Yes, you read that headline correctly. It has been 20 years since Chopper burst onto our screens with Eric Bana in the eponymous role.
The film made Bana an international superstar and its unforgettable dialogue has become part of Aussie folklore and popular culture, with its devastatingly funny one-liners continuing the movie’s enduring legacy 20 years on.
Chopper tells the story of the late Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read – a real-life convict, bestselling author and self-proclaimed “national icon”. As he says in the movie, “I’m just a bloody normal bloke. A normal bloke who likes a bit of torture!”
Interestingly, it was Read himself who recommended Bana to play him in the now cult-classic film. The real-life Chopper passed away on October 9, 2013, aged 58, after a battle with lung cancer.
Per the movie’s synopsis, “The son of a devoutly religious mother and a 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 the press and the 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.”
Written and directed by Andrew Dominik, in his feature directorial debut, Chopper also stars Vince Colosimo, Simon Lyndon, Kate Beahan and David Field. The critically adored film went on to be an absolute smash hit at the Aussie box office and became the highest-grossing R18+ film in Australian history at the time.
In honour of Chopper‘s 20th anniversary, the film will be re-released in Hoyts cinemas around the country from August 26th. Never available on streaming services, this will be the first time the film has been available to view for many years, digitally remastered and including bonus footage.
Said Bana in a statement, “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 will be screening in selected Hoyts cinemas for a limited time, from August 26, 2021. Tickets and more information can be found by visiting the official Hoyts website.