War Horse (2011) Poster



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Director Steven Spielberg stated that the only digital effects used in the movie were three shots that lasted three seconds, and it was done to ensure the safety of the horse involved. Spielberg was quoted as saying, "That's the thing I'm most proud of. Everything you see on screen really happened."
When Joey is trapped in barbed wire, the wire used was rubber prop wire when a real horse was used. Part of the filming of this sequence utilized an animatronic horse.
Fourteen horses played Joey during the movie. The main acting horse in the film, Finder's Key, also portrayed Seabiscuit (2003) in the eponymous movie about the famous racehorse.
Lead actor Jeremy Irvine had never ridden a horse prior to being cast in this film, and this was his very first feature film.
Author Michael Morpurgo's original 1982 book "War Horse" evolved from chance meetings with three surviving WWI soldiers in Iddesleigh, Devon, Morpurgo's English hometown. After a number of meetings with the former members of the Devon yeomanry, and consultations with the Imperial War Museums (IWM), Morpurgo was able to write a story based on the experiences of the veterans and their poignant accounts of, not just human slaughter on the battlefield, but also the wholesale carnage and starvation of horses.
Jeremy Irvine, who played Albert Narracott, contracted trench foot when filming the war scenes of the movie.
Prior to principal photography, a number of actors did about two months of intensive horse training.
This was Steven Spielberg's first film to be edited digitally. He has famously held onto editing traditionally; his editor, Michael Kahn, has edited nearly all of Spielberg's films on a Moviola.
Finder's Key, the horse and real star of War Horse (2011), was last ridden in a race by actor and professional jockey Kevin Mangold, finishing in fifth place at 77 to 1 odds.
The swords used in the cavalry charge against the Germans (Pattern 1908 for troopers and 1912 for officers) were the last swords issued to the cavalry of the British army.
The tank created for the movie is now an exhibit in a bona fide tank museum in Dorset, England, among real tanks including those from World War I.
Robert Emms, who had played the lead role of Albert Narracott in the West End stage production of the play, was cast in this film in a different part, as David Lyons.
This film, directed by Steven Spielberg, was released in the same year as another of his movie, The Adventures of Tintin (2011) and both were Oscar nominated. However, the film represents another double Spielberg losing year at the Oscars. This movie received six Academy Award nominations including Best Picture whilst The Adventures of Tintin (2011) got one nomination. Both films failed to win an Oscar. In 2006, Spielberg also had two movies Oscar nominated, Munich (2005) and War of the Worlds (2005). Both those two films also failed to win an Oscar that year. Spielberg had a double Oscar winning year in 1994 with Schindler's List (1993) (won seven Oscars) and Jurassic Park (1993) (won three Oscars).
The film is based on both a children's novel of the same name set during World War I, by Michael Morpurgo, first published in the United Kingdom in 1982, and the 2007 stage adaptation, also of the same name.
The granddaughter of Captain Budgett, one of the World War I veterans who had inspired Michael Morpurgo to write the original story, appeared as an extra in the movie.
This movie utilized about 5,800 extras and background artists.
The white goose's name is Harold.
First horse movie to be nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award Oscar in eight years. Seabiscuit (2003) was the last.
The scene in which the horses drag German artillery through the woods is filmed in Bourne Woods, Farnham, Surrey, England, UK. That is the same place as where the opening battle scene of Gladiator (2000) was shot.
After this became Steven Spielberg and Michael Kahn's first film together edited digitally, the two swore off digital editing once again in favor of analog flatbed editing, stating that digital editing rushed their creative process too much.
Production filming took place under the codename "Dartmoor." Dartmoor is the location in Devon where the film was predominantly shot.
Janusz Kaminski has stated that he used John Fords The Searchers (1956) as a template for his exterior filming, paying particular attention to Ford's panoramic sky, landscape and terrain.
This is the second time David Thewlis has acted in a movie whose star was a horse. The other was Black Beauty (1994).
Finder's two famous roles, Seabiscuit and Joey, were very similar. Both were remarkable mainly in their bravery and determination to overcome insurmountable odds they never should have been able to, considering what kind of horse they were.
Emily Watson also starred in the similarly named The Water Horse (2007). In both films, she played the mother of the title animal's owner during a World War, the First World War in War Horse (2011) and the Second World War in "The Water Horse."
Steven Spielberg confessed in an interview that he almost drowned in the mud inside the trenches during the shooting. He was rescued by the crew.
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Specially designed mud was used to make the battle scenes look authentically filthy.
Eddie Redmayne was rumored to be cast in the lead role of Albert Narracott that ultimately went to Jeremy Irvine.
Steven Spielberg was inspired to do a movie about horses by his daughter Destry, who was an avid rider growing up. He promised her he would make a movie about horses one day.
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Included among the "1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die," edited by Steven Schneider.
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Patrick Kennedy and Benedict Cumberbatch also appeared in "Atonement".
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Michael Morpurgo: The author of the source book is seen standing next to David Thewlis during the auction scene at the beginning of the movie. Morpurgo's wife Clare is also seen in the film.

Director Trademark 

Steven Spielberg: [fathers] Albert's father is the initial antagonist who deprives Albert of his best friend by selling Joey into danger.
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The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Tom Hiddleston recalled director Steven Spielberg giving him "the most amazing" director's note for his death scene. "Spielberg told Hiddleston, "Give me your war face, and the camera's going to move across, and as you feel it come up in front of you, I want you to de-age yourself by twenty years. So you're 29, and when you see those machine guns, you're 9 years old. I want to see the child in you." Hiddleston said, "I just thought that was one of the most astonishing acting notes I'd ever been given."

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