Feb 02, 2024

Nicholas Winton Biopic ‘One Life’ is Now Showing in Prague Cinemas

One Life, the Nicholas Winton biopic starring Anthony Hopkins that was largely filmed in Prague in 2022 and opened in UK cinemas on New Year’s Day, premiered in the Czech Republic on February 1.

The movie will be distributed locally by Vertical Entertainment.

The film cuts between two key periods in Winton’s life. The first, during the late 1930s, follows him as a young idealist who takes holiday leave from his job in the City to travel to Prague.

There he meets Doreen Warriner (Romola Garai), a crisply efficient British economist turned humanitarian who, on the strength of what we see here, would seem to be more than deserving of her own movie. A key member of the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia, Warriner is unflappable and inspiring, hair immaculate, heels clicking imperiously as she brazenly masterminds the covert movement of Jewish refugees under the noses of the Nazis.

Equally good is Bonham Carter as the glamorous and tenacious Babette Winton, a woman who, equipped with just a fur coat and a withering look, can coax miracles out of browbeaten British government penpushers.

In the later section, set in the 1980s, Nicholas Winton has retired and, at the behest of his wife, Grete (Lena Olin), has started to clear out a lifetime’s accumulation of box files from their comfortable home in Maidenhead, all of which are filled with details of various charitable endeavours. Among them is a battered briefcase containing the names and pictures of the children whose escapes from Prague he engineered.

Winton is not the kind of man who would blow his own trumpet, but he realises that this is an archive of historical significance. After a couple of false starts he meets Elisabeth Maxwell, wife of the newspaper magnate Robert Maxwell, and the story of Winton’s considerable contribution to the Kindertransport is taken up by the media.

In Prague, One Life shot at the city’s Main Train Station, which was the actual location the trains carrying ‘Winton’s children’ took off from. Today, a statue of Winton stands at the train station.

One Life also filmed in Prague’s Jewish Quarter (Josefov), by Prague Castle at Hradčanské náměstí and Pohořelec, at the Radnické schody steps in Malá Strana, on Mánes Bridge, and at locations on Hybernská, Opletalova, Politických vězňů and Kanovnická streets.

Outside of Prague, One Life also filmed at locations in Liberec, Plzeň, Chomutov, Veltrusy, and the Slapy Chateau. The film also shot on location in the United Kingdom, but reportedly moved the production of some scenes to the Czech Republic due to ongoing Covid regulations.

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