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The Suffolk Coast on the Silver Screen

Award-winning director Sir Ridley Scott once said that "choosing location is integral to the film: in essence, another character", so it's no surprise that The Suffolk Coast with all its beauty and distinctive qualities, has been a place to call home for plenty of big screen adventures.

Dating back to 1957, take a look at the films that have graced cinema screens around the world with The Suffolk Coast playing a starring role.

The Dig (2021)

Blogs - Suffolk Coast on the Silver Screen - The Dig

Nominated for 5 BAFTA awards, the Netflix-produced biographical drama The Dig explores the story of archaeologist Basil Brown and Landowner Edith Pretty's excavation of Sutton Hoo on The Suffolk Coast in 1938, which proved to be one of the most significant archaeological finds in British history.

The film which stars Ipswich-born actor Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter, Schindler's List, The Grand Budapest Hotel) as Brown and Carey Mulligan (An Education, The Great Gatsby) as Pretty, features locations on The Suffolk Coast such as Shingle Street near, Thorpeness and Snape.

Read more about the locations and landscapes featured in The Dig https://www.thesuffolkcoast.co.uk/articles/the-dig-discover-suffolks-locations-and-landscapes

Yesterday (2019)


When Richard Curtis set out to write Yesterday, it's clear that Suffolk was at the forefront of his mind. Not only does the Danny Boyle directed film tell the story of a struggling musician from Suffolk, it's primarily based here too! 

Taking inspiration from local lad Ed Sheeran's own musical journey (he also makes a cameo appearance in the film), Yesterday was shot on location in various towns and villages on The Suffolk Coast, including Halesworth, Lowestoft, Dunwich and Shingle Street, as well as The Ramsholt Arms near Woodbridge and Latitude Festival.

Journey's End (2017)

Journeys End

The authentic World War trenches at Trench Farm in Akenham near Ipswich played a vital role once again in this war drama starring Paul Bettany, Sam Claflin and Stephen Graham.

Journey's End focuses on a dugout in Aisne in 1918, telling the story of a group of British officers, led by the mentally disintegrating young officer Stanhope (Claflin), as they await their fate.

Private Peaceful (2012)

Private Peaceful

1917 wasn't rising star George MacKay's first experience with war, he lead an all-star cast including Jack O'Connell, Frances de la Tour, Richard Griffiths and more in a story of two brothers who fall for the same girl whilst contending with the pressures of their feudal family life, war and the price of courage and cowardice.

Although Private Peaceful, which is based on the novel written by Michael Morpurgo (Warhorse) is based in Devon, the film was shot entirely here in Suffolk; in particular, at Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich and Trench Farm in Akenham - a popular filming location thanks to its authentic World War trench system.

The Numbers Station (2013)

The Numbers Station

Partly shot at the lovely Bentwaters Park near Woodbridge on The Suffolk Coast, The Numbers Station starring John Cusack and Malin Akerman sees a disgraced black ops agent dispatched to a remote CIA broadcast station to protect a code operator. 

Bentwaters Park isn't the only bit of The Suffolk Coast we get the pleasure of seeing, the Orwell Bridge in Ipswich was also used for the film's closing credits.

Iris (2001)


Fancy summering in the quintessentially British seaside town of Southwold on The Suffolk Coast? Well Dame Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent, Kate Winslet and Hugh Bonneville did back in 2001! 

This true story of the lifelong romance between novelist Iris Murdoch and her husband John Bayley, from their student days through her battle with Alzheimer's disease won multiple awards including the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Broadbent and Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for Dench at the BAFTAs.

The Golden Bowl (2000)

The Golden Bowl

A star-studded cast of Uma Thurman, Kate Beckinsale, Anjelica Huston and Nick Nolte (to name a few!) paid a visit to the stunning Helmingham Hall on The Suffolk Coast whilst filming this romantic period drama. 

With its A-list cast, extravagant production design and multiple locations across the UK and Italy, the film surprisingly only managed to gross a third of its budget at the box office.

The Lost Son (1999)

The Lost Son

This violent tale from two-time Oscar winning director Chris Menges tells of a world-weary private eye on the hunt for a missing boy. 

The film which was English/French co-produced, was mostly shot in the United States. However cast and crew embarked on The Suffolk Coast for a week of filming at Landguard Point in Felixstowe!

The Bridge (1992)

The Bridge

This independent biopic explores the life and love of painter Philip Wilson Steer; an artist who often stayed in the seaside town of Walberswick on The Suffolk Coast and strived to capture its beauty in his work.

The film was shot on location, using the same sites that Steer featured in his paintings.

Drowning by numbers (1992)

Drowning By Numbers

Arthouse director and BAFTA award winner for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema, Peter Greenaway brought his cast and crew to the shores of The Suffolk Coast to film his comedy/drama Drowning By Numbers.

The film, which follows three generations of women who all want to put an end to their marriage woes, was primarily shot in the picturesque village of Thorpeness as well as the popular seaside town of Southwold.

The Fourth Protocol (1987)

The Fourth Protocol

Sir Michael Caine and Pierce Brosnan star in this espionage thriller about a British agent tasked with preventing the Russians detonating a nuclear explosion next to an American base in the UK.

The Suffolk Coast plays its part in this intense and deadly game with Ipswich Docks and the Orwell Bridge getting in on the action!

Yesterday's Hero (1979)

yesterdays hero

From the pen of Jackie Collins came a film based on the rollercoaster life of football star George Best. Yesterday's Hero follows the story of fictional character Rod Turner (Ian McShane), a has-been alcoholic former soccer star who is determined to make a comeback with help from his former girlfriend, now a rock star, and her partner.

The film was shot at multiple well-known football stadiums including here on The Suffolk Coast at Portman Road, home to Ipswich Town.

David Copperfield (1970)

David Copperfield

10 years after filming The Angry Silence, Attenborough returned to The Suffolk Coast to star in Delbert Mann's TV movie adaptation of Charles Dickens' legendary novel, David Copperfield

The film, which boasted a stellar cast including Laurence Olivier, Edith Evans and Ron Moody made the most of Suffolk's sandy windswept beaches, filming at Benacre, Southwold and Lowestoft.

The Angry Silence (1960)

The Angry Silence

Two time Oscar winner Richard Attenborough plays a young factory worker who decides to stand up to his workmates and fellow union members when they want to hold a wildcat strike in this gripping drama.
Many of the film's scenes were shot on location at former engineering company Reavell & Co Ltd on Ranelagh Road in Ipswich, Suffolk. However, this wouldn't be Attenborough's only time filming on The Suffolk Coast.

Yangste Incident (1957)

Yangtse Incident

Historic wartime drama, Yangtse Incident tells the story of British warship H.M.S. Amethyst blocked by a barrage fire from the Communist Chinese shore batteries as it sails back down the Yangtze river.

The film, which was directed by Oscar nominated director Michael Anderson and starred Oscar nominees Richard Todd and Akim Tamiroff was filmed at Shotley near Ipswich on the Rivers Orwell and Stour.