The Dig

2021 | Docudrama | 112 minutes | English


In Suffolk, England, 1939, Edith Pretty hires local excavator/archeologist Basil Brown to dig on her property. She has an instinct  there is valuable archeological treasures buried below.  Basil is astonished to uncover iron rivets from a ship that he surmised belonged to someone with distinction, like a king. News of the discovery spreads and Cambridge archeologist, Charles Phillips, takes over declaring the site to be of national importance. As they continue digging they discover coins and artifacts deemed to be from the sixth century Anglo-Saxon period. Phillips wants to bring the treasures to the British Museum. Edith refuses fearing with war imminent, the museum may not be safe. The exhibit appeared in the British Museum after Edith’s death, without mention of Basil Brown. Only recently is he given full credit. The name, Basil Brown, is now displayed along with Edith Pretty, next to the exhibit.

Carey Mulligan (Edith Pretty) / Ralph Fiennes (Basil Brown) / Ken Stott (Charles Phillips)
Why Stream This Film?
Sue Brunning, curator of the British Museum, called this “one of the most important archeological discoveries of all time.” And it was discovered by an amateur excavator/archeologist, Basil Brown, and Edith Pretty, a woman with an instinct about what was buried under her property. It’s as thrilling as an Indiana Jones film and it’s true.  
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 86%
  • Metacritic Score: 73
  • 75th Venice Film Festival, Winner, Golden Lion
  • Ten Academy Award Nominations. Winner: Best Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director (Alfonso Cuarón), Best Cinematographer (Alfonso Cuarón)
  • Festivals: Venice, Telluride, Toronto, New York
  • Best Film of 2018: Time Magazine and The New York Film Critics Circle

Now streaming on:

THE DIG is told with simplicity and a sensitivity to the pastoral Suffolk landscape of wide fields and wider sky. It’s a film that’s often quite thrilling, particularly in the dig‘s initial phases when it’s just Basil and Edith discussing how to proceed.
Sheila O'Malley

With the methodical patience of someone unearthing buried treasure with a tiny brush, THE DIG reveals itself to be a story of love and estrangement, of things lost and longed for, of life and death—of what lasts and what doesn’t.
Michael O'Sullivan

The Washington Post

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