‘1917’: Who’s In The Upcoming Movie, What’s It About, And When Does It Open?

It’s the holiday season and that means time for gifts, (hopefully) happy visits with family, lots of food, and of course, time to catch new movies. Among the films opening this season is one of this year’s most highly anticipated movies, 1917.

Cast photo for '1917'
Cast photo for ‘1917’ | David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage

The film, according to director Sam Mendes, was inspired by his grandfather.

“(My grandfather) fought in the war between 1916 and 1918 and he told us many stories that stayed with me to this day,” Mendes told Reuters at the film’s London world premiere on Dec. 4.

“It’s not about my grandfather but it’s inspired by my grandfather. He told us one story about carrying a single message across no man’s land and that little image kept pulling at me and it wouldn’t let me go.”

Find out more about the cast of this new film, what it’s about, and when you can find it in theaters.

Who’s in ‘1917’?

The cast features a who’s who of star power including Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Richard Madden as well as Fleabag‘s Andrew Scott, Daniel Mays, Adrian Scarborough, Jamie Parker, Nabhaan Rizwan (from crime thriller Informer), Claire Duburcq, and Dean-Charles Chapman.

“We never got to read a script, so I learned just, like, four pages from this scene,” Chapman tells Variety. “It wasn’t until [director Sam Mendes] told me, personally, it was going to be a one-shot. And I was nervous, and it blew my mind.” 

‘1917’ and its one-shot format

Skyfall director Sam Mendes is at the helm of this World War I epic. Told in incredibly ambitious one long camera shot, the film follows two young English soldiers in the First World War. The servicemen must travel through their enemy’s territory to deliver a message that could potentially keep their fellow soldiers from becoming snared in a trap. If they succeed in their mission, they could possibly save 1,600 lives.

Mendes talked to Variety about his decision to shoot the film in one continuous shot.

“[Using one long camera shot] felt like the best way to give you a sense of all this happening in real-time,” Mendes said. “I wanted you to feel like you were there with the characters, breathing their every breath, walking in their footsteps. The best way to do that is not to cut away and give the audience a way out, as it were.”

Cinematographer Roger Deakins, also in speaking to Variety, agreed. “[One-shot] is not right for every story. But it’s a great way to tell this particular story.”

When does ‘1917’ open?

1917 opens to limited release on Wednesday, Dec. 25, with a wide release on January 10, 2020.

Mendes told Deadline last month, “What I’ve always wanted for this movie was for it to be seen by lots of people, and hopefully in a cinema. I don’t say that because I’m on any crusade, but because it’s an immersive experience in terms of sound and music. . . I don’t think I’m going to make another movie like this one.”

Read more: What is Actor Colin Firth’s Net Worth?