50 Iconic Movie Locations You Have to Visit
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
A Gaelic Christian monastery was built on this small, striking island off the coast of Ireland sometime between the sixth and eighth centuries. And on a different timeline, in a galaxy far, far away, Skellig Michael served as the refuge of Luke Skywalker in two of the "Star Wars" films. It's also one of the most beautiful views in the world.
"Harry Potter" series
More than 300,000 visitors tour Oxford's Christ Church Cathedral each year, many of whom come because the 16th-century cathedral served as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the "Harry Potter" movies. For about $29, fans can take a walking tour and see recognizable locations from the films, like the Great Hall and the staircase featured in the scene where new students first arrived at Hogwarts.
The Fox Plaza in Los Angeles was completed in 1987. Just one year later, the postmodern building served as the exterior of the fictional Nakatomi Plaza, in which John McClane spent most of "Die Hard" hunting down German terrorists. Former President Ronald Reagan also had offices in the building after leaving the White House, and today Fox Plaza is still in operation.
"Grand Budapest Hotel"
The Görlitz department store was one of the longest running department stores in the world, operating out of a beautiful Art Nouveau building from 1913 to 2009. It served as the main set for Wes Anderson's 2014 film "The Grand Budapest Hotel," which won an Academy Award for best production design.
"Saving Private Ryan"
Beaches figure prominently in many movies. The unforgettable D-Day landing scenes from Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" were shot on two beaches in Ireland that are part of a nature protection area.
"The Amityville Horror" (1979 and 2005)
One of the scariest places in America, it's rumored to be haunted and was the place where a disturbed young man killed six of his family members in 1974. The lore behind the house at 112 Ocean Ave. in Amityville, New York, inspired two movies with the same name, as well as several sequels. The house featured in the 1979 film is at 18 Brooks Road in Toms River, New Jersey, (shown above) while the 2005 remake featured a home at 27618 Silver Lake Road in Salem, Wisconsin.
"Lord of the Rings" Trilogy
The striking landscapes of Queenstown, Glenorchy, and Arrowtown in New Zealand served as Middle-earth in many scenes of the "Lord of the Rings" movies. Visitors can take full- and half-day "Lord of the Rings"-themed tours of the country, which start at about $200 for adults and $100 for children.
"The Talented Mr. Ripley" and "Cleopatra"
This gorgeous Mediterranean island in the Tyrrhenian Sea served as the 1950s-era set of "The Talented Mr. Ripley," a psychological thriller starring Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Today, it's a massively popular tourist destination, attracting millions each year for its natural beauty and thermal spas. The island was also featured in the 1963 historical drama "Cleopatra," starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.
The Royal Victorian Manor from Harold Ramis' 1993 comedy "Groundhog Day" served as an actual B&B until it was finally sold in 2017 for $695,000. The B&B would reportedly sell out over Groundhog Day, even though the real festival is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, some 500 miles away from Woodstock.
Anyone who's seen Alexander Payne's 2004 dark comedy "Sideways" will likely remember The Hitching Post, the restaurant where Miles, a wine enthusiast and struggling writer, was a regular. Next time you're in Northern California, consider stopping in for some California-style barbecue and wine -- just not merlot, if you want to follow in Miles' footsteps.
"Harry Potter" series
At 416 yards, the Glenfinnan viaduct is the largest concrete railway bridge in Scotland. It was featured in four of the "Harry Potter" movies during scenes in which students were traveling to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You can take a ScotRail passenger train on the West Highland Line to see it for yourself.
Francis Ford Coppola's Vietnam War epic "Apocalypse Now" was set in Vietnam and Cambodia, though the filmmaker's notoriously disastrous shoot actually took place in the jungles of the Philippines. About the shooting, the filmmaker was quoted as saying "We were in the jungle. There were too many of us. We had access to too much money, too much equipment. And little by little we went insane." Today, you can follow in the wake of Capt. Willard and his crew by taking a guided trip up the Bumbungan River, which was the river next to Col. Kurtz's compound in the film.
Wadi Rum, also known as the "Valley of the Moon," is a protected desert in Jordan that bears a striking resemblance to the surface of Mars. That's presumably why Ridley Scott featured it in two of his space-themed films: "Prometheus" and, more recently, "The Martian." Scenes from "Lawrence of Arabia" were also shot here.
"Close Encounters of the Third Kind"
The first United States National Monument, Devils Tower is a massive rock formation -- more technically known as a laccolithic butte -- in the Bear Lodge Mountains of Wyoming. It was featured in Steven Spielberg's famous alien flick "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," and today it's open to visitors all year, every day of the week.
The imposing, modernist features of Dallas City Hall appealed to the filmmakers of 1987's "RoboCop," who turned it into the headquarters of Omni Consumer Products -- the corporation that created RoboCop. It's open to the public today, though you might want to think twice about visiting unless you have to pay a ticket.
"Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"
Carved out of a sandstone rock face in the first century A.D., this stunning temple served as the resting place of the Holy Grail in the third installment of the "Indiana Jones" franchise. It's been a remarkably popular tourist attraction ever since it was rediscovered by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812.
The park bench where Forrest Gump sits and tells his life story throughout most of the 1994 box-office hit was located in Chippewa Square in the downtown historic district of Savannah, Georgia. Visitors can now see the bench in the Savannah History Museum, or visit the square any day of the week.
Perched at an elevation of 6,000 feet in Mount Hood National Forest lies the Timberline Lodge, which served as the exterior of the fictional Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining." The lodge is currently open to visitors, who give it at least a 4 out of 5 review across most major hotel rating services.
The modernist church featured in "The Graduate" was perfect for the film's famous final scene in which Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) convinces the woman he loves not to marry another man through brilliant use of the art of persuasion. Actually, he just shouted her name over and over and banged his fists on the second-story glass wall. The church is still open for worship today -- even for weddings.
"Ghostbusters" (1984), "Ghostbusters II" (1989), and "Ghostbusters" (2016)
The Tribeca firehouse featured in the "Ghostbusters" movies was originally constructed in 1903 and has remained in operation throughout the years. In fact, the firefighters of Hook & Ladder Company 8 were some of the first responders on Sept. 11, 2001. The historic firehouse has received a $6 million upgrade in recent years and remains a popular place for visitors to snap photos.
This century-old viaduct is the tallest in Turkey, standing at about 320 feet. In "Skyfall," James Bond falls off the viaduct after getting shot during a fight on top of a train traveling on the single-track railway. Today, Varda Viaduct is a popular tourist attraction for its beautiful design.
Hatley Castle was used as the exterior for Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters in the "X-Men" movies. In real life, the castle was used as dorms for Royal Roads Military College and now as the administrative center for Royal Roads University. It's open for paid tours five days out of the week.
"Field of Dreams"
The famous baseball diamond featured in "Field of Dreams" was built specifically for the movie, but it was left behind for the landowners after the film's completion. Today, the site is a multimillion baseball complex called All-Star Ballpark Heaven.
"Good Will Hunting"
South Boston's L Street Tavern was the local hangout for Will and his friends in the 1997 Oscar-winning film "Good Will Hunting." After the death of Robin Williams, who appeared in the film, the bar released a statement saying he was very kind and "certainly put us on the map, as we have visitors all over the world to see the little corner tavern where they filmed the Academy Award winning film. He will be missed."
"A Christmas Story"
"A Christmas Story" is based in Indiana, but the exterior shots of the Parker family's house were filmed in Cleveland, Ohio, where the house stands today -- with a leg lamp proudly displayed in the front window. It's since been renovated to match the interior of the home shown in the film and is open to the public. Across the street is the A Christmas Story House Museum.
"Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope"
George Lucas reportedly chose the Mayan temple ruins at Tikal National Park as the filming location for the Massassi Outpost rebel base in his first "Star Wars" movie (later retitled "Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope") after seeing a poster at a travel agency in London. Today, the park is a UNESCO National Heritage Site and is open to the public.
"Breakfast at Tiffany's"
Located at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in Manhattan is Tiffany's, the luxury department store where "nothing very bad could happen to you," or so said Holly Golightly in 1961's "Breakfast at Tiffany's." The store recently opened an on-site cafe so that, finally, visitors could actually have breakfast at Tiffany's.
"The Warriors" was filmed in many locations throughout New York City, but some of the most memorable scenes were shot in Coney Island, including the film's climactic final battle sequence.
The pink stucco walls and peculiar balconies of Frank Lloyd Wright's Marin County Civic Center complex served as the set for some memorable interior shots feature in 1997's "Gattaca," a sci-fi film in which eugenics has become a widespread practice. These buildings are the only government facilities designed by Wright that ever saw construction.
"Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and "Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1"
Some scenes that took place in the Capitol in "Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and "Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1" were shot in the Marriott Marquis, a hotel famous for its 50-story atrium that was once the largest in the world.
There was maybe no better place to set this classic monster movie than the affluent summer colony of Martha's Vineyard, where the biggest threat to inhabitants before Steven Spielberg's 25-foot shark had likely been experiencing a sunburn. Some locations featured in the film have remained basically unchanged, like the Amity Gazette Building in Edgartown.
Ko Phi Phi Leh, an island in Thailand's Krabi Province, was the heavenly locale where a young Leonardo DiCaprio found love, drugs, and sharks in the 2000 film "The Beach." Since, it's become an incredibly popular tourist spot, so much so that overcrowding and coral destruction have become serious problems.
The real-life story behind Ben Affleck's film "Argo" took place in Iran. But filming there was impossible, so the production team chose Istanbul instead. Some scenes were shot in Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, one of the world's oldest covered markets still in operation today.
"Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope"
George Lucas chose the adobe caverns of Hotel Sidi Driss as the set for Luke Skywalker's childhood home in the very first "Star Wars" movie. Today, the hotel remains open to guests year-round, complete with decorations from the movies in some of the rooms.
"The Dark Knight Rises"
Perched 400 feet above the city of Jodhpur in the Indian state of Rajasthan is the behemoth Mehrangarh Fort, which Bruce Wayne sees after he escapes a brutal underground prison in the last of director Christopher Nolan's "Batman" series. In an interview, Nolan said locals thought the crew "was nuts shooting in 120-degree (Fahrenheit) heat."
The simple white houses and gorgeous ocean views of Skiathos Town, located on the small Greek island of Skiathos in the Aegean Sea, served as the backdrop for most of the 2008 star-studded movie "Mamma Mia!" Each summer, about 150,000 people visit the island, which boasts more than 50 beaches.
Even though the don's family comes from Corleone, Sicily, the filmmakers chose to shoot the classic gangster film in the nearby villages of Savoca and Forza d'Agro because Corleone was too developed.
"Lara Croft: Tomb Raider"
In her quest to recover some ancient magical artifacts, Lara Croft, played by Angelina Jolie, travels to the 12th-century Bayon Temple in Angkor Thom, the last city of the Khmer Empire. Today, visitors can check out the city via guided tours.
In an attempt to win big by counting cards in blackjack, the long-lost brothers played by Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman in "Rain Man" decide to visit Caesars Palace on the west side of the Las Vegas Strip. The casino remains open today, but counting cards is still definitely a no-go.
"The Shawshank Redemption"
The Ohio State Reformatory operated as a prison for almost a century until closing its doors in 1990, just a few years before the filming of "The Shawshank Redemption." In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, producer Niki Marvin said she chose the site because it had the two qualities she was looking for: a timeless style and was absolutely empty. Today, the reformatory provides "Shawshank" tours most of the year.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is the third-largest art museum in the country and one of the most popular attractions in the city. But what draws in many tourists besides the art is the museum's steps, which Sylvester Stallone climbed in the iconic training scene from the 1976 film "Rocky." Admission to the museum is $25 for adults, but jogging the steps is free.