From hit war dramas to dystopian zombie thrillers, Dorset has played host to many Hollywood hits. 

The Jurassic Coast has a starring role in films like Dunkirk and The Boat That Rocked, whilst our glorious manor houses have been the set for films like Emma and Far From the Madding Crowd. 

These are the highest grossing and most popular films ever shot in Dorset:

1. Dunkirk, 2017

The film recounts the events of Operation Dynamo and the involvement of civilians in the mass evacuation of 400,000 allied troops stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk in the early part of the Second World War.

Director: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Barry Keoghan, Mark Rylance

Dorset locations: Weymouth and Swanage. 

Custom House Quay, Weymouth - Nolan filmed the start of the civilian fleet departing Britain to aid the evacuation in Dunkirk.

Swanage Railway Station -  Following the return of the Moonstone fishing boat to Weymouth harbour, the characters played by Fionn Whitehead and Harry Styles board a train that is bound for London. They board under the cover of darkness and arrive the following day.

These scenes feature Swanage Railway Station and trains from the Swanage Railway.

2. The Imitation Game, 2014


During World War II, the English mathematical genius Alan Turing tries to crack the German Enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians.

Director: Morten Tyldum 

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley and Matthew Goode

Dorset location: Sherborne School

The flashbacks to adolescence, and the introduction to cryptology by his friend and first love Christopher, were filmed at Turing’s actual school, Sherborne in Dorset.

3. World War Z, 2013

Dorset Echo:

Former United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop a zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatens to destroy humanity itself.

Director: Marc Forster

Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos and Daniella Ketesz

Dorset location: Lulworth Cove.

The final scene of World War Z was shot at Lulworth Cove where Brad Pitt was seen jumping off of a boat and running up the beach into the arms of his family in the film. 

4. Barry Lyndon, 1975

Dorset Echo:

The Italian Garden - Image courtesy of Compton Acres

An Irish rogue wins the heart of a rich widow and assumes her dead husband's aristocratic position in 18th-century England.

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Starring: Ryan O'Neal, Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee 

Dorset location: Compton Acres, Canford Cliffs

The first scene where Barry sees the beautiful - and wealthy - Countess of Lyndon and her ailing husband, is filmed in the Italian Garden at Compton Acres in Poole. 

5. Emma, 1996

While matchmaking for friends and neighbours, a young 19th Century Englishwoman nearly misses her own chance at love.

Director: Douglas McGrath

Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, James Cosmo, Greta Scacchi 

Dorset locations: Bridport, Evershot, Newtown

Mapperton Gardens, Bridport - This Elizabethan house, currently home to the Earl and Countess of Sandwich, was the perfect setting for this period drama. The house was also used in the BBC TV adaptation of Tom Jones.

Evershot, Yeovil - The local village of ‘Highbury, Surrey’ is Evershot, eight miles south of Yeovil in Dorset, where the Old Manor stands in for the schoolhouse and the main street, Fore Street, was dressed with sheep pens and straw. 

Crichel House, Newtown - Remaining in Dorset, the exterior of ‘Donwell Abbey’, the home of Mr Knightley (Jeremy Northam), is Crichel House, Newtown, a private home set in 400 acres of parkland.

6. On Chesil Beach, 2017

Based on Ian McEwan's novel. In 1962 England, a young couple find their idyllic romance colliding with issues of sexual freedom and societal pressure, leading to an awkward and fateful wedding night.

Director: Dominic Cooke

Starring: Billy Howle, Saoirse Ronan, Andy Burse 

Dorset location: Chesil Beach

The film was shot on location at Chesil Beach in October and November 2016. A crew was seen shooting scenes on a particularly sunny day at Chesil Beach, close to Bagwell Farm Touring Park. Indoor scenes were filmed at Pinewood Studios.

7. Bedknobs and Broomsticks, 1971 

An apprentice witch, three kids and a cynical magician conman search for the missing component to a magic spell to be used in the defense of Britain in World War II.

Directors: Robert Stevenson, Ward Kimball (uncredited)

Starring: Angela Lansbury, David Tomlinson, Roddy McDowall 

Dorset location: Corfe Castle 

Filming took place at the Disney studios in Burbank, California from early March to June 10, 1970. The coastal scenes featuring Nazi soldiers were shot on location at a nearby California beach. Additional scenes were shot on location in Corfe Castle in Dorset, England.

8. Nanny McPhee, 2005

Dorset Echo:

Cedric Brown (Colin Firth) is a widower with seven ill-behaved children who have already chased away seventeen nannies. But when a mysterious voice tells Cedric to hire Nanny McPhee, she arrives at the Brown home and the kids learn to behave properly.

Director: Kirk Jones

Starring: Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Angela Lansbury

Dorset location: Durdle Door

The beach scene was filmed at Durdle Door which has a massive climb both down to the beach and back up again. Six tons of filming equipment had to be taken down to the beach by helicopter.

9. The Boat That Rocked, 2009 Dorset Echo:

A band of rogue DJs that captivated Britain, playing the music that defined a generation and standing up to a government that wanted classical music, and nothing else, on the airwaves.

Director: Richard Curtis

Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Nick Frost

Dorset location: Portland Harbour

Filming took place on the former Dutch hospital ship Timor Challenger, previously De Hoop, moored in Portland Harbour, Dorset; the "North Sea" scenes were shot off the coast of Dunbar, East Lothian. Boat interior shots were filmed inside a warehouse in Osprey Quay on the Isle of Portland and at Shepperton Studios.

10. Far from the Madding Crowd, 2015

Dorset Echo:

In Victorian England, the independent and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak, a sheep farmer; Frank Troy, a reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood, a prosperous and mature bachelor.

Director: Thomas Vinterberg

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen 

Dorset locations: Sherborne, West Bay, Mapperton House and Forde Abbey 

The 2015 adapation was filmed in various locations across Dorset as the abundant manor houses are fitting for period dramas.