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Stars of the screen

WITH a huge land portfolio and vast amounts of knowledge from high-risk environments, the Ministry of Defence represents an invaluable resource for movie and programme makers.

From Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 Vietnam epic Full Metal Jacket to the latest James Bond instalments, eagle-eyed viewers will recognise aspects of the 600,000-acre estate that usually serves as a training ground for the British Army

And with audiences demanding increased realism in their war-based features, the impact of military advisers is particularly evident in the small details that many civvies would not even think to include.

While the department’s land and buildings are regularly used to generate income, when
it comes to content such a partnership between government and the movie sector is rare.

Describing why his team wanted to work with the MoD, producer Ken Horn said: “We felt it was the kind of story anyone in the Army would feel connected to and we wanted to make it as authentic and up-to-date as possible.

“Pirbright is a vast, state-of-the-art facility so to replicate that environment elsewhere would have been far too expensive.”

Even without official assistance from the MoD, filmmakers still seek out the expertise of
military advisers to ensure storylines and characters are authentic.

I Am Soldier, an action-heavy title due for release this autumn, saw writer and director Ronnie Thompson pick the brains of retired colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan.

“The most important part of my job was helping to develop the screenplay as I was able to bring detailed knowledge of terrorism and military tactics,” the former officer explained.

“With any military film it’s essential that there are specialists involved to try to get realistic storylines and
action on screen – if you are not a real expert then it can be very easy to make errors.”

Read this month's issue for the full story and an exclusive Hollywood interview.

Soldier asked readers to rate their all-time favourite and least-liked military films of all time...

Top five features:

1. Zulu

2. A Bridge Too Far

3. Saving Private Ryan

4. Platoon

5. The Longest Day

Worst ever war movies:

1. The Hurt Locker

2. Pearl Harbor

Disagree with the results? Tell Talkback by dropping us an email via mail@soldiermagazine.co.uk







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