Lights, Cambridge, Action! Take a look at some of these amazing movies filmed in Cambridge that hit the big screen and left a lasting impression for ages to come!
Theory of Everything
Released on 7 November 2014, The Theory of Everything follows the life of celebrated physicist Stephen Hawking. The tale follows Hawkings life at Cambridge University, where he meets his future wife Jane Wilde. Taking place in the 1960’s, Stephen Hawking, played by Eddie Redmayne who won an Oscar for the role, falls in love with Jane Wilde who is played by Felicity Jones. At age 21 Hawking learns that he has motor neuron disease. But despite this, Hawking begins an ambitious study of time, of which he has little left, according to his doctor. With Jane at his side, the couple defy terrible odds and make ground breaking discoveries in the fields of medicine and science; together Hawking and Wilde achieve more than either could hope to imagine.
The Theory of Everything is a feast for the eyes when talking about movies filmed in Cambridge; particularly Cambridge University. Shots of St. John’s College are seen; as well as the narrow streets of the old city as Hawking cycles through Senate House Passage and beneath the Gothic tracery of Kings College Chapel. The Bridge of Sighs is set behind Hawking and Wilde as they swirl around on the grass on the west bank of the Cam north of New Court. There are plenty more parts of Cambridge to be seen in this wonderful film; check it out yourself and see how many you can spot!
Chariots of Fire
Out of all the movies filmed in Cambridge, the multi-award winning Chariots of Fire has
been ranked 19th in the British Film Institute’s Top 100 films of all time and is one of the best! The story is told in flashbacks, of two young British sprinters competing for fame in the 1924 Olympics. Eric Liddell, played by Ian Charleson, is a devout Scottish missionary who runs because he knows it must please God. Harold Abrahams (played by Ben Cross) is the son of a newly rich Jew runs to prove his place in Cambridge society. Chariots of Fire won 4 Academy Awards, including best picture, which includes shots of Cambridge like Gonville and Caius College and Senate House.
With so many famous Cambridge alumni, it’s not surprising to see more than one movie highlighting the accomplishments of their lives. Second on the list for movies filmed in Cambridge is Sylvia. Sylvia is about the life of poet and novelist Sylvia Plath. Born in Boston, MA, in 1932, Plath (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) developed a precocious talent as a writer. In 1955 she was granted a Fulbright Scholarship to study in England at Cambridge University. While in Great Britain, Plath met Ted Hughes (played by Daniel Craig), a respected author who would later become the British Poet Laureate; the two fell in love, and married. The film follows the couple’s marriage as it falls apart. In the opening scene the audience see’s Sylvia cycling over the cobbles of Trinity Lane.Trinity Hall, St. John’s College and Kings College are also featured in this movie.
Added to the list of movies filmed in Cambridge is the touching story of Maurice. In 1909, Maurice Hall (played by James Wilby) enters Cambridge, where he befriends wealthy Clive Durham (played by Hugh Grant). This intense film brings to light the topic of homosexuality as Clive confesses his attraction to Maurice, who realizes he is a homosexual when he begins to return Clive’s feelings. The two embark on an intense but chaste affair to avoid tarnishing Clive’s reputation, but eventually the relationship ends, and Clive marries Anne (played by Phoebe Nichols). While visiting Clive, Maurice is drawn toward his friend’s servant, Alec Scudder (played by Rupert Graves). Watch as this touching tale follows Maurice and his struggle in coming to terms about who he really is.
Featured in the film are scenes set at Trinity College, the Quad, underneath the Wren Library plus the Porter’s Lodge and Dining Hall at Kings College. Hugh Grant looks very young and floppy haired and of course Cambridge looks marvelous.