Here’s Where Famous Movie Scenes Were Actually Filmed. Some Are Not Where You Thought!
People love watching movies to escape for a while. It’s two hours of sitting back, relaxing and forgetting about real life. Some films leave a lasting impression on us. The gorgeous landscapes or unusual settings are often as memorable as the characters themselves. Check out some memorable scenes and landscapes from your favorite films, many of which you can visit.
Thelma & Louise’s Infamous Cliff Scene Was Filmed in Utah!
The most memorable part in Thelma & Louise (starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon) is when the pair drives off a cliff at the Grand Canyon after leaving Arkansas. But the scene didn’t actually take place there. The action occurred near Moab, Utah, where the Colorado River flows through Dead Horse Point State Park. Director Ridley Scott filmed the last third of the movie in the desert at Arches National Park.
Other scenes were shot at Shafer Overlook, Monument Valley, La Sal Mountains, La Sal Junction, Cisco, Old Valley City Reservoir, Thompson Springs, Arches National Park, and Crescent Junction in Utah.
You Can See The Actual Sleepless In Seattle Houseboat On A Lake Tour
The 1993 romantic comedy Sleepless in Seattle stars Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan and centers on a young boy who calls a radio talk-show to find his widowed father a girlfriend. Moviegoers fell in love with the Westlake floating home. While exterior shots were taken in Westlake, interior scenes were filmed elsewhere.
The houseboat sold for $2 million a few years ago. It’s located off Westlake Avenue in Lake Union. Since people live at the residence, the best way to see the place without disturbing anyone is by taking one of the various lake tours. Several other scenes in the film were also shot in the Seattle area.
Kevin Costner’s Field Of Dreams Is A Big Tourist Attraction
The 1989 fantasy drama Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner centers on a man who builds a baseball field in the middle of his Iowa cornfield. Much of the film was shot in Dubuque County, Iowa. A farm near Dyersville and an empty warehouse in Dubuque were also used for sets. Shots of the Kinsella farm were taken on the property of Don Lansing.
He turned it into a tourist destination, and around 65,000 people visited each year when the film celebrated its 20th anniversary. Go The Distance Baseball, LLC, bought the field in 2011 for purportedly $5.4 million.
The Site Of 127 Hours Is Really Remote
127 Hours stars James Franco as Aron Ralston, a canyon climber who is trapped by a boulder in Blue John Canyon, Utah. The movie was filmed in the actual location where Ralston survived for more than five days in 2003. Blue John Canyon runs South from Horseshoe Canyon in Canyonlands National Park.
The area is quite remote — about 30 miles from a paved highway and 60 miles from any services. Those experienced enough to explore the canyon must bring a lot of water, food, and gear to do so safely. The pool-dipping scene from the film is Homestead Crater, 300 miles north.
Stepford Wives‘ Spooky Robotic Women Lived In The Connecticut Suburbs
The 1975 film Stepford Wives centers on the much too perfect women of Stepford, Connecticut. The movie was shot in several towns in suburban Fairfield County in southwest Connecticut, including Darien, Westport, and Fairfield. The movie centers on Joanna Eberhart, a young wife who moves to the suburbs from New York City with her husband and two children.
She quickly learns the women are beautiful and seemingly love to do housework but act a bit like robots. Life is not as it seems in the idyllic, Connecticut suburbs outside the Big Apple. Even today the state has rich, well-to-do suburbs with residents such as Martha Stewart.
The Bed & Breakfast From Groundhog Day Still Operates As An Inn
In the 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, newsman Bill Murray wakes up over and over again in the Cherry Street Inn. The inn is located 50 miles outside of Chicago and is actually named the Royal Victorian Manor Bed & Breakfast in Woodstock, Illinois. The place frequently sells out on Groundhog Day even though the real festivities occur in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, over 500 miles away.
The inn went up for sale in 2014 for $985,000. Owners later dropped the price to $645,000. It has a huge front porch, fireplaces, and a beautiful wooden staircase. It still has a white picket fence and the recognizable front gate.
You Can Take A Road Trip To Visit The Locations In The Wine-Soaked Tale Sideways
The 2004 comedy Sideways centers on two men in their 40s who take a week-long road trip to Santa Barbara wine country for one last hurrah before one of them gets married. A big chunk of the filming was done north of Los Angeles between San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara.
On the first night of their trip, Miles and Jack stay at the kitschy Windmill Hotel (it’s actually the Days Inn in Buellton). They visit the Foxen Winery in Santa Maria, the Kalyra Winery, and a few others. Ocean Lanes has since been demolished. At the end of the film, Miles goes to Orcutt Burger in Santa Maria.
Scenes From The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Were Filmed In Georgia & Hawaii
A good chunk of filming for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire took place in Atlanta, Georgia. Much of that included the Marriott Marquis hotel (which was also used for the sequel, Mockingjay). Filming also took place in Hawaii. The cast and crew spent long, 14 hour days, six days a week working on the project.
Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth also traveled to Ringwood, New Jersey, to shoot District 12 scenes involving snow. After Lawrence won an Academy Award, she flew the following day to Hawaii to shoot for nine final days with co-stars Sam Claflin and Josh Hutcherson.
The Notebook Shows Off The Beauty Of South Carolina
The 2004 romance The Notebook stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as a couple who fall in love in the 1940s. In the present day, an elderly man talks about their love story to a fellow nursing home resident. Most of the movie was filmed in South Carolina and took place in and around Seabrook Island (an actual place).
Yet, most scenes were filmed in Mt. Pleasant, a suburb of Charleston. Lake scenes took place at Cypress Gardens, and producers brought in trained birds to flesh out the shots. The nursing home scenes were filmed at Rice Hope Plantation.
The High School From Napoleon Dynamite Is In Idaho
Actor Jon Heder was paid just $1,000 for his role in the 2004 comedy Napoleon Dynamite (he later received a cut of the profits). The entire film was shot on location in Preston, Idaho, near the border of Utah. Preston High was the site of numerous scenes, including the famous tether ball action.
Director Jared Hess had a small budget, and Preston residents were instrumental in giving food and housing to crew members. Hess said of the project: “It was so much fun being in this rural farm town making a movie. We shot it in 23 days, so we were moving very, very fast.”
Mount Rushmore Failed To Impress The Protagonist In Nebraska
The 2013 road comedy Nebraska was shot in black and white. It stars Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, and Bob Odenkirk. The film centers on an elderly man and his son who travel to Nebraska to collect a $1 million sweepstakes prize. On the way to collect their winnings, they pass by Mount Rushmore.
Dern isn’t too impressed with the national monument and says with a deadpan: “It’s just a pile of rocks.” Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint were chased across the monument in 1959 Alfred Hitchcock film North by Northwest; however, that scene was filmed at the MGM sound stages.
Devils Tower Took Center Stage In Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
The 1977 sci-fi film Close Encounters of the Third Kind centers on Roy Neary, a man from Indiana, who comes into contact with an unidentified flying object (UFO). Director Steven Spielberg originally wanted to film everything on sound stages due to issues he had with Jaws but later changed his mind.
Wyoming’s Devils Tower National Monument was used as the landing site for the alien mothership. Filming also took place in Burbank, California, and in two abandoned World War II airship hangars at the former Brookley Air Force Base in Mobile, Alabama. Some scenes were even filmed outside Bombay, India.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The 2003 remake of the horror film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre centers on a group of friends who encounter cannibals while visiting an old homestead. Most of the filming took place at the Hewitt House in Granger, Texas. Also the Old Crawford Mill in Walburg, Texas and a slaughterhouse in St. Taylor, Texas
The original film shot on location at Quick Hill Road near Round Rock, Texas. Currently, the La Frontera development is in that spot. The house was likely built between 1908 and 1910 and was ordered from a catalog and assembled on site. The home was vacant for many years and started deteriorating. It was then split into six pieces by an investor couple who moved it in 1998 to Kingsland, Texas, on the grounds of The Antlers Hotel. It’s now used as a restaurant.
None Of Fargo Was Actually Filmed In Fargo
The 1996 black comedy Fargo centers on Frances McDormand, a pregnant Minnesota police chief who investigates some roadside homicides. The movie was filmed in winter, largely in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and around the town of Brainerd, which was the film’s original title.
Low snowfall that season forced the crew to film snow-covered scenes in northern Minnesota and eastern North Dakota but not Fargo. The locations of the pool hall and car dealership in Minneapolis were later demolished. The Blue Ox motel/truck stop is still open. The Lakeside Club is closed. The Edina police station was rebuilt.
An Alaskan Restaurant Features A Replica Bus From Into The Wild
The 2007 film Into The Wild is an adaptation of the 1996 nonfiction book by Jon Krakauer. Emile Hirsch plays Christopher McCandless, who traveled into the Alaskan wilderness in the 1990s. After graduating from college, Christopher left his life and possessions behind to explore the United States.
He wound up in Alaska and ended up living in an abandoned bus. When his supplies ran low, he decided to return to civilization but couldn’t cross a stream that widened during the months he spent by himself. He eventually died, unable to conquer his surroundings. The movie was filmed in Alaska, and a replica bus from the film is a tourist attraction in Healy, Alaska outside of 49th State Brewing.
Most Scenes From Taxi Driver No Longer Exist
The 1976 neo-noir psychological thriller Taxi Driver took place in New York City following the Vietnam War. The all-star cast includes Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel, Cybill Shepherd, Peter Boyle, and Albert Brooks. New York City has changed a lot in the past 40-plus years.
Many of the locations have been torn down, rebuilt, or completely changed. Entire city blocks that appeared on the big screen no longer exist. For example, the West Side Elevated Highway is long gone. And the only way to tell where some scenes took place is a street sign or building number.
2 Fast 2 Furious Filmed All Over Florida and Sylvester Stallone’s Digs
The 2003 action film 2 Fast 2 Furious stars Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Eva Mendes, and Cole Hauser. It centers on former cop Brian O’Conner, who works with Roman Pearce and U.S. Customs Service agent Monica Fuentes to take down drug kingpin Carter Verone.
The movie (the second of seven), and its stock of hot cars was filmed all over Florida. Several scenes were shot on Miami Beach, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Hollywood, Seven Mile Bridge, and Homestead Air Force Base. Hauser’s character’s mansion was filmed in Coral Gables, which was owned by action star Sylvester Stallone.
One Of Pennsylvania’s Most Famous Attractions Is Featured In Rocky
1976 film Rocky centers on Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), a working-class boxer who ends up fighting for the world heavyweight title. Most of the film was shot in areas throughout Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One of the most famous scenes involves Rocky’s training sequences, which involved what became known as the “Rocky Steps.”
In actuality, they are the Art Museum Steps, and they are one of the most popular attractions in the city. Every year, tens of thousands of people of all ages recreate the famous scene from the film and run up the steps. They also visit the Rocky statue, which was originally created for Rocky III.
Caesars Palace Set The Scene In The Hangover, But The Hotel Suite Was Shot Off Location
In the 2009 comedy The Hangover, four friends go to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. When they wake up the following morning, the groom-to-be is missing, and no one can remember what happened. The film was shot predominantly on location at Caesars Palace in Sin City and included shots of the lobby, pools, elevators, and roof.
But the suite that they used was from Stage 15 at Warner Bros. in Burbank, Calif. And the cute “Best Little Chapel?” It doesn’t exist. Producers built the chapel on an empty lot on Las Vegas Boulevard, several blocks away from the strip.
The Bradbury Building From Blade Runner Is An Architectural Landmark
The 1982 sci-fi film Blade Runner centers on replicants, which are bioengineered androids that work on off-world colonies. When a rogue group returns to Earth, cop Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is tasked with hunting them down. The Bradbury Building was used during the showdown between Deckard and the replicants. An architectural landmark, the building is located in Los Angeles on 304 South Broadway.
It was built in 1893. It features ornately designed wrought-iron railings, geometric patterned staircases, and a five-story central court. Mining millionaire Lewis Bradbury commissioned the building. Visitors are allowed to tour the place, but they cannot go beyond the first floor.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Was Not Filmed In The United States
Although many people might consider The Good, the Bad and the Ugly as being a classic American western, they couldn’t be more wrong. The film is actually called a Spaghetti Western, which is a genre of films shot typically in Spain and Italy.
Interestingly, you can still visit the “American Old West” sets in the Spanish city of Almería, many of which are still in use today. There are even amusement parks in Spain called “Texas Hollywood” or “Fort Bravo.”
The Dark Knight Rises Put Christian Bale In Some Awesome Locations
In the third installment of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight films, Bale’s Bruce Wayne finds himself in a prison pit with a broken back in what appears to be Asia.
After finally recovering from his injury, he manages to spring himself from the prison only to find himself at the foot of the Mehrangarh Fort of Jodhpur, which is the second-largest city in the state of Rajasthan, India. So, if the scene looked pretty realistic, it’s because it was.
That Island Is Real In The Pirates Of The Caribbean
In The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, there is an iconic scene in which Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Turner are marooned on an island. The scene birthed the timeless line, “but why is all the rum gone?”
As it turns out, this is a real island known as “Petit Tabac” in the Tobago Cays island group off the Northeastern coast of Venezuela. In order to visit it yourself, however, you’ll need a charter boat (and plenty of rum).
Filming The Beach In Thailand Made Sense
When filming The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, filmmakers knew that they needed to find themselves a beach so pretty it almost doesn’t look real. One of their first ideas was Koh Phi Phi Leh, one of the largest islands in the Krabi province of Thailand.
However, if you’re looking to find an empty beach like in the film, you’re out of luck, because Koh Phi Phi Leh is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the whole country.
The Island From Cast Away Is Now Famous
While Tom Hank’s character in Cast Away, neither Hanks nor the audience had any idea where they actually were in the Pacific Ocean for almost the entire movie. The island was chosen for a specific reason, which was because it’s a completely uninhabited 99-acre island off the coast of Viti Levu, one of the largest islands in Fiji.
Although few people had probably never heard of Hank’s island before the movie, today, it’s not uncommon for tour boats to pass by almost daily.
Mad Max: Fury Road Broke Tradition
Although the premise for Mad Max: Fury Road remains the same, following Max as he navigates life through the world that ended, this movie did something different from the others.
Instead of filming in Australia where the previous films took place, director George Miller made the decision to move filming to the Namib desert of Namibia, and he couldn’t have made a better choice. The scenery is nothing short of stunning, with Miller commenting that “this picture looks painted, but it isn’t.”
Hobbiton Is A Real Place
While it’s common knowledge that The Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed in New Zealand, the production team knew that they had to do something special with Hobbiton, the home of the Hobbits. So, they built the entire city into the gorgeous backdrop of the Hinuera Valley of Matama in Waikato, New Zealand.
Even cooler, the set remains standing today and offers daily tours and plenty of other activities for people who want to spend the day as a Hobbit. Just an hour south, there’s even a famous glow worm cave!
Tatooine Isn’t On A Distant Planet
Although we’re made to believe otherwise, Luke Skywalker’s home of Tatooine doesn’t require a spaceship to get to. In order to achieve the perfect desert shots in the films, scenes that were supposed to be on Tatooine were actually in the Djerba, Sidi Jemour, Tozeur, Mos Espa, Tataouine, and Matmama deserts in Tunisia.
Not only can you go and visit these places, but fans of the films can also stay in Luke Skywalker’s home at the Hotel Sidi Driss in Matmata.
Travel To The “Roman Province” Of Zuccabar In Gladiator For Yourself
After being betrayed by the country he fought for, Maximus Decimus Meridius is kidnapped by slave traders and taken to the Roman province of Zuccabar, where he gets his first taste of gladiatorial combat. Although filming didn’t actually occur in an old Roman province, it was in Aït Benhaddou, also known as Morocco’s Hollywood, Ouarzazate.
This place is no stranger to filming, featured in more than 20 films and television shows over the years. However, it comes at a cost to the ancient city, with most film crews leaving a permanent mark of their work done there.
Halloween Is Not In Illinois
Although the classic slasher flick Halloween is set in the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois, it was actually filmed in Hollywood. If you look closely, you may notice the very California-esque palm trees that certainly wouldn’t be found anywhere in Illinois.
The houses in the film are actually across the street from each other and can be found on Orange Grove Avenue in Hollywood. Although two of the girls’ houses are still there, Michael Myers’s house from the beginning of the film has since been torn down.
The Not-So-Mysterious Island In Journey 2: Mysterious Island
The follow-up to 2008’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, the group now finds themselves on a strange island full of golden mountains, volcanoes, strange species, and more.
While we all wish that this island existed, in reality, the majority of the film was shot on the island of Oahu, near the Waimea Valley and Kualoa Ranch. Dwayne Johnson was pleased by this, stating, “There’s a texture where we shot that you really can’t simulate on a soundstage.”
The Boys Wished They Were On This Island In Lord Of The Flies
The Lord of the Flies is a classic book with several movie adaptations about a group of boys stranded on a deserted island that slowly but surely descend into madness and savagery.
In the 1990 remake of the movie, the boys weren’t on a deserted island at all, but Hawaii, more specifically, the Hamakua coast, which is on the northeastern part of the island. The only shot outside of the island was Snow Hill and Frenchman’s Cove in Jamaica.
A Real Temple In Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade
In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the climax of the film takes place inside of a place in the desert known as the Canyon of the Crescent Moon. Although in the movie it may look like an elaborate film set, it’s a real place in Petra, Jordan.
Carved into the sandstone rock is the ancient location of Al Khazneh, regarded as one of the most impressive ancient structures ever constructed. And no, it doesn’t contain the Holy Grail.
Pretend Your In Harry Potter At Christ Church Cathedral
Although it may seem like most Harry Potter scenes had to be shot on some kind of sound stage, many of the rooms in Hogwarts actually exist within the Oxford Christ Church Cathedral walls in Oxford, England.
So, Hogwarts does exist in a sense, and you may be able to walk through the church yourself and differentiate what parts of the castle the rooms might have been used for. We wonder how much was real and how much was fake.
Not A Single Scene Of Clash Of The Titans Was In Greece
Although the 1981 film Clash of the Titans is set in ancient Greece, not a single scene of the film was shot on location there. However, some other impressive landscapes were used, such as the mountain range of Snowdonia in Wales, the Danakil Depression in Ethiopia, and more.
Furthermore, the island sequences were filmed in multiple locations, including the Canary Islands and Anglesey island, the second largest island in Wales. All in all, every location that was chosen helped make the film feel real.
Real Locations In The Talented Mr. Ripley
In the 1955 film remake of the 1955 book of the same name, the three main characters in The Talented Mr. Ripley find themselves vacationing on the fictitious Italian resort known as Mongibello.
Although Mongibello is a made-up location, the film’s location is and is known as Ischia, a volcanic island off the coast of Naples. Unfortunately for fans, both the villa and the beach featured in the film are privately owned, so it’s unlikely anyone will get to have the same experience as the characters.
Unfortunately, Shutter Island Exists
In the 2010 psychological horror film Shutter Island, two federal marshals make their way to Shutter Island in Boston Harbor in order to investigate the disappearance of an inmate of the asylum there.
Incredibly, the island does exist, except it’s called Peddocks Island. Still located in the Boston Harbor, it was a defensive point during World War II and is accessible to the public to take a day trip and hike or tour the old military complexes.
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes Didn’t Use The Muir Woods
Although few of the actual geographical locations were used for any of the countless Planet of the Apes films, many of the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes scenes take place in the Muir Woods, an iconic strip of forest along the coast of California and Oregon.
Yet, instead of actually using the locations, filming took place on mainland Vancouver and a few locations on Vancouver Island. Unbelievably, the films have helped to increase tourism for Vancouver.
The Opening Scene In Prometheus Is A Real Waterfall
Iceland has become an incredibly popular country for many filmmakers to film scenes that take place on an alien planet or something similar. This was the same case when filming Prometheus, although the Icelandic waterfall of Dettifoss was used to make the setting look like a prehistoric Earth.
Apparently, that’s just how cool Iceland is that a natural waterfall can easily be pawned off as something that is millions of years old. Director Ridley Scott even said he chose Iceland because “it’s so rough and Jurassic-like.”
Troy Wasn’t Very Greek
Although the film Troy may have had a very Ancient Greek feel to it, that was mostly just movie magic. For the most part, the movie was filmed in Baja California and Playa El Faro Viejo, Mexico.
However, some scenes of the film were actually filmed in Italy, such as the city of Troy itself. The set was built on Fort Ricasoli, which is located on the Island of Malta. This means that some of the set was actually surrounded by ancient structures.