… a masterful exercise in narrative' The Guardian

 This film is held in the NFSA collection.


Logo that says 'Umbrella Entertainment' in block text. Above the 'u' is the top of a small yellow umbrella.




Presented in collaboration with Umbrella Entertainment.

This film is part of the NFSA's Australian New Wave program. See the full program listing here.



Bookings are essential for all ticketed events. Learn about measures we have in place to keep you COVID-safe here. See the ACT Government COVID-19 website for more information.


Be rewarded for every paid screening, event or exhibition at the NFSA every time you visit. Your seventh visit is free. More details on Club NFSA at our Ticketing page.