The city of Belfast has seen its fair share of conflict during the period known as “The Troubles.”
That tortured period of its past is now highlighted in a popular movie called “Belfast.”
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Director Sir Kenneth Brannagh has brought together some of Hollywood’s most talented actors to retell what is essentially his story, the tale of a young boy named Buddy and his working-class family living in the tumultuous period of 1960s Belfast.
The young Branagh moved to England with his family to get away from the conflict but still considers it home.
Belfast as a Hollywood Movie Location
This is not the first time that the city has been chosen as a movie location.
Interior scenes for the wildly popular HBO series Game of Thrones were filmed in the nearby Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge and outdoor scenes were shot all across Northern Ireland, with some very close to the city itself.
Other popular films and TV series have also used Belfast as a backdrop.
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They include Bloodlands, Line of Duty, The Fall, Derry Girls, Dracula Untold, Miss Julie, and Zoo.
Films currently in production that were made in Belfast include Northman starring Nicole Kidman as well as the Netflix fantasy film The School for Good and Evil starring Charlize Theron and Kerry Washington.
Read More: The 18 Best Movies that Highlight Ireland’s Scenery and Heritage
About the Story and the Actors
Written and directed by Branagh, the film stars Jamie Dornan, who is also a native of Northern Ireland, Dame Judi Dench, Caitriona Balfe, star of the Outlander series, Ciaran Hinds, and local newcomer, 10-year-old Jude Hill.
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Best known for starring in Fifty Shades of Grey and The Fall. Dornan has said that the film really resonated with him, referring to his character Pa as being a lot like his own father.
The Focus Features movie was mostly shot in black and white but opens with views of famous Belfast landmarks, all in color.
They include the twin shipyard cranes Samson and Goliath and the former Harland & Wolff headquarters, once the largest shipyard in the world where the Titanic was built.
You’ll also see aerial shots of Belfast’s terraced houses, similar to the ones where Branagh grew up, and of course the famous Belfast murals, with the trailer providing panoramic views of the city from the top of Cave Hill overlooking Belfast Lough.
The movie is gathering strength among audiences and movie reviewers, picking up the top People’s Choice honor earlier this fall at the Toronto Film Festival, an early indicator of Oscar success.
The film is currently showing in North America and will be released in Ireland and the U.K. on Jan. 21 and in the remainder of Europe in February.