For those of you who love a good western, you’ll enjoy the Power of the Dog. This movie takes place in 1920’s Montana. It has a very strong cast and the scenery is incredible. But where was Power of the Dog filmed? Probably in one of the most unlikely places. But, as usual, there’s a method to the madness and the film location was chosen because it most closely resembled 1920’s Montana even if it wasn’t filmed in Montana. So let’s get started.

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Where Was The Power of The Dog Filmed?

The Power of The Dog was filmed in various locations across New Zealand, including Auckland and Manukau. Scenes were also shot on the Kauri Coast and in Raglan. Various sets were constructed in studios located in Auckland, Waikato, and Hawke’s Bay for post-production work.

Auckland provided the backdrop for a majority of the film, offering stunning views and rugged terrain. The Kauri Coast was used to provide some of the most dramatic landscape scenes in the movie. The location provided filmmakers with majestic mountains, pristine rivers, dense forests and wide open plains.

The Manukau area also featured prominently in certain parts of the movie. This area provided filmmakers with dramatic coastal scenes, as well as urban jungle shots.

Raglan also featured in the movie and provided some of the most picturesque beach locations for shooting. The region is known for its spectacular waves and surfers from around the world flock to this spot for a true taste of paradise.

What was The Power of The Dog All About?

The story follows two brothers who are forced to confront their past when a mysterious figure from their father’s disappearance arrives in town.

As the brothers unravel the truth about what happened to their father, they discover a secret that could have life-altering repercussions for them and those around them. 

The Cast

The main cast stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil, Kodi Smit-McPhee as Peter, Kirsten Dunst as Rose, and Jesse Plemons as George. Other cast members include Kenneth Radley, Sean Keenan, George Mason, Ramontay McConnell and more.

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Who Directed

The Power of the Dog was written and directed by Jane Campion. The movie is based on the book by Thomas Savage. Jane Campion was born in New Zealand so the territory is familiar to her. She has been directing films since 1986. Her films include The Piano, The Portrait of a Lady, In The Cut, and Bright Star, among others.

Did The Power of The Dog Receive Any Awards? 

The Power of the Dog won a number of awards including Academy Awards for Best Directing, BAFTA Award for Best Film, Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture, BAFTA Award for Best Direction, Golden Globe Award for Best Director, and more. 

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Technical Information

This movie runs for 2 hours and 6 minutes (126 minutes). The cameras used were the Arri Alexa LF with Panavision Ultra Panatar lenses and the Arri Alexa Mini LF with Panavision Ultra Panatar lenses.

Fun Facts

  • Benedict Cumberbatch learned how to play the banjo in order to do the film.
  • Kirsten Dunst had to work hard to learn how to play the piano. 
  • Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst were so in character during filming that they didn’t speak to each other.
  • In order to appear drunk, Kirsten Dunst would spin around a number of times to make herself dizzy.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch really got into this character. At the beginning of shooting, he didn’t wash for almost two weeks and started chain smoking. In fact, he smoked so much he actually induced nicotine poisoning three times!

Can You Visit the Set?

The ranch where the movie was filmed is not accessible to the public. But you can certainly explore other areas used in filming. 

For instance, the Braeside Farm Cottage is available for accommodation. Previously, it was a shearer’s quarters but is now a lovely cottage. It has three bedrooms, and one bathroom. It can sleep six guests.  

Other areas available to explore include the Central Otago Rail Trail, Queenstown Hill, and the Dunedin Railway Station. 

What is New Zealand Famous For?

If you are a rugby fan, then you will know that New Zealand is famous for its national rugby team. It’s also famous for its indigenous Maori culture, kiwis, and has more sheep than people.  The Lord of the Rings movies were also filmed here. 

For those of you who want to explore Maori history, check out the North Island. The South Island has plenty of lakes, mountains, glaciers, and fjords to explore.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the house in The Power of the Dog?

The rural property is in Central Otago and backs onto the Oteake Conservation Park in New Zealand.

Is The Power of the Dog based on a true story?

The movie is partly based on a true story and is inspired by the real-life experiences of its author, Thomas Savage.

Why is it called Power of the Dog?

The title comes from Psalms 22:20: “Deliver my soul from the sword / My darling from the power of the dog.” At the end of the film, Peter reads the verse to himself in his room as Rose and George klss outside.

And That’s a Wrap!

Depending on where you live, the travel time to New Zealand will seriously cut into your actual vacation time. Not to mention dealing with jet lag. In order to make it worth your while, plan to stay at least 10 days to two weeks. You’ll probably never see everything you want to see in that time but that just means you can start planning your next trip to cover the places you missed. 

It’s also pretty expensive for accommodation and transportation. Some of the activities can be pretty expensive, too. The best time to visit would be during the low season from June to October. A typical two-week itinerary averages around $4,000 per person.

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New Zealand is considered one of the friendliest countries in the world. The locals are pretty laid back and very helpful which makes for a great time to be had by all!

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