If I had a nickel for every time I watched a movie and thought “WOW, I would kill to go there”, i’d have enough money to fly around the world. A good movie will make you wish you were in it, but a great movie will make you feel like you’re actually there. Although there are countless amazing movie destinations, we’ve narrowed it down to our top 5 favorites.
1. The 2005 movie Marie Antoinette starring Kirsten Dunst and directed by Sofia Coppola was shot in the gorgeous Palace of Versailles. Former home of the infamous real-life Queen of France, Marie Antoinette, Versailles is as historically important as it is gorgeous. This location is not only incredible because of its importance and beauty, but is especially unbelievable because Coppola was the first filmmaker ever to be granted widespread access to filming in the palace. I was lucky enough to tour Versailles a few years ago, and let me tell you, you have to see it to believe it.
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy starring Elijah Wood and many others, was filmed in the beautiful location of Matama, New Zealand. This location is special because not only is it a gorgeous place, but the gorgeous hills of Matamata were planted with crops and flowers on set an entire year before filming began, completely transforming the setting into what we see in the movies. There are now many Lord of the Rings tours you can go on at this location.
3. The 1977 movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind starring Richard Dreyfuss was filmed at Devil’s Tower, an "igneous intrusion" (I don’t know what that means, either) located in Wyoming. Devil’s Tower is especially cool because it is the first US monument declared by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. For the movie, Devil’s tower was used as the landing spot for the spaceship. This location stands out to me because it is a crazy example of something natural being turned into something literally other worldly. Wonder if there’s secretly some aliens hiding in there?
4. No Country for Old Men was released on November 9th, 2007 and was filmed in Marfa, Texas. Marfa has been the setting for many other movies as well, including Giant (1956) starring James Dean and There Will Be Blood (2007) starring Daniel Day-Lewis. Marfa has also become famous for being the home to the famous art piece "Prada Marfa" by the artist Elmgreen and Dragset. You may be familiar with this piece because of a photo of a certain Queen (BEYONCE) jumping in front of the piece. Sometimes the most interesting movie settings are the ones that are the quietest and most desolate, because it is hard to imagine movie crews and trailers invading those spaces. Although Marfa has been the star of many hollywood films, when it is not being a movie star, Marfa is just a small quiet town, with a few quirks. According to an NPR story about Marfa, although Marfa has “just one blinking traffic light [it also has] 14 art galleries, an independent bookstore and an organic grocery”. Sounds like my kind of place.
5. The Anji Grand National Bamboo Forest was used as the backdrop for the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon which premiered December 8th, 2000 in the US. The Anji Bamboo Forest is incredible not only because of how gorgeous it is, but also because it is one of eastern China’s last remaining bamboo forests. Having been in a bamboo forest myself right outside of Kyoto, Japan in Sagano (see low-res iphone photo below), I know just how amazing this location must be.