9 movies filmed in Hertfordshire that have won Oscars

Edward Burns as Private Reiben, Tom Hanks as Captain Miller, Matt Damon as Private Ryan, Max Martini and Tom Sizemore

Adam Goldberg as Private Mellish, Edward Burns as Private Reiben, Tom Hanks as Captain Miller, Matt Damon as Private Ryan, Max Martini as Corporal Henderson and Tom Sizemore as Sergeant Horvath in Saving Private Ryan. - Credit: © 2015 Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks LLC and Amblin Entertainment

It was the Oscars again this week. But did you know movies made in Hertfordshire have enjoyed quite a bit of success at the Academy Awards over the years?

Here's just 9 of the movies filmed in Hertfordshire that have picked up Oscars.


1. Saving Private Ryan

Tom Hanks as Captain Miller, Matt Damon as Private Ryan and Edward Burns as Private Reiben in Saving Private Ryan.

Tom Hanks as Captain Miller, Matt Damon as Private Ryan and Edward Burns as Private Reiben in Saving Private Ryan. - Credit: Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks LLC and Amblin Entertainment

One of the greatest war films ever made, Saving Private Ryan was partly filmed on location in Hertfordshire.

Set in France in 1944, Steven Spielberg's acclaimed World War Two epic brought Tom Hanks and Matt Damon to Hatfield for filming back in the 1990s. 

Following the Normandy landings, the story concerns a platoon of U.S. soldiers led by Captain John H. Miller (Hanks) on a perilous assignment behind enemy lines.

Tom Hanks as Captain Miller in Saving Private Ryan.

Tom Hanks as Captain Miller in Saving Private Ryan. - Credit: Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks LLC and Amblin Entertainment

The rescue mission: to risk their lives to save the life of one man, paratrooper James Francis Ryan.

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Ryan (Matt Damon) is the last survivor of a family of four brothers, the rest of whom have been killed in action.

The fictional war-torn French town of Ramalle, where Ryan is defending a bridge, was built on the former British Aerospace airfield in Hatfield, complete with a river. It's here where the movie's climactic battle takes place.

The former aerodrome site is today a business park, housing estate, the Hertfordshire Sports Village, and the University of Hertfordshire's de Havilland Campus.

SAVING PRIVATE RYAN - Matt Damon aMatt Damon as Private Ryan in Saving Private Ryan. Private Ryan

Matt Damon as Private Ryan in Saving Private Ryan. - Credit: Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks LLC and Amblin Entertainment

Spielberg and Hanks later returned to the same Hatfield location to make acclaimed HBO series Band of Brothers.

Pre-production for the Ryan movie took place at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood. 

Steven Spielberg on set with the cast of Saving Private Ryan.

Steven Spielberg on set with the cast of Saving Private Ryan. - Credit: Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks LLC and Amblin Entertainment

Saving Private Ryan, which was screened on Sky Cinema Oscars on Tuesday, March 22 at 5pm and again at 12.35pm on March 23, was nominated for 11 Oscars at the 71st Academy Awards in 1999, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Hanks, and Best Original Screenplay.

It won five gongs on the night, with Spielberg picking up Best Director.

Its other Oscars were for Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, and Best Sound Effects Editing.

Tom Hanks as Captain Miller in Saving Private Ryan.

Tom Hanks as Captain Miller in Saving Private Ryan. - Credit: Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks LLC and Amblin Entertainment

However, it lost out on Best Picture prize to the next film on our 'Made in Herts' list...


2. Shakespeare in Love

While Saving Private Ryan was nominated for Best Picture at the 71st Academy Awards, the gold Oscar statuette in 1999 went to Shakespeare in Love – another film partly shot on location in Hatfield.

Set during the Elizabethan era, the period romantic comedy-drama depicts a fictional love affair between playwright William Shakespeare, played by Joseph Fiennes, and his new 'muse', noblewoman Viola de Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow).

Shakespeare in Love stars Gwyneth Paltrow as Viola and Joseph Fiennes as William Shakespeare

Shakespeare in Love stars Gwyneth Paltrow as Viola and Joseph Fiennes as William Shakespeare - Credit: © 2019 NBCUniversal

Plagued with debt, writer's block, and fallen past deadline for his latest play, it seems like things can't get much worse for young William Shakespeare.

He then meets Viola, a young lady masquerading as a man to get a part in his play, and it's love at first sight. Inspired by his new romance, Will sets feverishly to work on his play, determined to write the greatest love story ever told.

The stellar cast also includes Geoffrey Rush, Colin Firth, Ben Affleck, and Judi Dench in a scene-stealing cameo as Queen Elizabeth I, with scenes filmed on the estate of Elizabeth I's childhood home.

The South Front of Hatfield House in Hertfordshire.

The South Front of Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. - Credit: Alan Davies

Hatfield House was used for the scene where Viola meets Elizabeth I and a wager is made. This scene was shot in the Marble Hall at the Hertfordshire stately home, while the South Front was also used for the film.

While Shakespeare's original play in the movie, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter, was never going to set the world on fire, the movie won seven Oscars.

The film's other winners included Gwyneth Paltrow as Viola and Judi Dench as Elizabeth I – rather apt considering the real-life monarch grew up on the Hatfield estate.

Shakespeare In Love is available to buy or rent via Sky Store. It's also currently on BBC iPlayer.


3. The King's Speech

While Colin Firth played Lord Wessex in Shakespeare in Love, he took on the role of the future King George VI in Tom Hooper's acclaimed The King's Speech – and won an Academy Award for Best Actor in the process.

Scenes of the movie were filmed on location at Knebworth House, where Firth and Helena Bonham Carter, who played Queen Elizabeth, were left stranded during filming in winter by a snow storm.

Based out of Elstree Studios, director Hooper also shot scenes in the grounds of Hatfield House.

The King's Speech received 12 Oscar nominations at the 83rd Academy Awards – more than any other film that year – and took home four, including Best Picture and Best Director for Hooper.

You can currently watch the film on BBC iPlayer, and subscription streaming service Netflix.


4. Raiders of the Lost Ark

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark - Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd

Harrison Ford's first action-adventure as Indiana Jones bagged five Oscars at the 1982 Academy Awards.

And while the whip-cracking professor of archaeology travels the globe in pursuit of the long-lost Ark of the Covenant, Raiders of the Lost Ark was actually based at Elstree Studios in Herts.

Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Raiders of the Lost Ark. - Credit: © Lucasfilm

Elstree Studios had already been used by Raiders writer George Lucas for the first Star Wars movie starring Harrison Ford as Han Solo.

The Well of Souls scene was one of the major set pieces filmed at Elstree for Raiders with thousands of snakes required.

"I hate snakes." Harrison Ford as archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark

"I hate snakes." Harrison Ford as archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark - Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd

Directed by Steven Spielberg, you can see Raiders of the Lost Ark, and its first two sequels, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, back to back on Sky Cinema Select's Oscars channel on Thursday, March 31 at 8pm.

Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade were also both partly filmed on the stages at Elstree Studios, and both blockbusters won Oscars in the effects categories.

Harrison Ford as the whip-cracking Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark

Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is hired by the US government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark - Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd


5. Gosford Park

Before he created TV series Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes wrote this Oscar-winning comedy drama about a shooting weekend at a country mansion that turns murderous.

Robert Altman's 2001 period piece features an all-star ensemble cast including Michael Gambon, Kristin Scott Thomas, Charles Dance, Clive Owen, Helen Mirren, Derek Jacobi, Richard E Grant, and Maggie Smith, long before she became Violet Crawley, The Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey.

In this witty, Agatha Christie-style whodunit, wealthy guests and their servants gather for a weekend stay at the home of Sir William McCordle, who is soon found murdered.

Scenes were filmed at Wrotham Park near Potters Bar, which will also be seen in the second series of Netflix's raunchy Regency-era romance Bridgerton.

You can watch Gosford Park on Netflix.


6. The Queen

Before she was made a Dame, Helen Mirren played Queen Elizabeth II on screen.

The national treasure won the Best Actress Oscar at the 79th Academy Awards for playing Her Majesty in The Queen.

The 2006 biographical drama, directed by Stephen Frears and written by Peter Morgan, who later created Netflix hit The Crown, stars Helen Mirren in the title role following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.

Michael Sheen plays Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Scenes of the movie were shot at Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire.


7. The Favourite 

Sticking with royalty, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman all secured Oscar nominations for this period black comedy set in the court of a frail Queen Anne.

Approximately 85 per cent of Yorgos Lanthimos' bawdy drama was shot on location at Hatfield House and in the Hertfordshire estate's grounds. 

The Favourite stars Olivia Colman as Queen Anne, Rachel Weisz as Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlbor

The Favourite stars Olivia Colman as Queen Anne, Rachel Weisz as Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, and Emma Stone as Abigail. Picture: 20th Century Fox - Credit: 20th Century Fox

Look out for the gardens, Marble Hall (where the duck racing takes place) and Long Gallery at Hatfield House, as well as the South Front with Emma Stone's character, Abigail, being thrown out of a horse-drawn carriage into the mud.

Colman won the Best Actress Oscar at the 2019 Academy Awards, while Stone and Weisz were both nominees in the supporting category for their roles as servant Abigail, who arrives in Queen Anne's court, and Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough.

Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara were also nominated for Best Original Screenplay.

McNamara later created The Great, starring Elle Fanning and The Favourite's Nicholas Hoult, with the pilot episode filmed at Hatfield House.


8. Rocketman 

Elton John, played by Taron Egerton, falls into the swimming pool of his LA mansion in this musical fantasy biopic. 

However, the scene wasn't filmed in America but on Kentish Lane near Potters Bar.

Scenes of Rocketman were shot at both Brocket Hall and in a private residence with an outdoor swimming pool near Potters Bar – the lavish Brookmans Park property doubling for the singer's American pad.

While Golden Globe winner Egerton missed out on an Academy Award nomination for playing Reginald Dwight, aka Elton John, the real Elton John did win an Oscar for Best Original Song from the movie with Bernie Taupin for track (I'm Gonna) Love Me Again.


9. Anastasia 

The film poster for Anastasia starring Yul Brynner and Ingrid Bergman, who won an Oscar for her role in the movie

The film poster for Anastasia starring Yul Brynner and Ingrid Bergman, who won an Oscar for her role in the movie partly shot on location at Knebworth House. - Credit: Alan Davies

The King and I star Yul Brynner and Casablanca legend Ingrid Bergman star in this 1956 drama which includes scenes filmed at Knebworth House.

In the movie, the scheming General Bounine (Brynner) tries to pass off a mysterious lady as the Grand Duchess Anastasia.

As amnesiac Anna Koreff / Anastasia, Ingrid Bergman won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Yul Brynner won the Best Actor Oscar at the same awards for The King and I.

Helen Hayes star as the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna in Anastasia.

Knebworth House is now a regular filming location – it now doubles for the inside of Balmoral in Netflix's The Crown – but the mansion's movie heritage dates back to this 1950s period drama.