The setting for films is one of the most under-appreciated aspects of a film. The location gives the movie perspective and more often than not helps shape the character.
Here are the best locations, in my own, very humble, opinion.
Field of Dreams – Dyersville, Iowa
If any man has told you that he did not cry during any part of the Field of Dreams, then he is not telling the truth.
The story of ghost baseball players and the farmers own father has tugged at the heart strings of baseball fans and men alike since opening in 1986.
The land owners have preserved the field since its creation and plan to preserve for generations to come. This single land mark has put Dyersville on the map with its iconic brilliant green outfield, clay-dirt infield and the white-painted house that sits just off the infield. This location is must for movie and baseball fans everywhere.
Tunisia – Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark
Two of the most popular films of all time had the same filming location. This was probably due to the fact that the same man worked on both of them; George Lucas.
The City of Kairouan in central Tunisia were used as the streets of Cairo for Indiana Jones and the famous scene where Indy threatens to blow up the Ark with his massive RPG, was filmed just outside of Tozeur.
Speaking of Tozeur, the moment you step foot into the southwestern city, it will feel like you just stepped foot into the deserts of Tatooine. The Force may end up dragging you to Hotel Sidi Driss where the Lars/Skywalkers house was filmed.
May the force be with you.
Budapest, Hungary – Munich
While the movie Munich, starring Eric Bana and Daniel Craig, might not have been an instant classic, the location it was filmed in certainty is.
This city blends, beautify, both the old world romance with the new world liveliness and is nicknamed the “Paris of the East” for its scenic setting and fantastic architecture. In general, the prices here are lower than Europe which offers a higher quality of life for a reasonable budget.
Budapest has a youthful atmosphere attached to it and is the center of world-class music and sporting events for Hungary and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage location.
Eugene, Oregon – Animal House
Those famous words still get echoed through the Fish Bowl on the campus of the University of Oregon, location of the most famous Fraternity in movie history, Delta Tau Chi.
The producers for Animal House had a difficult time finding a college campus that would allow them to film this non politically correct movie until the President of the University of Oregon allowed them to use their campus.
Eugene, Oregon is located about 120 miles south of Portland, in the Willamette Valley. Eugene, nicknamed Track Town USA because of its ties to Nike and Steve Prefontaine, boasts miles of running and hiking trails and a river that runs through the town that attracts flocks of students and locals during the hot summer months. Eugene is perfectly set in Oregon so that people can drive to the Pacific ocean in about an hour or up in the mountains in about in little over 90 minutes.
Philippines – Apocalypse Now
While the movie takes place in Vietnam during the Vietnam War, the movie was actually filmed in the northern island, Luzon, of the Philippines.
The famous beach where Robert Duvall as Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore utters his oft-quoted line, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning” has now become a top surfing destination in the region.
Luzon blends together both the inland mountains and pristine beaches that attract many tourists each year.
Salzburg, Austria – Sound of Music
The Sound of Music was one of the most successful musicals ever to hit the big screen and is still cherished to this day.
The opening sequence of this movie was shot in Salzburg’s Lake District while Julie Andrews makes her famous twirling appearance in Mellweg, near the village of Schellenberg.
Besides the fact this this place is famous for The Sound of Music, Salzberg has just the most picturesque mountains and lakes imaginable. The hills and mountains are a vibrant color of green while the lake boasts a deep blue hue during the summer months and snow blankets the area during the winter making Salzberg a fantastic place to visit year-round.
Scotland – Braveheart
While the movie got some major flack for filming most of the movie in Ireland, the Scottish Highlands just could not be faked.
Located around the Loch Leven, the rocky highlands are some of the most beautiful places in Europe and the world, Tourist flock to the place where the Legend of William Wallace grows.
The highlands attract both experienced mountaineers as well as avid hikers to his magnificent location just north of Edinburgh.
New Zealand – Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Hobbit
With his amazing sweeping shots from a helicopter, Peter Jackson captured the perfect middle earth locations.
All three movies were shot across both islands of New Zealand and some of the locations are actually pretty difficult to get to.
The volcano areas of Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe and the still active Mt Ruapehu provided the perfect locations for Mordor and Mount Doom. The rolling green hills of the private Alexander Farm, near Matamata, were where the Shire scenes were filmed and now the town of Matamata proudly proclaims itself Hobbiton.
The giant fortress cities of “Minas Tirith” and “Helms Deep” were built at a huge mining complex at Dry Creek Quarry near Wellington, but the sets were taken down due to the fact that the mine was still operational.
Pelendor Fields was filmed in the Mackenzie Basin on the southern island as was Queen Elizabeth Park, Mackays Crossing. The city of Edoras in the Kingdom of Rohan was built on Mt Potts Station on Mount Sunday.
New Zealand will go down as one of the most beautiful filming locations in the world.