Mink Machine

Movie locations around the world

Being a movie buff, I tend to visit movie locations on my travels. 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, Part 6, Part 7 and Part 8.

Lord of the Rings location in Wellington Lord of the Rings location in Wellington.

Featured: Lost in Translation, French Connection, Lord of the Rings, Highlander, Talented Mr Ripley, Mission Impossible, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Interview with the Vampire, The Beach, Rendition, Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain, La Dolce Vita, 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 as Bob Harris in 2003 and the right is the same spot in 2008.

Lost in translation scene Lost in Translation: Kyoto station

One of my favorite scenes from Lost in Translation is when Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) goes 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 Bob (Bill Murray) stare with sleepy eyes as his taxi rolls by the neon billboards of eastern Shinjuku.

French Connection (1971)

French Connection scene French Connection: Le Panier, Marseille

French Connection from 1971 is a gritty police drama featuring Gene Hackman. 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 (Fernando Rey) and Devereaux (Frédéric de Pasquale) made their sinister plans at Chateau d’If, a castle situated on an island 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

Mount Victoria in capital Wellington was the place where Elijah Wood (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 forest 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

The volcano Mount Ngauruhoe 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 the area around Mount Ruapehu, including the prologue battle. The mountain was also used as Mount Doom in a few scenes.

Highlander (1986)

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

The striking Eilean Donan Castle was used as the home of Clan MacLeod and its head Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert), featuring a lot in the beginning of the movie. But if you want to visit it, note that even though the village is described as Glenfinnan, the Eilean Donan Castle is actually located about 45 kilometers north of Glenfinnan.

Highlander scene Highlander: Bow Bridge, New York

The immortals Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) and Sunda Kastagir (Hugh Quarshie) met at Bow Bridge way back in the eighties, in the New York scenes from Highlander.

Talented Mr Ripley (1999)

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

Talented Mr Ripley is full of amazing Italian scenery. In Rome Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) went for a walk in the sunset to explore the Roman ruins.

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

Freddie Miles (Philip Seymour Hoffman) made an eye-catching entrance in the film, as he drives his car straight into Piazza Navone to interrupt the dinner that Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) is having with Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law).

Talented Mr Ripley scene Talented Mr Ripley: St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice

Arriving later in Venice, Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) and Jack Davenport (Peter Smith-Kingsley) walk across Piazza San Marco with the St. Mark’s Basilica in the background.

Talented Mr Ripley scene Talented Mr Ripley: Calle Traghetto Vecchio, Venice

Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) says farewell to Marge Sherwood (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Herbert Greenleaf (James Rebhorn) on the pier opposite Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute.

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 next to Lichtenstein Palace, featured prominently in the beginning of the film where Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) had all sorts of problems with his mission.

Mission Impossible scene Mission Impossible: Kampa Island, Prague

The wooden fence in the same riverside alley, where the bad guy was hiding and Tom Cruise later escapes from the police arriving by boat.

Mission Impossible scene Mission Impossible: Platnérská, Prague

Jim Phelps (Jon Voight) is approaching the safehouse, door on the left. The location can be found quite close to the eastern part of Charles Bridge.

Mission Impossible scene Mission Impossible: Platnérská, Prague

Tom Cruise later uses a different route on his way back to the safe house, but normally the gate leading down to the river docks is locked.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974)

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

The picturesque Castle Stalker 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

The castle Doune Castle was used for a lot of scenes. This is where John Cleese insulted King Arthur in a 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.

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, based on the book by Anne Rice. 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 in 1939.

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 featuring Leonardo DiCaprio 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, Marrakesh

Douglas Freeman (Jake Gyllenhaal) seeks comfort in the bottle while overlooking the big square Djemaa el Fna from a balcony. One year later, I managed to find a spot a few meters away from that balcony.

Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (2001)

Amelie scene Amelie: Bar des Deux Moulins, Paris

Bar des Deux Moulins is the infamous bar in Montmartre where Audrey Tautou (Amélie) and the main characters worked. It is a normal café, even though there are posters from the movie reminding us of its past.

La Dolce Vita (1960)

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

Sylvia (Anita Ekberg) and Marcello Rubini (Marcello Mastroianni) goes for the infamous late night stroll through the waters of Fontana di Trevi. 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.

Moulin Rouge (2001)

Moulin Rouge scene Moulin Rouge: Moulin Rouge exterior, Paris

Baz Luhrmann’s vibrant Moulin Rouge is full of fairy-tale scenes of “fin de siècle”-style Paris. I like the view from the room of Christian (Ewan McGregor), even though it’s of course done with a green screen. And no, there is no elephant in there – I’ve checked.

4 comments

  • avatar
    Johan
    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
    Kristina
    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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