Gillian Armstrong biography
Date of Birth: December 18, 1950
"I'm not interested in empty entertainment. It has to have some social worth
or concern. But at the same time I don't want to hit people over the head
with a brick...." - Gillian Armstrong
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Armstrong's journey into film started at the
Swinburne Technical College where she studied the art of stage and costume
design. After directing a student play and working on a professional
production of Libido, she moved to Sydney where she earned a place at the
Australian Film and Television School.
During her studies, she made three student films and worked as an assistant
director and art director on several films, including The Removalists.
Armstrong was then hired in 1975 to film a documentary about the lives of
three 14-year-old Adelaide girls.
In 1979, Armstrong made an auspicious feature-directing debut with My
Brilliant Career, about a woman determined to be a writer in 1890s
Australia. The film, starring Judy Davis, received international acclaim,
winning seven Australian Film Institute Awards including Best Film and Best
Following a clever musical, Starstruck, in 1982, Armstrong ventured to
Hollywood, but found little success outside of her homeland, returning in
the late 1980s. Her luck changed in 1993 when she released the
critically-acclaimed The Last Days of Chez Nous, a brittle portrait of a
love triangle involving a writer, her husband, and her younger sister. Using
the success of Last Days, she returned to Hollywood with renewed confidence
and filmed Little Women (1994).
Little Women featured strong performances from its leading ladies, Susan
Sarandon, Winona Ryder and Claire Danes, and earned Armstrong a substantial
degree of international recognition after it became one of the most popular
films of the year.
Three years later, she released Oscar and Lucinda, starring Ralph
Fiennes and Cate Blanchett. About two odd individuals who fall in love in
19th-century Australia, the film opened to mixed reactions worldwide.
Armstrong continued to work with Blanchett, who starred in her first 21st-century release, Charlotte Gray (2001).
Death Defying Acts
Unfolding Florence: The Many Lives of Florence Broadhurst (2006)
Oscar and Lucinda (1997)
Not Fourteen Again (1996)
Little Women (1994)
The Last Days of Chez Nous (1992)
Fires Within (1991)
High Tide (1988)
Hard to Handle (1986) (V)
Mrs. Soffel (1984)
Having a Go (1983)
Fourteen's Good, Eighteen's Better (1980)
Touch Wood (1980)
My Brilliant Career
The Singer and the Dancer (1977)
Bingo, Bridesmaids & Braces (1976)
Smokes and Lollies (1975)
One Hundred a Day (1973)
Satdee Night (1973)
Roof Needs Mowing (1971)
Old Man and Dog (1970)
Gillian Armstrong Filmography