The Gallipoli peninsula forms the northern bank of the Dardanelles strait, a sea route to the Russian Empire, one of the Allied powers during World War I. Britain and France launched a naval attack followed by an amphibious landing hoping to capture Constantinople (the Ottoman capital). The naval attack was repelled and after eight months’ fighting, with many casualties on both sides, the land campaign was abandoned and the invasion force withdrew.
In Turkey the battle is regarded as a defining moment in the nation’s history: a final surge in the defense of the motherland as the Ottoman Empire crumbled. The campaign is often considered as marking the birth of national consciousness in Australia and New Zealand and the date of the landing, 25 April, is known as “Anzac Day.”
The 1981 movie takes liberties with historical events. Both the allies and the Ottoman Empire suffered significant losses in casualties and deaths during the months of battle.
There is also a 2005 Turkish documentary with the same title, of which a French critic wrote
Gallipoli serves up the paradoxes and idiocy of battle as expressed in letters and journals written by the men (on both sides) who were there