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21 films you didn’t know were made in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 11:21 06 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:56 06 March 2018

de Vere House, Lavenham (c) Rex Harris, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

de Vere House, Lavenham (c) Rex Harris, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


Not many people know it but a lot of your favourite films have been made in Suffolk. From blockbusters to independent, here are 21 films made in Suffolk.

1. Yangtse Incident (1957)

Richard Todd and William Hartnell afloat on the River Orwell, mainly between Felixstowe and Levington, fighting barrage of fire from the Chinese forces on the river banks.

2. The Angry Silence (1960)

Richard Attenborough on location at Ransomes and Rapier in Ipswich for a movie about a man who finds himself at odds with his mates who are going out on strike.

3. The Witchfinder General (1966)

Vincent Price is the eponymous witch¬hunter Matthew Hopkins. The real Witchfinder came from Manningtree but the film moved to historic Lavenham for that authentic medieval feel.

4. David Copperfield (1970)

Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson and Richard Attenborough spent several weeks roaming the wild, windswept beaches of Southwold, Walberswick and Lowestoft for this award¬winning adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic.

5. Akenfield (1974)

Peggy Cole, Garrow Shand and Peter Tuddenham star in this timeless adaptation of Ronald Blythe’s rural novel. National Theatre director Peter Hall spent most of a year shooting in the villages around Charsfield. Instead of using professional actors he used local people, largely genuine farm workers and their families which is why he had to shoot at weekends when they weren’t working.

6. Barry Lyndon (1975)

Stanley Kubrick’s 18th century drama utilised Lavenham’s Guildhall to patch up Ryan O’Neal’s daring adventurer after a duel.

7. Yesterday’s Hero (1979)

Inspired by the rollercoaster career of George Best, this fictional footballing tale had its home ground at Ipswich Town’s Portman Road. It starred Ian McShane as the flawed hero along with Paul Nicholas and most of the Sudbury Town squad.

8. Laughterhouse (1984)

This little¬seen British film starred Ian Holm, Penelope Wilton and Bill Owen and was shot in Cavendish, Bures and Long Melford. Ian Holm plays a farmer who becomes an unwitting media star when he drives 5,000 geese from Suffolk to Smithfield market. The script was written by bald¬headed comic actor Brian Glover and directed by National Theatre boss Richard Eyre.

A scene from the 1984 film Laughterhouse A scene from the 1984 film Laughterhouse

9. The Fourth Protocol (1987)

Michael Caine and Pierce Brosnan play a game of espionage chess in this cold¬war thriller which features a squadron of SAS helicopters flying between the legs of the Orwell Bridge and landing a team of crack troops on the Ipswich Wet Dock, outside what is now DanceEast.

10. Drowning By Numbers (1988)

Bernard Hill, Joely Richardson and Joan Plowright took over a beachfront house in Thorpeness for this dark look at relationships by arthouse director Peter Greenaway. Scenes were also shot in Southwold.

11. The Bridge (1991)

Saskia Reeves, Joss Ackland and Geraldine James starred in this bio¬pic about the painter Philip Wilson Steer and his love for the wilds of north Suffolk. It explores how he established a Victorian art colony in the remote fishing village of Walbserwick. The film used the same locations that were featured in Steer’s paintings.

12. Princess Caribou (1994)

Phoebe Cates, Kevin Kline and Jim Broadbent star in this romantic comedy about a Javanese princess who finds herself washed up on the beaches of Devon. Elveden Hall leant its stately exterior to provide some suitably regal backdrops.

13. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Pierce Brosnan is James Bond battling media mogul Jonathan Pryce. Bond finds himself at RAF Mildenhall doubling for a US airbase in Japan ¬ complete with fake palm trees.

14. The Wind In The Willows (1997)

Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Steve Coogan and Anthony Sher starred in this updating of this wonderful children’s classic. The Stoats of big business force Mole out of his home while Kentwell Hall doubled as Toad’s stately pile. Terry Jones had an absolute ball as Toad.

15. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Stanley Kubrick is back in Suffolk, this time using the Indian Gothic architecture of Elveden Hall, near Bury St Edmunds, to stage a large-scale masked orgy scene with Tom Cruise.

16. The Lost Son (1999)

Natassja Kinski, Billie Whitelaw and Daniel Auteil star in this English/French co¬production. Auteil, in his first English¬speaking role, played an ex-¬cop turned private eye hunting for a kidnapped boy. The film unit spent a week filming at Landguard Point nature reserve.

17. The Golden Bowl (2000)

Uma Thurman, Kate Beckinsale and Jeremy Northam star in this elegant Merchant/Ivory period piece. Director James Ivory made great use of the exteriors of Helmingham Hall in a film made up of formal balls and receptions, the stately Suffolk house and gardens have never looked more striking.

18. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

Hollywood returns to Elveden Hall which stands in for Croft Towers. The interior is shown off to marvellous effect during the spectacular aerial ballet shoot¬out sequence.

19. Iris (2001)

Kate Winslet, Dame Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent and Hugh Bonneville set up camp in Southwold for the summer with director Richard Eyre to tell the story of literary giant Iris Murdoch and her battle with Alzheimer’s.

20. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2010)

Picturesque Lavenham is back on screen as Godric’s Hollow the place where Voldemort first tried to murder the infant Harry Potter, where his mother Lily sacrificed herself for him and the whole Potter saga began.

21. Private Peaceful (2012)

Jack O’Connell, George MacKay, Maxine Peake, Richard Griffiths and Frances de la Tour starred in Michael Morpurgo’s affecting tale of Devon farm boys being called up to fight on the Western Front during the First World War. The Suffolk countryside not only doubled for Devon but the authentic trench system, created and maintained by Taff Gillingham and Khaki Devils, just outside Ipswich, made the battle sequences chillingly real.


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