Living in the South West, we are blessed with living in a place of incredible natural beauty and historical interest. It is little wonder then that movie makers have always flocked to the South West for their productions. Some of the biggest film productions ever have been shot here.
Here are just five examples which demonstrate the beauty and variety of the South West, and why it is a great place to base a production.
5: Warhorse – Dartmoor
In 2011 the legendary film director Stephen Spielberg released War Horse, an adaptation of a popular children’s novel of the same name by Michael Morpurgo. Much of it was filmed around the Tors, hills, and valleys of Dartmoor in Devonshire in high-quality 35mm film which gives the movie a textured, characterful look.
Filming on the moor was clearly an experience Spielberg enjoyed, he stated: “I have never before, in my long and eclectic career, been gifted with such an abundance of natural beauty as I experienced filming War Horse on Dartmoor…” – a quote that tourism groups for the area have, of course posted everywhere.
4: Hot Fuzz – Somerset
Hot Fuzz has now cemented its reputation as a comedy classic. The fish out of water movie about a tough as nails London metropolitan police officer being placed in a small rural town has an enduring popularity.
The majority of the film was shot in and around the town of Wells, Somerset, which doubled for the fictional town of Sandford.
With Wells being a picturesque and historic market town, it has hosted a number of other film productions such as Elizabeth the Golden Age and The Libertine.
3: Straw Dogs – Cornwall
Unlike the other films on this list, the South West’s natural beauty was not a highlight. But Straw Dogs’ status as an infamous and iconic horror film means its inclusion here is vital. The film is the story of an American man and his Cornish wife being attacked and tormented by the locals of a Cornish village, and has caused no small degree of controversy as many have criticised the film for its portrayal of the local population.
The film’s brutal violence and bleakness meant that it was banned in the UK for decades. A few years ago the film was remade, but this time with a US setting.
2: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
This is the most recent film on the list, with it coming out in late 2016. This children’s fantasy film was directed by Tim Burton, based on the best-selling book series of the same name.
While the film is set on a fictional island off the coast of Wales, it was actually shot on the Cornish Coast. With many of the film’s exterior sequences shot in the small hamlet of Portholland, the beach of Porthluney Cove, and the exterior shots of the titular school were shot at the beautiful Caerhays Estate.
1: Edge of Tomorrow
This is somewhat cheating, as only a small part of this recent and popular science fiction film was shot in the South West. A major battle sequence in the film was shot in Saunton Beach, Devonshire. The location doubles as a piece of the coast of northern France which the film’s military invades in an attempt to stop an alien invasion.
This isn’t the first time the beach has been used in video productions, a section of the WWII classic A Matter of Life and Death was filmed here after the protagonist is washed up on the beach after a failed bombing run.
The above are only a small selection of the massive number of films shot in the South West. But of course, major films and smaller pieces of video are produced here all of the time.