Russell Crowe Shares Controversial View of Gallipoli Campaign, Declares Australia, Not New Zealand, As His Home

By @chelean on
Cast member Russell Crowe arrives for the UK premiere of "Noah" at Leicester Square in London, March 31, 2014 REUTERS/Paul Hackett
Cast member Russell Crowe arrives for the UK premiere of "Noah" at Leicester Square in London, March 31, 2014 REUTERS/Paul Hackett

Russell Crowe has attracted controversy over his views of the Gallipoli Campaign, saying people believe the “mythology” around the invasion. The New Zealand-born actor also names Australia as his home.

The 50-year-old Hollywood star was promoting his new film “The Water Diviner” on Seven’s “Sunday Night” when the topic touched Gallipoli. His film is a historical drama set after the events of WWI and is about a father looking for his missing sons in Turkey.

Crowe said that the film allowed him to see the different side of the war, saying that although he knew the number of Australians and Kiwis who died, he wasn’t aware of the number of Turkish dead. The film’s script also made him think a new perspective about the invasion.

“You know, I think, after 100 years, it’s time to expand that mythology. And I think we should be mature enough as a nation to take into account the story that the other blokes have to tell. You know because we did invade a sovereign nation that we’d never had an angry word with,” Crowe said. “And I think it’s time it should be said.”

He continued, “For all the heroism you want to talk about, you know, for me, a fundamentally more important conversation is the waste of life and these things we shouldn’t celebrate the parts of that mythology that shouldn’t be celebrated.”

His comments were “out of line,” according to Major General David McLachlan, State President of the Victorian RSL. He told 3AW’s Morning program host Neil Mitchell that the so-called “the other side” of the story had already been told.

“Anyone that’s been to war and anybody that’s been associated with people that have been to war realise the incredible waste of life that happens,” he said. “The way in which Turkey allows us to commemorate what happened at Gallipoli is a sign of the maturity of our relationship and I don’t think we need to go back over that. The one thing we make sure in everything we do in this nation is that we do not glorify war in any way whatsoever.”

He emphasised, “We never, ever celebrate war.”

McLachlan said that Crowe probably didn’t understand what he was saying about Gallipoli Campaign, but “of course he’s got to sell his movie, hasn’t he?”

He added that “Russ must have been asleep during that lesson at school. But his line about attacking a sovereign nation that we’d never had an angry word with it... Well, Russell, we were at war. That tends to happen when you’re at war – you invade other nations.”

On the same interview with “Sunday Night,” Crowe also declared his love for Australia. He was born in New Zealand, but grew up in Australia when his family moved to the country when he was four. His family moved back to New Zealand 10 years later, though he returned to Australia when he was 21.

“This country is my place,” he said of Australia. “I love New Zealand and I’m very proud of my New Zealand relatives due to certain circumstances, I’m an Australian and that’s just the way it is.”