They Shall Not Grow Old

One of the most popular documentaries of the recent past, They Shall Not Grow Old was released in 2018. But where was it filmed?

In this article, we answer that and many other curious questions about the film.

No Single Answer For Where The Movie Was Filmed

Yes, there is no single answer to where the movie was filmed, as the movie was created by using original footage from World War 1. The footage was made available to the director and producer of the film, Peter Jackson, by the Imperial War Museum who had it stored in their archives.

The footage was more than a century old at the time the film was released. The audio of the footage was from the BBC. It included the interviews of veterans (former soldiers who served for Britain) who had participated and fought in the first World War.

Most of the footage was transformed and colorized by using innovative production methods so that it was recognizable.

Feeling Closer To Actual Experiences

To let the audience connect with the soldiers and feel closer to their actual experiences, sound effects and voice acting were used. They helped the film to be more evocative. Interestingly, it was the first time Peter Jackson had tried hands-on directing.

He wanted the film to provide an immersive experience and wanted the audience to know what it was like to be a soldier during the first World War. He didn’t want it to be a mere recount of events.

To make the documentary look as real as possible, the crew had to review more than 600 hours of interviews that were from more than 200 veterans. They also had to go through 100 hours of the original film footage to make the documentary.

The Interesting Title

The title of the film is also very appealing. It was taken from a poem called “For The Fallen” by Laurence Binyon. It was written in 1914.

The Release Schedule Of The Documentary

They Shall Not Grow Old premiered at two events at the same time. It premiered at the BFI London Film Festival and a few chosen cinemas in the UK on October 16, 2018. It also aired on BBC Two a few months later on November 11, 2018.

Interestingly, the latter was the 100th anniversary of the iconic event, the Armistice of 11 November 1918. The film also had a limited U.S. release on December 17, the same year.

After attaining appreciation from viewers and enjoying success at the box office, Peter Jackson’s film had a wide theatrical release in February 2019. Some of the key reasons for the success of this film by Peter Jackson were its restoration work, the stunning portrayal of war, and an immersive atmosphere that kept the audience hooked.

What Makes The Movie So Special?

Several factors make Jackson’s film very special. The first is the incredible restoration, the second is colorization, and the third is 3D application. Another thing that makes it special is sound work, as it helps make it truly immersive. Some people also consider it to be an educational masterpiece.

One more thing that made the film special was the fact that it was followed by a 30-minute video that showed how Jackson’s film was made. It’s an unmissable bit that’s also very fascinating and informative.

The way to approach the movie is also quite wonderful. It focuses on the human faces of the first World War and shows the audience what the British soldiers were experiencing on the ground.

The work done on the footage is also quite appealing as it makes images shot more than a hundred years ago look like someone took them a few days prior.

In addition to the images, the idea of exploring the fears and hopes of the veterans is also quite good. In essence, the film perfectly captures the humanity and humility shown by a generation that lived through the war and was dramatically changed by it.

The Work On Audio

Peter Jackson’s crew, led by him, also used some unusual techniques to ensure that the film had good audio. For that, they used some background effects like the sound made when tiles fall on the ground. They also sought the assistance of lip readers who figured out what soldiers were saying.

120 veterans who survived the war shared their stories with Jackson. He used their audio creatively to appear as an overlay that resembles the style of narrators.

There is no doubt about the fact that Peter Jackson worked very hard for the film. He spent four years working on the footage shared by the museum. There were hundreds of films shot in 1964 that he had to sift through.

Doing It For Passion

While talking to a news outlet, Jackson shared that it was a passion project that was inspired by his interest in the war. It began with his grandfather who was one of the British soldiers. Talking about the troops, he said that when he remastered the footage, he succeeded in bringing their faces to life and gave them the focus they deserved.

The head of film at the Imperial War Museum, Matt Leigh, who provided the footage Jackson needed and collaborated with him, stated that he wanted to transform the old footage into something that would engage a younger audience.

Leigh also expressed hope that the documentary would let people understand the soldiers who served in the Great War.

Jackson concluded by saying that the film has managed to highlight the individual experiences of the Great War, and all of us share the DNA of those soldiers who fought in that war.