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Is 1917 Based On A True Story?

Sam Mendes new film 1917 is based on tales from his grandfather Alfred Mendes, a British soldier who fought on the Western Front from 1916-1918. Alfred was only 17 at the time he was enlisted for the war and even gained a medal for helping stranded soldiers in No Mans Land. Mendes’ grandfather Alfred never spoke about the war for about 50-60 years until his grandchildren finally got it out of him.

What’s It About?

1917 follows two British soldiers during World War I. Both Lance Cpl. Schofield (George MacKay) and Lance Cpl. Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman, otherwise known as Tommen Baratheon/Lannister in HBO’s Game of Thrones) are given impossible orders to cross enemy territory and deliver a message that could save 1600 soldiers lives, including Blake’s brother. As you can already tell, this is no Jojo Rabbit (you can read that review here).

1917 Film Sam Mendes

Story, Cinematography, Score:

Now, is 1917 worth the trip to the cinema? Well, it may feel like we’re exaggerating when we say how much of a cinematic experience this is but trust us, it’s true. From the moment the film begins you’re taken on this beautiful yet brutal journey, exploring the horrors of war while showcasing the impact of courage, love and brotherhood.

Despite the movie being based on a story from Sam Mendes’ grandfather, the thing that makes this film stand out makes it such a unique experience is the way it’s shot. The entire film is designed to feel like one long continuous shot and it really is something else. The camera movement is smooth and the focus always remains on the heart of the story: the characters.

Every moment of this film is powerful and full to the brim with heart pounding and goosebumps inducing moments. We advise you have someones hand to squeeze while watching this, if you are rather lonely, maybe bring one of those ‘Baby Yoda’ plushies? Trust us, you’ll need it.

1917 Film Sam Mendes Director

Performances and Practical Effects:

The performances from all the cast are something else. Both MacKay and Charles Chapman bring their a-game and truly out do theirselves.  The raw emotion they manage to invoke throughout every scene is inspiring and what makes each moment so overwhelming. The effort that Sam Mendes’ team went to in order to bring this film alive is astonishing, with hundreds of extras, tonnes of practical effects and so many one take scenes the cast and crew have done theirselves extremely proud. 

While you’re here, why not read our review on Just Mercy, coming to cinemas soon.


War films aren’t anything new, but 1917 is something completely different. From the mind of Sam Mendes’ grandfather, this inspirational tale has been turned into a cinematic experience like none before, a war film that needs to be watched on the largest screen possible. If you love a good war film or even if they’re not your thing, 1917 is a film that general audiences can thoroughly enjoy and it’s probably one of the greatest films of 2019.

10 Hooves out of 10

Ten Cartoon Horseshoes

Written By

Co-Founder of Dead Horse Media

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