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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Bruce Beresford on location, c. 1981 (printed 2004)

Robert McFarlane

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 50.8 cm x 60.8 cm, image: 40.6 cm x 49.6 cm)

Bruce Beresford (b. 1940), director, made his first film while an undergraduate at the University of Sydney in the early 1960s. After graduating he went overseas, spending two years working as an editor in Nigeria before returning to London and a role with the British Film Institute. His first feature films The Adventures of Barry McKenzie (1972) and Barry McKenzie Holds his Own (1974) – both collaborations with Barry Humphries – achieved box-office success but were sourly received by critics. Regardless, they signalled Beresford’s emergence as a key figure in Australia's film renaissance, and he then cemented his standing with Don's Party (1976), The Getting of Wisdom (1977), Breaker Morant (1980), The Club (1980) and Puberty Blues (1981). His debut Hollywood feature, Tender Mercies (1983) earned him an Oscar nomination for best director. His 1989 film Driving Miss Daisy won four Academy Awards, including best picture – although Beresford himself was overlooked for nomination in the direction category. Subsequent projects include the films Black Robe (1991); Last Dance (1996); Paradise Road (1997); Mao’s Last Dancer (2009) and Ladies in Black (2018), and the TV miniseries Bonnie and Clyde (2013) and Roots (2016).

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2003
© Robert McFarlane/Copyright Agency, 2021

Accession number: 2003.140

Currently on display: Gallery Six (Tim Fairfax Gallery)

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Artist and subject

Robert McFarlane (age 39 in 1981)

Bruce Beresford (age 41 in 1981)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Director John Duigan and actor Judy Davis on the set of ‘Winter of our Dreams’, Sydney, 1981 by Robert McFarlane
Director John Duigan and actor Judy Davis on the set of ‘Winter of our Dreams’, Sydney, 1981 by Robert McFarlane
Director John Duigan and actor Judy Davis on the set of ‘Winter of our Dreams’, Sydney, 1981 by Robert McFarlane
Director John Duigan and actor Judy Davis on the set of ‘Winter of our Dreams’, Sydney, 1981 by Robert McFarlane

Natural born stiller

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2016

Penelope Grist speaks to Robert McFarlane about shooting for the stars.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.