The Official Trailer for Sam Mendes’ 1917 Reveals Astonishing Visuals

Universal Pictures recently revealed that director Sam Mendes and his legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins have done something extremely difficult with their World War I epic 1917. They devised, along with their crack cast and crew, a way to shoot the film as if it were a continuous, unbroken single shot. Now Universal has released the film’s first full-length trailer, and you can see for yourself the fruits of their labor. Granted, this being a trailer means that you won’t get that good a sense of how the film will feel like a single tracking shot. But—and it’s a big but—you will get a sense of how relentless this movie will feel as it unfolds over the course of roughly two hours. Yup, 1917 essentially covers the story in real-time, so time passes for you and for the characters at the same exact rate.

The story is fairly simple; two British soldiers (played by George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman) are tasked with delivering a message to a battalion that’s walking into a trap. If these two soldiers fail to deliver the message, their brothers-in-arms (and one of the soldiers’ actual brothers) will be massacred. What follows is their desperate attempt to deliver this message and save the lives of 1,600 soldiers, with the camera snaking through “trenches, to No Man’s Land, to open countryside, farmland, orchards, rivers, woods, and bombed-out towns,” as Mendes told Vanity Fair. 

Check out the gripping trailer here:

“It was fundamentally an emotional choice,” Mendes told Vanity Fair. “I wanted to travel every step with these men—to breathe every breath with them. It needed to be visceral and immersive. What they are asked to do is almost impossibly difficult. The way the movie is made is designed to bring you as close as possible to that experience.”

Here’s the official synopsis:

At the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield (Captain Fantastic’s George MacKay) and Blake (Game of Thrones’ Dean-Charles Chapman) are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers—Blake’s own brother among them.

1917 is directed by Sam Mendes, who wrote the screenplay with Krysty Wilson-Cairns (Showtime’s Penny Dreadful). The film is produced by Mendes and Pippa Harris (co-executive producer, Revolutionary Road; executive producer, Away We Go) for their Neal Street Productions, Jayne-Ann Tenggren (co-producer, The Rhythm Section; associate producer, Spectre), Callum McDougall (executive producer, Mary Poppins Returns, Skyfall) and Brian Oliver (executive producer, Rocketman; Black Swan).

Featured image: Cast and crew members on the set of 1917, the new epic from Oscar®-winning filmmaker Sam Mendes. Courtesy Universal Pictures.


Bryan Abrams

Bryan Abrams is the Editor-in-chief of The Credits. He's run the site since its launch in 2012. He lives in New York.