Ever dreamed of seeing spectacular sites around the world that have been made famous by the silver screen? Think the grandiose mansion from Batman, the gorgeous cityscape of Tokyo a la Lost in Translation, or the lavish medieval castle from Oscar- guzzlers like Milos Forman’s 1984 Amadeus.
Witness the most fascinating spots on planet earth all while satisfying your inner cinephile by traveling to these eight locations in the world where famous movies have been filmed. You’re welcome.
See These 8 World Famous Movie Filming Locations
What do box office hits like Casino Royale and the Mission: Impossible franchise have in common? One word: Prague. Known as the “City of a Hundred Spires,” the capital of the Czech Republic is a distinct spot that’s been posing as other cities on the silver screen for decades-- even before the fall of communism ushered in a further wave of Hollywood opportunism! With it’s a myriad of Gothic churches, colorful baroque buildings, and the infamous pedestrian Charles Bridge that’s lined with statues of various saints, the historic locale has become a superstar all on its own.
The city made for a lavish sort of Vienna in Czech native Milos Forman’s buzzworthy 1984 Academy-Award winner, Amadeus, about the one and only Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In 2006, the city became home to James Bond in Casino Royale, which called upon the area to serve as its Venice, London, and even Miami, incorporating buildings such as the Danube House in the center of Prague for Dryden's Office in the pre-title sequence where Bond kills two guys to receive his 00-status, as well as the National Museum for Bond and Vesper's Hotel. Likewise, the Mission: Impossible franchise has chosen to make multiple repeat visits to Prague as well, using the Prague Castle as the Moscow Kremlin and on some occasions, have even allowed the well-preserved European destination to play itself. Prague truly is a haunting, extravagant, and memorable riverside town that’s eager to charm anyone who visits it, especially for filming purposes.
Unsurprising, the 1987 film The Last Emperor was set, naturally, in its home: Beijing's majestic Forbidden City, which served as the residence for over twenty emperors across the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Take a stroll through the hallowed courts of the Imperial palace while marveling at glittering thrones and ornate caissons. Walk amidst classical Chinese gardens, atmospheric halls, finely landscaped pavilions, and a slew of cultural exhibitions displaying everything from temple musical instruments to ceremonial bronze vessels and ceramics. It’s easy to experience the lavish lifestyle of China’s last emperor Puyi while in the heart and soul of the country—just like Bernardo Bertolucci’s epic Oscar-winning film did almost three decades ago.
3. Rome, Italy
Any global film location tour would not be complete without a stop at Rome's Trevi Fountain, which has proudly served as the backdrop to classic films such as the 1960 comedy-drama La Dolce Vita, as well as everybody’s beloved 1953 classic, Roman Holiday. The Oscar-winning Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck career-boosters were filmed entirely in and around the streets of “The Eternal City” and centers around a day of freedom in the beautiful Italian capital for an otherwise duty-bound Princess Ann.
Experience a happy day of art, architecture, and culture when in Rome before throwing a coin into that signature Baroque fountain that actually became even more famous from its appearance in Federico Fellini’s Palme d’Or winning tale about a gossip journalist who journeys through the “sweet life” of Rome in search of love and happiness over seven days and nights. Go on and live the good life.
Nobody will ever seem to forget the vast, fiery desert backdrop from the 1962 classic Lawrence of Arabia that later served as filming locations for the 2000 thriller Red Planet, as well as the second film in the Transformers franchise, Revenge of the Fallen, in 2009, where it served as Egypt.
Film buffs will no doubt love touring through Jordan’s sprawling, arid landscape amidst towering rock formations, such as the Seven Pillars of Wisdom that go back over four thousand years. The region is known as “The Valley of the Moon,” and it just so happens to be a super popular setting among filmmakers for science fiction movies set on otherworldly planets as well—think Prometheus (2012), The Last Day on Mars (2013), and Ridley Scott’s The Martian (2015).
5. New Zealand
Lord of the Rings fanatics should definitely head on over to New Zealand, where imposing mountains such as Wellington’s dramatic Mt. Victoria and the South Island’s Fiordland stood in for mythical Middle Earth in Peter Jackson’s trilogy of films. The mix of landscapes and cultures in the area has long made it a popular international film-making destination, and with Jackson’s help, it’s also become a buzzy tourist spot. Simply said, Kiwi tourism has no doubt risen in the past couple of decades!undefined
Walk on the wild side just like the Tolkienites through a real-life Middle Earth that even offers a bunch of awesome themed tours of Queenstown, Matamata, and the Southern Alps. Plus, for non-Hobbit lovers, it is nice to know that the “Land of the Long White Cloud” also plays home to the wonderful land of Narnia. No joke, New Zealand really is a one-stop shop for cinema geeks.
Situated in the southeast of Spain on the Mediterranean Sea, the parched, sprawling, and baked-clay landscapes of this Andalucían flatland has served as the backdrop to all too many spaghetti Westerns depicting the harshest incarnations of the Wild Wild West. Throughout the years, Hollywood has also used Spain’s sunniest region as a location for famous films from El Cid and King of Kings, or the infamously extravagant Cleopatra.
More recently, Ridley Scott even returned to the hundred kilometers of untamed coastlines and landscapes to complete his biblical epic, Exodus: Gods and Kings. A Mediterranean adventure awaits for even the most demanding of travelers in Almeria. So go on and bask in the glories of long sandy beaches and secluded coves that are bathed by warm waters. Or, join in on the traditional festivities of the Moors and the Christians to really transform and transport yourself into the heart of your favorite film.
7. Tokyo, Japan
It’s difficult not to fall into deep into love with Japan’s capital city after a viewing (or two) of the 2003 modern classic Lost in Translation. Just like Charlotte and Bob, enjoy a drink at the famed Park Hyatt Hotel bar overlooking Tokyo's sprawling, psychedelic skyline and find yourself venturing into something exciting and new.
Find love in a foreign land under bright lights, in a bustling city center that mixes the ultramodern with the traditional, and discover an unlikely bond that is as heartfelt as it is meaningful. It won’t be hard to make long lasting memories in this dazzling neon-lit urban jungle. Discover everything from Imperial temples or anime shops to cherry trees and trendy fashion districts. Culture and passion awaits.
Built in 1611, the Hatfield House has long had a proud association with England’s royal family—it’s also served as Tarzan’s house, Batman's house, and Lara Croft's house. Basically, it’s been a home base for numerous action heroes with mighty superpowers, giving it a chance to gain an awful lot of screen time, especially since film-makers continue to repurpose the U.K.’s most iconic buildings to use in their masterpieces.
Let’s just say that the Big Smoke in general has become an uber-popular spot for movie-making. Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College has popped up in everything from The Dark Knight Rises to The King’s Speech. James Bond even took to incorporating some of London’s stellar architecture such as the Broadgate Tower in Skyfall. Really.
This article was written by Pamela Chan.