Known as one of the more picturesque towns in a nation that inspires and caters to stories of all kinds, Brighton is a natural destination for filmmakers. The seaside views and nearby attractions make for beautiful backdrops and as a result a number of directors have brought their projects through the area. More than a dozen feature films have featured scenes in Brighton in the 21st century, but here’s a look back at some of the best of the bunch.
People tend to love or hate this innocent sports romantic comedy, but one thing is undeniable: Wimbledon remains the most prestigious event in the tennis world. When Roger Federer recently shocked the sports world by winning the Australian Open, The Guardian immediately posted an article suggesting that Federer was already eyeing Wimbledon success. That’s looking ahead a little more than four months simply because of the prestige of the tournament.
Wimbledon the film captured much of the magic of this tournament, albeit largely through a sensationally improbable storyline. Starring Paul Bettany as an aging pro making one last run at Wimbledon and Kirsten Dunst as an up-and-coming American star expected to dominate her field, it effectively weaves a love story into a sports drama. Even with a lot of focus on tennis in London, some of the film’s most memorable scenes are actually in Brighton, where the two lead characters escape for a romantic and visually mesmerizing getaway.
The Damned United (2009)
The Damned United has been called one of the best sports films ever by Time and involves loads of scenes set in Brighton, so it deserves a mention. The truth is that these scenes were actually filmed in Scarborough, and later made to resemble Brighton with digital effects.
Down Terrace (2009)
Down Terrace is a little less mainstream than some of these other films, but it was a compelling independent drama set largely in Brighton that scored well with both critics and viewers. It’s a dark comedy about a crime family whose leaders have just been released to prison only to stumble into fresh problems that manages to do a lot with the stereotypical crime story. The film was made unique by the real life father-son duo of Bob and Robin Hill playing the crime boss (Bill) and his son (Karl) for an incredible display of familial on-screen chemistry.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows (2011)
The character of Sherlock Holmes has had a remarkably stable presence in modern entertainment. He’s the subject of multiple television shows (most notably Sherlock) and has featured in a few console and PC video games. In fact, in the video game category, there’s even an old-school interpretation of Sherlock Holmes reminiscent of Basil Rathbone’s take on the character that’s featured by Betfair as one of a number of slots inspired by popular figures from pop-culture. Packed with icons of microscopes, pipes, hats, and the famed detective himself, this slot reel shows just how popular the character still remains today and how he has continued to endure throughout the years.
But Sherlock Holmes (2009) was a film that boldly reimagined this character as more of an action hero than a brainy, methodical detective. That made Game Of Shadows a somewhat challenging sequel. The first film did well, but there was no telling how long the studio could keep this version of Holmes compelling. As it turned out, the sequel also did rather well and it was beautifully bookended by scenes of Watson (Jude Law) attempting to honeymoon in Brighton.
Brighton: Symphony Of A City (2016)
And finally, there’s Brighton: Symphony Of A City covers the area as much as any film could. Described by The Arts Desk as a film that fits into the “city symphony” genre, it’s a striking portrait of Brighton in music and images that’s not a narrative or a fictional experience, but rather a cinematic celebration of the town itself. In its own way, that makes it the definitive picture for the area, and it’s well worth a watch if you find yourself interested in the cinematic history of Brighton.
Featured image from here.