Movies shot in Three Rivers District

NewsUpdated: 16 April 2024Leisure, parks and culture

‘Hertfordshire is the new Hollywood’ – or rather ‘Three Rivers is the new Hollywood’ given three of the highest-grossing movies of 2023 (Barbie, Wonka, and Misson: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One) were shot at Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden.

Although Warner Bros. Studios has helped put Three Rivers on the film map globally, the district’s towns, canals, farms and open spaces have been used as sets for some of the most beloved blockbusters and TV shows in the past.

Here are just a few famous movies that were filmed in the district.

Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade (1989)

The Indiana Jones franchise is a classic series that transports us around the world to discover ‘out this world’ mysteries with the film’s titular character, played by Harrison Ford who is still running from boulders and cracking his whip to this day in his 80s.

Indie’s adventures take us to places across the world to either find the Holy Grail or locate the Ark of the Covenant, but when he’s not racing to find these wonders before the bad guys, Indie teaches archaeology and history at the fictional Marshall College and Barnett College in the US.

What you may not know is that the classroom scenes were not filmed in the US but were actually filmed at the Royal Masonic School for Girls in Chorleywood Road, Rickmansworth. The location was used to film the interior and exterior of Barnett College in The Last Crusade whereas only the interior was used for Raiders of the Lost Ark to depict Marshall College.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)

This classic and beloved English rom-com, based on Helen Fielding’s novels of the same name, starred Renee Zellweger as the titular character and follows the life events of Bridget and her respective relationships with Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) and Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant).

The second in the film series, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, came out in 2004 and follows Bridget in a new job, struggling with her new boss and her relationship with Mark.

Rickmansworth gets a small cameo during the opening scene of the movie when Bridget jumps out of the airplane for a segment for the TV morning show Sit-Up Britain she works for. She parachutes and safely lands in a pig den, covering herself with mud, at Stocker’s Farm, Stockers Farm Road in Rickmansworth. 

Return to Oz (1985)

The Wizard of Oz is a timeless classic where we follow Dorothy and her little dog Toto who is transported from her sepia-toned life in Kansas to the technicoloured land of Oz. It’s a fantastical musical that has a feel-good feeling with a hint of darkness.

Return to Oz is a sequel to the 1939 film and ramps up the darkness to 11, scaring children when it was released. We follow Dorothy, played by a young Fairuza Balk in her film debut, who has been saved from a psychiatric hospital by a mysterious girl and returns to Oz, where she discovers all of her friends have been turned into stone. She goes out on a quest with a new batch of companions to find the Nome King and save Oz from ruin.

The film was largely shot at Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire and Elstree Studios in Borehamwood. The forest at night scenes were shot at Chorleywood Common in Chorleywood. Dorothy’s old house and the ruins of the Yellow Brick Road were shot at Whippendell Wood on the outskirts of Rickmansworth.

The Inbetweeners Movie (2011)

Continuing from the hugely successful Channel 4 TV show of the same name, we follow four sixth-form students, Will, Simon, Neil and Jay who go on a lads' holiday to Malia after their final year of school life together.

Four homes in Leavesden were used for exterior shots and were supposed to be the homes of the four main characters. The same locations were used for the TV show.

The homes are in Edinburgh Drive, Cardiff Drive and Whitley Close.

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

Starring Hugh Grant and written by Richard Curtis of Blackadder and Vicar of Dibley fame, this classic British rom-com follows Charles (Hugh Grant), a bachelor, who learns the notions of love over the course of four weddings and a funeral. At the time, it became one of the most successful movies shot in Britain.

The weddings are shot at photogenic places across the UK, so it’s no surprise that the first wedding was shot in the village of Sarratt within Three Rivers.

The 52-acre Goldingtons residence, which also has 30 rooms, was used as the backdrop when Charles meets Carrie (Andie MacDowell), a woman he falls in love with but is unable to express his feelings.

Children of Men (2006)

The dystopian action thriller based on the P.D. James’ 1992 novel of the same name. It was directed by Alfonso Curaron and starred Clive Owen as Theo, Clare-Hope Ashitey as Kee, as well as Michael Caine and Julianne Moore.

Set in 2027, humanity has suffered nearly two decades of infertility, leaving societies on the brink of collapse, resulting in immigrants being arrested and either imprisoned or executed. Kee, who is a refugee, is the only known woman pregnant in the last 18 years, leaving it up to Theo to help her escape the chaos.

Children of Men is best known for its long, single-shot takes of action sequences and was even nominated for three Academy Awards – including Best Cinematography.

Stocker’s Farm in Rickmansworth makes another appearance on the big screen. The farm was used as a safe house where Theo discovers that Kee is pregnant.

A Bridge Too Far (1977)

Moor Park Mansion in Rickmansworth was immortalised in the star-studded epic war movie A Bridge Too Far, which was directed by the legendary Richard Attenborough and starred Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier, Gene Hackman, and more.

The mansion was used as the exterior shot of the headquarters of the 1st Airborne Corps who planned the daring Operation Market Garden during the Second World War. It followed the true story of Field Mashall Bernard Montgomery’s plan for the Allies attempt to capture several strategically important bridges in the Netherlands in the hope of breaking the German lines.

Sadly, the operation was not successful due to the strength of the German army in the area.