|Directed by||Rob Sitch|
|Produced by||Santo Cilauro
|Written by||Santo Cilauro
|Music by||Edmund Choi|
|Editing by||Jill Bilcock|
|Distributed by||Roadshow Entertainment (AUS)
Warner Bros. Pictures (US)
Summit Entertainment (International)
Icon Entertainment International (UK)
|Release date(s)||Toronto Film Festival
15 September 2000
19 October 2000
|Running time||101 minutes|
The Dish is a 2000 Australian film that tells a somewhat fictionalized story of the Parkes Observatory's role in relaying live television of man's first steps on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. It was the top grossing film in Australia in 2000.
The radio telescope at Parkes, New South Wales, Australia, was used by NASA throughout the Apollo program to receive signals in the Southern Hemisphere, along with the NASA Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station near Canberra.
The film tells a somewhat fictionalised story of three Australian scientists/engineers (Neill, Harrington, Long) and their American NASA representative (Warburton). It had been decided quite late in the planning for Apollo 11 to include a television camera to broadcast the first steps on the Moon. Due to the timing of this, Australia would be the prime receiving station. The film tells of the three dealing with a variety of problems, from a power outage wiping their computer memory, to high winds that could cause the whole telescope to collapse. After the Apollo 11 crew decide to walk immediately after landing on the Moon, Parkes thinks they have lost their chance to be the prime receiving station. However, due to delays on the Moon and problems with Goldstone they achieve the distinction at the last minute.
Although based on true events, the film uses fictional characters and alters historical details for dramatic effect. NASA's Honeysuckle Creek and Goldstone stations both had the signal first, but Parkes' signal was used from soon after the beginning of the moon-walk. No power failure occurred, there was no friction with the NASA representatives (of whom there were several, not just one), and Prime Minister John Gorton visited Honeysuckle Creek, not Parkes. They did however operate in very high winds at 60 degrees inclination, risking damage to the dish and even injury to themselves to keep the antenna pointed at the Moon during the moonwalk.
Much of the film was shot on location; the "cricket match" and "hayride" scenes were shot on the real dish and researchers often postponed experiments to position the dish for photography. The set reconstructing the 1969 control room was extremely accurate, even down to small details like ashtrays. Some of the "props" were in fact original NASA equipment used during the Apollo 11 landing, left behind in Australia as they were too heavy to ship back. Staff from that era expressed amazement at seeing the set; they said it was like walking into a time warp.
Apart from the radio telescope scenes, the majority of the movie was actually filmed in the small town of Forbes 33 km south of Parkes because of its old historic buildings, and also in Old Parliament House in Canberra, and Crawford Studios in Melbourne.
- Sam Neill as Cliff Buxton
- Patrick Warburton as Al Burnett
- Tom Long as Glenn Latham
- Kevin Harrington as Ross "Mitch" Mitchell
- Roy Billing as Bob McIntyre
- Eliza Szonert as Janine Kellerman
- Tayler Kane as Rudi Kellerman
- Billy Mitchell as Cameron
- Roz Hammond as Miss Nolan
- Christopher-Robin Street as Damien
- Luke Keltie as Graeme
- Naomi Wright as Melanie
- Ben Wright-Smith as Nicholas
- Beverley Dunn as Secretary v/o
- Grant Thompson as Mr. Callen
- Bille Brown as Prime Minister John Gorton
- Lenka Kripac as Marie McIntyre
- Neil Pigot as the newspaper reporter
- Frank Bennett as Barry Steele
Box Office 
The Dish grossed $17,999,473 at the box office in Australia, which, at the time, was equivalent to $23,579,310.
See also 
- Official Site-Production notes (Flash)
- Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: The Dish|
- Official website
- The Dish at the Internet Movie Database
- The Apollo 11 Story on the Parkes Observatory website
- "The Dish": Fact versus Fiction — a quick comparison
- Top five Australian feature films each year, and gross Australian box office earned that year, 1988–2005
- The Truth about The Dish
- The dish and the great beyond (vodcast)
- Visiting the Parkes radio telescope (CSIRO website)