1917 – the most realistic war film ever made

1917 - the most realistic war film ever made 2020 image
1917 is an epic war film directed, co-written and produced by Sam Mendes (Photo: Universal Pictures)

The Hollywood blockbuster movie ‘1917’ has been hailed as a masterpiece and it is one of the main favorites at this year’s Oscars. The war-drama from the First World War received great critics as a movie with a real war background.

Furthermore, the military personnel of all ranks has called it the most realistic war film ever made. According to the information, the most important man who can take a lot of credit for that is ex-paratrooper Paul Biddiss, according to the Mirror.

Paul Biddiss

Paul Biddiss had only one objective, to train more than 800 men to look and act like soldiers and give ­essential advice to director Sam Mendes. In his interview with the Sunday People, Paul Biddiss, 51, a dad of five from Oxfordshire, tells the secrets behind 1917’s authenticity.

Paul is a retired sergeant who served 24 years in the Parachute Regiment before going into private ­surveillance. He became a military ­adviser after working as an extra on the 2014 film Monuments Men and getting into a ­conversation with its star, Hollywood giant George Clooney.

1917 - the most realistic war film ever made 2020 image
Paul Biddiss provided advice and training for the hit film (Photo: Paul Biddiss)

He has since worked on the film Jason Bourne, the BBC version of War and Peace and most recently on Sky One’s Strikeback series.

Paul’s meticulous attention to detail runs all through the film 1917. And it has won praise from real soldiers such as Afghanistan veteran Colonel Richard Kemp.

World War One

The First World War was sparked by the shooting of Austria-Hungary heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28 June 1914, with war officially declared a month later. It drew in all the world’s major economic powers. The war ended at 11 am on 11 November 1918 an armistice was declared. More than 9 million combatants had died.

Boot Camp

Although it features A-list names Colin Firth, Mark Strong and Benedict Cumberbatch in supporting roles, the actors who take up most screen time are the ­previously little-known George MacKay, 27, and Dean-Charles Chapman, 22.

In a gripping drama inspired by a real-life war story told to Mendes by his grandfather, they play Lance Corporals Will Schofield and Tom Blake – two young British soldiers on a mission to warn comrades that they are walking into an enemy trap.

The two men had a baptism of fire from Paul, who put them through ­gruelling boot camps until they looked and acted the part.


According to Rotten Tomatoes, 1917 is described as a ‘Hard-hitting, immersive, and impressive technical achievement, 1917 captures the trench warfare of World War I with raw, startling immediacy.’

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