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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.

You may also be interested in Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6.

Featured movies: Lost in Translation, Parts Unknown, 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.

Lost in Translation (2003)

Lost in translation scene Lost in Translation: Park Hyatt, Tokyo

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.

Parts Unknown scene Parts Unknown: Anthony Bourdain at Park Hyatt, Tokyo

Anthony Bourdain also sat at this exact spot in Parts Unknown 2013.

Lost in translation scene Lost in Translation: Kyoto station

Scarlett Johansson went on a lonely trip from Tokyo to Kyoto by Shinkansen. Urban alienation has never been sweeter.

Lost in translation scene Lost in Translation: Shinjuku, Tokyo

During the first scene we see Bill Murray stare with sleepy eyes on the neon billboards of eastern Shinjuku.

French Connection (1971)

French Connection scene French Connection: Le Panier, Marseille

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.

French Connection scene French Connection: Chateau d’If, 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)

Lord of the Rings scene Lord of the Rings: Mount Victoria, New Zealand

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.

Lord of the Rings scene Lord of the Rings: Mount Ngauruhoe, New Zealand

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.

Lord of the Rings scene Lord of the Rings: Mount Ruapehu, New Zealand

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)

Holy Grail scene Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Castle Stalker in Loch Laich, Scotland

This picturesque castle was used as Castle Aaargh and the place for the final confrontation with the insulting French.

Holy Grail scene Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Doune Castle, Scotland

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)

Amelie scene Amelie: Bar des Deux Moulins, Paris

The infamous bar in Montmartre where the main characters worked.

La Dolce Vita (1960)

La Dolce Vita scene La Dolce Vita: Fontana di Trevi, Rome

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.

Highlander (1986)

Highlander scene Highlander: Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland
Highlander scene Highlander: Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

The castle was used as the home of Clan MacLeod.

Talented Mr Ripley (1999)

Talented Mr Ripley scene Talented Mr Ripley: Forum Romanum, Rome

Matt Damon went for a walk in the sunset to explore the city.

Talented Mr Ripley scene Talented Mr Ripley: Piazza Navone, Rome

Philip Seymour Hoffman made an eye-catching entrance in the film.

Interview with the Vampire (1994)

Interview with the Vampire scene Interview with the Vampire: Oak Alley, Louisiana

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)

The Beach scene The Beach: Maya Bay, Phi Phi Islands

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.

Rendition (2007)

Rendition scene Rendition: Djemaa el Fna, Marrakech

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)

Mission Impossible scene Mission Impossible: Lichtenstein Palace, Prague

Tom Cruise and Kristin Scott Thomas escape from the cellar.

Mission Impossible scene Mission Impossible: Lichtenstein Palace, Prague

This is the riverside alley featured prominently in the beginning of the film where Tom Cruise had all sorts of problems with his mission.

Mission Impossible scene Mission Impossible: Kampa Island, Prague

The wooden fence where the bad guy was hiding and where Tom Cruise escape from the police.

Moulin Rouge (2001)

Moulin Rouge scene Moulin Rouge: Moulin Rouge exterior, Paris

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.

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.


  • avatar
    18 Mar, 2012

    Impressive article and collection of places, and without any too obvious ones like Empire State Building…

  • avatar
    19 Mar, 2012

    Thanks! I preferred to skip a lot of the too familiar places. :)

  • avatar
    07 Apr, 2012

    You managed to visit quite a few of them, very impressive. My biggest dream is to go visit the LOTR locations in New Zealand, they look unbelievably beautiful. One that I was lucky enough to see myself is Elizabeth Manor, the X-Men house filming location. Simply stunning!

  • avatar
    08 Apr, 2012

    Elizabeth Manor would be interesting to see. Thanks for the tip!

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