Does the wallpaper really look like the one found in your neighbor’s den? Is the waterfall really that tall, or was it all a bit of an illusion?
Your favorite movies can be great to watch over and over. Seeing where they were filmed can also be just as thrilling. Even if the production was done mostly in an old forest, being on the same turf as your favorite actors once were, can be exciting.
Here are 15 destinations movie-lovers do not want to miss from famous movies, past and present.
15. New Zealand (Lord of the Rings)
Do you love The Lord of the Rings and wish you could jump into the world on-screen? For those with enough cash in their pockets, it is all just a plane ticket away, (unless you already live in New Zealand, of course).
The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed in this country. The Shire and Hobbiton sets can be found around the Waikato town of Matamata. Scenes with The Gardens of Isengard, Rivendell, the River Anduin, Osgiliath Wood and the Paths of the Dead were all filmed in and around Wellington.
From Nelson Tasman to Canterbury, Mackenzie Country, the Southern Lakes, Fiordland, you can walk yourself through these natural movie sets while basking in astounding beauty.
14. Martha’s Vineyard (Jaws)
Swimming, anyone? The infamous shark movie, Jaws, was filmed in various spots throughout Martha’s Vineyard in Massachussetts. You can visit the American Legion Memorial Bridge, now popularly known as “Jaws Bridge”, as well as the fishing village of Menemsha in the town of Chilmark, to spot familiar locations from the movie.
13. Sicily (The Godfather)
Italy has so much to offer tourists. On top of visiting amazing sites like ancient Rome and Vatican City, you can also take in the backdrop to the Godfather movies. Sicily is home to small medieval villages like Savoca and Forza d’Agro that were part of iconic scenes in the films, such as the wedding and Michael Corleone’s first encounter with Apollonia’s father.
12. Savannah, Georgia (Forrest Gump)
Remember the bench? The one that Forrest sits on and says, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get,” and tells his life story?
At the time of filming, this famous bench was located in Savannah, Georgia in Chippewa Square. This spot is now empty, as, interestingly, the bench was not actually in the park and had to be brought in as a prop. You can take a photo with the empty spot in the park, and then go on to visit the real bench in the Savannah History Museum.
11. DuPont State Forest (The Hunger Games)
It may look like any other forest, but if you pick your spot carefully, you could feel the spirit of desperate competition lingering in the air. Dupont State Forest in North Carolina is comprised of over 10,000 acres of woods, and it formed the backdrop for the fire scene, the pool scene, and the river scene in which Katniss tracks Peeta after his injury in The Hunger Games.
10. Tunisia (Star Wars Episode)
Tunisia was the perfect place to film the other-worldly stories of Star Wars. Ksar Hadada set the scene for the slave quarters in Tatooine: Mos Espa, as did Ksar Ouled Soltane. In addition, Tatooine Mos Espa’s street set can be found in Onk Jemal, Tozeur, where the lightsaber duel between Darth Maul and Qui-Gon Jinn was filmed.
9. 14 North Moore Street, New York (Ghostbusters)
Yes, the firehall in the movie Ghostbusters is actually a real, functioning FDNY fire hall that you can visit in New York City! If you get lucky, the firemen may allow you to see the inside of the building. Most often, however, tourists must remain satisfied with a quick pic of the outside of this modern landmark, which is also still fun.
8. Winnetka, Illinois (Home Alone)
The home in which eight-year old Kevin is left to fend on his own against burglars over the Christmas holidays is also a real place. It is really someone’s home. Like the Ghostbuster’s fire hall, you may not be able to venture inside for a peek, but you can take photos of the outside. The house is located in Winnetka, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.
7. Gorlitz, Germany (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Pink and more pink. If you have seen The Grand Budapest Hotel, you will likely never forget it. Revisit its ambiance by stopping by the abandoned Art Nouveau department store Görlitzer Warenhaus in Görlitz Germany, which stood as the hotel in the movie, with grandiose staircases, and an iconic main lobby.
6. Honesdale, Pennsylvania (Wet Hot American Summer)
This cult movie was made for very few dollars at Camp Towanda, in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Wet Hot American Summer did not get much distribution when it first came out, but it has now garnered a big enough following to be a series on Netflix. Visit the original “set” and imagine for yourself how the whole thing started on a budget of less than $2 million.
5. Mountain Lake Lodge, Virginia (Dirty Dancing)
Nobody puts Baby in a corner. Especially not when the hotel might fire her boyfriend, and there’s a show that needs saving, and someone else just had a last-minute abortion. Dang.
Dirty Dancing is one of those movies you might love to hate, or simply love to love. If you are so inclined, you can visit the resort it was filmed at, Mountain Lake Lodge, in Virginia.
Want it all? Stay and participate in a Dirty Dancing Themed Weekend Package complete with dancing lessons and parties in Mary’s Barn.
4. Oxford, England (Harry Potter)
Harry Potter was filmed in many locations, with a host of scenes set at sites in Oxford, England. Seven iconic buildings at Oxford University star as backdrops in the film, one of the most notable being Christ Church Dining Hall, the setting for the Great Hall at Hogwarts. Visit Duke Humphrey’s Library, The Divinity School, New College Cloisters, New College Courtyard, Bodley Tower Staircase, and Christ Church Cloisters to see them all.
3. Petra, Jordan (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)
The Holy Grail that Indiana Jones searches for in The Last Crusade was kept in The Treasury in Al Khazneh, in Petra, Jordan. It is an incredible giant sandstone temple that dates back to the first century AD.
2. Hawaii (Jurassic Park)
Hawaii may not have existed at the time of the dinosaurs, but it sure makes a great location for filming fictional ones. There are nine locations to be found in the state that were key spots for filming Jurassic Park, on both private and public land.
1. Hong Kong (Batman: The Dark Knight)
Batman and his stories spread far and wide, and have even reached the soils of Hong Kong. Scenes were filmed in and around Victoria Harbour. They were also shot up Victoria Peak and on the roof of the Peninsula Hotel, a true tourist destinations for die-hard fans.
About the Author
A prior educator with a background in the arts, Victoria Simpson has a passion for communicating her ideas through writing. You can find her picture book, Eating I Forget, on Amazon. Her articles and webcopy have been published on countless websites including RateMDs.com, Autoguide, eBay, Digital Home and Iremia Skincare, among others. She is now excited to be contributing to World Atlas.
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