10 Unusual Movie Locations You Can Visit On Vacation
While you can’t whisk away to Pandora or Alderaan, you can discover these dramatic movie locations, all featured in global block-buster films. Whether you’re a movie buff or simply someone who appreciates a good view, these locations are iconic in more than pop culture.
Ennis House, Los Angeles
Starring in Blade Runner, this Californian house has a history as interesting as its architecture. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1923, the building has been home to everything from film scenes to millionaires. Apart from its role in Blade Runner, the Ennis House has also been included in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Rush Hour as well as represented in an episode of South Park. The house’s iconic Aztec influence has made it popular with directors of films, commercials, and music videos, and as of 2005, was added to the protection of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Tikal National Park, Guatemala
Alderaan might be off the cards, but one of the most important sets of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope is available for exploration. Tikal National Park, in Guatemala, is one of the leading sites around the world for evidence of pre-Columbian Maya civilisation. It’s a globally important architectural wonder, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hook and Ladder 8, New York
If you don’t instantly recognise this otherwise ordinary looking fire station, you must have missed out on pop culture for the last few decades. Headquarters for the legendary Ghostbuster’s crew, Hook and Ladder 8 is a functioning fire station in Manhattan. The surrounding area also boasts links to other blockbusters, such as Zoolander and Enchanted.
Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
It’s unlikely that you need to be told the films that were based in this gorgeous stretch of scenery (it’s Lord of the Rings, if you were wondering though). With its naturally intimidating and awe-inspiring appearance, Tolkein’s Mordor appears on Earth, with an uncannily close resemblance. Mount Ngauruhoe, otherwise known as Mount Doom, can be climbed, giving you the chance to relive the fellowship’s epic journey.
Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, England
Once home to British nobility, Hatfield House now lies with a different sort of star: those in Hollywood. Appearing in films such as Batman, V for Vendetta, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Tomb Raider, Robert Downey Jnr’s Sherlock Holmes, and Shakespeare in Love, the resume this building boasts is more impressive than the average stately home.
The Bradbury Building, LA
This downtown Los Angeles building has been an architectural rock since 1893, featuring in films, television shows, photo shoots, novels and music videos. The Bradbury Building is most famous for the climactic rooftop scene in Blade Runner, as well as being the set for main character, J. F. Sebastian’s apartment throughout. As well as Blade Runner, the building has been used in Mission: Impossible, Quantum Leap, and The Artist. For video game fans, it’s also a pre-existing building in SimCity 3000.
Monument Valley, Arizona/Utah
There aren’t many places on Earth that can lay claim to starring in as many different, and diverse films as this stunning valley on the Utah/Arizona border can. A set often used in John Wayne Westerns, Monument Valley has been featured in blockbusters such as Stagecoach, Back to the Future: Part Three, Forrest Gump, and finally back to Westerns again, with Johnny Depp’s Lone Ranger. The contrast between endless desert, straight roads, and formidable rock formations ensures it’s the perfect backdrop for a cinematic experience.
Castle Combe, Wiltshire, England
Nestled in the heart of the English countryside is a village so untouched by time it’s been a firm favourite of directors, from the big-screen to the television screen. Castle Combe, ranked as the second best village in England, has featured in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar nominated War Horse, as well as other releases such as Stardust, Doctor Doolittle, The Wolfman, and an episode of Agatha Christie’s Poirot.
With beautiful seas, white sandy beaches, and impressive mountains, this Hawaiian island has been in films ranging from rom-com to action. Cinematic blockbusters, such as Jurassic Park, The Descendants, Pearl Harbour and Mighty Joe Young were filmed in O’ahu, as well as releases Blue Crush, Soul Surfer and 50 First Dates. It’s also been home to many locations in the second of The Hunger Games saga, Catching Fire. O’ahu means ‘The Gathering Place’, something extremely fitting for an island that brings so many people around the world together.
Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan
A location as dramatic as the Wadi Rum Desert, also known as The Valley of the Moon, is naturally going to attract filmmakers from around the world. With its endless sky, out of the planet appearance, craggy rock formations and red sand, Wadi Rum has featured in films from the classic Lawrence of Arabia, to Red Planet, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Prometheus.
About The Author: Harry Peters is an author for travel website Just The Flight. Visit their website online at www.justtheflight.co.uk