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Sunday June 23rd 2024

Barry Lyndon | 1975

Barry Lyndon film location: Somerset Rural Life Museum, Glastonbury, Somerset
Barry Lyndon location: the fateful pistol duel with Bullingdon: Somerset Rural Life Museum, Glastonbury, Somerset

Barry Lyndon location: Sans Souci, Potsdam, Berlin
Barry Lyndon location: Neues Palais, Sans Souci, Potsdam, Berlin

There’s a dizzying array of film locations for Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Thackeray’s novel Barry Lyndon, with the production starting out in Ireland, before moving to England, and including Second Unit exteriors filmed in Germany and Scotland.

Pretty much dismissed on release as a series of gorgeous but lifeless tableaux, the film has since rightfully attained classic status.

To achieve the breathtaking painterly look, the director pushed the technology of the time, demanding specially ground lenses which enabled him to film on real locations, frequently using only available light and even, amazingly, to film by candlelight.

The production was initially based in southeast Ireland, at Waterford (in fact, Waterford Castle, now a hotel and golf course, was one of the locations).

Glenpatrick, about 20 miles to the northwest, is where poor boy Redmond Barry (Ryan O’Neal) – as the hero starts out – sees Captain Quin (Leonard Rossiter) and the Redcoats parade. Barry interrupts a tender scene between his beloved cousin Nora Brady and Quin alongside the River Derry at Huntington Castle, a battlemented medieval castle, set in 50 acres of parkland at Clonegal, about 50 miles northeast in Co Carlow.

Barry Lyndon location: Cahir Castle, Cahir, Tipperary
Barry Lyndon location: the Prussian encampment: Cahir Castle, Cahir, Tipperary | Photograph: iStockphoto © Rognar

After duelling with Captain Quin, fleeing the village and getting robbed, Barry signs up with the Redcoats. The English Redcoat encampment, where he quickly establishes himself with a bout of fisticuffs, is north of Waterford toward Kilkenny, at the walls and towers of Kells Priory. Although a monastery, its fortified appearance reflects the turbulent times in which it was built. Dating from 1193, the Priory is one of the largest medieval sites in Ireland, and a National Monument.

Sent off to the ‘Seven Years War’ (though that’s probably not what it was called until it was over) in Europe, Barry deserts and – posing as an officer – falls in with Prussian Captain Potsdorf (Hardy Kruger). The allied ‘Prussian’ camp is the 12th century Cahir Castle, Castle Street, Cahir, 10 miles west of Clonmel in Tipperary. If you’re visiting, an audio-visual display recounts the history of the castle.

Rumbled as an impostor, Barry is obliged to join the Prussian army, and is dispatched to the capital, Berlin, to meet the Minister of Police.

For the Berlin exteriors, the film indeed uses Sans Souci, the complex of elegant palaces and parks at Potsdam. Although geographically southwest of Berlin, the town was, until 1990, part of East Berlin. From Berlin, you can get a train to Potsdam, and from the station, it’s a short bus ride to Sans Souci itself.

You can see Sans Souci's elegant park in 2005 sci-fi-fantasy Aeon Flux, with Charlize Theron as well as the the 2004 version of Around The World In 80 Days.

The scenes are Second Unit shots, of course, with none of the principal actors. The ornate interior, where Barry is assigned to spy on the Chevalier di Balibari (Patrick Magee) is the Ballroom of Powerscourt House and Gardens, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow. Sadly, the grand house was gutted by fire in 1974 and, although the ballroom has been restored, it no longer matches the extravagant grandeur seen in the film.

Barry Lyndon location: Schloss Ludwigsburg, Stuttgart, Germany
Barry Lyndon location: the home of Chevalier di Balibari: Schloss Ludwigsburg, Stuttgart, Germany | Photograph © Schloss Ludwigsburg

The home of Balibari, where Barry breaks down and admits his deception, thus becoming the Chevalier’s servant and accomplice in cardsharping, is another mix of locations. The exterior is the courtyard of Schloss Ludwigsburg, a vast, 18th century Baroque palace, about seven miles north of Stuttgart, Germany.

Barry Lyndon location: Dublin Castle, Dublin, Ireland
Barry Lyndon location: the interior of the Chevalier’s home: Dublin Castle, Dublin, Ireland

The interior, though, can be found in the historic centre of Dublin. It’s the grand Drawing Room of Dublin Castle, off Dame Street. The castle is also featured in Neil Jordan’s 1996 historical epic Michael Collins.

Barry Lyndon location: Hohenzollern Castle, Hechingen, Germany
Barry Lyndon location: the Chevalier and Barry begin their life as professional gamblers: Hohenzollern Castle, Hechingen, Germany | Photograph: iStockphoto © Vladimir Carmine

Fleeing the country, the hilltop castle, at which Balibari and Barry begin their career as gamesters, is the fairy tale Hohenzollern Castle, at Hechingen, about 40 miles from Stuttgart.

Barry Lyndon location: Dunrobin Castle, Scotland
Barry Lyndon location: the spa in ‘Belgium’: Dunrobin Castle, Scotland | Photograph: Flickr © Imam on

The location trickery gets more confusing. Although it looks like a French chateau, the exterior of the elegant Spa in ‘Belgium’ is Dunrobin Castle, on the east coast of the Northern Highlands of Scotland, overlooking the Moray Firth, just north of the villages of Gillespie and Dornoch. The most northerly of Scotland's great houses – and the largest in the Northern Highlands – it's also one of Britain's oldest continuously inhabited houses dating back to the early 1300s, home to the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland.

Barry Lyndon location: Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire
Barry Lyndon location: the water gardens and the garden party: Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire | Photograph: iStockphoto © Jessica Ramsey

But the Spa’s formal water garden, where Barry first sees the beautiful – and wealthy – Countess of Lyndon (Marisa Berenson) with her ailing husband (Frank Middlemass) and son, Lord Bullingdon, is down in the South of England. It’s the Italian Garden at Compton Acres, 164 Canford Cliffs Road, Poole, Dorset.

After the director was tipped off about potential terrorist threats in Ireland, the production had decamped to England, where scenes were shot in several grand houses.

The expansively formal water gardens in which Barry and the Countess walk can be found at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire. Blenheim Palace itself can later be seen as the site of the garden party at which Barry attempts to consolidate his position in society. Blenheim is also featured in Spectre, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, The Young Victoria, Kenneth Branagh’s 1996 film of Hamlet, the big-screen version of 60s TV series The Avengers, horror film The Legend Of Hell House, and Shekhar Kapur’s The Four Feathers, with Heath Ledger.

Barry Lyndon location: Petworth House, Petworth, West Sussex
Barry Lyndon location: Barry Lyndon marries: Petworth House, Petworth, West Sussex | Photograph: iStockphoto © Steve Geer

Redmond Barry becomes Barry Lyndon when he marries the recently-widowed countess in the chapel of Petworth House in the centre of Petworth, five and a half miles east of Midhurst, West Sussex. The estate at Petworth can be seen in Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

Barry Lyndon location: Castle Howard, Yorkshire
Barry Lyndon location: Lyndon marries into the estate: Castle Howard, Yorkshire | Photograph: iStockphoto © Bart Parren

The exterior of ‘Castle Hackton’, the Countess’s extravagant estate, is Castle Howard (the familiar setting for both the classic TV adaptation and the recent film of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited), 15 miles northeast of York off the A64 in North Yorkshire.

No fewer than four locations can be found in Wiltshire. The interior of ‘Castle Hackton’ is largely Wilton House, two and a half miles west of Salisbury on the A30. The spacious room in which Barry lovingly looks at his son’s drawings, and where he reveals he might have bought him a horse as a birthday present, is Wilton’s famed Double Cube Room. This striking location was also seen in the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice, The Madness of King George, The Bounty and Ken Russell’s The Music Lovers.

Barry Lyndon location: Stourhead, Wiltshire
Barry Lyndon location: the formal gardens: Stourhead, Wiltshire | Photograph: iStockphoto © CanvinPhoto

Staying in the county – and again seen in Joe Wright’s 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice – are the gardens of Stourhead, where Barry’s mother reminds him that his new-found fortune depends on his wife and encourages him to get a title in his own right.

As Barry consults Lord Hallam about the best way to go about acquiring a title, there’a brief return to Petworth House, West Sussex, and the remarkable Carved Room, with limewood walls fantastically decorated by Grinling Gibbons, one of the greatest woodcarvers.

Barry Lyndon location: Corsham Court, Wiltshire
Barry Lyndon location: Corsham Court, Wiltshire

It’s back to Wiltshire for the music room, where Barry scuppers his chance of being awarded a title after an ugly scuffle with his stepson, Lord Bullingdon, which is the Picture Gallery of Corsham Court, four miles west of Chippenham off the A4. Corsham is also seen in James Ivory’s film of The Remains of the Day.

The dining room, in which Lord Wendover (Andre Morell) politely but pointedly makes it clear to Barry that he’s no longer welcome in society is the Saloon of the Marquis of Bath’s pile, Longleat House in Warminster, about 15 miles to the south. The famous estate is also seen in Scandal, the 1989 account of the Profumo-Keeler affair in the Sixties.

Barry Lyndon location: Compton Castle, Devon
Barry Lyndon location: the home of Lord Bullingdon: Compton Castle, Devon | Photograph: Flickr © Matt Chapman

The home of Lord Bullingdon, where he’s visited by Reverend Runt and family retainer Graham to be told of his mother’s condition, is Compton Castle, a fortified manor house at Marlton, a couple of miles northwest of Paignton in Devon – a location seen in Ang Lee’s film of Sense and Sensibility.

Bullingdon demands satisfaction, and it’s west to Somerset for the pistol duel, which is staged in the Tithe Barn of Glastonbury – now the Somerset Rural Life Museum, Abbey Farm, Chilkwell Street, Glastonbury.

Barry Lyndon location: Lavenham, Suffolk
Barry Lyndon location: Barry is bedridden after the duel with Bullingdon: The Guildhall, Lavenham, Suffolk | Photograph: Neil Faith

The inn, in which the wounded Barry has to endure the amputation of his wounded leg, is the Guildhall in Lavenham, Suffolk. The picturesque village is also featured in Witchfinder General, as ‘Godric’s Hollow’ in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and in Pasolini’s The Canterbury Tales.