Passchendaele (2008)

Passchendaele 2008tt1092082.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Passchendaele (2008)
  • Rate: 6.7/10 total 4,543 votes 
  • Genre: Drama | History | Romance | War
  • Release Date: 17 October 2008 (Canada)
  • Runtime: 114 min
  • Filming Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • Budget: $CAD20,000,000(estimated)
  • Director: Paul Gross
  • Stars: Paul Gross, Caroline Dhavernas and Joe Dinicol
  • Original Music By: Jan A.P. Kaczmarek   
  • Soundtrack: After The War
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: Battle | Veteran | Recruitment | Nurse | Shot In The Stomach

Writing Credits By:

  • Paul Gross (written by)

Known Trivia

  • Paul Gross wrote and directed this film, and it’s closing song “After the War”. Michael Dunne was his grandfather, a WW One vet, who once heartbreakingly confessed to a young Gross about bayoneting the young lad in the forehead. Gross later said on Dunne’s deathbed he was muttering for forgiveness and he was the only one who knew what was being talked about.
  • Is the most expensive Canadian film yet made, on a budget of $20 million.
  • Part of the funding came from the government of Alberta, which is also where it was filmed.
  • When filming the Battle of Passchendaele, Paul Gross was very meticulous about maintaining historical accuracy. He would keep various photos of the real battlefield and compare them with how the set looked.
  • A group of extras (Military members among them) camped near the Tsuu T’Ina battlefield set in what became known as “Camp Hornburg”, named for Corporal Nathan Hornburg who was killed in Afghanistan, September 24th, 2007 – close to the filming dates.
  • Extras were provided with 5mm wetsuits to make the hours and days of sitting and running in wet and muddy costumes bearable – even still many extras left after one day. A German full length jacket could weigh up to 60Lbs when wet and caked in mud.
  • According to the stunt coordinator Kirk Jarrett, he used up to 200 stunt men in this film. They came in, worked a day or two, and then left the set, just to be replaced by other stunt men.
  • When Sarah Mann asks Michael Dunne about the Battle of Vimy Ridge (where her father died), Michael answers that we “was in that fight”. Actor Paul Gross (Michael Dunne) actually narrated the documentary “The Battle of Vimy Ridge – Part 4: The Battle Joined and Won” in 1997, ten years before the production of “Passchendaele”.
  • The scene at the beginning of the battle of Passchendaele where Canadian soldiers walk on wooden planks between the wet trenches is virtually identical to a famous picture of the battlefield taken by Australian photographer Frank Hurley on October 29th 1917.
  • Passchendaele (now called Passendale) is only 12 km away from Boezinge, where the Canadian war physician John McCrae, killed in action in 1918, wrote his famous poem “In Flanders fields”.

Goofs: Continuity: The position of the German's bayonet over Dunne's chest during the scuffle.

Plot: The lives of a troubled veteran, his nurse girlfriend and a naive boy intersect first in Alberta and then in Belgium during the bloody World War I battle of Passchendaele. Full summary »  »

Story: Sergeant Michael Dunne fights in the 10th Battalion, AKA The "Fighting Tenth" with the 1st Canadian Division and participated in all major Canadian battles of the war, and set the record for highest number of individual bravery awards for a single battle.Written by Mark Cameron  


Synopsis: Set during the height of the First World War, Passchendaele tells the story of Sergeant Michael Dunne (Paul Gross), a soldier who is brutally wounded in France and returns to Calgary emotionally and physically scarred. While in the military hospital in Calgary, he meets Sarah (Caroline Dhavernas), a mysterious and attractive nurse with whom he develops a passionate love. When Sarah’s younger asthmatic brother David (Joe Dinicol) signs up to fight in Europe, Michael feels compelled to return to Europe to protect him. Michael and David, like thousands of Canadians, are sent to fight in the third battle of Ypres, a battle against impossible odds, commonly known as "Passchendaele". It is a story of passion, courage and dedication, showing the heroism of those that fought in battle, and of the ones that loved them.

{tab=FullCast & Crew}

Produced By:

  • Francis Damberger known as producer
  • Niv Fichman known as producer
  • Paul Gross known as producer
  • Thom J. Pretak known as line producer
  • Frank Siracusa known as producer
  • Austin Wong known as associate producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Paul Gross known as Michael Dunne
  • Caroline Dhavernas known as Sarah Mann
  • Joe Dinicol known as David Mann
  • Meredith Bailey known as Cassie Walker
  • Jim Mezon known as Dobson-Hughes
  • Michael Greyeyes known as Highway
  • Adam Harrington known as Colonel Ormand (as Adam John Harrington)
  • Gil Bellows known as Royster
  • James Kot known as Skinner
  • Jesse Frechette known as Peters
  • Rainer Kahl known as German Machine Gunner
  • Landon Liboiron known as Young German Soldier
  • Patricia Benedict known as Nursing Matron
  • Hugh Probyn known as Carmichael
  • Brian Dooley known as McKinnon
  • Robert Nogier known as Mr Harper
  • Francis Damberger known as Mayor Costello
  • David Ley known as Dr. Walker
  • Judith Buchan known as Mrs – Costello
  • David Brown known as Dr. Nigel Bernard (as Dave Brown)
  • Chad Nobert known as Doctor #2
  • Lois Holley known as Older Woman
  • Stafford Lawrence known as Older Man
  • Marty Antonini known as Johhny
  • James Defelice known as Morton
  • Sean Anthony Olsen known as Lt. Maxwell
  • Ryan Cowie known as Horne
  • Alex Arsenault known as Cahill
  • Justin Michael Carriere known as Godin
  • Tom Carey known as Witchell
  • Chris Ippolito known as Miles
  • Brett Manyluk known as Johnson
  • Jayson Therrien known as MP
  • Don Bland known as RSM Watchman
  • Brian Jensen known as Major Bingham
  • Joe Desmond known as Lt. Hanson
  • Christopher Myles known as Blind Soldier
  • David Lereaney known as Colonel McAndrew
  • Jeffrey Watson known as Wounded Soldier
  • David Haysom known as Gunner Officer
  • Stephen Warner known as Soldier #3
  • Jason Cermak known as Lewis Gunner
  • Joseph Allan Sutherland known as Rifleman (as Joe Sutherland)
  • Ross Crockett known as German Sargeant
  • C. Adam Leigh known as Stretcher Bearer
  • Teresa Hung known as Lady
  • Mandy Stobo known as Widow
  • Raymond G. Rempel known as Soldier in Church
  • Kevin Doree known as Canadian MP (uncredited)
  • Lara Taillon known as Nurse / nun in church (uncredited)

..{tab=Supporting Department}Makeup Department:

  • Chris Harrison-Glimsdale known as key hair stylist (as Christine Harrison)
  • Gail Kennedy known as makeup department head
  • Gail Kennedy known as special makeup effects supervisor
  • Rochelle Pomerleau known as assistant makeup artist
  • Joanne Preece known as assistant makeup artist
  • Jeanette Stawiarski known as hair stylist
  • Sharon Toohey known as assistant makeup artist
  • David Trainor known as special makeup effects technician

Art Department:

  • Cody Baker known as art department trainee
  • Sean Blackie known as co-set decorator
  • Greg Chown known as storyboard artist
  • Laura Cuthill known as head buyer
  • Justin Faubert known as assistant greens
  • Dean Goodine known as property master
  • Amber Humphries known as assistant set decorator
  • Craig Humphries known as graphic artist
  • Charmaine Husum known as props painter (as Scenic Charms)
  • Rick Janzen known as paint foreman
  • Tom Johnson known as paint coordinator
  • Corinna Johnston known as painter
  • Loyola Lewis known as on-set painter
  • Sean McGee known as assistant property master: second unit
  • Megz Reynolds known as set dresser
  • Christopher J.A. Smith known as on-set dresser
  • Jason Webster known as painter
  • James Weeks known as greens coordinator
  • Jordy Wihak known as assistant property master
  • Kelly Wills known as props
  • Ken Wills known as props assistant
  • Kimberley Zaharko known as assistant art director


Production Companies:

  • Damberger Film & Cattle Co. (in association with)
  • Rhombus Media
  • Whizbang Films

Other Companies:

  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  camera dollies
  • Duncan Morin Barristers & Solicitors  legal services
  • Eastside Communications  publicity: Germany
  • Film Finances Canada  completion guarantor
  • Tattersall Sound  picture editing facilities
  • Tattersall Sound  sound post-production


  • 21st Century Pictures (2009) (Australia) (all media)
  • AMG Entertainment (2009) (Japan) (all media)
  • Alliance Films (2008) (Canada) (all media)
  • Ascot Elite Home Entertainment (2010) (Germany) (DVD)
  • Atlantic Film (2009) (Finland) (DVD) (Blu-ray) (both DVD and Blu-ray cropped to 1.78:1)
  • Atlantic Film (2009) (Sweden) (all media) (Scandinavia)
  • Dutch FilmWorks (DFW) (2010) (Netherlands) (DVD)
  • Dutch FilmWorks (DFW) (2010) (Netherlands) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Eagle Films (2008) (non-USA) (all media) (Middle East)
  • Echo Bridge Home Entertainment (2010) (USA) (DVD)
  • Eén (2011) (Belgium) (TV)
  • High Fliers Distribution (2009) (UK) (all media)
  • Opening Distribution (2010) (France) (DVD)

..{tab=Other Stuff}Visual Effects by:

  • Austin Basile known as digital compositor
  • Romain Bayle known as matte painter
  • Dan Brittain known as digital compositor
  • Pete Dionne known as 3d supervisor: Technicolor
  • Christopher Elke known as visual effects producer: Technicolor Vancouver
  • Steve Elliott known as visual effects I/O: Technicolor
  • John Fukushima known as compositing supervisor
  • T.J. Galda known as studio technical supervisor: Technicolor Creative Services
  • Jason Giberson known as film scanning and recording
  • Ryan Kuba known as visual effects coordinator
  • Colin Liggett known as senior composite artist
  • Ken MacKenzie known as digital imaging technician
  • Ralph Maiers known as visual effects supervisor
  • Stephen Misek known as character technical director
  • Erik Nordby known as digital effects supervisor
  • Jeremy Price known as visual effects
  • Persis Reynolds known as visual effects executive producer: Technicolor Vancouver
  • Cabral Rock known as on-set visual effects coordinator
  • Vicki Silva known as digital compositor
  • Michael Stewart known as digital compositor: Technicolor
  • Patrick Thompson known as digital compositor
  • Chris Van Dyck known as digital compositor: Technicolor
  • Dmitry Vinnik known as visual effects artist
  • Derek Wolfe known as visual effects artist
  • Noel Wright known as compositor
  • Matt Yeoman known as digital compositor

Release Date:

  • Canada 4 September 2008 (Toronto International Film Festival)
  • Canada 17 October 2008
  • UK 4 September 2009
  • Sweden 28 October 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Finland 4 November 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Japan 6 November 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Brazil 21 December 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Spain 4 February 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • Argentina 28 April 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • Netherlands 15 June 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • Germany 24 June 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • France 18 August 2010 (DVD premiere)

MPAA: Rated R for sequences of realistic graphic war violence and sexuality


Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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