We’re quite sure that a good number of you children of the 1980s will have seen Crocodile Dundee, possibly on multiple occasions. It’s one of those classic ‘fish out of water’ films that were so prevalent during the 1980s, but this one definitely had a little something more to it…
Not only was Crocodile Dundee hilarious, introducing us to a lead character who we would love and remember for years to come, but it also made us fall in love with a country which until that point we hadn’t thought all that much about, that country of course being Australia.
We’ll not need to give most of you the comedy’s basic details, but just in case you’ve been wandering the Australian outback for the last 30 years and you’ve never gotten round to watching it, let us be the ones to fill you in…
Crocodile Dundee was released in 1986 and is an Australian and American comedy film that is set both in the Australian Outback and also in New York City.
Directed by Peter Faiman, it of course stars Paul Hogan as the titular Mick Dundee, whilst Hogan’s future wife Linda Kozlowski played the character of Sue Charlton.
Below we present 20 things you may not have realised about this legend of 80s film, and be sure to let us know your memories of Mick Dundee and his escapades with a comment.
1. It Was Specifically Designed To Target The US Box Office
Crocodile Dundee was made on a budget of $10 million, which was fairly modest, even for the time, and it was a deliberate attempt to make a commercial Australian comedy that would also appeal to the American audience. And not only did they succeed in creating a film that would be popular in the US, but it was also a massive success the whole world over.
It was the 2nd highest grossing film in the US in 1986, with approximately 46 million tickets sold, and it also went on to become the 2nd highest grossing film in the whole world.
Paul Hogan himself predicted that it would indeed be a big success, saying after they finished filming that he expected that it would make millions of dollars.
He was quoted as saying “I’m planning for it to be Australia’s first proper movie. I don’t think we’ve had one yet, not a real, general public, successful, entertaining movie.” And boy was he right, strewth mate!
2. Paul Hogan Helped Come Up With The Film’s Story
Lead actor Paul Hogan came up with the idea for the comedy’s story when he was in New York City, wondering what it would be like if an Australian hunter suddenly arrived in the bustling American town.
Hogan has been quoted as saying: “There’s a lot about Dundee that we all think we’re like, but we’re not, because we live in Sydney. He’s a mythical outback Australian who does exist in part…
“…the frontiersman who walks through the bush, picking up snakes and throwing them aside, living off the land who can ride horses and chop down trees and has that simple, friendly, laid back philosophy.”
“It’s like the image the Americans have of us, so why not give them one? We’ve always been desperately short of folk heroes in this country. Ned Kelly is pathetic. So are the bushrangers.”
3. There’s A Real Life Crocodile Dundee
Many believe the real inspiration for Mick Dundee was a real Aussie called Rodney Ansell, who definitely knew his way around the Australian outback – though his experience was far from a comedy. Aged 15, Rodney went on a fishing trip to the Victoria river with his two dogs, something that would most definitely change his life forever.
Whilst on the river, Ansell’s 18 foot boat was capsized by what he claimed was a whale, but was more likely to be a crocodile. This incident left him knocked out cold and drifting out to sea, after which he was washed up onto an island where he would spend the next 2 months of his life….
Without any drinking water, Ansell had to catch wild cattle and suck their blood to keep himself hydrated, as well as catch bees and tie threads to their bodies so he could follow them to their hives and obtain honey to keep him nourished.
He also had to sleep in a tree with his dogs in order to keep out of reach of the crocodiles that were waiting for them below. Miraculously, 2 aborigines found him in the Outback and brought him back to civilization where he became became a national celebrity and wrote a book about his experiences called ‘To Fight The Wild’.
4. The Real Crocodile Dundee Took Paul Hogan To Court
Sadly, the amazing story we’ve detailed above didn’t have a completely happy ending. This is because after the film became a massive success, Rod Ansell took Paul Hogan to court, believing that he was entitled to royalties for this movie, which had seemingly turned his perils into an entertaining comedy.
His case proved to be unsuccessful though, and he never received any money whatsoever from the film. Sadly it was reported that Ansell remained bitter about this outcome until he passed away in 1999.
5. There Are Two Versions Of The Film
Did you know that there are 2 versions of the film? There’s the regular Australian version, which is likely to be the one that you’ve seen, but there is also an an international version, where a lot of the Australian slang was replaced by more commonly used and understood terms.
Bizarrely, the film also has a slightly different title in North America, being called ‘Crocodile’ Dundee rather than just Crocodile Dundee. This slight grammatical tweak was down to the producers being worried that people would think ‘Dundee’ was an actual crocodile, with the quotation marks being added to clarify that ‘Crocodile’ was a nickname, and it wasn’t a film about an actual reptile!
6. Paul Hogan Provided Some Of The Film’s Budget Himself
As we’ve mentioned already, despite becoming a big success, Crocodile Dundee had modest budget of $10 million, with Paul Hogan and his business partner John Cornell both providing $600,000 of their own money on top of the funds received from nearly one and a half thousand other investors, which included INXS front-man Michael Hutchence.
It turned out to be a sound investment when the film went on to make a whopping $328 million worldwide, with the profits being split among the clever investors!
7. Their buffalo was like a fish out of water during filming
It has been reported that the scene in the film containing the water buffalo took a whole day to film, as the buffalo they cast in the role was not enthusiastic. Buffalos are quite stubborn animals, and this creature was like a fish out of water onscreen. Paul Hogan said “It’s like he said, ‘I’ll just sit here.’ And you can’t do anything about it.”
They also cast a number of real crocodiles, with the only fake crocodile being the one one that attacked Sue, because unsurprisingly it was deemed to be far too dangerous to film that scene with a real one!
The mechanical crocodile that was used for that particular scene cost $45,000 to make, and it ended up looking so realistic that someone reported the crew as crocodile poachers! Below is a reminder of that brilliant (and still scary) scene should you have forgotten…
8. Some Australians Thought It Was Controversial
Although Crocodile Dundee was a big hit in Australia, some critics and audiences didn’t like what they felt was a ‘stereotypical’ image of Aussies.
Critic Robert Hughes said that to Americans “Crocodile Dundee is a work of social realism, giving them a Wild West fantasy.” Many others disagreed however, feeling that there has never been a better advertisement for Australia than this film! There was also controversy as to whether Crocodile Dundee should be considered a crocodile poacher, as this hunter activity is illegal in Australia.
9. One Of The Writers Didn’t Like The Famous Knife Line
Even if you’ve never seen the film itself you’ll probably still be aware of the famous “that’s not a knife, that’s is a knife” line uttered by Mick when he and Sue are being held at knife point by a thug.
However Ken Shadie, one of the film’s writer,s didn’t think the line was funny at all, saying “it just wasn’t funny on paper.”
Shadie also didn’t expect the film to be a success at all, so before the film was released he was quoted as saying that he was simply hoping to get back the money he invested in the film!
10. It Was Recently Described As ‘Sexist, Racist And Homophobic’
A recent article by Luke Buckmaster in The Guardian described Crocodile Dundee as ‘sexist, racist and homophobic’. Writing about the recent teaser trailer for a ‘new’ Crocodile Dundee film which we’ll come onto later, he wrote that “in addition to being vulgar and witless, the new film would need to be sexist, racist, homophobic and transphobic.
It would need to have awkward jokes unfunny at the time of release and even less amusing when revisited years later.”
The article goes on to mention a scene where Mick chats up a trans woman. The article says “Mick Dundee (Paul Hogan) chats up a trans woman, before a friend pulls him aside: “I’ve been trying to tell you all night, that girl, she’s a guy!” Dundee responds by sexual assaulting her. He grabs the woman in the groin area, then points and yells:
“A guy dressed up like a sheila! Look at that!” The pub erupts into laughter and applause. There are high fives and back slaps.”
The article goes on to say that “Dundee sexually assaults another women later on, in the same way, at an art gallery.
His love interest Sue (Linda Kozlowski) consoles the distraught woman by saying: “It’s OK, he’s Australian.” Do you agree with the views in this article or is it simply that times have moved on?
11. Rebel Wilson Wants To Star In A Remake
It was recently revealed that Rebel Wilson, the Aussie actress, writer and producer, approached Paul Hogan about the possibility of making a Crocodile Dundee reboot, with her starring in the lead role. Wilson revealed that “Obviously it would have Paul Hogan in it in some way, but he doesn’t want a female to play Crocodile Dundee.
I think it is a travesty as I think out of anyone in Australia I’m the most suited to do it.” Would you like to see a Crocodile Dundee film with a female lead, like the recent Ghostbusters remake, or is that something you think is a terrible idea?
12. The Film Wasn’t Always So Sought After
John Cornell, who co-wrote Crocodile Dundee, has revealed that before Paramount acquired the American rights to the film, he presented it to 20th Century Fox.
Cornell says that ”there was some idiot who sat with his feet on the desk and watched it for about 20 minutes, looked at this watch about eight times and told me that it wouldn’t work. He was extremely rude. I sometimes get pleasure from thinking about what the look is like on his face at a time like this.”
13. They Filmed In Australia And New York For Real
The Crocodile Dundee shoot involved filming in a number of different real life Aussie locations, including the massive Kakadu National Park, which sensibly began offering Crocodile Dundee tours after the film came out! The New York shooting locations included a number of places that had already been seen in other classic films.
These included Vazak’s Bar which also featured in ‘The Godfather Part II’, and the New York Plaza hotel where Mick Dundee stays was also the hotel that featured in ‘Home Alone 2: Lost in New York’.
14. Paul Hogan Actually Worked On The Sydney Harbour Bridge
Do you remember at the start of the film when the Sydney Harbour Bridge is shown from the hotel window? Well believe it or not, Paul Hogan worked on that very same bridge in real life, but not as a painter as has sometimes been reported.
Hogan has been quoted as saying ”Look, if I had been a painter and you’d turn up every day and said, ‘What color are we going to do today boys?’ ‘Ah, Battleship Grey’ I’d have jumped off!”
15. Paul Hogan and Linda Kozlowski Got Married In Real Life
Paul Hogan and his first wife, Noelene Edwards, married in 1958 but divorced in 1981 before remarrying less than one year later and divorcing again in 1986. Hogan went on to marry his Crocodile Dundee co-star Linda Kozlowski in 1990, but sadly Kozlowski filed for divorce in 2013 citing irreconcilable differences. Hogan has 5 children with Edwards and 1 child with Kozlowski.
In 2014, Kozlowski opened up about the divorce, revealing that she had become sick of always being in Hogan’s shadow. “I lived in Paul’s shadow for many, many years and it’s nice to feel my own light right now” she said, before going on to say that “”Honestly, we just naturally grew apart.
One of our problems was we really had nothing in common and, over time, that happens to a lot of people.” Hogan himself agreed, saying “we were opposites and we were attracted to each other for a long time. Opposites in everything. From the food we ate, the music we liked, the entertainment we liked, the colours, the clothes, the places, everything. It worked anyway.”
16. There Was Almost A Crossover With Beverly Hills Cop
We’re not quite sure what to make of this, but the former chairman of Paramount Pictures once revealed they had thought about making a crossover movie with Beverly Hills Cop and Crocodile Dundee (which would have been the 3rd of both franchise’s movies). Apparently the idea was thrown in the bin when they found out that Eddie Murphy wasn’t particularly keen on the it. What do you reckon?
17. You Can’t Book Mick’s Hotel Room
Sadly, the hotel room that the crocodile hunter stayed in at the Plaza New York doesn’t actually exist, as it was just a set built solely for the film. The Plaza Hotel have also confirmed that since the movie’s release date, a number of people asked if Crocodile Dundee was still staying at their hotel.
There were also quoted in 1987 as saying “We also get calls asking for rooms with bidets, something we don’t have.”
18. It Was Nominated For An Academy Award
Did you know that the film was nominated for an Oscar? Yep, Crocodile Dundee was nominated for, but failed to win, in the ‘Best Original Screenplay’ category at the Academy Awards.
Paul Hogan did however succeed in winning the ‘Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy’ award at the Golden Globes, and the movie also won ‘Best Music’ at the BMI Film & TV Awards.
19. There Were Two Sequels
Crocodile Dundee was followed up by two (inferior) sequels: Crocodile Dundee II which was released in 1988, and Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles which was released a number of years later in 2001.
Sadly, both movies failed to even come close to matching the critical and commercial success of their predecessor, but we think it’s worth taking a quick look back at them nonetheless…
Crocodile Dundee II
Crocodile Dundee II saw Paul Hogan and Linda Kozlowski reprise their roles as Mick Dundee and reporter Sue Charlton, and in the second movie they came up against a nasty Colombian drug cartel. The film did quite well at the box office (although it didn’t match the success of the original movie), but it was not at all popular with critics. Janet Maslin (The New York Times) said that “the novelty has begun to wear thin, even if Mr. Hogan remains generally irresistible.” The movie grossed $25 million in Australia and $110 million in the United States, becoming the 2nd highest grossing film that year for Paramount.
Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles
Unfortunately, the return of Mick and Sue failed to draw such an impressive audience. Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles grossed $8 million at the box office in Australia and debuted in 4th place at the US box office, eventually grossing a disappointing $39 million worldwide, which was way below the earnings of the previous two films. Suffering a poor rating, it currently holds an 11% score on Rotten Tomatoes, with the the consensus being that it is “A family movie without toilet jokes, but there’s nothing we haven’t seen before.” The comedy was also nominated for a Razzie Award for ‘Worst Remake or Sequel’ but lost out to the disaster that was Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes.
20. People Believed A New Film In The Series Had Been Announced
In January 2018, the ‘unveiling’ of a brand new Crocodile Dundee film turned out to be a massive publicity stunt organised by ‘Tourism Australia’. They went to great details with the hoax, even given the film a fake name (‘Dundee’), and creating teaser trailers starring Danny McBride as Mick Dundee and Chris Hemsworth as Wally.
The Brisbane Times newspaper were the ones to spoil the fun and reveal that the teaser trailers were part of a campaign that would run throughout the Super Bowl, although Tourism Australia are still to confirm that the project is actually fake.
Take a look at the fake trailer below and let us know your opinion. Personally it’s a film we would absolutely love to see, how about you?
Sadly that’s all the Crocodile Dundee facts we have to offer right now, but we really hope that you’ve enjoyed finding out more about it! Please do let us know your memories of this brilliant comedy by posting a comment, and please also let us know which of the facts surprised you the most. And be sure to share this post with your fellow 80s kids, so they too can take a nostalgic look back at this classic 80s film!