Based on the 2004 documentary ‘The Conscientious Objector’ directed by Terry Benedict, ‘Hacksaw Ridge‘ is a 2016 biographical war drama movie directed by Mel Gibson that chronicles the true tale of World War II American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who, as a pacifist and a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, refuses to carry or use a weapon or firearm while serving during the Battle of Okinawa. Drafted and ostracized by fellow soldiers for his pacific stance, Doss, upon risking his life to save 75 men in the battle without firing a single shot, earns respect and adoration for his bravery.
Not only that, Doss also became the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor for his selfless service on the battlefield. Featuring heartfelt performances from a talented ensemble cast comprising Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer, Rachel Griffiths, Vince Vaughn, and Richard Pyros, the historical movie unfolds in different locations, including the training camp at Fort Jackson and the battlefield of Okinawa. So, it is natural for you to wonder where exactly ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ was filmed. In that case, you might be interested in what we have to share!
Hacksaw Ridge Filming Locations
‘Hacksaw Ridge’ was filmed in Australia and North Carolina, primarily in New South Wales and Western North Carolina. Principal photography for the Andrew Garfield starrer reportedly commenced in late September 2015 and wrapped up after about 59 days of shooting in either late November or early December of the same year. So, without wasting time, let’s find out all about the specific shooting sites where the tale of the Battle of Okinawa was shot!
New South Wales, Australia
The shooting for almost all the pivotal sequences of ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ took place in New South Wales, an Australian state on the country’s east coast. The state capital, Sydney, served as the primary production location as the filming unit set up camp in different streets and neighborhoods in and around the city during the shooting schedule. To begin with, they utilized the facilities of Disney Studios Australia, formerly known as Fox Studios Australia, at Building 16 on 38 Driver Avenue in Sydney’s suburb of Moore Park.
Home to nine sound stages, the film studio also offers several support spaces to filmmakers, including production offices, exterior film locations, water facilities, art and costume space, and so on, making it one of Australia’s most sought-after filming sites. The production team transformed Centennial Park in Sydney into a cemetery for shooting some pivotal portions of the film while also setting up camp in the School of Artillery in North Head, near Manly. The suburb of Oran Park in southwest Sydney also features in quite a few scenes of ‘Hacksaw Ridge.’
Furthermore, several important sequences were recorded in and around the Sydney suburb of Bringelly. For that, the director and his team had to deforest over 500 hectares of land, which stirred some controversy with environmentalists. But luckily, the producers gained complete approval on the condition of replanting and rehabilitating part of the land after the shooting was done. With the help of bulldozers and backhoes, the filming unit transformed the dairy pasture into a film set to re-create the Okinawa battlefield. They even made the most of a private property on The Northern Road in Bringelly for shooting purposes.
In addition, the small town of Richmond in the local government area of the City of Hawkesbury stood in for Doss’ Virginia home in ‘Hacksaw Ridge.’ On the other hand, the cliff scene was lensed on a disused Long Street Quarry adjacent to the Main Southern railway line north of Goulburn. Besides, the Camden and Newington Armory suburb at Jamieson Street in Sydney Olympic Park also feature heavily in the movie.
In a November 2016 interview with Screen Rant, director Mel Gibson was asked about the most challenging scene to shoot. He replied, “But, like, there was a series. I think some of the war stuff was tough to get through, given the time constraints and budgetary constraints and stuff, so. But I was very fortunate to have this massive, wonderful crew around me who—we had to synchronize watches, as it were, to get all the stuff to happen together so it got on camera.”
Western North Carolina, North Carolina
Additional portions of ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ were taped in Western North Carolina, mainly in the Pisgah National Forest, which lies in the Appalachian Mountains. Located near Brevard, the majestic Looking Glass Falls, which flows through the national forest, appears in the backdrop of some key scenes. Due to the ease of access, it is a popular waterfall and open to the public.