Movie locations around the world
Being a movie buff, I tend to visit movie locations when I travel. As I got back from Marseille, where I followed in the footsteps of French Connection and Love Actually, I thought of putting together a list with some of my favorite visits during the years.
Left images are from the actual films and to the right are my visits to the spots.
Featured movies: Lost in Translation, French Connection, Lord of the Rings, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain, La Dolce Vita, Highlander, Talented Mr Ripley, Interview with the Vampire, The Beach, Rendition, Mission Impossible, Moulin Rouge, Friends with Benefits.
Lost in Translation (2003)
Ah yes, here we go. Lost in Translation is quite special to me for several reasons and the bar at 52nd floor of Park Hyatt is the most well-known location in the film. Left picture is Bill Murray in 2003 and the right is the same spot in 2008.
Anthony Bourdain also sat at this exact spot in Parts Unknown 2013.
Scarlett Johansson went on a lonely trip from Tokyo to Kyoto by Shinkansen. Urban alienation has never been sweeter.
During the first scene we see Bill Murray stare with sleepy eyes on the neon billboards of eastern Shinjuku.
French Connection (1971)
The left scene was shot 40 years ago, where an unnamed character is making his way home through the stairs of Le Panier, the oldest part of Marseille.
Charnier and Devereaux made their sinister plans at a castle outside Marseille. It was also the setting for Dumas’ novel The Count of Monte Cristo.
Lord of the Rings (2001)
This was the place where Frodo and the hobbits first encountered the nazgul. It was also the site for the very first shooting of the trilogy, catching the press off guard. The area was also used for the scenes at Weathertop, Dunharrow, Hobbiton Woods and Outer Shire.
This volcano on the north island of New Zealand was used as Mount Doom for a few scenes in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, but since the local population didn’t allow filming there for religious reasons the crew had to make a digital replica of it.
A lot of Lord of the Rings scenes were shot in this area, including the prologue battle. The mountain was also used as Mount Doom in a few scenes.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974)
This picturesque castle was used as Castle Aaargh and the place for the final confrontation with the insulting French.
This is where John Cleese insulted King Arthur in French accent and later goes on a killing spree at a wedding. Also the site of the wooden rabbit trick and “fetchez la vache”, as well as home to the very friendly girls of Castle Anthrax.
Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (2001)
The infamous bar in Montmartre where the main characters worked.
La Dolce Vita (1960)
Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni goes for a late night stroll through the fountain. Even though it was shot at night, Anita endured the cold for hours in her wet dress. But Marcello wore a wetsuit and had an entire bottle of vodka, making him drunk during the shooting.
The castle was used as the home of Clan MacLeod.
Talented Mr Ripley (1999)
Matt Damon went for a walk in the sunset to explore the city.
Philip Seymour Hoffman made an eye-catching entrance in the film.
Interview with the Vampire (1994)
This was the home of Louis in the movie Interview With The Vampire. It took days for production crew to put moss on every branch of the trees and paint the house in an eerie green color. The owners were quite disturbed at Brad Pitt kicking the beautiful cypress front door over 25 times until he got it right. The house was also used for the opening scene of Gone With The Wind.
The Beach (2000)
While the book by Alex Garland may be a fan favorite for backpackers, the film is not nearly there but the first half is quite good at invoking the ups and downs of mass tourism in Thailand. The place where the movie The Beach was shot can be quite crowded these days, but the water provides fine snorkeling and the surrounding limestone cliffs are nothing short of spectacular. However, Alex Garland’s book was actually inspired by the lagoon El Nido at island Palawan in the Philippines, and the book was also written there according to the legend.
Jake Gyllenhaal seeks comfort in the bottle while overlooking the big square Djemaa el Fna from a balcony. I managed to find a spot a few meters away from that balcony.
Mission Impossible (1996)
Tom Cruise and Kristin Scott Thomas escape from the cellar.
This is the riverside alley featured prominently in the beginning of the film where Tom Cruise had all sorts of problems with his mission.
The wooden fence where the bad guy was hiding and where Tom Cruise escape from the police.
Moulin Rouge (2001)
I like the view from Ewan McGregors room, even though it’s done with green screen. And no, there is no elephant in there – I’ve checked.
Friends with Benefits (2011)
Silly movie with great locations. The name of this famous fountain comes from the story of an angel giving healing powers to the pool of Bethesda in ancient Jerusalem. The statue on top, Angel of the waters, is a neoclassical winged female figure symbolizing the opening of the Croton Aqueduct in 1842 that brought fresh water to the citizens. This is also the site of the final scene in the graphic novel 'Death – the high cost of living' by Neil Gaiman.
If you’re curious about any locations, I recommend the database Movie Locations. But don’t believe that everything you see is actually there, since a lot is made with green screen these days.