With awards like Best Visual Film, Best Film Editing and Best Cinematography in the kitty, '1917' was on a winning streak at Oscars 2020. The film entered the race with 10 whopping nominations.

The Oscar trophyGetty Images

Directed and written by Sam Mendes, the World War 1 drama is the story of two British soldiers faced with the task of crossing into enemy territory to deliver a message, calling off an attack to prevent the slaughter of its 1,600 soldiers.

Here are interesting facts about the film:

Based on personal anecdotes

The film is largely based on stories that Sam Mendes was told by his grandfather Alfred Mendes decades ago. Alfred Mendes served as an infantryman in World War 1.

Washing hands by grandfather generated the curiosity

His grandfather's habit of frequently washing hands generated curiosity in the mind of the director.

According to The Hollywood Reporter (THR), during the premiere of the film, Mendes said "He used to wash his hands all the time — repeatedly — and I used to laugh at him, and I asked my dad, 'Why does Grandpa wash his hands?' And he said, 'It's because he remembers the mud of the trenches and the fact that he could never get clean."

Race against Time

Before its first screening at the Directors Guild of America on November 23, the movie was finished just before six days. Post the first screening, the awards and the recognition started pouring in.


Only one camera used?

Sam Mendes, along with acclaimed cinematographer Roger Deakins, and their team clearly used an array of different cameras throughout the filming of the movie. However, Mendes' main focus throughout was to try and make it feel like there was only ever one camera used, filming the entire thing as one.

One of the lead characters was rejected in Drama School

Goerge Mackay who plays Lance Corporal William Schofiel, in an interview to THR, confessed that he was rejected from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, where his 1917 co-star Benedict Cumberbatch is now president.

Not a combat movie

The film was made in a manner that if you know nothing about the war, it doesn't really matter. Sam Mendes told EW.com that 1917 was "constructed more like a thriller than a conventional war movie. It's not a combat movie."