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I think I'd give a kingdom for a glimpse of Sydney-side.—Henry Lawson.
Sydney, the largest city in Australia and Oceania, is the capital of the state of New South Wales. It's not the capital of Australia (that role is fulfilled by Canberra), but it is the nation's financial hub. Its most famous landmarks are the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge; the former, in particular, is required by law to be shown in any fictional depiction of the city.
Considered to be among the most beautiful cities in the world thanks to said landmarks (and many more besides), its diverse environment (beaches, parks, forests...) and temperate climate, it makes for a very popular tourist destination - indeed, tourism forms a large part of the city's economy. It has Australia's most famous beach (Bondi Beach) and a very active nightclub scene. A denizen of Sydney is called a Sydneysider, and amongst Sydneysiders is one of the biggest overseas-born populations of any city in the world. Consequently, the city is wildly multicultural both as a matter of official policy, and in day-to-day life.
Perhaps Sydney's most spectacular display of entertainment is the annual New Year's Eve celebrations - one of the earliest celebrated due to time zone differences - where no less than 1 million people, native and tourist alike, will pack themselves into the harbourside, the CBD (Central Business District) and its surrounding areas. Leaving the city after these celebrations becomes nigh-impossible due to immense traffic build up from a million people trying to leave the CBD all at once. To make matters worse, the Harbour Bridge has only one lane leading out of the CBD.
An establishing shot of Sydney (especially the Opera House) is a quick and easy way for a movie to show that its threat is worldwide: see, for instance, Independence Day's flying-saucer-over-the-Harbour shot. It's also popular for Nations Of The World Montages.
It also has an ongoing war with Melbourne over which of the two is the best city.
Sydney in media
- Mobile Suit Gundam and the many sequels. Sydney was destroyed in a Colony Drop. It appears in Stardust Memories as a giant bay, an extension of the Pacific Ocean.
- For a period in the late '80s the X-Men went further underground than usual and operated out of a hidden base in the outback (requisitioned from a band of cyborg Road Warrior rejects) with the aid of a mysterious Magical Indigenous Australian teleporter. This was one of the few places where they mixed up both Sydney and the outback. (Odd, considering Chris Claremont has been to Sydney.)
- When Young Justice visited the Sydney Olympics, there were kangaroos bounding through the Olympic Village (which was seemingly situated on the side of a cliff within easy eyeshot of Sydney Harbour).
- In Y: The Last Man, post-Gendercide Australia has become the single most powerful navy in the world, based on having the only female piloted submarines, and the entirety of Sydney has become a heroin addicted slum from south-east Asian pirates smuggling drugs into the country.
- Kangaroo Jack
- Finding Nemo
- Godzilla: Final Wars - Godzilla Completely PWNS Zilla on the Opera House! In under TEN SECONDS!!!
- Apparently the film's director studied in Australia, and included this scene as a Shout-Out.
- The Matrix - while not meant to be set in Sydney, is unmistakably recognisable. You can see the Harbour Bridge in one shot.
- Mission: Impossible II
- Muriels Wedding
- Priscilla Queen of the Desert opens in Sydney.
- Young Einstein
- Looking for Alibrandi features a teenage girl's urban life in Sydney.
Live Action Television
- Tomica Hero Rescue Fire Episode 37 one of the battles is set in Sydney. Super Jet Falcon and Gaia Leon did the Final Rescue.
- Lost had a number of flashbacks set there. (Especially since most of the main characters had wound up in Australia, and taken the plane, bound for Los Angeles, that crashed on the island.) In one flashback, we see the skyline--complete with the Sydney Opera House--in the distance (courtesy of CGI).
- Dance Academy - a lot of it is set in or around the Sydney Opera House.
- The Girl From Tomorrow - set in present-day and future Sydney. Notable for featuring a Bad Future Sydney recognisable by a ruined Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
- Pizza is a comedy about working-class Sydneysiders.
- My Place is a historical childrens' program that starts in modern Sydney, but also features the Sydney site before the actual city was built.
- The page quote comes from famous Australian writer Henrey Lawson's poem "Sydney-side". Three guesses what it's about.
- Sydney receives a Shout-Out in Sim City 4: Rush Hour: one of the more common bridge types for Avenues, the Large Steel Arch, is very obviously based on the Harbour Bridge.
- The Ship Song Project, a YouTube music video initiative of the Sydney Opera House.
- The Free Hugs original is filmed around the Pitt Street Mall, with brief stops at Martin Place, Town Hall, and Darling Harbour. (This is all in a radius of about 20 city blocks).
- In the G.I. Joe universe, Cobra operative Major Bludd is from Sydney, and once served with the Australian SAS.