There is something about watching a great movie that sweeps us in and takes us away to far away places. When we are watching fantasy worlds with amazing castles, or deserts full of action fighting scenes, the real locations they are shot at may surprise you. Here are some of the most popular locations for movie settings, some of them places you can really go and visit yourself. We have composed a list of 10 locations that may surprise you as a popular location for the movies you have watched and loved:
Remember that scene in Jurassic park when the main characters first see a living dinosaur? That jaw dropping backdrop of lush green forests that go on forever was filmed in Hawaii. Kauai was also featured in a Pirates of the Caribbean film, and many other tropical looking movies. Take a closer look the next time you watch one of those films, and see if you recognize a few of those locations. (At least, if you’ve ever vacationed on the smallest of Hawaii’s islands. If you haven’t, it’s the perfect excuse to go!)
Many people don’t realize that South Carolina is actually a favored spot for movie shoots. From Forest Gump and Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, to Diehard and the Haunted Mansion, lots of films have chosen South Carolina for some of their shoots. If you watch carefully you may recognize some of the features of an area near you, so keep an eye out the next time you watch one of these great shows.
The jaw dropping panorama that New Zealands idealic locations have to offer have made them a favorite for many of the fantasy sagas we have come to love lately. From the Lord of the Rings series to Narnia, we have been given the opportunity to stare in wonder at their enchanting landscapes, and believe without once blinking that it belongs to some fantastical place where elves and unicorns roam the earth.
While there may not really be unicorns or elves there, you can still go to these same locations and experience that rush of awe as you realize those beautiful landscapes at least are truly real.
If you’ve ever watched an action flick based on a middle eastern war zone, you were probably actually looking at Morroco. This stand in for the middle east has become popular for depicting wars without ever having to get into a real fire fight. Morroco has appeared in a number of films, from Black Hawk Down and Greenzone to Gladiator, and perhaps more surprisingly, Game of Thrones. That’s right. When you are watching the jaw dropping accounts of what is happening in Westeros, you are looking at Morroco!
While many shoots of Seattle are filmed in Canada, and many other famous cities are swapped around when convenient for Hollywood, New Mexico’s film site is famous because one of its shoots was actually filmed in the same location it was supposed to be!
You may have heard of the famous and extremely popular “Breaking Bad” series set in Albuquerque New Mexico. What may surprise you to learn is that it was actually filmed in Albuquerque New Mexico! A visit to this city will net you the ability to tour film locations, and you can enjoy cocktails and even donuts with the Breaking Bad theme.
Remember what we just said about Seattle being shot in Canada? Its in Vancouver, to be precise. Vancouver has been used in Fifty Shades of Grey for their sweeping shots of “Seattle” as well as being used as a stand in for such places as Pyongyang and rural China.
Many of these movies aren’t shown in Canadian theatres – probably so they aren’t found out.
Many films from the Ghost Busters to the X-men were filmed in New York. Best of all, many of these locations are places you can personally go to and visit. The head quarters for Ghost Busters is actually a fully functioning fire house, and Professor X’s home is actually the Salem center.
Remember those amazing dorms in the hunger games? Those are actually in the Marriot Marquis hotel. You can rent a room there and immerse yourself in the setting of one of your all time favorite movies with a quick trip here.
Who could forget the enchanting and beautiful Harry Potter films that swept us all up into the adventures at Hogwarts? If you’ve longed for a chance to visit these settings you can. Harry Potter was filmed all over England, but you may recognize a few key places from Christ Church College and Cathedral to Gloucester Cathedral.
Very few people from England actually recognize the places they see on the films, often suggesting other locations after watching them. It just goes to show you what good CG and a captivating storyline can do.
Simi Valley, California
Visiting your favorite sets is a wonderful way to reconnect with your favorite old movies. In some cases there are even parks dedicated to them, such as in Simi Valley, California where you can witness the location for dozens of popular movies from the 60s and 70s. During this time a large number of films were shot there, including Fort Apache, Buffalo Bill in Tomahawk Territory, The Robe, The Lone Ranger, The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, Sky King, Circus Boy, and Star Trek.
You can see these yourself by simply going to the park and taking a quiet stroll on what remains of the property. (It was destroyed by fire some time before becoming a public park.)
Even if none of these locations are places you have ever been, the odds are good there was a movie shoot near you at one point. You may want to do a little research and see what exciting scenes were acted out a stones throw from the place you call home. You never know what famous person may have been near by!