Relive the Drama of 'Hacksaw Ridge' in Australia
A good movie is able to transport the viewer anywhere. However, in order to get there, sometimes a movie must transport itself first.
“Hacksaw Ridge,” directed by Mel Gibson, tells the story of Desmond Doss, a World War II army medic who refused to kill people. Doss became the first person in American history to be awarded the Medal of Honor without having fired a single shot during the Battle of Okinawa. The movie has been nominated for three Golden Globes.
But while making the movie, the film crew did not set foot in Japan. All of the filming was done in Australia, mostly around Sydney. From Doss’s former life in Virginia to the battlefields of Okinawa, everything was recreated in Australia.
Here’s how you can visit where the transformation took place.
Pay tribute to the Battle of Okinawa at the place itself. An estimated 200,000 people were killed during the battle—including 12,500 Americans and more than 100,000 civilians. Peace Memorial Park sits at the southern part of the island in their honor.
Richmond, New South Wales
The small town of Richmond stood in for Doss’s hometown of Lynchburg,Virginia. Although the buildings all remained the same for shooting, film crew changed all the streets signs and the fronts of stores to make it feel more like the United States.
Centennial Park, Eastern Suburbs of Sydney
The cemetery that Doss visits in the film was actually not a cemetery at all. Film crew propped up gravestones in Centennial Park. The actual park is filled with ponds and plenty of open lawn across its 467 acres. In the summer, it often hosts outdoor events like film screenings or even horseback riding lessons.
Newington Armory, Sydney Olympic Park
Doss was inducted into the army and went through basic training at Fort Jackson in 1942. For the movie, Newington Armory stood in for the South Carolina fort.
Fox Studios in Moore Park, Sydney
The backlot was used for filming some of the battle scenes. Visitors can get a tour of the studios where other iconic films like The Matrix, Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby were made.
Goulburn, New South Wales
Hacksaw Ridge was a treacherous 400-foot cliff laced with booby traps and Japanese machine gun nests. But it was a vital part to winning the Battle of Okinawa. For the movie, parts of Goulburn were used for some of the ridge scenes. Before the film, the town was largely known for The Big Merino, a 50-foot sheep monument to Australia’s wool industry.
Open farm space in Bringelly doubled as battlefield for some seasons. While shooting, film crew completed transformed the land into a barren pit, complete with burnt trees, logs and a smoke machine.