21 Must-Watch TV Shows & Movies Made By & About First Nations Peoples

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If you're looking for a new television show or movie to watch, why not pick one that won't just entertain, but educate as well, and make you a better ally to First Nations people? There's a slew of fantastic films and shows that put a spotlight on the stories of our First Nations people, while showcasing incredible talent from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who we don't see enough of on screen.

Even when it's not Invasion Day, NAIDOC Week or National Reconciliation Week, we should be paying attention to these brilliant heartfelt, loving, emotional and bittersweet stories all year round. Here's a roundup of some of the best TV shows and movies made by and about First Nations peoples in Australia.

Best Indigenous TV Shows


Image courtesy of ABC
Nakkiah Lui and Meyne Wyatt in Preppers
Where to watch: ABC iView
Created and written by Nakkiah Lui, this six-part series follows a young Aboriginal woman Charlie (Lui), who is the co-host of a breakfast TV show. Charlie finds herself at the centre of an unlikely community of doomsday preppers that are anticipating the apocalypse. Expect some laughs but also a deeper story around connections and survival.
Watch the Preppers trailer below:

Total Control

Image courtesy of ABC
Rachel Griffiths and Deborah Mailman in Total Control
Where to watch: ABC iView
ABC's political drama Total Control centres on Deborah Mailman's character, Alex Irving, a strong-willed woman in Canberra's cut-throat political bubble where so many odds are stacked against an Indigenous woman in office.
From incarceration rates to deaths in custody, the show explores heavy themes in an authentic and unapologetic way. In a recent interview with Refinery29 Australia, Mailman said that she and the writers have been "uncompromising in some of the ways that we sort of tackle these issues".
There are two seasons of the show so far, with a cast boasting the likes of Rob Collins, Rachel Griffiths and Celia Ireland.
Watch the Total Control trailer below:

All My Friends Are Racist

Tuuli Narkle and Davey Thompson in All My Friends Are Racist
Where to watch: ABC iView
The web series All My Friends Are Racist was released in August 2021 and I recall bingeing it in one sitting. The show follows two young, successful Aboriginal flatmates: queer influencer Casey (Davey Thompson) and budding lawyer Belle (Tuuli Narkle), who are living their best lives in Brisbane until they're suddenly cancelled by their friends after a 'burn book' wall where they’ve listed all their racist friends, is exposed.
Belle is concerned that this disaster spells the demise of their social lives, but Casey takes a more opportunistic approach – ignore the racists (because who needs them anyway?) and spark a movement.
Watch the All My Friends Are Racist trailer below:

Mystery Road

Where to watch: ABCiView
In this mystery series, detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen) returns to his father's hometown to investigate the strange disappearance of two local farmers.
While there, Detective Swan must help reconcile the differences between the local farmers and the local Indigenous people.
Watch the Mystery Road trailer below:

Redfern Now

Image courtesy of ABC
Where to watch: ABC iView and Stan
With two seasons available to stream online, this drama revolves around six households in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Redfern, whose lives are changed by either a pivotal decision, an accident or a seemingly insignificant incident.
Expect powerful and bittersweet stories that spark laughs and emotions — as told by the First Nations peoples living them.
Watch the Redfern Now trailer below:


Image courtesy of ABC
Hunter-Page Lochard (centre) in Cleverman
Where to watch: ABC iView and Stan
In this sci-fi drama that's set in the future, creatures from ancient Aboriginal mythology with marvellous physical traits emerge and battle for survival. The central character, The Cleverman, struggles with his own power and responsibilities while having to overcome estrangement from his brother.
Hunter-Page Lochard portrays the titular character in this show, with a supporting cast including Deborah Mailman, Rob Collins, Iain Glen, Frances O'Connor, Stef Dawson and Ryan Corr.
Watch the Cleverman trailer below:


Where to watch: ABC iView
This laugh-out-loud comedy follows the Indigenous crew of a remote radio station as they fill the airwaves of Alice Springs and the surrounding areas.
The cast includes Elaine Crombie (Black Comedy), Zac James and Shari Sebbens.
Watch the trailer for 8MMM below:

Black Comedy

Image courtesy of ABC
Where to watch: ABC iView and Stan
Compared to places like the US and the UK, Australia's television scene is rather lacking when it comes to sketch comedy. But what better way to showcase our comical chops than with Black Comedy, a sketch show by First Nations talent that's perfect for everyone?
With four entertaining seasons available to stream, the show features an ensemble cast of Indigenous writers and performers like Nakkiah Lui, Bjorn Stewart, Wayne Blair, Steven Oliver, Aaron Fa'aoso, plus expect some special guest cameo appearances as well.
Watch the Black Comedy trailer below:

The Straits

Where to watch: ABC iView
This dark, funny crime drama is set amongst the beautiful turquoise waters and lethal wildlife of Australia's Far North Queensland and Torres Strait.
The series stars Aaron Fa'aoso, Rena Owen and Succession's Brian Cox.
Watch the trailer for The Straits below:

Robbie Hood

Image courtesy of SBS
Pedrea Jackson in Robbie Hood
Where to watch: SBS On Demand
Set in the weeks leading up to Christmas, this SBS comedy centres on 13-year-old Robbie Hood (Pedrea Jackson) and his friends. Robbie is famous in his local community in Alice Springs for being a bit of a troublemaker, but one with a heart of gold. The show is a heartfelt and uplifting comedy but also manages to visit some more serious issues that affect First Nations peoples, and is well worth a watch.
Watch the Robbie Hood trailer below:

The Secret River

Where to watch: ABC iview
Based on Kate Grenville's bestselling book of the same name, The Secret River follows a young English couple who settle into the Hawkesbury River region of NSW after being sent to Australia as convicts.
As they try to lay claim on a piece of land, they come into conflict with the Dharug people, the traditional owners of the land.
Watch the trailer for The Secret River below:

Best Indigenous Movies

Bran Nue Dae

Image courtesy of Stan
Where to watch: ABC iView and Stan
I recall being mesmerised by the beautiful road trip scenes and glorious musical numbers in Bran Nue Dae on the big screen when it was released in 2009. But it's definitely worth re-watching on TV, especially if you haven't seen it already.
Jessica Mauboy stars in this musical comedy (based on the 1990 stage musical of the same name) that celebrates family and finding your way back home.
It all begins in Broome, Western Australia in the 1960s, when Willie Johnson (Rocky McKenzie) struggles to woo Rosie (Mauboy) but she ends up with Lester (Dan Sultan). Willie is sent to boarding school and is caught stealing food on campus one night. As he decides to run away, a road trip ensues, and this is where things get very interesting because you never know who you'll bump into along the way.
Watch the Bran Nue Dae trailer below:


Where to watch: ABC iView
Directed by Rachel Perkins, Mabo tells the true story of Eddie 'Koiki' Mabo. After leaving school at just 15 years old, Mabo, a Torres Strait Islander man, led the campaign and eventual High Court challenge that overthrew the concept of 'terra nullius'.
The cast includes Deborah Mailman, Jimi Bani and Jeremy Ambrum.
Watch the trailer for Mabo below:

Top End Wedding

Image courtesy of Universal Pictures
Miranda Tapsell in Top End Wedding
Where to watch: Netflix
From Isla Fisher to Rebel Wilson, we're used to seeing some of the same Australian women in popular Hollywood rom-coms. In Top End Wedding, it's very refreshing to see an Indigenous woman front and centre in a heartwarming story of love and family that makes you laugh and feel all the feels at the same time.
Miranda Tapsell is the female lead in this 2019 flick about a woman who plans to marry her fiancé in her hometown of Darwin in the Northern Territory, only to discover her mother has left the family.
Watch the Top End Wedding trailer below:

The Drover's Wife

Where to watch: Binge and Prime Video.
Written and directed by Leah Purcell, The Drover's Wife is a feminist Indigenous reimagining of Henry Lawson's 1892 short story of the same name.
It follows Molly Johnson (Purcell), a pregnant mum of four who lives in isolation with her kids in the High Country on the border of NSW and Victoria.
When a white sergeant and his sickly wife turn up on the property, she gives them food in exchange for them taking her kids to the settlement for safekeeping until her baby is born.
Watch the trailer for The Drover's Wife below:

Samson & Delilah

Scarlett Pictures
Where to watch: SBS On Demand and Stan
The 2009 film follows two Indigenous children, both 14, who escape their difficult lives by stealing a car and heading to Alice Springs in search of a better life.
Directed by acclaimed First Nations filmmaker Warwick Thornton, it's a survival love story and one that doesn't shy away from some deeper themes that impact Indigenous youth and their families.
Watch the Samson & Delilah trailer below:

Sweet Country

Bunya Productions
Where to watch: SBS On Demand and Binge
Another movie directed by Warwick Thornton, Sweet Country is set in 1929, following an Aboriginal man, Sam Kelly (Hamilton Morris) from the Northern Territory who goes on the run after he kills a white man in self-defence. A manhunt for Sam ensues, and that's where the action really begins. Also starring in the movie are well-known Australian actors such as Sam Neill and Bryan Brown.
Watch the Sweet Country trailer below:

Rabbit-Proof Fence

Rumbalara Films
Where to watch: SBS on Demand and Binge
Often played in Australian schools and worth a watch by all ages for an important history lesson at the very least, Rabbit-Proof Fence tells the true story of three young girls who were forcibly removed from their mother in the 1930s and sent over 1600km away.
It shows us the harrowing reality of the Stolen Generations, where Aboriginal children were taken from their homes by white people and placed in settlements in a bid to assimilate them.
These three girls, who were forbidden from speaking their native language and forced to abandon their Aboriginal heritage and plan an escape as they head to the rabbit-proof fence in the desert, towards their home.
Watch the Rabbit-Proof Fence trailer below:

The Sapphires

Hopscotch Films
Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Miranda Tapsell and Shari Sebbens in The Sapphires
Where to watch: Netflix
The Sapphires is about four Yorta Yorta women, sisters Gail (Deborah Mailman), Cynthia (Miranda Tapell) and Julie (Jessica Mauboy) and their cousin Kay (Shari Sebbens) whose musical careers take off when they're discovered by a talent scout and promoter who convinces them to tour for the US troops in Vietnam in 1968.
They form a group called The Sapphires, and perform 60s classics such as "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" "I'll Take You There" and "What a Man" for the GIs. But as much as we need to applaud the musical talent in the film, we must also appreciate the conversations it sparks around identity, and of course its themes of love and family.
Watch The Sapphires trailer below:

Jasper Jones

Where to watch: Stan, Netflix
Based on Craig Silvey's bestselling book of the same name, Jasper Jones is a young adult drama that explores racism and prejudice in a small country town.
Charlie is awoken one night by his friend Jasper Jones, who shows him the dead body of a girl. Charlie then sets out to find her real killer to avoid Jasper being blamed for her murder.
The film is directed by Rachel Perkins and stars Aaron L. McGrath, Toni Colette and Dan Wylie.
Watch the trailer for Jasper Jones below:

High Ground

Where to watch: Stan
Set against the landscapes of 1930s Arnhem Land, High Ground follows a young First Nations man named Gutjuk, who in a bid to save the last of his family, teams up with an ex-soldier named Travis to track down his uncle Baywara — the most dangerous warrior in the Territory.
The film is confronting and uncomfortable to watch — and that's precisely the point. High Ground shows the brutality and total disregard that Australias directed towards First Nations peoples for centuries, conveying the damage caused both at an individual level, but also in a wider societal setting.
Watch the trailer for High Ground below:
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