Last updated on August 15, 2022
While many major films shoot on a closed soundstage in Los Angeles, California, sometimes productions venture out into the real world to create movie magic! These featured famous movie locations span around the globe and add a special flair and ambience that would be impossible to recreate.
From North America to Australia and everywhere in between, earth has a variety of landscapes that portray well on the big screen. Read on to find out where some of your favorite movies were filmed!
Are you a movie location buff? Then go ahead and test your knowledge in our quiz about these famous movie locations. If you’re not quite ready for that, read on to learn about some pretty famous movie locations.
50+ Famous Movie Locations Around The World
Famous Romance Movie Locations
~ The Cliffs of Insanity in The Princess Bride (1987) are real-life terrifyingly steep cliffs located in Ireland called the Cliffs of Moher.
~ Katz’s Delicatessen in New York City is one of America’s most iconic restaurants and lunch spots on its own. However, it soared to new heights after being featured in an unforgettable and iconic “I’ll have what she’s having” scene from the 1989 romantic film, When Harry Met Sally.
~ Additionally, from the movie Mamma Mia! and the small Greek island of Skopelos, the church in which Sophie and Sky are to be married is a stunning filming location. The scene was filmed at the Convent of Agios Ioannia Prodromos, which juts out into the sea atop a 100 meter rock formation.
~ The district of Montmartre in Paris, France was featured as a magical backdrop for the Oscar-nominated masterpiece Amélie (2001). One of the most memorable locations from the movie is the beautiful café where Amélie worked that you can visit.
~ Every girl who grew up in the early 2000’s was envious of Carrie Bradshaw traipsing around New York City in high heels looking for love and giving dating advice. When Sex and the City turned into a movie in 2008, everyone was heartbroken for Carrie when Big ditched her at the altar. The filming location of the wedding that did not transpire between Carrie and Big is the New York Public Library which is on 5th Avenue between 40th and 42nd Street.
~ With simple white houses and gorgeous ocean views, the small Greek island of Skiathos served as the backdrop for most of the 2008 film Mamma Mia!
~ Pretty Woman (1990) made the luxurious Regent Beverly Wiltshire hotel in Los Angeles, California notable as the location where Vivian (played by Julia Roberts) and Edward (Richard Gere) develop their relationship.
~ For an alternate Pretty Woman filming location that isn’t quite so luxurious, head to the Las Palmas Hotel, just off Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. This is where Vivian and her roommate Kat share an apartment and at the end of the movie where Edward climbs up the fire escape to declare his love to Vivian.
~ You can visit the house with the blue door, home to Will Thacker in Notting Hill (1990), at 280 Westbourne Park Road in London, England. Although this door made a notable appearance in the movie, the interior shots of the flat were actually filmed elsewhere!
~ In the 1964 movie Viva Las Vegas, the wedding scene between Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret took place at the Little Church of the West. Built in 1942, the church is a redwood structure and is one of Vegas’ oldest wedding chapels! It is still in use today if you want your nuptials with a side of Vegas history.
Famous Comedy Movie Locations
~ You can still grab a burger at Top Notch, the hamburger joint that served as one of the teen hangouts in the film Dazed and Confused (1993). The coming of age film featured Mathew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, and Liv Tyler as some high school kids looking to party while also contemplating the next stages of their lives.
~ Kevin McCallister’s red-brick family house in Home Alone (1990) is a real stunning mansion located outside the city of Chicago in the suburb of Winnetka, Illinois. In 2012, the house sold for $1.585 million, a lot less than the original listing price of $2.4 million.
~ The Hangover (2009), is a tale of male debauchery gone wrong! The city of Las Vegas is captured as the group tries to find their missing friend but the most memorable filming location is the villa in Caesars Palace. A hotel room that the group checks into and ultimately trash (including a kidnapped tiger!).
Famous Action Movie Locations
~ Called Nakatomi Plaza in the movie, Fox Plaza is the Los Angeles, California skyscraper where Bruce Willis as John McClane spent most of Die Hard (1988) hunting down German terrorists took place.
~ The stunning temple in Petra located in Jordan dates back to the first century AD and served as the resting place of the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). It can also be seen in other action movies such as Aladdin (2019), The Mummy Returns (2001), and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009).
~ In Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), Lara Croft, played by Angelina Jolie, is on a quest to recover some ancient artifacts. On her journey, she ends up traveling to a 12th-century temple located in Cambodia called Bayon Temple in Angkor Thom.
~ Also in the first film, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), an elaborate set at Wallilabou Bay on the island of St. Vincent appears as the iconic Port Royal. Port Royal was a historically notorious pirate’s haven located on the north coast of the island of Jamaica. (Unfortunately, the real Port Royal was demolished by an earthquake in 1692 — some say as retribution for its wicked ways.)
~ Sylvester Stallone famously jogged and shadow boxed on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the movie Rocky (1976). Filming Location Fact: If you want to recreate this scene, there are 68 steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art that you will have to train for.
~ Avengers Assemble! In….Cleveland? The 2012 film The Avengers, was shot around Cleveland, Ohio, USA besides some pivotal scenes filmed in a studio in New Mexico. Film Locations Fact: the vast laboratory shown is the 122-feet high aluminum vacuum chamber of NASA’s Space Power facility in Sandusky, just west of Cleveland.
~ Jason Bourne (2016) which is part of the Hollywood action-packed series the Bourne Series, is the only movie ever to be allowed to shut down the Las Vegas Strip to shoot a car chase scene.
~ Traditionally, it’s Seoul that draws all the big flicks so when it was announced that Black Panther (2008) would film in Busan, the second largest city in South Korea, it was kind of a big deal. Set locations include the Jagalchi fish market and the scenic Gwangan Bridge.
~ Major sequences of the original Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) film were shot in the jungle island of Dominica, and the film helped put the lush tropical island on the tourist map.
Famous Science Fiction Movie Locations
~ The exterior of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in the X-Men franchise is a remarkable castle found in the province of British Columbia in Canada.
~ Although James Cameron’s Avatar (2009) is mostly known for its impressive CGI, there were some real-life landscape shots incorporated into the film that were shot in various areas in Hawaii.
~ The Star Wars franchise has traveled across the universe and simultaneously filmed all around the globe! With now 12 films in the franchise, a selection of the many Star Wars filming locations not filmed in a sound stage are:
- Death Valley National Park, United States
- Lenno, Italy
- Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Mount Etna, Italy
- and MANY more…
~ While this location exists on Earth, its otherworldly qualities are utilized often as a stand-in for scenes set on Mars! Wadi Rum in Jordan has stood in for Mars in such movies as Red Planet (2000), Last Days on Mars (2013), and The Martian (2015) to name a few.
~ Actually, a notable filming location from the original Star Wars (1977) is the Mayan temple ruins in Guatemala’s Tikal National Park. The location was shot as the Massassi Outpost rebel base on the fourth moon of Yavin in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.
~ The first installment of the Hunger Games series, The Hunger Games (2012) did not even get close to Hollywood but instead was filmed entirely in North Carolina, USA. The DuPont State National Forest was used for the Arena scenes.
~ The 1984 film Ghostbusters featuring Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd is filmed all over New York. In facts, the filming locations are so popular to visit even 30 years later, there’s a map available with all the famous New York sites on it. Some locations featured include: the New York Public Library, Columbia University, Manhattan City Bank, City Hall and more.
~ The 1982 film, Blade Runner starring Harrison Ford was shot in the city of Los Angeles, California. An interesting story related to the film is that almost all of the companies who had their logos or products featured suffered some kind of misfortune after the film premiered. The “curse” hit such brands as Pan Am, Atari, RCA, Cuisinart, and even Coca-Cola.
Famous Western Movie Locations
~ The Tabernas Desert located in Almeria, Spain was home to hundreds of Hollywood Western films during the 60’s and 70’s. In fact, an entire town was built to capture the right vibe and movies like Once Upon A Time in the West and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly were filmed there. The prop town still stands and is a popular tourist attraction within the 170 square mile National Park.
Famous Fantasy Movie Locations
~ Frodo and his band of hobbits traipsed around Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings trilogy but in real life, the majority of the landscapes seen in this Hollywood blockbuster are from shooting at various filming locations in New Zealand.
~ A specific set from Lord of the Rings that is iconic (if not small in stature) is Hobbiton, home of the hobbits. The set was located in New Zealand in Waikato’s Hinuera Valley and featured small homes with circular doors built into the rolling hills. Unfortunately the location is back to its pre-hobbit state and the village is no longer there.
~ The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland can also be seen in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) as the location of the Horcrux Cave.
~ In both J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books and the movies, the Hogwarts Express, the train that takes the young wizards to school, departs from Platform 9¾ at Kings Cross Station in London, England. If you want to follow in the footsteps of the wizards, head to the arch between platforms 4 and 5. Just don’t try to run through the wall!
~ The famous baseball diamond featured in Field of Dreams (1989) is still around and became a multimillion-dollar baseball complex called All-Star Ballpark Heaven after the movie wrapped. You’ll have to take a road trip to Iowa to visit it.
~ The Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland, UK is most notable as the bridge that the Hogwarts Express train goes over on it’s way to Hogwarts in the films. Even Google recognizes it as the Harry Potter Bridge! It’s a beautiful spot in it’s own right, surrounded by greenery and an historical old church nearby. Besides the church, a parking lot is also close by and the bridge is easily accessible from there for all the J.K. Rowling visitors.
~ Alnwick Castle is a castle in the UK that has been used as a stand-in for Hogwarts Castle in some Harry Potter films. Playing on this, today, guests to the castle can experience the magic of Harry Potter with their own broomstick training lesson.
~ Known most notably as La Push beach on the Quileute Reservation in vampire romance series, Twilight (2008), the location is where Bella recklessly dives off a cliff into the deep ocean waters, and the location where Bella begins to realize that something isn’t quite normal about Edward was shot. In real life, the beach is called Indian Beach and is found in Ecola State Park, Oregon, USA.
~ Other filming locations featured in the Twilight series include additional spots in Oregon and Washington, USA, and various locations in British Columbia, Canada. Many scenes are in the lower mainland area, including North Vancouver, Squamish, Pemberton, and New Westminster. They also travel as far as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (2011) for the iconic honeymoon scenes.
Famous Movie Locations: History & Drama
~ The unforgettable and iconic D-Day landing scenes from Steve Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998) were shot on two beaches in Ireland.
~ The real-life story behind the 2012 film Argo took place in Iran. However, due to the political climate, filming there was impossible so they had to film in neighboring Turkey.
~ The Thai beach from the movie featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, The Beach (2000) had to be closed in 2019 after over tourism damaged the area’s natural ecosystem. It finally reopened after 32 months. This paradise-like island with its sugar-soft white sand and translucent sea is now available again if you want to see the stunning and iconic beach from the film. To get there, head to Hat Maya, the main beach of Phi Phi Leh Island, near the city of Phuket, Thailand.
~ In The English Patient (1996), Kip famously takes Hana to a church, secures her into a harness and shows her its historic frescos with a flare. This real-life filming location is in the Basilica San Francesco in Tuscany, Italy.
~ Contrary to what the name suggests, The Grand Budapest Hotel highlighted in the 2014 comedy/drama movie of the same name is not actually a real hotel. The director created the hotel from an abandoned shopping centre in Germany as the filming location for the film. All sets were removed at the end of the shoot.
~ However, while the hotel is not available to visit, the surrounding town from the film was shot in the gorgeous town of Görlitz, Germany. The streets are an eclectic mix of medieval, art deco, and gothic architecture which lends itself on the big screen. Filming Locations Fact: Görlitz, Germany is also where Quentin Tarantino filmed Inglourious Basterds (2009).
Famous Horror & Thriller Movie Locations
~ Though Spielberg’s classic thriller, Jaws, takes place in the fictional town of Amity Island in New York, it was actually filmed throughout the town of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. You can still visit the dock in Martha’s Vineyard and see the place where the suspected shark was strung up for the town to see or you can head down the street over to the beach and see the spot where the Kinter boy was killed.
~ The Overlook Hotel in the psychological thriller, The Shining (1980) is inspired by the Stanley Hotel located in Estes Park, Colorado near Rocky Mountain National Park. Additionally, the Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood in Oregon was used for some exterior shots, though the hotel’s website explains that it lacks a hedge maze.
~ Many of the long shots in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963) were achieved by combining matte paintings with actual footage of Bodega Bay, a seaside town on the coast of Sonoma County, California. Filming Location Fact: The ominous white wood building that played such a prominent role in the action shot in the film was actually a real school house at the time in Bodega Bay.
~ During the award-winning thriller, The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) that features Jude Law and Matt Damon, there is a scene where Dickie and Ripley visit a nightclub in Vesuvio, Naples and perform a song. The real-life bar scene actually took place in Rome, Italy and they’re quite used to film tourists stopping in if you fancy a visit.
~ Scenes in the mind-bending thriller, Inception (2010) were filmed across several counties in Paris, France. There is a pivotal scene between Ariadne and Cobb when the Café Debussy explodes around them. This was, in fact, filmed at a deli, which was turned into a café for the scene that you can go see (it wasn’t actually blown up).
Famous Movie Filming Locations: Bonus
~ Over 200 films have shot scenes in Central Park in the city of New York since 1908, making it the most filmed public park in the world.
~ Although the world of Harry Potter is set in England, J.K. Rowling actually wrote a majority of the first book at coffeeshops in Edinburgh, Scotland. She gathered inspiration from the historic city and little tidbits can be seen throughout the series.
~ What do The Mummy, Kingdom of Heaven, Gladiator, Prince of Persia, and Game of Thrones all have in common? They each had a part shot at the medieval ksar (North African Arabic term for ‘castle’) of Aït Benhaddou, located in southwestern Morocco. Its stunning red desert landscape is what makes it so appealing to Hollywood films.
~ There’s a place in the woods of England that are extremely popular to shoot movies within. Bourne Wood has been the backdrop for many blockbuster movies over the years and is frequently chosen thanks to its close distance to central London film studios and the spacing of the trees which is said to maximize natural light. A taste of some of the movies filmed here include: Gladiator, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Snow White and the Huntsman, Harry Potter and the Half – Blood Prince, and Wonder Woman.
~ A famous scene in the film Indian Jones And The Last Crusade (1989) is when Indiana Jones is exploring the sewers under the city of Venice with Elsa and discovers a Holy Grail Marker, along thousands of rats in sewer water. As you can see in the film, the rats are real and had to be bred specifically for the movie due to risk of disease. This led to over 2,000 rats specifically bred to film this scene for the movie. But as we all know, Indiana Jones doesn’t have a weakness…except for snakes. Good thing it wasn’t snakes!
Movies Are About More Than the Scenery!
Movies have the ability to transport people to another time and place; offering the ultimate escape to get lost in another person’s creativity and acting chops.
It’s not just film sets that get famous. Even just the draw of movie stars bring visitors to Los Angeles, California. For instance, there are more than 2,600 stars along the street on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Visitors come from all over the world to visit and snap photos in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and compare their hands to the impressions of movie stars in the concrete all along Hollywood Boulevard.
People go crazy for film stars. Hollywood is ingrained in North American culture and transcends time and space. Old classics give a glimpse at times that have past and fantasy has the capability to transport you to another dimension. Hollywood movies are watched all over the world and the film locations that they are shot at have many stories to tell.
Now that you’ve read the whole post, go test your knowledge in our quiz about famous movie locations!
This post was compiled by the Travel Trivia Challenge (TTC) team. TTC was founded by Dalene and Pete Heck who traveled the world non-stop for almost 8 years.