Epic Movie Locations to See Before You Die
It’s the heroes, heroines and villains that we love (or love to hate) on the big screen, but film locations inspire awe and wanderlust. From wild jungles to ancient cities and paradise beaches, our favorite movie characters globetrot through magnificent scenery, on the way to fulfilling their quests.
But, why let them have all the fun, when you can go on your own epic movie locations adventure? Pack your hiking boots, get out the camera and get ready to say, ‘action’.
Here’s some of the best, to add to your star-studded bucket list.
Harry Potter at Christ Church College, Oxford, UK
If you’ve ever wanted to go to Hogwarts to join Harry Potter and the gang, head to Oxford, in England. Christ Church College sets the scene, complete with the 16th century staircase, cavernous Great Hall and creepy twists and turns.
While you’re in Oxford, stop by at the Bodleian Library. It was used throughout the movie series as the infirmary and Professor McGonnagal’s dance teaching hall. Duke Humfrey’s Library was used in a scene where Harry enters under the invisibility cloak, to steal a book.
Jaws at Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, USA
It’s hard to believe that pretty-as-a-picture Martha’s Vineyard was the notorious hunting ground for the world’s most famous shark. Home to fancy holiday houses, the town’s turquoise waters turned deadly, albeit in the grips of a fake, mechanical predator.
The most famous sight is “Jaws Bridge”, which crosses between Edgartown and Oak Bluffs. Check out Joseph Sylvia State Beach, for the shark attack scene where Alex Kintner is taken while lounging on an inflatable raft. You’ll also find familiar Amity Island scenes at the junction of Water and Main Streets, in Edgartown.
Lord of the Rings at Matamata, Waikato, New Zealand
If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, New Zealand’s Matamata is a must. Here, you can take a tour of the Hobbiton movie set. The area is two hours south of Auckland and it’s famous for dairy farms and horse breeding.
It makes sense then, that the lush, rolling hills, perfect pastures and green surrounds portrayed the quaint and magical Shire – home of the Hobbits. It’s possible to take a tour to see Bilbo’s house and other cute hobbit holes, as part of the set.
The Beach at Ko Phi Phi Leh, Thailand
Thailand is a paradise of pristine beaches, aqua waters and soaring limestone cliffs, so it’s little wonder Leonardo di Caprio frolics on the white sands of Ko Phi Phi Leh, in the movie version of Alex Garland’s novel, The Beach.
The island itself is uninhabited and surrounded by coral seas and secluded bays. You can visit on an organized boat tour, or rent a private long-tail boat to have a more authentic experience.
GoT, Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator,... all at Ait Ben Haddou, Quarzazate, Morocco
The fateful scene when Maximus Decimus is sold into slavery, occurred at the sun-scorched Ait Ben Haddou, in Morocco. You can walk in the footsteps of GoT, Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator film crews, at the UNESCO World Heritage Listed fortification.
Situated at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, Ait Ben Haddou has appeared in many films, including Lawrence of Arabia, with its imposing clay Kasbahs rising strikingly from the ground.
Argo, Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul’s color bazaars substituted for Iran, in the Oscar-winning film, Argo. Ben Affleck helps six Americans escape an embassy in Tehran, with a mind-boggling scheme. Istanbul’s bazaars are an Aladdin’s Cave of treasures. Stroll through the markets to find lanterns, rugs, jewelry, arts, crafts and haggle with the store owners for fantastic prices.
The Dark Knight Rises at Mehrangarh Fort, Jodphur, India
Remember the scene in The Dark Knight Rises, when Bruce Wayne escapes the depths of the underground prison? The imposing structure he first sees is India’s Mehrangarh Fort. The striking fort is located 400 feet above Jodpur and, contrary to its appearances, houses palaces and courtyards inside.
When you visit, you enter via the northeast gate, called Jai Pol, which is a 300 meter walk from the old city entrance. Or, catch an auto rickshaw ride to add to the adventure. When you’ve seen the panoramic views from the ramparts, there’s a restaurant and a museum.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona at Oviedo, Spain
Barcelona grasps attention in the film starring Penelope Cruz, Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson and Javier Bardem. However, Oviedo stands out, much like Javier’s character’s line, ‘Come with me to Oviedo. We’ll eat well, drink good wine and make love. Hopefully, the three of us’.
You reach Oviedo via the lush hills and valleys of the Asturian countryside, in northern Spain. Familiar sights from the movie included the church of San Julian de los Prados and the Mercado del Fontan markets.
The Life of Pi at Pondicherry, India
Pi, the son of a zookeeper, is taken by his family to relocate to Canada, from India’s Pondicherry. However, disaster strikes and he finds himself stranded in a lifeboat with an orangutan, a hyena, a tiger and a zebra.
Though the zoo doesn’t exist, you can see the yellow entrance at the Pondicherry Botanical Gardens. Look out for familiar scenes at the Grand Bazaar and the pastel colored houses in the colonial quarter.
Wild at Oregon, USA
Are you up for some serious hiking? Follow in Cheryl’s (Reece Witherspoon’s) footsteps as she traverses Oregon’s Pacific Crest Trail. There’s plenty of majestic scenery to take in, including Tom Dick and Harry Peak, where Cheryl loses her boots over the cliff.
The Oregon Badlands act as the backdrop for the Mojave Desert and the Modoc Plateau. Heading into the city of Portland might be safer than attempting an epic hike and you’ll also spot some shots, from the Driftwood Room at the Hotel Deluxe.
There are so many more movie locations to add, from Central Park to the Empire State Building and Hawaii’s Kauai (can you guess which famous flick was filmed there? Hint – dinosaurs). Take your pick from these or make your own novelty bucket list of epic movie locations to see before you die.