The Hateful Eight – Colorado
With diverse yet beautiful surroundings and vast open spaces, Colorado makes the perfect movie set. When filming one of his most famous films, The Hateful Eight director Quentin Tarantino thought so too. The snowy exteriors from the film were found on the Schmid Ranch, where the set was built. Ten miles from Telluride and in the San Miguel Mountains, Schmid Ranch has been in operation since 1882 and is available to rent for a remote, off-grid holiday. Fans of the destination can also celebrate their weddings at the historical location.
Follow in the footsteps of the Batman in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh has provided a backdrop for many blockbuster movies over the years. The city played a starring role in coming-of-age drama The Perks of Being a Wallflower as well as action thrillers Jack Reacher and The Dark Knight Rises, all of which celebrate their 10-year anniversaries this year.
Ahead of The Batman’s release in March this year, visitors can see some of The Dark Knight Rises’ most notable filming locations in Pittsburgh including the football stadium scene, filmed at Heinz Field, and the scene where Bane exposes the truth about Harvey Dent, filmed outside the Carnegie Mellon University portrayed as Gotham City Hall.
Sleepless in Seattle
The Seattle skyline has been the star of many movies over the years such as The Ring and 10 Things I Hate About You, and even inspired classic romantic comedy Sleepless in Seattle. Starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, the 1993 film played homage to many iconic spots around the Emerald City. Visitors can retrace the footsteps of Sam Baldwin (played by Hanks) by visiting Pike Place Market, one of the oldest continuously operated farmers markets in the United States, see the floating home of Sam and his son on Lake Union, and stroll along hidden gem Alki Beach.
Ladybird – Sacramento, California
Winner of two Golden Globes – Best Motion Picture and Best Performance by an Actress by Saoirse Ronan – plus five Oscar nominations and three Bafta nominations, Ladybird is “a love letter to Sacramento” claims the film’s writer and director Greta Gerwig. Sacramento native Gerwig pays tribute to her hometown, California’s capital, in the coming-of-age story about a high school senior in 2002 (played by Saoirse Ronan), a semi-autobiographical tale of Gerwig’s upbringing in Northern California.
Free Solo – Yosemite Mariposa County, California
National Geographic Documentary Film Free Solo is a stunning, often nerve-racking, portrait of the free soloist climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of the world’s most famous rock – the 3,000ft El Capitan in Yosemite National Park – without a rope.
Documentary filmmaker E. Chai Vasarhelyi and world-renowned photographer and mountaineer Jimmy Chin spent months observing Honnold as he mentally and physically prepared for the climb. The documentary, which won an Academy Award and BAFTA for Best Documentary Feature, and seven Emmy Awards including Outstanding Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program, features beautiful shots of Yosemite.
Point Break – The Islands of Tahiti
Point Break is an action thriller film about thrill-seeking criminals performing a series of daredevil stunts to steal money and gems. The film has a surf scene that takes place off the coast of France but was actually filmed in Teahupo’o, Tahiti.
The scene used professional surfer, Laurie Towner, and was incredibly dangerous to film, with the film boats being secured with roll cages in case they went over the falls. There was a surfer shooting inside the wave tube which has never been done before, as a result of cameras weighing 10-15kg, making them easy to off-balance the filming surfer. This is an impressive scene to watch and will give viewers goosebumps.
La La Land – LA, California
The movie musical La La Land starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone rightfully garnered rave reviews and awards-season buzz following its release. The tap-dancing and singing duo are showcased in a love story that is as much about the pair as it is about Los Angeles.
The jazz themes, references to old-Hollywood glamour, and aspirational premise make perfect use of LA’s most iconic locations as the backdrop. The good news for La La Land fans is that they can visit many of the movie’s locations in person as the film featured more than 40 sites around Los Angeles County.
Skyfall Hashima Island – Kyushu, Japan
The deserted island of James Bond’s adversary Silva in the movie Skyfall might seem the result of a writer’s fantasy, but it exists. The island is called Hashima and is located off the coast of Japan. Commonly called Gunkanjima (meaning Battleship Island), it’s among 505 uninhabited islands in the Nagasaki Prefecture.
The artificial island was one of the most densely populated places on earth. Over 5,000 people lived and worked on the tiny island. Developed during the first half of the 20th century for underground coal mines, the artificial island was built like a city to include hospitals, schools, shops, cinemas and even a cemetery. Active until 1974, the island became a ghost town after the coal mines became obsolete – making it one of the most memorable sites of the Bond series.
Spirited Away Bathhouse – Ehime, Japan
Of all of Studio Ghibli’s iconic films, Academy-Award-winning Spirited Away is the most internationally recognised. Fans of the film will instantly recognise Dogo Onsen in Matsuyama City as the bathhouse where most of the film takes place. Known as one of the oldest onsen towns in Japan, legend has it that Dogo Onsen was discovered when locals noticed a white heron healing its injured leg by dipping it into the hot spring water. One look at the majestic main house and visitors will understand t how Hiyao Miyazaki was inspired to include the destination in his film.
Maverick returns to San Diego, California
In May, the hotly anticipated Top Gun: Maverick will be released and like the original film, much of it was shot (and set) in San Diego, California. Fans of the blockbuster have been waiting more than three decades for Tom Cruise to return to uniform and revive his Maverick character in a sequel.
Cruise was spotted filming at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado in 2021 and there are many other locations from the new and original film that travellers can visit, including Kansas City Barbeque, Point Loma Lighthouse, Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club and Bungalows and Naval Air Station Miramar. The latter delights San Diegans with an annual air show typically held in September.
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian in Slovenia
Slovenia’s naturally beautiful landscape makes it a fantastic backdrop for magical, fantasy lands and parts of the popular The Chronicles of Narnia sequel were shot in the incredible Soča Valley.
The River Soča is recognised for its distinct emerald green colour and is considered one of the most beautiful rivers in Europe. Visitors can get out onto the water with a kayaking trip or hike along the mountainous landscape which towers above it.