1917 Filming Locations Guide: Where was 1917 filmed?

1917 film location
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We are not only wondering where 1917 was filmed, but we should also go behind the scenes to answer how the 2020 Golden Globe winner movie was filmed. The action, happening in real time, seems to have been filmed at a single location, in an immersive one continuous shot. In fact, principal photography lasted about 65 days and the filming locations are many miles away from each other, all around the United Kingdom.

Film director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall), decided to paste takes up to nine minutes long to tell the story of two young men who are sent on a suicide mission into enemy territory during the First World War. They'll try to stop an attack and save a British battalion from a German army ambush. To make you feel that you are in the trenches with this characters, the camera never ever comes away from them during the nearly two hours running time of the film, so spectators can understand how hard it was.

Maintaining the continuity of the scenes across the movie is a perfectly well executed cinematic illusion. Where are the cuts? Production designer Dennis Gassner declared that the whole idea was not to get caught. Birdman director Alexander Iñárritu chose to obscure the frame to hide edits. The method used in 1917 is far more complex than this, involving lots of planning and rehearsing. The movie was shot in story order, so the filmmakers had to exactly match the previous sequence to the inch and to the second.

How was 1917 filmed?

Where was 1917 filmed
The trench scenes where filmed in the Salisbury Plain near Netheravon. Filming took place along the A345 Salisbury Road, in the old Avon Camp military base, just a few miles from Stonehenge. 1917 almost doesn't take place in a series of interiors, but endless exteriors and no location ever repeats, so cast and crew were constantly moving through different landscapes. Some shots required around 500 background extras.
(You can open all the locations on Google Maps clicking on the links below in the captions ↴)
Image courtesy of Universal Pictures - Map




1917 Filming Location
A lot of filming took place in Salisbury Plain, also the French Farmhouse was built here and taken down at the end of the shoot. The producers completely depended on the natural ligtht and the weather. They had to shot in clouds to get the continuity from scene to scene. So when the sun was shinning, the team was rehearsing with the eyes up in the sky. Image courtesy of Universal Pictures


How was 1917 shot in one take
The 1917 sets were built from scratch for the film. Roger Deakins director of photography, also commented that the camera had to be in sync with what the actor is doing: 'Sometimes you have a camera carried by an operator hooked onto a wire, that then steps onto a small jeep which carries him another 400 yards. Then he steps off it again and goes around the corner'. Image courtesy of Universal Pictures


1917 drehort
The pictured sequence was filmed in the Govan graving docks on the banks of the river Clyde in Glasgow, Scotland. George MacKay as William Schofield (Captain Fantastic, Ophelia) and Dean-Charles Chapman as Tom Blake (Tommen Baratheon in Game of Thrones, Into the Badlands) star in a film where the support cast includes veteran actors Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange, Sherlock), Mark Strong (Shazam, Kingsman: The Golden Circle), Andrew Scott (Sherlock, Fleabag) and Richard Madden (GoT's Robb Stark). Image Universal Pictures - Map


1917 waterfall
The 1917 river scene was filmed in the Low Force waterfall in Teesdale valley near Barnard Castle (County Durham). This section of the movie was shot using a drone. If you are a fan of long take scenes, the 2002 film Russian Ark is a real one-shot movie that takes place in real time in the Hermitage Museum. Alfonso Cuarón's 2006 movie Children of Men includes several long, amazing single take scenes. Image courtesy of Jake Cook - Map


1917 lieux du tournage
First World War started literally with horses and carriages and ended with tanks. It can be argued that it is when modern warfare begins. Fortune reported that trenches were also built at the RAF Bovingdon Airfield in Hemel Hempstead (Hertfordshire). A disused quarry in Oxfordshire served as additional filming location. According to local media Surrey Live, a large film set was built at Hankley Common near Farnham (Surrey).
Image courtesy of Universal Pictures- Bovingdon location

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