Wednesday, July 24, 2024

7 Fantastic Movies That Were Filmed In Essex

Essex is the home to a wide variety of films and TV shows beyond what many would first think of. Beyond popular productions like The Only Way Is Essex or The Force: Essex, there are other otherwise unlikely scenes that were filmed here in hidden places. While Hollywood productions might have access to vast outdoor studio spaces, filmmakers in Essex still have access to incredibly scenic locations. From rural greenery to townscapes with character, filmmakers can make use of the area’s beauty by utilizing quaint and intricate places as backdrops to their stories. While movie-goers won’t find our sunny shores plastered across the silver screens quite as much as the Hollywood sign, certain gems on the locally made scene will ensure their stories stand out above the rest.

#1 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

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Harrison Ford and Sean Connery have become very familiar with Essex, having filmed movies in the area for several decades now. Who would have thought that Tilbury Docks and other iconic Essex locations could be seen on the big screen? From action movies like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, directed by Stephen Norrington and starring Connery, to ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ where Ford had his own boat chase in Venice, but ended up at Tilbury! Amazingly enough, fans are still able to see some of the iconic gondolas that are featured in the movie when they visit – a true testament to movies being filmed in Essex as we know it today.

#2 Grimsby

Do you know what makes Essex famous? In the world, many know him because he appeared in the legendary film Grimsby. Movies on location in Essex have become quite commonplace in recent years, and the 2016 film Grimsby starring Sasha Baron Cohen was no different. The town of Tilbury was used to capture a particular scene in the comedic movie, where the protagonist was queuing for a Job Centre. Shops along Montreal Road form a parade that anyone familiar with this part of Essex can easily identify. Crews added a fake Job Centre sign on one of these shops before cameras started rolling. Other locations featured in Grimsby include North Weald railway station and Epping Forest – both managed to be immortalized as movies shot in Essex.

#3 Goldfinger

Featuring two movies filmed in Essex, the iconic James Bond productions demonstrate stunning action-shot scenes that all subscribers admire. Goldfinger, released in 1964 and starring the one and only Sean Connery, is widely regarded to be one of the best movies of all time, making its way into the Hall of Fame. Its most noted scene is when Goldfinger’s Rolls Royce loads into a plane at none other than Southend Airport’s original terminal building; Bond follows him onto the British United Air Ferries Carvair where he then travels to Switzerland as part of his mission.

#4 World War Z

Is Brad Pitt in Essex? It almost seems too good to be true. But, indeed, back in 2011 it became a reality when he was filming his zombie-thriller World War Z. While the scene inside what was supposed to be a South Korean prison actually took place in Essex, it wasn’t filmed at a prison – but instead, in a disused part of the Hanningfield Reservoir water treatment plant owned by Essex and Suffolk Water. Local legend has it that this 10-acre site was actually the authentic setting – chosen for its perfect facade of an unused industrial complex.

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#5 Liar

Liar captivated viewers for two seasons from its debut in 2017 to its abrupt ending in 2020. The show told a gripping story of deceit, with each episode intriguing the audience more than the last. Guided by an impressive piece of writing, this intense drama was largely filmed on location in Tollesbury, Essex; a scenic coastal village was chosen as the backdrop to Liar’s many secret locations. Locals welcomed the production crew members to their village and felt that having them nearby added a buzz as opposed to detracting from the lived-in atmosphere they are so proud of. What Liar gave Tollesbury is something that can never be taken away: an A-list starring role!

#6 Mission Impossible: Fallout

In October 2017, fans of the Mission Impossible franchise were ecstatic when they were able to catch a glimpse of Tom Cruise filming for the series’ newest installment in Brentwood. With pictures taken only by some designated professional photographers at the scene, there still remained a high level of anticipation and excitement among onlookers. It was all due to crews from Mission Impossible: Fallout utilizing Thorndon Country Park as a filming site for the action-adventure film. This meant that Essex’s beautiful forested lands have a place in one of the most successful films released within the past decade, having earned more than £620 million at the box office after its release in 2018.

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#7 Batman Begins


Bringing Batman to life on the big screen has always been a challenge, no matter the actor. But to truly provide an authentic feel of realism, Christopher Nolan often called upon unique locations to bring his vision to fruition. One of these pieces was Coalhouse Fort in East Tilbury for one sequence, which in true Nolan fashion, was portrayed as being something entirely different. The fort, which was actually built in 1859 during the Napoleonic Wars, served as the prison–specifically Bhutan Prison–of Bruce Wayne’s long-awaited introduction in Christian Bale’s first portrayal of Batman. The juxtaposition between a building originally meant for war and its ultimate purpose through art certainly adds a layer of depth that can only be fully grasped with proper cinematography and execution.


Do you think that’s it, what has been filmed in Essex? Not at all, there are many more worthy paintings that have made Essex recognizable. From the dark and gritty prisons of Batman Begins and World War Z to the stunning coastal village of Liar and the lush rural forests of Mission Impossible: Fallout, films shot in Essex have been captivating audiences all over the world. A testament to its remarkable locations, Essex has established itself as a go-to filming destination for both big blockbusters.



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