Before Crocodile Hunter, there was... Crocodile Dundee, a 1986 action-comedy film directed by Peter Faiman and starring Paul Hogan in the title role.
Sue Charlton (Linda Kozlowski) travels to Australia to do some research on a story she'd heard about a man who survived a vicious crocodile attack in the bush. Who she finds is Mick "Crocodile" Dundee (Hogan), a quick-witted bushman who, it turns out, did not lose his leg to the vicious croc—but who seems to have an uncanny symbiosis with the Australian Outback. When Sue must return to New York City, she invites Mick to accompany her, and Hilarity Ensues when she sees that he is not so accustomed to the city as to the bush. Ultimately, she falls in love with the charismatic Australian, but must decide whether to go with him back to Australia or remain with her current boyfriend.
Crocodile Dundee is most notable for being the highest-grossing movie to come out of Australia generally and the Australian New Wave specifically. The film's popularity in the United States and elsewhere is credited with spreading the image of the Awesome Aussie across the world, and with providing an immense boost to the Australian tourism industry thanks to its lavish depiction of the Outback.
A sequel, Crocodile Dundee II, followed in 1988. It has Mick, now living in New York, running afoul of a gang of vengeful Colombian drug dealers. After humiliating them on their home turf, he's told by the police to go into witness protection, but instead leads them back to Australia where his superior knowledge of the Outback will prove to be advantageous.
A third film, Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, was released in 2001. Mick and Sue are together but unmarried and have a son: Mikey Dundee (Devon Fitzgerald). They live in the Australian Outback, where Mick is wrestling crocodiles for a living. When Sue is offered a major position in a Los Angeles newspaper, she jumps at the opportunity. But all is not right. Her predecessor was murdered, and the case remains unsolved. The Dundees have to perform their own investigation.
Before Super Bowl LII, there were trailers for Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home circulating around. Trailers featuring Chris Hemsworth as one of the stars went around. These turned out to be fake and were the set up for commercials for Australian Tourism.
That's not a trope list, mate. THIS is a trope list!:
- '80s Hair: In the first act of the film, Sue treks through the Australian Outback with her gloriously feathered mane completely intact.
- Actionized Sequel: The second movie has more of a plot, involving the rescue of Sue from a drug cartel and a hide-and-seek manhunt in the bush.
- Angry Guard Dog: There are two on the estate belonging to Sue's father that apparently get loose and harass guests fairly often. Mick is able to pacify them with the technique he had used on a buffalo earlier — though they still growl when Gus amiably approaches them.
- Awesome Aussie: Mick Dundee, the trope codifier. Downplayed by way of Miles Gloriosus. Michael J. Dundee's famous claims turn out to have been substantially exaggerated, and he's a bit clueless when out of his element. However, what's left when the tall tales have been scraped away is still a tough-as-nails bush-ranger who traps live crocodiles for a living, is a crack shot at knife throwing and can outsmart an armed-to-the-teeth Columbian drug cartel on his own.
- Awesome Mc Coolname: Subverted in the second movie. One of Mick's friends is an alleged gangster named Leeroy Brown. It turns out that his persona is all an act, to live up to people's expectations that someone with a name like that must be a badass.
- Badass Bystander: The two Japanese tourists in the subway that mistake Mick him for Clint Eastwood and help him get rid of a killer.
- Badbutt: Leeroy Brown. He has a reputation at the community bar for his tough-guy demeanor and for selling what the bartender maintains is illicit substances. Turns out the "heavy shit" he regularly sells is nothing worse than simple office supplies, and his gangsteresque persona is just an act to live up to the pop-cultural reputation of his name. However, he does have connections with genuine tough guys who he enlists to help Mick rescue Sue.
- Baleful Polymorph: Mick tricks the drug dealers into thinking Luis Guzmán's character Jose got this treatment by tying Jose's bandana on a goanna that he leaves in their camp.
- Big Eater: Mick, as demonstrated in the third movie.
- Booby Trap: Mick uses a nonlethal version against one of the druglord's minions in 2. He also baits it with Sue's bra.
- Broken Heel: Inverted when Sue is running to catch Dundee in the subway, but slowed by her high heels. She kicks them off and starts sprinting.
- Camera Obscurer:Neville Bell: Oh no, you can't take my photograph.
Sue Charlton: Oh, I'm sorry, you believe it will take your spirit away.
Neville Bell: No, you got lens cap on it.
- Captured by Cannibals: The sequel plays with it. When Mick is capturing the drug dealers, one of his Aborigine friends asks the other if they get to eat these men, but they are just toying with the crooks.
- The Cartel: The main antagonists of the second movie.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- In the second movie, Sue convinces Mick to buy some fancy aftershave, which Mick decides to send to Wally as a gift. Later, when Wally gets kidnapped by the drug dealers, Mick is able to track them by the scent of Wally's aftershave.
- In the third movie, the chimp complains about the cage of the lions being bigger. Which lions? The ones that attack the villains in the final confrontation.
- Comically Missing the Point: In the third film, Mikey tells his schoolteacher that Dundee hunts and kills crocodiles for a living, which she naturally assumes to be a lie. When she informs Dundee of this, he's shocked... because he would never kill a crocodile, since they're a protected species. He instead catches them alive.
- Cyclic National Fascination: In the 1980s, America obsessed about crazy Australians. Thank goodness it came to its senses in the 1990s, when... wait, what?
- Damsel in Distress: Sue in the Australian bush. She tries filling her canteen in a swamp with it still slung on her neck and a crocodile grabs the canteen, forcing Dundee to stab the crocodile in the head to save her. In the second movie, though, she Took a Level in Badass and seems quite at home in the bush.
- Daytime Drama Queen: It becomes obvious in the second movie that Mick needs to get out more when he starts caring about what happens on Days of Our Lives.
- Dead Hat Shot: Staged by Dundee (complete with a bite taken out of the brim) to stage a mook's apparent death by crocodile.
- Deep-Fried Whatever: Well, cooked over a fire, but one of Mick's Aborigine friends is seen snacking on a bat.Walter: Are you really... enjoying that?
Diamond: [chewing] ...Nah. Needs garlic.
- Disney Death: Featured in Crocodile Dundee II.Charlie: Tell Mick if he want his clothes back, he can climb down there and get them his bloody self.
- Distracted by the Sexy: A rather serious example. While in the Outback, Sue convinces Mick to let her go out for a walk alone to prove to him that she can. He follows along from a short distance, because he doesn't think it's safe. Eventually, Sue gets a little careless and spellbound by the scenery, and strips down to her thong bathing suit by a pool, and Mick is a little distracted, bumping his head on a branch. (But fortunately not too distracted, as his concern turns out to be truer than he thought; a crocodile tries to grab at her, and he has to leap to her rescue.)
- Evil Poacher: The kangaroo poachers in the first movie.
- Fanservice: Linda Kozlowski's swimsuit scene in the first movie. Caused quite a stir at the time, as one-piece thong swimsuits were rather uncommon in 1986 America, particularly in a movie you might take the kids to see.
- Feigning Intelligence: Before Mick and Sue head out into the bush, Mick looks at the sun and tells her the exact time... after covertly checking Wally's watch a few seconds earlier.
- Fish out of Water:
- All scenes in the first movie with Dundee in New York and most scenes with Sue in the Outback. From the second movie on, Mick intentionally plays this up in order to fool people into thinking he's dumber than he actually is.
- Neville Bell (an Aborigine), stumbling over tree roots/wildlife/rocks in the dark: "I hate the bush!"
- Foreign Queasine:
- Subverted:"Crocodile" Dundee: [a goanna is sizzling over a fire. Sue looks ill] How do you like your goanna? Medium? Well done?
Sue Charlton: You don't really expect me to eat that?
"Crocodile" Dundee: Yeah, it's great. Yeah, try some of these yams, try the grubs and the sugar ants. Just bite the end off, they're really sweet. Black fellas love 'em.
Sue Charlton: [tentatively tries a yam] What about you, aren't you having any?
"Crocodile" Dundee: Me?
[Mick starts working on a tin with his knife]
"Crocodile" Dundee: ...Well, you can live on it, but it tastes like shit.
- Sue gets her revenge in New York when she buys Mick a Hot Dog with everything from sauerkraut to ketchup.
- The Gadfly:
- Mick is a master of this and takes pleasure in (gently) messing with people.
- The whole second half of II is Mick screwing around with the drug lords as if he were Bugs Bunny.
- Genre Shift: The first movie is pretty much a Rom Com at its core. II switches things up and makes it more of an action-adventure.
- Great White Hunter: Mick Dundee is an example of the "earthy" version.
- Groin Attack:
- Near the end of the first movie, Sue rushes to the subway in an attempt to stop Dundee from leaving New York. During her sprint, she runs into a lascivious street hobo who refuses to let her pass, forcing Sue to quickly knee him in the groin so that she can continue on her way.
- Mick threatens to emasculate the DEA agent following him with his knife in the second movie. The agent turns out to be a cowardly fellow who doesn't need further persuasion beyond the threat.
- Halfway Plot Switch: The first half of the first movie is Sue in Australia being a Fish out of Water, then the second half has them go to New York and Mick be the fish out of water.
- Heart Is Where the Home Is: Inverted with American Sue Charlton choosing the Australian main character over her stateside boyfriend.
- Hero Secret Service: Mick uses a bull roarer to summon some of his Aborigine and Walkabout Creek friends to help him neutralize the drug dealers.
- High-Altitude Interrogation: Mick performs one on a hitman in the second film.
- Hypocritical Humor: In the first film, Mick attacks the man in the Walkabout Creek bar who accuses him of poaching crocodiles because he "won't have anyone using bad language in front of a lady", yet he has absolutely no qualms with saying "bastard" and "shit" when it's just Sue and himself.
- I'll Take Two Beers Too: In a high-class restaurant, Richard orders "two vodka martinis" for himself and Sue. Dundee cheerfully adds, "Yeah, I'll have two o' those, and a beer, thanks!"
- I'm a Humanitarian: Played with in the second movie in this scene when some Aborigines are holding some of the drug lord's men prisoner.[Aborigine speaks in Aborigine]
Charlie: No mate we just hold them.
Sue: What did he say?
Charlie: [winking] He wants to know if we're allowed to eat these men.
- Improvised Weapon: As Mick is beaten up by thugs, Gus stops them by using the limo's TV antenna as a boomerang, knocking them down.
- Intrepid Reporter: Sue Charlton is willing to go to Australia in the first movie for a story. This is even before her Character Development.
- Insult Backfire:Phil: Jeez, Mick, were you born in a cave?
Mick: Yeah! How did you know that?
Phil: ... Never mind.
- Japanese Tourist: Two camera-toting salarymen on holiday help Mick take down a thug in the sequel. Afterwards, they mistake Mick for Clint Eastwood.
- Knife Nut: Mick is rarely without his gigantic bowie knife. He's also really good with it, as shown in the mugging scene where he cuts a long slash in the mugger's jacket sleeve without cutting the skin.
- Land Down Under: The likeliest originator. Note that this movie was made by Australians (and gave their tourism industry one hell of a boost). They played up the bush culture on purpose.
- Magical Camera: Subverted:
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Dundee is practically a hyper-masculine spear counterpart to the trope.
- Mighty Whitey: Dundee tries to play himself up as a Mighty Whitey, with all of the survival skills of the bushmen and all the cosmopolitan skills of the white world. In reality, the bushmen are just as modern as Sue is, and Mick's pretty out of touch with actual big city culture.
- Mistaken from Behind: Mick runs after what he thinks is his friend Sue, but as the person turns it's really just a man with long blond hair and rather feminine clothing.
- Ms. Fanservice: Linda Kozlowski, particularly between the one-piece thong and the different fancy dresses she wears throughout the first movie.
- Mobstacle Course: Ultimately, Mick takes the high road.
- Modern Minstrelsy: The series plays up a lot of stereotypes of Australian culture, but just as often to subvert or parody them as to play them straight.
- Mugging the Monster:
- The "That's a knife" scene is perhaps the best-remembered scene of the series.
- And also in the second movie, where Mick combines it with some snark:Punk: [about Mick breaking into Rico's mansion/fortress] What's your chances?
Punk: What's your chances of getting out of here with that jacket on?
Mick: [throws his knife across the room into the punk's mohawk] Better than average.
- Brought to new levels in the third movie, where Dundee and a friend get accosted by a gang of thugs who drive up to them and threaten them at gunpoint.Dundee: Son, you have any idea how quick you have to be to catch a tigersnake?
[Dundee grabs their guns, then he and his friend jump on top of their car and break the roof down on top of them; finally, they toss a huge garbage can on top of the car]
Dundee: Who's getting mugged?
- National Stereotypes: The directors of the first movie were kidding. Mostly.
- News Monopoly: The skunk sequence in the third movie.
- Nice to the Waiter: Mick is friendly towards the hotel staff and various drivers, particularly the limo driver, Gus.
- No Antagonist: The first film is very much a Fish out of Water Rom Com for Sue in Australia and Mick in New York, it has no antagonist to speak of. The kangaroo poachers and the New York muggers are both one-scene minor threats without much plot importance. The second and third movie do have antagonists.
- Not a Game: In the second movie, Sue eventually gets fed up with Mick's flippant and playful mood and tactics in taking out the increasingly desperate and violent drug dealers.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: For all his country-boy naivete, Mick does a lot of this. It's even more apparent in the second and third movies which kind of helps to ruin the Fish out of Water vibe that helped make the first so popular.
- Once per Episode: Mick runs into street criminals in each movie.Mick: I keep getting mugged. I must look rich.
- Race for Your Love: The end of the first movie.
- Refuge in Audacity: How Mick gets away with some of his antics, perhaps most notably blast fishing in the Hudson and then offering the police one of his catches when they investigate.
- Raised by Natives: Dundee was raised by Aborigines.Arthur: My people have ways of talking that no white man can understand.
[Arthur pulls out a mobile phone and starts talking to his mate]
Dundee: Ah, I think we just found out which one of us is the white man.
- Scenery Porn: The first and second movies have lots of beautiful shots of the Australian landscape.
- Secretly Wealthy: The second movie reveals that Mick has claim on large tracts of land. The land, he admits, is mostly worthless if not for the fact that it houses an actual gold mine.
- Shout-Out: "Good one, Skippy."
- Shoot the Hostage: Mic shoots Walter in the ear in the second movie to save his life by making the drug lords think Mick feels he is too valuable to be allowed to live.
- Show Some Leg: In the first film, Sue brings towels to Mick in a sexy manner.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Mick and all the Aboriginals can do this while in the bush. Gets used extensively in the second movie as Mick plays mind-games with the gangsters who are hunting him.
- Storming the Castle: Well, storming the mansion of the drug lord that has my girlfriend hostage, anyway.Dundee: Leroy here tells me you lot are the coolest gang in New York.
[the gang makes noises of appreciation]
Rat: That's the word.
Dundee: ...what did you do last night?
Gang member: We didn't do nothin'. We was here all night.
Dundee: And that's what you call cool, is it?
[Rat says nothing, but has a thoughtful look on his face]
Dundee: Tomorrow, if someone asks the same question, you can say, "We didn't do nothin.'" Or you can say, "We went out to Long Island and helped this lunatic storm a fortress."
- Suicide as Comedy: In the second movie, Mick talks to a guy who wants to jump from a skyscraper because Love Hurts. Mick pretends he just wants to walk past him to enjoy some fresh air and subtly tries to talk him out of it. The unhappy man is actually gay which surprises Mick — who almost falls down himself.
- Thinker Pose: Mick sees a bidet in his hotel room and asks what the thing is for. Sue is embarrassed to tell and says he will figure it out. He sits on it and ponders, rubbing his chin.
- Too Dumb to Live: Offended by Mick's casual sexism about the Outback being "man's country", Sue travels off on her own. She is then nearly eaten by a crocodile. She later admits to Mick that she's out of her element.
- True Art Is Incomprehensible: In-Universe example from the third movie:Dundee: Who painted this?
Curator: Pablo Picasso.
Dundee: I'm a drinkin' man myself, but I've never been that wasted.
- Unsettling Gender Reveal: Crocodile Dundee learns about Drag Queens... although the "drag queen" Gwendolyn that Mick almost spends the night with is actually played by actress Anne Carlisle.
- Vague Age: Mick doesn't even know how old he is.Dundee: I asked one of the village elders once when I was born. He said "in the summertime".
- Vapor Wear: Sue's red party dress — and to a lesser extent her backless light blue dress in the nice restaurant — in the first movie.