Hollywood may be the centre of the cinematic universe, but plenty of countries other than America have featured on the big screen. If you’re a movie buff, visiting the locations of some of your favourite silver screen blockbusters is probably on the bucket list. Who knows, you may even be planning to relocate to somewhere just down the road from one of your all-time favourite scenes?
Here are some of the most popular countries outside of the US (excluding England, which came in at No.1, Scotland at No.5, Ireland, which took No.8 and Wales at No.9) for filmmakers.
France has had its fair share of blockbusters. Among the most notable is Christopher Nolan’s 2010 science fiction epic Inception. Several French locations feature in the film, including the foundations of the Passy elevated metro stop, which serves as the location for Cobb’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) dream training facility. At one point in the film Ellen Page’s character (Ariadne) manipulates reality and creates a bridge, with the Pont de Bir-Hakeim bridge serving the part.
France’s famous landmarks feature in a number of films. The opening scene of The Da Vinci Code is set in the Louvre and the Gard du Nord appears in The Bourne Identity.
Several scenes from Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace were filmed in Italy, which comes it at number 3 on the list. Lake Como was the scene of Anakin and Padmé’s secret wedding – a location now popular with fans for their own nuptials. The Royal Palace of Caserta, a UNESCO World Heritage site, plays the role of the Royal Palace on the planet Naboo.
Venice plays a large role in the climax of Casino Royale, the first of Daniel Craig’s outings as James Bond. Lake Como also makes an appearance at the end of this film, just before the final credits.
Several regions in Spain have the 1962 classic Lawrence of Arabia to thank for their popularity. The film makes use of multiple Spanish locations including the Plaza de España, the Tabernas Desert and the Parque de Maria Luisa.
The Tabernas Desert also makes an appearance in Indianna Jones and the Last Crusade, during the action-packed tank chase sequence. Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park and the city of Guadix were also important locations for the film.
The iconic German Romantic castle Neuschwanstein is well known around the world. Cinema fans will know it as Baron Bomburst’s castle in 1968 classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, based on the novel by James Bond creator Ian Fleming. It was also the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.
You might recognise the town of Görlitz from 2014’s critically acclaimed The Grand Budapest Hotel, which received 11 BAFTA nominations, four Golden Globe Nominations (winning Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy) and nine Academy Award Nominations, winning four.
If you’ve ever been to Australia and felt a little uneasy it could be because you were stuck in a computer simulation. Well, almost. Sydney served as the virtual world inhabited by hacker Neo (Keanu Reeves) in all three Matrix films. You can see several notable Australian buildings in the first film in the trilogy, although landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House were removed digitally in post-production.
Australia was also the location for most of the shooting for Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith, although this was mostly studio-based. Unsurprisingly you won’t be able to visit those fictional planets!
The antipodean country ranks 7th on the list for the number of film locations.
As well as breath-taking action and heart-wrenching tragedy, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon contains a number of sequences that make you want to visit China. A chase through a bamboo forest, a mountain top lodge and the waterside Hongcunzhen Village all show off the beauty of the Chinese landscape to the full.
Asian cinema inspired legendary director Quentin Tarantino, so it is hardly a surprise that he filmed several scenes from his 2003 film, Kill Bill in China, which comes in at number 10 on the list. Even the scenes set in Japan were shot in the Beijing Film Studio.
Create Your Own Overseas Adventure
The protagonists in these films haven’t always had the best of times in the countries listed, but in their defence they had other things on their mind. When you begin your expat journey, you’ll be able to enjoy the luxury of having thoroughly researched and prepared for your new home. That’s not to say you won’t have adventures of your own. Your story is just beginning…
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