Crocodile Dundee is a 1986 Australian comedy film set in the Australian Outback and in New York City. It stars Paul Hogan as the weathered Mick Dundee and Linda Kozlowski as Sue Charlton. Inspired by the true life exploits of Rodney Ansell, the film was made on a budget of under $10 million as a deliberate attempt to make a commercial Australian film that would appeal to a mainstream American audience, but proved to be a worldwide phenomenon. Released on 30 April 1986 in Australia, and on 26 September 1986 in the United States, it was the second-highest-grossing film in the United States in that year and went on to become the number-one film worldwide at the box office. There are two versions of the film: the Australian version, and the American/international version, the latter of which had much of the Australian slang replaced with more commonly understood terms, and was slightly shorter. The international version also changes the title to "Crocodile" Dundee, adding the quotation marks. The film was followed by two sequels: Crocodile Dundee II (1988) and Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001).
Sue Charlton (Linda Kozlowski) is a feature writer for Newsday and is romantically involved with her editor, Richard (Mark Blum). She travels to Australia to meet Michael J. "Crocodile" Dundee (Paul Hogan), a man who is reported to have lost a leg to a crocodile's attack, at an outback settlement. There, Sue is startled to find that the story of his fight with the crocodile is exaggerated, in that his leg is still intact, although it bears a bite scar. Sue, Dundee, and the latter's aide Walter (John Meillon) travel into the wilderness, where "Mick" (as Dundee is called) demonstrates his skills by using a version of horse whispering to subdue a wild buffalo and killing a crocodile that attacks Sue. One evening, Mick introduces Sue to Neville Bell (David Gulpilil), the son of a tribal elder. Mick and "Nev" then attend an Aboriginal tribal dance ceremony whereof the object is to pay respect to Neville's father and to the land. As a woman, Sue is forbidden from taking part in the ritual, but she follows and hides to observe it. While hiding, she uses her camera's telescoping lens to find Mick. She sees him look at her, letting her know that he is aware of her presence and enforcing her idea that he is somehow supernaturally 'in touch' with the world around him. Mick however rationalizes the event by telling her that he guessed that her natural curiosity (as a woman and as a reporter) would lead her to the ritual. They travel the same route that Mick took when he was injured, arriving at a freshwater lagoon. There Sue and Mick share a kiss. They are interrupted by Walter, who is returning to fetch them from the bush. Sue invites Mick to accompany her to New York, where he is met with contempt and some jealousy by Richard. He undergoes a number of awkward moments where he displays an equal amount of unfamiliarity with his surroundings, as by trying to dodge the bottom of an escalator; asking the African-American limo driver Gus (Reginald VelJohnson) his tribal background; trying by trial and error to ascertain the use of a bidet; touching the genitals of a cross-dresser to verify his gender; washing his clothes in the bath; and mixing a partygoer's cocaine with steaming water and instructing him to inhale the vapors. He demonstrates a sense of justice when he beats a pimp who has used profane language in front of his two prostitutes, and later when he witnesses a purse-snatching and knocks the running thief insensate with a thrown can of food. Another popular scene in the movie occurs when Mick and Sue are menaced by a trio of punks, one of whom brandishes a switchblade. Sue advises Mick to give the thief his wallet, because the thief has a knife. Mick merely chuckles at the switchblade: "That's not a knife", he scoffs, drawing his much larger outback Bowie knife, "Now that's a knife.", and slashes the would-be mugger's nylon jacket. When the thieves run away, he dismisses the incident as a prank. Mick and Sue become enamored of each other, which leads to further jealousy on Richard's part. Richard tries to undermine Mick and his influence over Sue. When Richard proposes marriage to Sue at a dinner party, Mick is upset and goes 'walkabout' to reconcile himself to his situation and decides to leave New York. Sue searches for Mick and tracks him to a subway station where he is waiting for a train to Grand Central Station. There, they talk back and forth through the subway by having members of the crowd relay their words. When she declares her refusal to marry Richard in favor of her own attachment to Mick, he walks to her on the heads and raised hands of the jubilant crowd and embraces her, concluding the story.