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Battle Ground (2013)

Forbidden Ground (original title)
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Three British soldiers find themselves stranded in No Man's Land after a failed charge on the German Trenches. Set in France 1916.


Johan Earl, Denai Gracie (contributing writer) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Johan Earl ... Sgt. Maj. Arthur Wilkins
Tim Pocock ... Pvt. O'Leary
Martin Copping ... Cpl. Richard Jennings
Denai Gracie ... Grace Wilkins
Sarah Mawbey ... Eve Rose
Barry Quin Barry Quin ... Dr. Bennett
Damian Sommerlad ... Lieutenant
Oliver Trajkovski ... Lieutenant's Aide
Igor Breakenback Igor Breakenback ... Sgt. Schmidt (as Igor Smiljevic)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Byron J. Brochmann Byron J. Brochmann ... German Sniper
Alex Jewson ... Pvt. Riley
Steve Maxwell Steve Maxwell ... German Soldier
Gudmund Helmsdal Nielsen ... German Soldier (voice)
James Shepherd James Shepherd ... Pvt. Franklin
Craig Walker ... Soldier Character Voices (voice)


When an allied charge on the German lines goes horribly wrong, one man finds himself stranded in No Man's Land. Reuniting with two other survivors, together they must help each other as they charge into the unknown across the muddy wasteland as the Germans quickly hone in on the desperate trio. Tensions rise between the soldiers as they are surrounded by explosions of grenades with the constant rattle of machine guns in their ears. Time is running out as they make their way back over enemy lines as an impending attack could soon take them out. Written by Lionsgate

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Survivors become heroes. Soldiers become brothers.


Action | Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for war violence and grisly images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

11 December 2013 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Battle Ground See more »


Box Office


AUD 1,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


At one point rain on location became so intense that cast and crew were caught in mud up to one foot deep. This meant that moving across even a single set became arduous and time-consuming. See more »


Sgt Major Wilkins looks at his watch several times during the film, the watch is of a much more modern style than found at the time and it is also a quartz movement as is evident by the the ticking of the second hand which jumps one second intervals instead of a steady sweeping movement made by mechanical movements. See more »

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User Reviews

Forbidden Ground from the perspective of Cultural Studies
9 September 2013 | by Sadie DuarteSee all my reviews

According to Stuart Hall, Cultural Studies' outlook takes for granted the fact that knowledge in all its forms is always, unavoidably, contextually bound. With this in mind, and given that Cultural Studies is the study of an ever-changing culture, I think that spectators should analyze Forbidden Ground not only as a complex contextual intervention or as a representation/dramatization of certain ideologies and mores within the framework of WW1, but also as a film that thanks to its powerful and emotional leading characters, it gives an in-depth exploration of the human conscience that certainly appeals to present-day audiences.

Pierre Mackerey in 'A Theory of Literary Production' (1978) says that 'what is important is what the text does not say'. For this reason, I would like to bring to the fore the symbolic meaning that Forbidden Ground conveys. Actually, silences and close-ups are recurrent throughout the movie to create this dramatic atmosphere. I should first point out that the character of Grace Wilkins (Denai Gracie) is essential to offer an accurate view of women's relegation to the private sphere at the time. From a critical perspective, and as Grace is usually shown in closed spaces, this could be interpreted as a subtle way of underlining the tragic circumstances suffered by some women, especially the ones who due to their impure actions, were considered to threaten patriarchy. In this respect, we should also keep in mind, for example, the long-standing Nature/Culture dichotomy that, according to Sherry Ortner in 'Is Female to Male as Nature is to Culture?' (1982) or Simone De Beauvoir in 'The Second Sex' (1949), relegates women to being the 'Other' of men. And yet, this view is cleverly reversed in the scene where Sergeant Wilkins (Johan Earl) finally returns to England and kneels on the graveyard. However, a description of this particular scene would reveal too much information and I prefer leaving this task for any avid spectator who really wants to take a look 'beyond the canvas', that is, for those who are eager to explore the psychological aspects of the human being.

Thus, human connection is more important than any other issue in Forbidden Ground. In this respect, we should pay attention to the soldiers' uniforms and the lack of distinguishing badges or patches that identify them. Director Johan Earl states that he wanted them to symbolize every soldier on the battlefield and not just one unit. And the battlefield itself could be a metaphor of our daily lives too, for life in itself is a roller-coaster, a story within the story, always a constant struggle.

Forbidden Ground connects with problems that affect most audiences, pointing out the cruel reality and imperfections of those past times but, at the same time, it gives a final message to understand Sergeant Wilkins' physical and mental journey. This said, perhaps it is not coincidental that, in the above mentioned scene, he is shown by a river/lake, for the contact with Nature has always been said to symbolize a new beginning or at least, the chance to be redeemed from past mistakes and start from scratch.

The whole team and cast that made this movie possible should be praised for their dedication and effort (Adrian Powers did a brilliant job co-directing and editing). But above all, I should say that Johan Earl deserves a special mention. Earl's work as a screenwriter, director and actor is absolutely outstanding and all his artistic decisions only enhance the high quality of the movie. With this in mind, I should conclude by asserting that Forbidden Ground is an excellent film to watch and a good exercise to unveil its hidden meanings. For this reason, it could also be taken to the academic field.

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