War Horse / Dartmoor    (2011)

Opening dates:
USA, Canada: Dec 25, 2011 ; Australia: Dec 26 ; Singapore, Thailand: Dec 29 ; Brazil: Jan 6, 2012 ; UK, Ireland, Poland, Spain: Jan 13 ; Greece: Jan 19 ; Russia, Slovenia, Kazakhstan, Denmark: Jan 26 ; Lithuania, Estonia: Jan 27 ; Belgium: Feb 1 ; Netherlands: Feb 2 ; Norway, Turkey: Feb 3 ; Hong Kong, Hungary: Feb 9 ; Romania: Feb 10 ; Germany, German-Switzerland, Austria (as Gefährten): Feb 16 ; Italy, Tessin: Feb 17 ; France, Romandie: Feb 22 ; Portugal: Feb 23 ; Finland, Sweden: Feb 24 ; Japan: March 2

Box Office USA: $79,884,879 (12/25/2011 - 5/3/2012) / Box Office foreign total: $97,700,000 (12/26/2011 - 4/8/2012)

Click for German page
Click for German page

World Premiere: Dec 4, 2011 at the Avery Fisher Hall/Lincoln Center of the Performing Arts in New York

European Premiere: Jan 8, 2012 at the Odeon Leicester Square Cinema in London, a 'Royal Premiere' with Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

Jeremy Irvine - Albert Narracott
Peter Mullan - Ted, Albert's father
Emily Watson - Rosie, Albert's mother
David Thewlis - Mr. Lyons
Robert Emms - David Lyons
Benedict Cumberbatch - Major James Stewart
Tom Hiddleston - Captain Jim Nicholls
Patrick Kennedy - Lieutnant Charlie Waverly
Geoff Bell - Sergeant Sam Perkins
Irfan Hussein - Sergeant Major Singh
Celine Buckens - Emilie
Niels Arestrup - Emilie's grandfather
David Kross - Günther
Rainer Bock - Brandt
Nicolas Bro - Friedrich
Leonard Carow - Michael
David Dencik - Base camp officer
Hinnerk Schönemann - German soldier with wire cutter
Hannes Wegener - German Officer
Maximilian Brückner - German Artillery Officer (as Maximilian Brüeckner)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Script: Lee Hall, Richard Curtis, based on the children's novel by Michael Morpurgo and the play by Nick Stafford
DoP: Janusz Kaminski
Editor: Michael Kahn
Score: John Williams
Casting: Nick McGinley at Jina Jay Casting
Producers: Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Revel Guest
Production companies: Afterworks Ltd., DreamWorks Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures
Production budget: $66 million
Filming dates: early August - late October 2010
Filming locations in England incl. Stratfield Saye House (Hampshire), Castle Combe (Wiltshire), Dartmoor, Sheepstor, Meavy, Widecombe-in-the-Moor (all Devon), Wisley Airfield, Bourne Woods near Farnham (both Surrey), Longcross Studios (Chertsey, Surrey), Luton Hoo (Bedfordshire), Bottle Yard Studio (Bristol, Avon), Caerwent (Monmouthshire, Wales)

The German actors
Click to enlarge
For this BILD-am-SONNTAG shooting, Spielberg's German actors met for the first time since the end of filming. These photos were taken in a barn in the Brandenburg village Oberkrämer. Photographer: Tom Wagner.
l.t.r. Leonard Carow, Maximilian Brückner, Hinnerk Schönemann, David Kross, Rainer Bock.
More photos (1/29/12). Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge for Maximilian Brueckner
Interviews accompanying these photos

Congratulations! "War Horse" has won 8 awards and had 49 nominations. This is a selection of the internationally known ones:
- Golden Globes, USA 2012 (Nominated)
Best Motion Picture - Drama: Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers
Best Original Score - Motion Picture: John Williams
- BAFTA Awards, UK 2012 (Nominated)
Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music: John Williams
Best Cinematography: Janusz Kaminski
Best Production Design: Rick Carter and Lee Sandales
Best Sound: Stuart Wilson, Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Richard Hymns
Best Visual Effects: Ben Morris and Neil Corbould
- Empire Awards, UK 2012 (Nominated)
Best Director: Steven Spielberg
Best Female Newcomer: Celine Buckens
Best Male Newcomer: Jeremy Irvine
"War Horse" was nominated for the Oscar in 6 categories at the 84th Academy Awards 2012:
Best Picture: Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers
Art Direction: Production Design: Rick Carter, Set Decoration: Lee Sandales
Cinematography: Janusz Kaminski
Music (Original Score): John Williams
Sound Editing: Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom
Sound Mixing: Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

US poster Story:
The story reveals the unspeakable slaughter of soldiers on all sides fighting against people who are just like them. The story is told by Joey, an English farm horse, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, and the first-person narrative blends the animal's physical experience with what men say. On the farm, Joey has close ties to Albert, who is too young to join up when in 1914 his father first sells Joey to the cavalry. Charging into battle under machine-gun fire, witnessing the horror of the frontline, Joey is captured by the Germans, who train him to haul ambulances and guns. His reunion with Albert in battle is sentimental and contrived, but the viewpoint brings close the fury of the thundering guns, the confusion, and the kindness of enemies who come together in No Man's Land to save the wounded horse. But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey's courage touches the soldiers around him. Joey's ability to understand the language wherever he is - England, France, Germany - reinforces the novel's antiwar message, and the terse details speak eloquently about peace.
Maximilian Brueckner
Maximilian Brückner - Screencap from the trailer
From West End to Hollywood as John Tam's songs woo Spielberg
When Steven Spielberg's lavish film version of Warhorse debuts at cinemas next year, Derbyshire folk musician John Tams [Daniel Hagman in the TV series "Sharpe" with Sean Bean as Richard Sharpe] will be paying special attention to the soundtrack.
That's because John, who has had a long association with the Michael Morpurgo tale, has been invited by the Hollywood director to meet him and composer John Williams to discuss including a Tams song in the movie.
John says: "Michael has already gone down to the set and appears in one of the scenes and now I have been invited. I have had phone and email conversation with Steven Spielberg and John Williams and have found them to be very generous spirits."
John's association with the tale goes back five years: "I was invited to construct in workshop the idea of doing it as a play for the National Theatre and to supply the songs," he says. "It ran and ran at the National Theatre and then transferred to the New London Theatre in Drury Lane, where it continues to play to sold-out houses. It's going to Broadway early next year, and Australia and Canada - so in the future there will be at least four productions being staged around the world." All, of course, featuring John's songs.
From: Nigel Powlson, This is Derbyshire, Oct 8, 2010

DreamWorks' holiday "War Horse"
In an unusual move, Steven Spielberg will have two films opening just days apart over the 2011 Christmas holiday - WWI drama "War Horse" and motion capture 3D pic "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn."
It's almost unheard for a top director to have two pics opening so closely together, both for competitive and publicity reasons. Then again, Spielberg is known for bucking the rules.
"War Horse," from DreamWorks Studios and Disney, was to have opened Aug. 10 in the U.S., more than four months before Paramount opens "Tintin" domestically on Dec. 28. But DreamWorks and Disney switched direction Wednesday, pushing back "War Horse," based on the stage play and young-adult book about a boy who goes in search of his horse on the battlefields of the Great War.
DreamWorks co-chair/CEO Stacey Snider said there are enough holiday auds to support both films. She said the decision to move "War Horse" was reached following a summit in London last week with her team and top Mouse House distribution and marketing execs, led by prexy of global distribution Chuck Viane. Some were shown footage of "War Horse," which Spielberg is lensing in London. "The reaction to the footage - which he usually never shows - was that it feels like a big, holiday movie," Snider told reporters during a conference call. "It just became inevitable that we would move it. (Spielberg) feels great about it."
Though "War Horse" and "Tintin" will vie for some of the same family eyeballs and both will aim for a PG rating, "Tintin" is likely to play much younger and isn't live action.
Also, DreamWorks and Disney haven't committed to a release pattern for "War Horse," according to insiders. It could play on far fewer screens than "Tintin" initially. As of now, "War Horse" has the Dec. 28 frame to itself in terms of new openers. And while "Tintin" doesn't open domestically until Dec. 28, it begins to roll out overseas in late October, meaning Spielberg and Peter Jackson - his collaborator on "Tintin" - will be well into the publicity campaign for that pic before "War Horse" gears up.
Spielberg's longtime producing partner Kathleen Kennedy is producing both "War Horse" and "Tintin," but DreamWorks doesn't have a stake in the latter. Jackson, who will direct the second "Tintin" film, also is a producer. Jackson didn't have a problem with "War Horse" and "Tintin" unspooling within days of each other, according to insiders.
One veteran publicist said it's still a gutsy move for DreamWorks and Spielberg because the director will have to tubthump two movies at the same time, with an equally strong voice for each. "Yet both movies will have enough marketing money behind them, that it probably won't matter," the publicist said.
Pamela McClintock, Variety, Oct 13, 2010
Spielberg's "War Horse" moves to Dec.
The biggest news out of a Wednesday conference call that also included Disney distribution president Chuck Viane is that the Steven Spielberg-directed "War Horse" has been pushed from August to Dec. 28, where it can compete in the holiday arena. Stacey Snider allowed that the move sets up the epic family drama for awards consideration, though she said that was not the motivation for the shift.
Although "Horse" will use a few effects for safety reasons, Spielberg wanted to keep things as real as he could, including shooting an 80-horse cavalry charge without effects while executives were on set.
Jay A Fernandez, The Hollywood Reporter, Oct 13, 2010
The opening date for Germany was first announced as August 25, 2011, and the one for "Tim und Struppi: Das Geheimnis der Einhorn" is still announced as October 27, 2011.
Set reports with pictures (but no Maximilian Brueckner):
Steven Spielberg pictured filming new blockbuster on Dartmoor
Steven Spielberg va alla guerra, Aug 18, 2010
Spielberg film War Horse closes Castle Combe, Sep 17, 2010
In Pictures: Spielberg shuts Castle Combe, Sep 20, 2010
Steven Spielberg's War Horse begins filming in Castle Combe, Sep 21, 2010
The set of War Horse which is currently being filmed in Castle Combe, Sep 22, 2010
Spielberg's War Horse shooting at Wisley Airfield, Oct 1, 2010
Dartmoor makes an impression on legendary film-maker Steven Spielberg, Oct 27, 2010
Michael Morpurgo - How my War Horse won its' spurs with Steven Spielberg, Feb 20, 2011

Videos from filming locations (also no Maximilian):
Spielberg's War Horse movie set on Wisely Airfield, publ. Oct 9, 2010
Filming on location in the Bourne Woods near Farnham for the new Steven Spielberg film War Horse, publ. Oct 23, 2010

Film stills (but I still miss the sight of Maximilian):
Moviereporter, Empire, Daily Mail, Worst Previews

Benedict Cumberbatch (Maj. Jamie Stewart), Patrick Kennedy (Lt. Charlie Waverly), Tom Hiddleston (Captain Nicholls)
l.t.r.: Major Stewart (Benedict Cumberbatch) with Topthorn, Lieutenant Waverly (Patrick Kennedy) with Blenheim, Captain Nicholls (Tom Hiddleston) with Joey
Photo: David Appleby - © 2011 DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC.

Websites of filming locations: War Horse Film Locations + The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations - War Horse
The British actors from War Horse
The British actors - l.t.r. Robert Emms, Jeremy Irvine, Patrick Kennedy, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Tom Hiddleston, flanked by Lusitanos Rico and Fuego, photographed at Tilsey Farm in Bramley, near Guildford, Surrey, England. Photographer: Jason Bell for 'Vanity Fair', Sept. 2011
The Big 2011 Preview: All the films that matter in the next 12 months
Category: Awards Bait - At first glance 2011 is looking like it'll be more competitive than ever, with marquee releases queuing up like passengers at a snowy airport: 127 Hours - The King's Speech - Conviction - True Grit - Black Swan - Barney's Version - Biutiful - Brighton Rock - The Fighter - Rabbit Hole - Never Let Me Go - Animal Kingdom - Howl - The Tree Of Life
To round out the year, Steven Spielberg's War Horse appears in time for the festive period. If you're thinking that nothing says Christmas like the bloody trench warfare carnage, you may be in luck. But while Spielberg isn't one to sugarcoat the horrors of war, he's just the director to fill this Great War-set story of a boy and his horse with saddlebags of heart and soul. We can't wait to see how he's brought the colossally popular stage play to the big screen.
From: Empire magazine UK, issue #260 Feb 2011
June 28, 2011: Dreamworks has released the first teaser trailer for "War Horse"
25 Fall Movies We Can't Wait to See
"Breaking Dawn", "Tintin", "The Muppets", "War Horse" - get our quick takes, pick up EW's Fall Movie Preview, (on sale Friday) for a deeper dive into season's hot new releases
by Entertanment Weekly Staff, Aug 14, 2011
A new US poster was just released, and a new trailer will debut next week in American cinemas in front of DreamWorks' film "Real Steel".
Source: Entertainment Weekly, Sep 27, 2011
Oct 5, 2011: Dreamworks has released a new trailer for "War Horse"

The Guardian, Jan. 2012
Back row from left: Robert Emms, Toby Kebbell. Middle row: Tom Hiddleston, Matt Milne. Front row: Jeremy Irvine, David Kross, Patrick Kennedy, Benedict Cumberbatch.
Photographer: Kevin Lynch for 'The Guardian', 8. Jan 2012
Soundtrack War Horse (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) - Music composed and conducted by John Williams
1. Dartmoor, 1912
2. The Auction
3. Bringing Joey Home, and Bonding
4. Learning the Call
5. Seeding, and Horse vs. Car
6. Plowing
7. Ruined Crop, and Going to War
8. The Charge and Capture
9. The Desertion
10. Joey's New Friends
11. Pulling the Cannon
12. The Death of Topthorn
13. No Man's Land
14. The Reunion
15. Remembering Emilie, and Finale
16. The Homecoming
To be released on 21. November 2011 through Sony Masterworks.

Steven Spielberg writes about the soundtrack in the CD booklet: "The dramatic countryside of Dartmoor has inspired John Williams to compose a score of such beauty and quiet majesty that one might think the earth was speaking through him, much as the heavens have done for nearly five decades. When I first heard John's sketches of the four central themes for War Horse, I didn't need my memories of the film to underscore the feelings I was having. The music was a stand-alone experience and it affected me deeply, as have so many of John's scores during our nearly 40-year collaboration. I feel that John has made a special gift to me of this music, which was inspired not only by my film but also by many of the picturesque settings of the poet William Wordsworth, whose vivid descriptions of the British landscape inspired much of what you are going to hear. I'm not sure what I can give John in return, other than a promise of more films to come ... for as many more years as we both can imagine!"

Three tracks of "War Horse" premiered on Oct 22, 2011 in this radio show (about halfway into the podcast), as well as a track from "Tintin" and highlights from other Spielberg/Williams collaborations: WQXR - New York's Classical Music Radio Station

Oct 25, 2011: Samples of all tracks from the soundtrack, which will feature 67 min of music, kindly provided by Sony Music Entertainment GmbH (Switzerland).

Nov 24, 2011: The first three US TV-Spots for "War Horse" - I still haven't found Maximilian Brückner in either of them though.

UK movie magazine Empire, issue #270, Dec. 2011, pages 100-106

Click on the scans for readable size

No mention of Maxi.
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US Box Office Report: Spielberg's "War Horse" Gallops Out of Gate
... The big headline on Christmas day itself was Steven Spielberg's War Horse, which debuted to a stellar $7.5 million to come in No. 3 on Sunday behind Ghost Protocol and Warner Bros.' Sherlock Holmes-A Game of Shadows. Disney, which is distributing the DreamWorks film, estimates that War Horse will gross another $7.5 million on Monday - a national holiday - for a two-day cume of $15 million. "We're ecstatic. We expect to be the family film of choice going forward," said Disney senior vice president of distribution Dave Hollis, noting that War Horse received an A- CinemaScore. ...
Source: The Hollywood Reporter, 12/26/2011 by Pamela McClintock

Cover of the movie book War Horse. The Making of the Motion Picture.
Forewords by Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Michael Morpurgo and Richard Curtis.
A Newmarket Pictorial Moviebook. Harper Collins
ISBN: 978-0-062192615; ISBN10: 0-062192612. Hardcover; 144 pages; $34.99 (€27.99); Ages: 18 and Up
Released on 12/27/11 (US), 1/3/12 (Europe)

b-roll: From 03:00 min on you can see Maxi shooing horses and canons up a muddy hill - with sound!
Website for "War Horse" at DreamWorks @ http://www.dreamworksstudios.com/films/war-horse / Facebook page @ http://www.facebook.com/WarHorseMovie


Of course, I saw the film on its German opening day on Feb 16, 2012 in the original English version, and dubbed in German (as "Gefährten") at its premier airing on German free-TV on Oct 3, 2014.
During the scene when German artillery is moving horses, canons and equipment up a muddy hill, Maximilian Brüeckner is not only shooing the two horse buddies Joey and Topthorn, but also has a very nice close up with text directly into the camera. German press made way too much noise about the participation of David Kross, as he only has a few small scenes. Of all the German actors clearly Rainer Bock has the most screen time and lines. Hinnerk Schönemann as a German soldier from Dusseldorf and Toby Kebell as an English soldier from Dorset share the most touching scene of the film when they together free Joey from the barbed wire. It was a splendid idea to cast the roles of Germans with German actors - as are the French with French actors, who, when they are amongst each other, speak German or French, respectively.
The violence of war is not directly shown in this film, it mainly comes across by the reaction of the parties involved, but that makes the accusation much more impressive. Particularly scary is the fear of death when the determined face of Captain Nicholls (Tom Hiddleston) who rides Joey into the German machine gun fire, transforms into the anxious face of the nine year old boy who has to look death in the eye. Thankfully, there is no voice of the horse from the off, which tells the story in the novel. I am not a fan of horses, I'm rather the kind "They bite at the front, they kick at the rear, and in the middle they are uncomfortable", but most Spielberg films attract me to visit the movies despite of the theme. The camera work here is really well done, the horses are enchanting, the actors convincing, but the music - although consistent, is applied a tad too thick. It is certainly not a film for those horse loving girls, whereas a handkerchief should be within reach.
Most audience members that day were from 25 years upwards - far beyond the advertising-relevant age group, so there was no interruption by phone calls or constant trips to the toilet. Watching this film is definitely not wasted time. But even though Max, Tom and Ben really looked quite dashing in uniform, I liked the goose best!
© EFi, Oct. 2014

UK book cover
Michael Morpurgo: War Horse
UK: Egmont Books ; 192 p. ; ISBN 978-1-405226660 ; £3.81
USA: Scholastic Press ; 176 p. ; ISBN 978-0-439796644 ; $6.99
Reading level: 9-12 years

Excerpts from the novel

I can watch movies like Disney's "Bambi" and "Gone with the Wind" almost without sheding a tear, but while reading the about 160 pages of text I soaked a full package of paper tissues! EFi
US book cover

US Blu-ray Cover DVD Special Features:
War Horse: The Look - Director/Producer Steven Spielberg introduces us to his creative team of production designer Rick Carter, costume designer Joanna Johnston and director of photography Janusz Kaminski, who discuss what it took to design the look for the film.
2-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD) Special Features:
Includes all DVD Special Features plus: War Horse: The Journey Home - Discover how this extraordinary film came to the screen with Steven Spielberg, the production team and cast. An Extra's Point of View - Film extra Martin Dew explains how and why he was brought in - along with a hundred other men - to be featured alternately as both German and British soldiers.
4-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (2-Disc Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) Special Features:
Includes all 2-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack Special Features plus: A Filmmaking Journey - Academy Award®-winning Director/Producer Steven Spielberg provides a unique and unprecedented look into the making and filming of War Horse. Editing & Scoring - Multi-Oscar® winners Michael Kahn (film editor) and John Williams (composer) discuss specific aspects of editing the film and composing music for War Horse, as well as the secret to their long and successful collaborations with Steven Spielberg. The Sounds of War Horse - Seven-time Academy Award®-winning sound designer Gary Rydstrom takes us through the sophisticated sound design he created for War Horse. Through The Producer's Lens - Producer Kathleen Kennedy shares the photos she took during filming and recounts how she discovered the source material, as well as her appreciation of Steven Spielberg's vision, the team that sounds him, and why War Horse appealed to her.
The US DVD & Blu-ray were released on April 3, 2012 (Buena Vista Home Entertainment).
In the UK DVD & Blu-ray were released on May 7, in Switzerland on Aug 16, in Germany and Austria on Aug 30, 2012.

 Trivia: Other films partially filmed in Bourne Woods: Gladiator (2000), Elizabeth - The Golden Age (2007), The Golden Compass (2008), Robin Hood (2010), Thor - The Dark Kingdom (2012).
Scans + Screencaps: EFi
Page created on Oktober 21, 2010 by EFi; last updated 10/4/2014 back to
in search of : Maximilian Brückner