The films are listed alphabetically, not in order of their popularity; the biggest vote winner will not be revealed until this year's AFI Awards presentation, to be held in Melbourne on December 6. Australia Post was part of the initiative and will issue a stamp featuring each of the five films on December 3.
All five are among Australia's top 20 box office hits of all time, judged by revenue, although the figures have not been adjusted for inflation. The country's biggest hit is Crocodile Dundee although some expect this to be challenged by Baz Luhrmann's upcoming Australia, which releases on November 26.
Director Peter Weir made several iconic Australian films before Gallipoli (1981) and has done eight since, most recently Master and Commander: The Far Side Of The World. Rob Sitch and his colleagues at production house Working Dog, have made plenty of television since The Castle (1997) but only one feature.
Stephan Elliott's Easy Virtue, his third feature since Priscilla (1994), has just screened at Toronto, while PJ Hogan has just completed Confessions of a Shopaholic, his fourth film since completing his debut Muriel's Wedding (1994). Ray Lawrence made one film before Lantana (2001) and one since.
'Australia has produced some of the world's best films and this makes choosing favourites challenging,' AFI general manager Damian Trewhella told Screendaily.com.
'It was pleasing to see such a diverse slate surface. They are complex yet engrossing films revolving around substantial themes including house, home, relationships, sexuality, dreams and the realities of war. As we continue to produce our share of fabulous films, determining our favourite five is only going to get harder.'
Mad Max, Moulin Rouge, The Piano, Picnic At Hanging Rock and Strictly Ballroom were some of the other films that featured prominently, he added.
The 2008 AFI nominations will be announced on October 29. Film and television actor Stephen Curry, who appeared in The Castle, is hosting the awards ceremony. Soon after he will start work on director Simon Wincer's The Cup, based on the true story of Damien Oliver winning Australia's most iconic horse race in 2002, despite losing his only brother in a tragic accident just days before. Curry plays Oliver.