It is well known that film companies spend tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars on finding the best possible location to shoot certain scenes. The most famous and successful films can often make the locations on which they are shot just as famous as the movies themselves. It is little wonder therefore that politicians, councils and businesses are often keen for films to be made in their local patch. We all have our own favorite films.
However, have you ever become so obsessive about a film that you have worked to find out everything about it, the actors and visited the locations? Film tourism can be big business. It involves going around the world to ‘tick off’ the locations of famous films. In this brief list we take a look at five absolutely amazing film locations in Europe that you simply must make the time to visit. They are locations that will not only take your breath away; they will make you feel as if you are stepping out in the footsteps of your favorite actors and actresses. Is your favorite film included?
1. Interstellar – Svinafellsjokull Glacier, Iceland
The sci-fi movie epic from Christopher Nolan is simply incredible and broke all sorts of boundaries when it came to film making. It is a very impressive movie for many reasons, but perhaps particularly for some of the locations that it includes. Believe it or not, you are able to visit some of the places involved. The early scenes are filmed around Calgary in Canada but some of the more epic scenes, such as the scenes on the so called ‘ice planet’ were filmed on this epic glacier in Iceland. The glacier is located east of Skaftafell in southern Iceland. Parts of Batman Begins and Game of Thrones has also been filmed on location at the glacier.
2. A Room with a View – Florence, Italy
This beautiful Italian city is the location for the classic film, based on the novel of the same name by EM Forster, A Room with a View. Florence is a city of art and culture but there are also lots of things to do if you are into food, drink or gardening. All in all, it is a wonderful place to head to for a great city break. Head to the Piazza della Signoria to visit the location of the knife fight. This location was actually the place where the original fifteenth century ‘Night of the Vanities’ took place, when followers of the religious fanatic Savonarola burned everything that they owned. Your Florentine adventure will almost certainly include the sights that they experience in the movie, including the statue of the Grand Duke Ferdinand which can be found in the Piazza Santissima Annunziata,
3. Amadeus – Prague, Czech Republic
Prague has been the chosen location for lots of big Hollywood blockbusters and a favorite of directors and producers from across the world. Famous movies include Mission Impossible, Casino Royale and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The city does indeed have some absolutely beautiful architecture and has been very well conserved over the years, meaning that no matter what age you are shooting for, you will probably be able to find something suitable in Prague.
The city is also very fortunate to experience a range of seasonal weather and so it is relatively easy to gather shots of a range of different weathers, depending on what the director is looking for. In 1984, the city was the location of the blockbuster, Amadeus, following the life of Amadeus Mozart. The Wallenstein Palace Gardens were used for the site of the outdoor concert that Mozart led for the emperor in the film. This is a popular location for tourists and all good tour guides will point this fact out. The old town was also used quite a lot, with the iconic red roofs and colored buildings.
4. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – Almería, Spain
Almeria, located in Andalusia, has been used as the site for a number of big films, including Lawrence of Arabia. Clint Eastwood had a particular fondness for the area, which is partly why it was used for the Good the bad and the ugly. This region of southern Spain is connected and reasonably easy to get around and yet it also seems incredibly remote, useful for these kinds of films. It takes about 6 hours to get to Almeria by train from Madrid. Explore the area, including the desert of Tabernas, and you will be amazed as to the number of famous and well known locations that you will spot. The area is iconic. The heat, the dust and the stillness will make you feel as if you are in a Clint Eastwood film yourself and you will hear the soundtracks going through your mind.
5. The Godfather – Sicily, Italy
The Godfather was of course inspired by real life events in Italy. The Mafia, notorious around the world, are still very much in control in certain parts of Italy. Visiting Sicily however, will bring this film truly alive. Most of the filming took place in Savoca. It posed as the home of the infamous Corleone family, even though it was called Corleone in the film. Visit the church in Savoca. This was where Michael and Apollonia were married. The locals know how useful the Godfather can be for making money and there are lots of ‘Godfather’ inspired themed tours across the region. It is well worth going on one of these to bring the place alive. You can get to Sicily by train from the mainland at the port city of Villa San Giovanni. The trains board barges at this town and carry you across to Messina. Few places are more iconic to a certain film than Sicily with The Godfather!
There are of course thousands of films that have been shot all over Europe and we suggest you do some research about your favorite movies to see if they were shot anywhere in particular. It makes for a great vacation and you could even set your family challenges to find a particular location first. Enjoy it!