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The Secret Behind ‘Crocodile Dundee’s’ Shocking Success

One film could make an unknown comedian a star.

That’s at all times been true, however the maxim received a exercise in 1986. Aussie comedian Paul Hogan, who starred in a Benny Hill-esque present however had little title recognition stateside, crashed America’s field workplace with “Crocodile Dundee.”

Hogan stars as Mick Dundee, an Australian who wows, then woos, a reporter (Linda Kozlowski) whereas visiting the Big Apple for the primary time. 

The character, loosely based mostly on an Australian hunter who survived seven weeks within the wild, turned an prompt sensation. The movie spawned catch phrases like, “That’s not a knife…” and led to a decades-long marriage between the leads.

The movie additionally earned $174 million on the U.S. field workplace, a feat trendy comedies can’t come close to. “Dundee” proved an excellent greater hit again residence, the place it shattered current field workplace information.

Not unhealthy for a low-budget, fish-out-of-water romp.

A fast rewind of the comedy reminds us how very totally different motion pictures are at this time. The comedy strikes at a a lot slower tempo, for starters. Audiences can luxuriate within the Australian outback and meet among the area’s curious characters earlier than transferring on to the signature set items.

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The New York a part of the story received all the eye, however it takes an excellent 45 minutes earlier than the principle characters return to the states.

And then there’s Mick himself, the last word, unapologetic Alpha Male. He cracks smart together with his mates, flirts at will and might deal with himself in any scenario. You can virtually hear Kozlowski swoon when he saves her from a hungry croc.

That’s not the one time she falls for his alpha charms.

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Her ardour for regular beau Richard (Mark Blum) fades when she sees the 2 males stand facet by facet. Sure, Richard has extra wealth, data and class, however he makes use of it to bully Mick on the first alternative.

Mick realizes Richard is a romantic rival, however he’s keen to deal with him with respect … till he reveals his true nature and will get a sock within the jaw for his troubles.

Reagan-era audiences lapped up Mick’s masculine mojo, hoping Sue would in the end decide one of the best mate. And she did in a really humorous finale set in a New York City subway station. If solely extra rom-coms might finish on such a excessive be aware.

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Alan Alda’s beta male model had a following within the 1980s, however so did the robust, someday silent sorts.

FAST FACT: The franchise sequels didn’t measure as much as the unique film’s success. 1988’s “Crocodile Dundee II” earned $109 million whereas the 2001 “Crocodile Dundee in L.A.” stumbled with a $25 million haul.

One unsung a part of the movie’s cultural triumph? The rating, written by Australian composer Peter Best. The musician, who additionally scored the sequel in addition to “Muriel’s Wedding,” amplifies the rugged great thing about the Outback whereas doubling down on the movie’s romantic beats.

“Crocodile Dundee” wouldn’t deliver the magic it does with out it.

Naturally, the PC police went after “Crocodile Dundee” in latest occasions. The Guardian slammed the franchise as “sexist, racist and homophobic.”


In one scene from the 1986 authentic Mick inadvertently flirts with a trans individual pondering the character is a “Shelia.” Mick impulsively grabs the individual’s crotch to study the reality, feeling deceived by the outcomes.

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It’s a crude act, however the character’s crudeness is a part of his tradition.

Nor ought to Mick be judged by that one ignorant act, one thing a number of cultural critics eagerly do with zero empathy for his cultural confusion.

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“Crocodile Dundee” stays a delight, an instance of ’80s period storytelling that’s as accessible now because it was then. The movie may be slammed as “poisonous masculinity” on steroids had it hit theaters at this time, assuming the identical story may very well be informed in any respect.

Eighties audiences, unaware of the longer term time period, cheered its charismatic hero.

Hogan shot two “Crocodile” sequels in addition to the latest meta comedy, “The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee.” All banked on the character’s curious charms, and none approached the glory of the unique. Even Hogan’s non-“Dundee” movies, together with “Almost an Angel,” failed to attach with audiences.

The 1986 Mick Dundee proved an inconceivable act to observe.

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