UK Student Life homepage
Study, work or travel in the UK. British culture and life.
A-Z index
Message Board
Contact us
< Up
Britain / Films / Da Vinci Code
The film "The Da Vinci Code"
  Actors / actresses
  Notes about the film
  Further information
Related pages:
British films: Britain/Films


The film version of The DaVinci Code is released in the UK in May 2006
It is based on the book of the same name by American author Dan Brown.
The prequel to the book is called Angels and Demons, and the sequel will be The Solomon Key.

The Da Vinci Code opens with a late-night visit by the police to Robert Langdon, a professor of religious symbology from Harvard University. The curator of the Louvre (Jacques Saunière) has been found dead in the museum's Grand Gallery: his naked body has been arranged in a strange position, a sign is found marked on his body using his own blood, and a cryptic message is found next to the body. Langdon is suspected as the murderer and goes on the run. He is helped by the dead man's grand-daughter Sophie. They try to discover the secrets the curator was trying to protect, which both the Vatican and Opus Dei (a conservative Catholic group) want to keep hidden.

The Dan Brown Illustrated Box Set
(illustrated hardback boxed set edition of The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons)
Author: Dan Brown
Date: October 2005
The Da Vinci Code: The Illustrated Edition
(illustrated hardback edition of The Da Vinci Code)
Author: Dan Brown
Date: October 2004
Angels and Demons
(paperback book)
Author: Dan Brown
Date: July 2003
The Da Vinci Code
(paperback book)
Author: Dan Brown
Date: April 2004

Back to top


The following are the main characters in the story:
- Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks): an American professor of religious symbolism, from Harvard University
- Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou): a French cryptologist, the grand-daughter of the murdered curator of the Louvre (Jacques Saunière)
- Sir Leigh Teabing (Sir Ian McKellen): an eccentric English historian with specialist knowledge of the Holy Grail
- Captain Bézu Fache (Jean Reno): the French police chief who hunts Langdon
- Silas (Paul Bettany): a fanatical supporter of the religious sect Opus Dei

Back to top


Tom Hanks, an American actor from California, plays the lead character Robert Langdon. Some of the other films in which he has starred are Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Forrest Gump (1994) and Saving Private Ryan (1998). For a list of his other performances, see:

Audrey Tautou is a French actress who plays Sophie Neveu. Her best-known performances in the UK are in the films Amelie (2001) and Dirty Pretty Things (2002). For a list of her performances, see:

Sir Ian McKellen plays Sir Leigh Teabing. His best-known as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings films, and as a Shakespearean actor. For a list of his performances, see:

Back to top


The following paintings by Leonardo DaVinci are featured during the film:
- The Mona Lisa: this can be seen inside the Louvre Museum in Paris (France) (
- Madonna of the Rocks (also known as Virgin of the Rocks): two nearly identical versions are on show at the Louvre Museum in Paris and at the National Gallery in London (see:
- The fresco of The Last Supper: this is painted on a wall of a convent in Milan (Italy) (

Detail from "The Last Supper" fresco by Leonardo da Vinci
(the book claims that sitting next to Jesus is Mary Magdalene, not Peter)

Mona Lisa

The following vocabulary may be helpful to understand the film:
brethren (brothers, especially in a religious group) ; curator (a person in charge of a museum) ; self-flagellation (hitting yourself with a whip) ; cryptologist (an expert at studying secret codes) ; fleur-de-lis (a symbol showing a flower with three parts joined at the bottom) ; keystone (the middle stone in an arch) ; papyrus (a type of paper used in ancient times by the Egyptians) ; chalice (a cup) ; riddle (a word puzzle) ; cilice (a metal chain with spikes) ; to inter (to bury) ; orb (a spherically-shaped object) ; catatonic (a body that is stiff and nearly dead) ; an effigy (a representation of someone) ; a ritual (a fixed ceremony which is repeated); "sang" is French for "blood" ; a descendant (a person who is related to someone and lives afterwards)

You can use the following links to find out more about some of the people, events, objects and organisations mentioned in the film:

Mary Magdalene (a female follower of Jesus):
The Last Supper (meal which Jesus had with his disciples before he was killed):
The Crucifixion (the killing of Jesus on a cross):
The Holy Grail (an mythical relic, popularly believed to be a cup from the Last Supper):
The Gnostic Gospels (alternative early descriptions of Jesus' life):
Emperor Constantine (Roman emperor, 272-337):
Council of Nicaea:
The Knights Templar (protected pilgrims on the way to Jerusalem):
The Spanish Inquisition:
Leonardo da Vinci (Italian artist and scientist, 1452-1519):
Isaac Newton (famous English mathematician, 1643-1727):
Alexander Pope (an old English poet, 1688-1744):
Opus Dei (a conservative Catholic sect):
Priory of Sion:
Sénéschal (plural=sénéschaux):

The Fibonacci series starts 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 ...
The next number in the series is the total of the previous two numbers (0+1=1, 1+1=2, 1+2=3, 2+3=5 etc)
The numbers occur in nature and are used in computing

An anagram is a rearrangement of letters to form another word or phrase. For example, the word STUNTED is an anagram of the word STUDENT.
Two of the puzzles in the film are anagrams.

The questions asked by Sir Leigh Teabing test Langdon's knowledge of English traditions. Lemon, not milk, is usually added to Earl Grey tea.
Henley is an English town best known for its Royal Regatta, a series of rowing races:

Back to top


The film was shot mainly in the UK and France. Some of the locations in the story are listed below:


- The plane arrives at Biggin Hill airport in London (this is used for business jets and for air shows)
- Temple Church (nearest Tube: Temple; was built by the Knights Templar in 1185. Sir Leigh Teabing, Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu enter this church looking for the missing orb that might reveal the location of the Holy Grail.
- Westminster Abbey (nearest Tube: Westminster: contains the tomb of Isaac Newton, the famous English mathematician who is said to have been inspired to discover gravity by seeing an apple falling from a tree.

Knights Templar symbol
outside Temple Church

Westminster Abbey:
contains Isaac Newton's tomb

The National Gallery: here you can see the painting
"Virgin of the Rocks" by Leonardo DaVinci

England: Lincolnshire & Leicestershire

- Belvoir Castle ( 19th century castle, used for the exterior shots of Castel Gandolfo.
- Burghley House ( English stately home in Lincolnshire, used in the film for the interior of Castel Gandolfo.
- Lincoln Cathedral ( the film company couldn't get permission to film inside Westminster Abbey, so the inside of Lincoln Cathedral was used instead.
[for more about these locations, see:]


- Rosslyn Chapel, Midlothian ( a 15th century chapel south of Edinburgh (the capital of Scotland), built by a knight, which contains many symbolic carvings. It is rumoured to have contained the Holy Grail.


- Chateau de Villette ( Sir Leigh Teabing's home (a country estate north-west of Paris)
- In the story the flight leaves from Le Bourget airport, near Paris (this airport is now only used for business jets and for air shows). The film used the terminal building and tower at Shoreham airport in Sussex


- Louvre Museum (nearest Metro: Palais Royal Musee du Louvre, lines 1 or 7; in the story Jacques Saunière is found dead in the Grand Gallery here. Da Vinci's Mona Lisa can be seen in the Denon wing. The pyramid entrances to the museum also play an important part in the story.
- Saint Sulpice church (nearest Metro: Saint-Sulpice, line 4): See: The copper line across the floor in this church marks the first prime meridian (called the Rose Line in the book and film) - the international prime meridian was later chosen to be Greenwich (London).
- Ritz Hotel, Place Vendome (nearest Metro: Opera, lines 3, 7 or 8; the elegant hotel where Langdon stays
- Bois de Boulogne: park through which the taxi passes when Langdon tells Sophie about the Priory of Sion brotherhood (on the west side of Paris)

Louvre Museum, Paris

Inverted pyramid

Astronomical gnomon in Saint Sulpice

The line on the floor marked the first prime meridian.
This ellipse is where the sun's rays fell on each equinox.

The Rough Guide to the Da Vinci Code: History, Legends, Locations (book)
Publisher: Rough Guides
Date: November 2004
Cracking the Da Vinci Code: The Facts Behind the Fiction (book)
Author: Simon Cox
Publisher: Michael O'Mara Books
Date: April 2004
Cracking The Da Vinci Code (2 DVDs)
Studio: Odeon Entertainment
Date: March 2006

Back to top


Some of the tours in the UK or France which allow you to discover locations featured in the film The Da Vinci Code:

Premium Tours: On the trail of the Da Vinci Code
Golden Tours:
Evans Evans:
Every Friday (from 1-2pm) Robin Griffith-Jones gives a talk in Temple Church, London about the Da Vinci trail:

Walks of Paris:
Paris Muse:
The Louvre museum offers a special Da Vinci Code soundwalk:

Tours to Rosslyn Chapel from Edinburgh:

The Da Vinci Code and the Secrets of the Temple: The Master of TheTemple
Author: Robin Griffith-Jones
Publisher: Canterbury Press
Date: April 2006

Back to top


Back to top


British films: Britain/Films
Edinburgh: Travel/Tours/Scotland/Edinburgh
Lincoln: Travel/Tours/England/Lincoln
London: Travel/Tours/London
Paris: Travel/Tours/Paris
Wordplay: Ideas/Fun/Wordplay

Home page: Home

Back to top

© UK Student Life 2002-2009

* Search this website ( or the web: