With Jonathan Mostow as the helmsman, ‘U-571’ is a submarine movie that revolves around the sinking of a German U-571 submarine during a World War II battle at sea, after which the Allies enlist the help of an American Navy force to retrieve an important machine onboard the sunken ship for study. When the Americans’ cover as a rescue force is blown, they take the crew hostage and lay some explosives to destroy the German vessel for good.
Upon its release in 2000, the World War II survival thriller movie received critical acclaim for the power-packed performances of a talented cast comprising Matthew McConaughey, Harvey Keitel, Bill Paxton, and Jon Bon Jovi, compelling storyline, rousing action sequences, impeccable sound editing (for which it also won an Academy Award), and brilliant cinematography. With most of the action unfolding out at sea and onboard the ships, the viewers are bound to pose the question — where did the filming of ‘U-571’ take place? If you are in the same boat, we have all the information to get rid of your curiosity!
U-571 Filming Locations
‘U-571’ was filmed extensively in several locations in Rome, Italy, and the Republic of Malta. The cast and crew also shot a few scenes in California and Russia, particularly in Los Angeles and seemingly in San Francisco. Principal photography for this submarine-themed movie reportedly commenced on January 25, 1999, and lasted for over three months, finally wrapping up on May 30 of the same year. Without wasting time, let us take you through all the specific shooting sites that appear in the Matthew McConaughey starrer!
The production team of ‘U-571’ set up camp in Rome for several weeks, lensing numerous pivotal sequences for the movie. While several interior scenes were recorded across the capital city of Italy, the Cinecittà Studios at Via Tuscolana, 1055, Rome, served as the primary filming site. Taking over the Studio 5, the cast and crew members reportedly constructed a 210-foot German U-Boat replica with engine rooms, sleeping quarters, functioning machinery, and Nazi paraphernalia.
Stretching across an area of 400,000 square meters, the film studio is considered the hub of Italian cinema given its history and the fact that several legendary filmmakers, including Bernardo Bertolucci, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, and Mel Gibson, have utilized the facilities of Cinecittà Studios. Over the years, it has hosted the production of movies like ‘The English Patient,’ ‘Gangs of New York,’ ‘The Passion of the Christ,’ and ‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.’
The shooting of some important scenes of ‘U-571’ also took place on and around the island country of Malta. The director and his team utilized the facilities of another film studio — Malta Film Studios at Saint Rocco Street in the village of Kalkara in the South Eastern Region of Malta.
Known for its special effects water facility, the film studio is home to one indoor tank and two large exterior water tanks located along the coast, making it an ideal shooting site for taping a movie like ‘U-571,’ primarily set in the open waters. Besides that, the filming unit even spent some time shooting in different locales of the town of St. Paul’s Bay. Moreover, they reportedly lensed several pivotal sequences for eight weeks in open-sea locations off the island of Malta.
For shooting purposes, the production team traveled to different parts of California, supposedly in the city of San Francisco. But mainly, they utilized the exteriors of the S.S. Lane Victory, a World War II Victory-class cargo ship turned museum ship located in Berth 52 at 2400 Miner Street in the neighborhood of San Pedro in Los Angeles.
Additional portions of ‘U-571’ were reportedly lensed across Russia, the largest country in the world in terms of area. The country’s vast landmass lies over the easternmost part of Europe and the northernmost part of Asia. There are various tourist spots all over Russia, such as Peterhof Palace, the Kazan Kremlin, the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, and the Red Square, some of which might feature in the backdrop of a few scenes.
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