Kokoda Documentary

Australian Army Kokoda Campaign: The Spirit Lives Through Documentaries


The Kokoda Track, etched into the rugged mountains of Papua New Guinea, stands as a testament to the valour and sacrifice of Australian soldiers during World War II. As prospective trekkers prepare for the challenging hike along the Kokoda Track, it’s essential to delve into the historical backdrop through documentaries that vividly capture the essence of the Kokoda Campaign.

Kokoda: The Spirit Lives (2006)

One of the most revered documentaries in this genre, “Kokoda: The Spirit Lives” (2006) offers a modern telling of the Kokoda story. Produced by Paul Ham and filmed in Australia, this feature-length documentary commemorates Australia’s military campaign in Papua New Guinea. The documentary explores the enduring spirit of Kokoda and the profound impact it had on Australian soldiers.

Crucible of the Pacific: The Battle of Kokoda (2008)

“Crucible of the Pacific: The Battle of Kokoda” (2008) is a documentary series that provides an in-depth exploration of the brutal World War II military campaign fought without mercy. It delves into the desperate campaign to keep Papua New Guinea from falling into Japanese hands. The significance of Kokoda in the Pacific War is highlighted, showcasing the fierce determination of both Australian and Japanese forces.

Kokoda Front Line! (1942)

“Kokoda Front Line!” (1942) is a historical gem, capturing the confusion of war during the actual conflict. This documentary, produced during the heat of battle, follows in the footsteps of ill-equipped and poorly trained conscripts. It provides a unique perspective on the challenges faced by soldiers on both sides and the significance of Kokoda as a line of defence.

Kokoda: 50 Years of Silence (1993)

“Kokoda: 50 Years of Silence” (1993) takes a reflective approach, examining the enduring impact of the Kokoda Campaign 50 years after its occurrence. The documentary includes interviews with Australian and Japanese veterans, offering insights into the emotions and experiences of those who fought in the mountains of Papua New Guinea.

The Road to Victory: The Kokoda Track (2008)

“The Road to Victory: The Kokoda Track” (2008) is a feature-length documentary that provides a detailed exploration of the enduring spirit of Kokoda. It introduces key commanders, such as General Sir Thomas Blamey, and sheds light on the struggles faced by Australian soldiers during this savage military campaign. The film, supported by Screen Australia and Film Victoria, is a testament to Australia’s commitment to making history known.

Kokoda: A Savage Military Campaign

Kokoda was more than just a battle; it was a savage military campaign fought without mercy between foes who seriously underestimated each other. The documentary explores the desperate measures taken by both sides, revealing a story of defeat, resilience, and the ultimate triumph of the Kokoda diggers.

Exploring the Spirit of Kokoda

This section delves into the exploration of the enduring spirit of Kokoda, a spirit that sustained the Kokoda diggers and continues to inspire Australians today. Documentaries like “Kokoda: The Spirit Lives” and “Kokoda: 50 Years of Silence” provide a nuanced understanding of the profound impact of Kokoda on the national psyche.

Paul Ham’s Contribution to Kokoda Documentaries

Paul Ham, a prominent figure in the realm of war documentaries, has played a crucial role in bringing the Kokoda Campaign to life on screen. His involvement in “Kokoda: The Spirit Lives” adds depth and authenticity to the portrayal of Australia’s military campaign in Papua New Guinea.

Unveiling the Stories: Interviews and Unpublished Documents

These documentaries go beyond dramatizations; they include interviews with Australian and Japanese veterans and historians. Unpublished documents, coupled with firsthand accounts, paint an intimate picture of how soldiers on both sides felt during the battles along the Kokoda Track.

Kokoda: Connecting Australia and Japan

The Kokoda Campaign forged a connection between Australia and Japan, two nations on opposing sides during World War II. The documentaries explore the significance of this connection, emphasizing the shared humanity and understanding that has developed between the once bitter foes.


As trekkers prepare to embark on the challenging journey along the Kokoda Track, delving into these documentaries is not just a historical exercise but a way to connect with the spirit of Kokoda. The stories of courage, sacrifice, and resilience depicted in “Kokoda: The Spirit Lives,” “Crucible of the Pacific,” and other documentaries serve as a poignant reminder of the enduring legacy of the Kokoda Campaign.

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