Castle Combe, often referred to as 'the prettiest village in England', has served as a quintessential English rural setting for various films and television series. Its timeless beauty, complete with honey-coloured Cotswold stone cottages and a meandering river, has made it an ideal location for period dramas and fantasy tales.
In this Article:
Here are some notable movies and TV series that have used Castle Combe as a filming location:
Stardust (2007) is perhaps one of the most famous films shot in Castle Combe. This enchanting fantasy-adventure film, based on Neil Gaiman's novel, utilized the village's medieval charm to represent the fictional village of Wall. The movie stars Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, and Michelle Pfeiffer, and Castle Combe’s striking visuals greatly enhanced the fairy-tale ambience of the film.
Stardust Film Synopsis
"Stardust" is a fantasy adventure film based on Neil Gaiman's novel of the same name. The story follows Tristan Thorn, a young man from the village of Wall who ventures into the magical realm of Stormhold to retrieve a fallen star. The star, named Yvaine, holds the key to Tristan's desires and becomes central to his quest.
As Tristan embarks on his journey, he encounters various fantastical creatures and faces dangerous adversaries, including witches and ruthless princes. Along the way, he discovers love, friendship, and his own courage as he strives to protect Yvaine and fulfil his destiny.
"Stardust" combines elements of romance, adventure, and whimsical fantasy, offering a captivating tale set against the backdrop of enchanting locations like Castle Combe and other picturesque settings in England and Wales.
"Stardust" boasts an impressive cast, with talented actors bringing the story to life. Here are some of the key cast members:
Charlie Cox as Tristan Thorn: Charlie Cox plays the lead role of Tristan Thorn, a young man who embarks on a magical journey to retrieve a fallen star and win the heart of his beloved.
Claire Danes as Yvaine: Claire Danes portrays Yvaine, the fallen star whom Tristan seeks to find. Yvaine possesses mystical powers and becomes entangled in Tristan's quest.
Michelle Pfeiffer as Lamia: Michelle Pfeiffer portrays Lamia, an evil witch who seeks to capture Yvaine's power for her own nefarious purposes.
Robert De Niro as Captain Shakespeare: Robert De Niro brings humour and charm to the character of Captain Shakespeare, a flamboyant sky pirate who aids Tristan on his journey.
Sienna Miller as Victoria Forester: Sienna Miller plays Victoria Forester, Tristan's love interest at the beginning of the story.
Other Stardust Locations
While Castle Combe steals the spotlight in "Stardust," there are other stunning locations featured in the film as well. Here are a few notable ones:
Tintern Abbey: Tintern Abbey, located in Monmouthshire, Wales, is a magnificent ruin that serves as a key location in "Stardust." Its Gothic architecture and scenic surroundings add a touch of mystery and enchantment to the film.
Dartmoor National Park: Dartmoor National Park in Devon, England, provides a rugged and atmospheric backdrop for several scenes in "Stardust." Its vast moorland, granite tors, and rolling hills create a sense of adventure and danger.
Seven Sisters Cliffs: The iconic Seven Sisters Cliffs, situated in East Sussex, England, make a brief appearance in "Stardust." These stunning chalk cliffs overlooking the English Channel add a touch of grandeur to the film's coastal scenes.
Another significant movie that used Castle Combe as a backdrop is The Wolfman (2010), a remake of the classic 1941 werewolf film. Starring Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins, the dark and atmospheric horror film benefited from the village's old-world aesthetics.
The Wolfman Film Synopsis
"The Wolfman" is a remake of the classic 1941 horror film of the same name. Set in the late 19th century, the story follows Lawrence Talbot, who returns to his family estate after the death of his brother. During his visit, he is bitten by a creature and subsequently cursed to transform into a werewolf. Tormented by his fate and hunted by the locals, Lawrence seeks a cure for his condition while struggling with the beast within him.
The film delves into themes of family secrets, supernatural curses, and inner turmoil, all set against a Victorian Gothic backdrop. "The Wolfman" combines horror with tragedy and action, creating a gripping tale filled with suspense and dark transformations. The use of locations like Castle Combe adds an authentic touch to the film's haunting narrative.
The Wolfman Cast
The cast of "The Wolfman" includes:
Benicio del Toro as Lawrence Talbot/The Wolfman: Del Toro plays the lead role, a man who returns to his ancestral homeland and is bitten by a werewolf, which leads to his tragic transformation.
Anthony Hopkins as Sir John Talbot: Hopkins plays Lawrence's estranged father, whose past is shrouded in mystery and darkness.
Emily Blunt as Gwen Conliffe: Blunt portrays the film's female lead, who becomes romantically involved with Lawrence while also fearing for his cursed life.
Hugo Weaving as Inspector Francis Aberline: Weaving plays a determined Scotland Yard inspector who is investigating the brutal murders linked to the legend of the werewolf.
Other Wolfman Locations
"The Wolfman" utilized several other notable locations include:
Pinewood Studios: Situated in Buckinghamshire, Pinewood Studios is one of the most famous film studios in the world, providing a controlled environment for many of the interior scenes in the film.
Chatsworth House: Located in Derbyshire, Chatsworth House is a stately home that offers grandeur and elegance, which helped to create the opulent setting necessary for certain scenes in the film.
These locations, in combination with Castle Combe, helped to bring the eerie and gothic atmosphere of "The Wolfman" to life.
War Horse (2011), directed by Steven Spielberg, also features scenes shot in Castle Combe. The drama set during World War I tells a poignant story of a young man and his horse. The village's landscapes provided an authentic setting for the early 20th-century England depicted in the movie.
War Horse Film Synopsis
"War Horse" is an epic tale of loyalty, hope, and perseverance set against the backdrop of World War I. The story follows a remarkable horse named Joey who is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France. His young owner, Albert Narracott, enlists in the British Army when he is old enough, hoping to be reunited with Joey.
Throughout the film, Joey touches the lives of various individuals on all sides of the conflict, reflecting the universal impact of war. The horse's journey through war-torn Europe highlights the unbreakable bonds between humans and animals. The film is an adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's 1982 novel and also draws from the highly successful stage play of the same name.
"War Horse" is lauded for its emotional depth and stunning visual storytelling, with Spielberg's direction bringing out the personal stories amidst the grandeur of historical events. The use of real-life locations such as those on Dartmoor adds to the film's authenticity and epic scope.
War Horse Cast
The cast of "War Horse" includes:
Jeremy Irvine as Albert Narracott: Irvine plays the film's young protagonist, whose bond with his horse Joey is the emotional core of the story.
Emily Watson as Rosie Narracott: Watson portrays Albert's mother, a woman of resilience and compassion.
Peter Mullan as Ted Narracott: Mullan plays Albert's father, a struggling farmer with a troubled past.
Tom Hiddleston as Captain James Nicholls: Hiddleston's character is a British cavalry officer who takes Joey into the war.
Benedict Cumberbatch as Major Jamie Stewart: Cumberbatch features as another cavalry officer who serves alongside Captain Nicholls.
Other War Horse Locations
"War Horse" utilized various stunning locations throughout the UK, particularly in the South West of England. One of the most significant areas used for filming was Dartmoor National Park, which provided a dramatic and expansive setting for many scenes. Specific spots within Dartmoor that were featured include:
Haytor: Known for its granite outcrops and offering panoramic views across Devon.
Combestone Tor: A rugged landscape that adds to the film's epic scale.
Venford Reservoir: Providing a serene and peaceful backdrop.
Meavy and Sheepstor: These villages and their surrounding areas offer quintessential English countryside vistas.
These locations contribute to the film's authentic representation of rural England and the harsh battlefields of World War I.
The historical TV series Robin of Sherwood (1984–1986), which starred Michael Praed and later Jason Connery as the legendary outlaw, used Castle Combe to portray Nottingham and Sherwood.
Robin of Sherwood Synopsis
The TV series "Robin Hood" (1984–1986) follows the adventures of the legendary outlaw Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men as they fight against the oppressive rule of the Sheriff of Nottingham during the reign of Prince John in 12th-century England.
Robin Hood and his companions take refuge in Sherwood Forest, where they launch daring raids on the rich and powerful to provide aid to the poor and downtrodden. The series blends action, adventure, and romance as Robin Hood confronts injustice and strives to protect the innocent from the tyranny of Prince John and his loyal henchmen.
"Robin Hood" (1984–1986) offers an exciting retelling of the classic tale with a mix of swashbuckling heroics, political intrigue, and camaraderie among the outlaws. The series captures the spirit of medieval England through its characters, storylines, and evocative locations.
Robin of Sherwood Cast
The main cast of the TV series "Robin Hood" (1984–1986) included:
Michael Praed as Robin of Loxley: Praed portrayed the iconic character of Robin Hood, known for his archery skills and his fight against injustice in Sherwood Forest.
Judi Trott as Lady Marion of Leaford: Trott played Lady Marion, a strong-willed noblewoman who becomes a key ally and love interest for Robin Hood.
Nickolas Grace as Sheriff of Nottingham: Grace portrayed the infamous Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin Hood's primary antagonist.
Robert Addie as Guy of Gisburne: Addie played Guy of Gisburne, a loyal henchman of the Sheriff of Nottingham who frequently clashes with Robin Hood.
Ray Winstone as Will Scarlet: Winstone portrayed Will Scarlet, one of Robin Hood's Merry Men who is known for his skills with a sword.
Other Robin of Sherwood Locations
"Robin Hood" utilized various locations to bring the legendary tale to life. While Castle Combe was not directly featured in the series, other notable locations used, include:
Sherwood Forest: Sherwood Forest, located in Nottinghamshire, England, is an iconic setting associated with the Robin Hood legend. The ancient woodland and majestic oak trees provided the perfect backdrop for scenes featuring Robin Hood and his band of outlaws.
Alnwick Castle: Alnwick Castle, situated in Northumberland, England, was used as a filming location for "Robin Hood." This historic castle served as the imposing backdrop for the Sheriff of Nottingham's stronghold.
Peckforton Castle: Peckforton Castle, located in Cheshire, England, also played a role in the series. This medieval-style castle with its impressive architecture and surrounding countryside provided a visually striking setting for various scenes.
These locations, along with others throughout England, helped to create an authentic and immersive world for the "Robin Hood" series.
Doctor Thorne (2016), a three-part television drama series adapted from Anthony Trollope's novel and produced by Julian Fellowes, also found Castle Combe's scenery to be suitable for its Victorian-era story.
Doctor Thorne Series Synopsis
"Doctor Thorne" is a period drama based on Anthony Trollope's novel of the same name. Set in the fictional county of Barsetshire during the mid-19th century, the series revolves around the life of Dr. Thomas Thorne. He navigates complex family dynamics, societal expectations, and matters of the heart while upholding his principles.
The story primarily focuses on the romantic relationship between Mary Thorne and Frank Gresham, which faces obstacles due to their different social standings. As secrets and scandals unfold within the aristocratic Gresham family, Dr. Thorne finds himself torn between his loyalty to them and his duty to protect his beloved niece.
"Doctor Thorne" delves into themes of love, class divisions, and personal integrity. The series offers a compelling narrative set against the backdrop of English countryside estates and showcases the complexities of Victorian society.
Doctor Thorne Series Cast
The main cast of the TV series "Doctor Thorne" (2016) included:
Tom Hollander as Dr. Thomas Thorne: Hollander portrayed the titular character, Dr. Thomas Thorne, a respected physician with strong moral values.
Stefanie Martini as Mary Thorne: Martini played Mary Thorne, Dr. Thorne's niece who faces social challenges due to her uncertain lineage.
Harry Richardson as Frank Gresham: Richardson portrayed Frank Gresham, the heir to Greshamsbury Estate who falls in love with Mary Thorne.
Rebecca Front as Lady Arabella Gresham: Front played Lady Arabella Gresham, Frank's mother and a determined social climber.
Ian McShane as Sir Roger Scatcherd: McShane portrayed Sir Roger Scatcherd, a wealthy and influential man whose past overshadows his present.
Other Doctor Thorne Locations
"Doctor Thorne" made use of several locations in England to create its atmospheric backdrop. While Castle Combe was not directly featured in the series, other notable locations were utilized, including:
Wrotham Park: Located in Hertfordshire, Wrotham Park is a grand Palladian mansion that provided the setting for Greshamsbury House, the primary residence of the Gresham family in "Doctor Thorne."
Richmond Park: Situated in southwest London, Richmond Park's expansive greenery and scenic landscapes were used to depict various outdoor settings throughout the series.
Ightham Mote: Ightham Mote, a medieval moated manor house in Kent, England, was also featured in "Doctor Thorne." Its historic architecture and beautiful gardens added to the visual richness of the show.
These locations, along with others selected throughout England, helped to create an authentic backdrop for "Doctor Thorne."
Going further back, the musical Doctor Dolittle (1967) starring Rex Harrison included scenes filmed in Castle Combe. The village's timeless look was considered perfect for this family-friendly movie that required a picturesque English countryside setting.
Doctor Dolittle Film Synopsis
"Doctor Dolittle" follows the story of Doctor John Dolittle, a compassionate physician who learns to speak the language of various animal species. His unique ability leads him on a series of adventures that take him from his home in England to exotic locations around the world.
When Doctor Dolittle discovers that a friend's seal friend is in danger due to overfishing, he embarks on a journey to locate a mythical creature called the Great Pink Sea Snail. Along the way, he encounters a diverse array of animal companions and faces numerous challenges as he endeavours to save endangered species and promote harmony between humans and animals.
The film is a whimsical and heartwarming musical adventure that celebrates the bond between humans and animals, emphasizing themes of compassion, conservation, and the wonders of the natural world.
"Doctor Dolittle" features memorable musical numbers and colourful characters, making it an enduring family-friendly classic that continues to enchant audiences with its message of empathy and understanding toward all creatures.
Doctor Dolittle Cast
The cast of "Doctor Dolittle" includes:
Rex Harrison as Doctor John Dolittle: Harrison portrayed the titular character, a kind-hearted veterinarian who has the unique ability to communicate with animals.
Samantha Eggar as Emma Fairfax: Eggar played Emma Fairfax, a strong-willed woman who forms a close bond with Doctor Dolittle.
Anthony Newley as Matthew Mugg: Newley portrayed Matthew Mugg, a loyal friend of Doctor Dolittle who accompanies him on his adventures.
Richard Attenborough as Albert Blossom: Attenborough played Albert Blossom, a circus owner who becomes involved in Doctor Dolittle's endeavours.
Peter Bull as General Bellowes: Bull portrayed General Bellowes, a military officer who becomes entangled in Doctor Dolittle's animal-related escapades.
Other Doctor Dolittle Film Locations
"Doctor Dolittle" used several locations in England to create its atmospheric backdrop. Castle Combe was used for some exterior shots, and other notable locations were also utilized, including:
Castle Combe, Wiltshire, England: The picturesque village of Castle Combe was used for some exterior shots, contributing to the film's idyllic and timeless setting.
Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland, England: This historic castle provided a grand and imposing backdrop for certain scenes in the film.
Loch Fyne, Argyll and Bute, Scotland: The breathtaking landscapes around Loch Fyne added a sense of adventure and natural beauty to the film.
Carberry Tower, Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland: This stately home was another notable filming location, contributing to the film's regal atmosphere.
Additional Appearances of Castle Combe in Film & TV
Joseph Andrews (1977), a British historical drama film based on the novel by Henry Fielding, and Bhoothnath Returns (2014), an Indian Hindi-language supernatural political comedy film, are other productions that have made use of Castle Combe's idyllic scenery. Additionally, while not filmed in Castle Combe, it is worth mentioning that the popular TV series Downton Abbey, Dick Turpin and Poirot, based on Agatha Christie's detective novels, features an episode titled "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" (2000) that includes scenes shot in the village. Although it is not a significant part of the episode, Castle Combe provides a brief but memorable appearance.
The village continues to be a draw for filmmakers looking for an untouched English countryside look, making it not only a tourist attraction but also a piece of living film history.
To see more of Castle Combe and its role in these productions, you can often find behind-the-scenes videos and location tours on YouTube that delve into how this charming village was transformed into movie magic.
What movies have been filmed in Castle Combe?
Some notable movies that have been filmed in Castle Combe include "War Horse" (2011), "Stardust" (2007), and "The Wolfman" (2010).
Are there any famous TV shows or series that have been filmed in Castle Combe?
While Castle Combe is primarily known for its film locations, it has also been featured in TV shows such as "Doctor Dolittle" (1970-1972) and "Agatha Christie's Poirot" (1989-2013).
Are there any well-known actors or actresses who have filmed in Castle Combe?
Castle Combe has attracted renowned actors and actresses over the years. For example, "War Horse" featured actors such as Jeremy Irvine and Tom Hiddleston, while "Stardust" starred Claire Danes and Robert De Niro.
Is Castle Combe a popular destination for filmmakers?
Yes, Castle Combe is considered a sought-after destination for filmmakers due to its picturesque village setting and well-preserved historic architecture.
Can I visit the filming locations in Castle Combe?
Yes, most of the filming locations in Castle Combe are open to the public and can be visited. However, it's important to respect any private property or restrictions that may be in place.
Are there any specific scenes or iconic landmarks in Castle Combe that have been featured in movies?
Yes, Castle Combe is known for its picturesque village center, which has often served as a backdrop for various scenes in movies. The historic Market Cross and the quaint cottages along Castle Combe's streets are particularly recognizable.
Is Castle Combe a popular tourist destination because of its filming history?
Yes, Castle Combe's filming history has contributed to its popularity as a tourist destination. Many visitors are drawn to experience the charm and beauty of the village that they have seen on the big screen.
Can I take photographs at the filming locations in Castle Combe?
Generally, photography is allowed at the filming locations in Castle Combe, but it's always best to respect any signage or requests from property owners. Some private properties may have restrictions, so it's advisable to ask for permission before taking photographs.
Can I stay overnight in Castle Combe and experience the village after the day tourists have gone?
Yes, there is accommodation available in and around Castle Combe, allowing you to experience the village's charm beyond the daytime tourist rush. Booking a stay overnight can provide a more intimate and immersive experience.
How long does it typically take to explore Castle Combe's filming locations?
The amount of time needed to explore Castle Combe's filming locations can vary depending on individual preferences and the number of sites you wish to visit. Generally, a few hours should be sufficient to explore the main filming spots, but you could spend longer if you want to delve deeper into the village's charm.