Movie review from a history teacher – 1917

1917 - no man's land

As a History teacher, Historical reenactor and writer, I have VERY high standards for movies that claim to be historical or even based on actual events. When I critique a movie that has a historical premise, I ask a few questions: does this movie have useful information, as well as being entertaining; can I show this movie to my students; and, if I show this movie, will it cause more confusion than clarity?

I am extremely choosy about which films I show in class. Some movies have good historical content, but for one reason or another aren’t suitable in a historical lesson.


1917 checks all the boxes as great historical fiction

1917 answers all of the questions I listed above very well. One of the biggest aspects of WWI that I have to get my students to relate to is life in the trenches. 1917 constantly shows how muddy and nasty the trenches were — the rats were a good touch! The battlefield conditions were excellently displayed in the depiction of how desolate and dangerous “No Man’s Land” was. Also cool — the new technology of how airplanes were used. (It was the aerial photographs that told the general The British were walking into a trap.)

The action and pace of the movie was good. 1917 has a compelling story and it keeps you engaged. It is not just the hundreds of brother’s in arms they are trying to save, but also his real brother in the story.

1917 is historical fiction done right

In short, this movie is NOT actual history. The two main characters are a composite of the director’s actual grandfather, and his service as a message runner in WWI during The Battle of Poelcappelle.

Did it happen in the movie exactly like his Grandpa said? No, but slight embellishments that do not alter the telling of the story or the relating of the historical event are forgivable. If a student asks, I can easily explain that the characters show what the dangers of being a messenger in WWI was like.  1917 was very well done historical fiction and it earns every award that it gets!

Where was 1917 filmed?

Is there anything extra during the end credits of 1917?

Movie Review – 1917


Where was 1917 filmed?

Filming locations for the movie 1917 in the United KingdomThe movie 1917 was filmed in multiple locations around the United Kingdom, including: Wiltshire and Hankley Common, both in Surrey; Govan, Scotland; Low Force Waterfall on the River Tees in Teesdale; as well as Shepperton Studios, to the southwest of London.

The Govan Docks, in Scotland, were used in the scene where Schofield crossed the destroyed bridge.

1917 bridge scene shot at the Govan Docks, Scotland

The trench and French Farmhouse scenes were shot on the Salisbury Plains, in Wiltshire England.

1917 trench scenes Salisbury plains in Wiltshire England

Where did the events of 1917 actually take place?

The events of the movie 1917 all took place in the spring of 1917 in Northern France.

At this time, WWI has been raging for almost 3 years — beginning on July 28, 1914. And the war would continue for more than a year and a half after, ending on November 11, 1918. The US Armed forces joined WWI in the Spring of 1917.

Map of the Western Front during spring 1917

The German army never “retreated” but only withdrew to a better, more fortified position that also shortened the front line by 25 miles, freeing up 13 divisions for reassignment. They made their withdrawal during the cover of night, and left behind booby traps and snipers to make the Allied advancement slow and costly.

Movie Review – 1917

Is there anything extra during the end credits of 1917?


Is there anything extra during the end credits of 1917?

1917 Yes, there are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of 1917

Anything Extra Details

During the credits there is an extra, but it’s just a sweet In Honor Of.

119 / 1:49:0

During the credits there is a simple tribute message:

“For Lance Corporal Alfred H. Mendes / 1st Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps / who told us the stories.”

You can leave right after that — there’s nothing else.

The credits run for approximately 10 minutes.

[Alfred Mendes is the director’s (Sam Mendes’) paternal grandfather. Alfred Mendes, born in Trinidad, and volunteered for WWI when he was 19 years old.]

The credits run for approximately 10 minutes.

Read the RunPee movie review for 1917 by Shani Ogilvie.

Movie review grade: A

Rated (R) for violence, some disturbing images, and language
Genres: Drama, War
USA release date: 2020-01-03
Movie length: 1 hour 59 minutes

We have 3 Peetimes for 1917. Learn more.

About The Peetimes
Everything blended seamlessly in this movie.

The movie follows the journey of the main characters’ every move and leaves little room for irrelevant dialogue. This made it both a blessing and a curse to find Peetimes.

There were 3 scenes that didn’t take away from the story, and these made for excellent Peetimes.

I Recommend the 2nd Peetime.

Where was 1917 filmed?

Movie Review – 1917


Movie Review – The Darkest Hour

There’s really no need for anyone to show up for the Oscars, except for the talented artists involved with *Darkest Hour*. This was by far the best movie I’ve seen all year, and I’ve seen a lot of good (and bad) films.

I’m going to stick my neck out and predict that Gary Oldman will take home the Oscar for Best Actor. The first time I saw Oldman on screen was in JFK, where he played Lee Harvey Oswald. I knew then that here was an actor destined for greatness.

The movie itself could possibly take home the Oscar for Best Picture. The writing was expertly done, and the inclusion of Mr. Churchill’s wit and wisdom gave another layer to this film. The production values and cinematography were brilliant.

This is a movie for everyone who cares about the history of world. You may not know a lot about Churchill, but don’t let that stop you. By the time you leave the theater, you’ll have a burning desire to get to know this remarkable man more intimately. Don’t let the opportunity pass to see one of the most spectacular movies of a lifetime.

Movie Grade: A+

Movie Review – DunKirk

Be forewarned, this movie can be insanely confusing. There are three vignettes operating during this film: a pilot trying to keep the Luftwaffe at bay (while rescue attempts for the waiting soldiers on the beach are being made), a private citizen and his sons, who are lending a heroic hand to the survivors of sinking ships, and a small group of soldiers who are young, frightened, and only wish to get back home.

Time doesn’t run linearly during the many battle scenes. We know this, because one scene can be taking place at night, and the following scene is during the day. I understand this is the trademark of a Christopher Nolan film.

Dialog is sparse, and frequently can’t be understood because of the external sounds of war. The movie seems to depend on the facial expressions of the frightened men to know what’s going on in their minds – and it works beautifully.

I might add that if you’re not familiar with the Battle of Dunkirk, you may want to read a short article in Wikipedia that will help you gain insight into this dreadful event.

If you’re a fan of Christopher Nolan, you won’t be disappointed.

Movie Grade: A

Movie Review – Thank You For Your Service

This is a movie that everyone needs to see, especially politicians with the power to make changes to an existing system that’s failing. Of course, I speak of the Veterans Administration. So, heads up to the current administration: with North Korea’s saber rattling — not to mention every other country that’s been offended by the countless rude remarks/action spewed forth by our ‘powers that be’ — we’re bound to end up with sons and daughters once again spilling their blood, only to come home to an ineffectual government who’ll turn a blind eye to the needs of our Wounded Warriors. And when that happens, the already overburdened VA will be inundated with returning vets in need of care, both mental and physical. As seen in *Thank You For Your Service*, the VA can’t deal with the current patient load, so will additional vets completely break the bank?


Last week I saw *Only The Brave* with Miles Teller, and this week I had the pleasure of seeing him again, as the unsung hero. The rest of the cast did an awesome job of honoring the actual military men and women. I give especially high marks to Beulah Koale, who played the role of Solo, perhaps the most damaged of the returning vets. Please keep in mind that these characters are based on real people. These aren’t just actors given a fabricated role by someone who thought this would make a great movie. That said, if after seeing TYFYS you can still walk right past a vet without a second glance and not take time to thank them, then you didn’t see the same movie I did.

Movie grade – A+