Crocodile Dundee was a box office smash when it was released in 1986, taking the entire world by storm with the tale of Australian Outback bushman brought to New York to experience city life. It was originally created as an attempt to make an Australian film that would be popular in the US, and was made with less than $10 million dollars, a tiny budget in film terms. It went on to be the highest grossing film of that year!
The film starts with journalist Sue Charlton (Linda Kozlowski) travelling to Australia to meet with Michael J. “Crocodile” Dundee (Paul Hogan), a heroic bushman who has supposedly survived an attack by a crocodile, losing a leg in the process. Somewhere along the line she has been misled, as it turns out that Mick Dundee has not actually lost a leg, although he does have a rather large bite mark instead. He also doesn’t seem to be all that heroic, as he gets into a fight soon after meeting her.
Hoping to make a story out of Mick, Sue gets him and his employer Wally, owner of a tour company, to take her on a tour of the bush. Mick initially impresses her by telling the time of day by looking at the position of the sun (although he actually looked at Wally’s watch before saying anything) and by hypnotising a buffalo blocking the road by waving his hand in front of its face and make a strange noise. He also saves her from death when she is attacked by a crocodile whilst standing rather too close to a lake.
Later Mick goes off with some Aborigines to take part in a tribal dance, which woman are strictly banned from attending. Sue creeps through the bushes to take photos, and is shocked when Mick notices her almost immediately, despite being in the middle of a noisy, busy ceremony.
Sue and Mick start to fall for each other, so it is suggested that Mick visit New York to experience big city life, something completely new to Mick who has spent his entire life in the Outback, with Sue writing up an article based on his experiences. Mick’s arrival in New York causes friction though, as Sue’s editor Richard, who she is romantically involved with, is jealous of the attention Mick is getting from Sue.
Whilst The Big Apple confuses Mick somewhat, he does a good job of fitting in, and even becomes a bit of a crime fighter, knocking out a bag snatcher by throwing a can of food at him, and rescuing Sue from some muggers who hold them up with a flick knife. “That’s not a knife“, says Mick, pulling out his own huge knife. “This is a knife“.
In the meantime, seizing his chance to get rid of Mick, Richard approaches Sue’s father asking for her hand in marriage. Richard proposes at a dinner party in front of Mick, who is upset and decides to leave to go on a walkabout to clear his head. Sue races after him, finally catching up in a busy subway station. Unable to get to Mick, she gets the crowd to relay her message along the platform as he is too far away to hear her. She professes her love for him, and Mick heads back to her, walking across the heads of the waiting commuters.