These days, it’s difficult to imagine any TV or film backdrop being real. CGI effects have seemingly taken over real-life filming locations. So why would Hollywood producers build an alien world, or fly an entire film crew to a different country to shoot a film when they can use green screens, matte paintings, CGI, and miniature models? Well, it turns out that not everything that we see is fake. Here are some fan-favorite films that used actual real-life locations.The actual hotel where some of the exterior hotel scenes were shot is real. It’s located on Mount Hood in Northern Oregon, and it’s called the Timberline Lodge. But the long hallways and the eerie outdated decorum was filmed in Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, England.
It turns out that the hotel lobby scenes shown in the film aren’t really a hotel at all. It’s a department store in Gorlitzer, Germany. And given the magnificence of the staircases, it’s easy to see why Anderson chose this as the venue for his film.
The capital of Naboo where Anakin Skywalker and Padme took a stroll through is a real place. The scene was shot in Plaza de España in Seville, Spain. The area is considered a historical landmark. So, if you’re ever in Spain, come to Naboo. Sorry, Seville.
The entire film was practically shot on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. If you want to visit, you just need to take an Island Queen ferry that travels from Falmouth, Massachusetts to the tiny island. Once you get there, you can explore the town, but steer clear of the water, just in case.
The Regent Beverly Wilshire at 9500 Wilshire Boulevard was where Julia Roberts’ character, Vivian, got a taste of what it was like to live a life of luxury after becoming acquainted with a millionaire. But most suites cost anywhere from a grand to $3000, so you might want to settle for a selfie outside of the hotel.
However, if you loved “Twilight,” then you can visit Silver Falls State Park, which is about 26 miles from Salem, Oregon. This where the scene between Bella and Edward were shot. So, bring a camera to take snaps of some of the waterfalls in the area. And bring a wooden stake just in case.
If you’re ever in England, then visit the 11th century Gloucester Cathedral. This divine place was used as the ideal setting for Hogwarts, the school used to train witches and wizards in the “Harry Potter” film series.
You remember the scene where the mic gets sabotaged, and then Jenny starts screaming Forrest’s name. Well, you might get into trouble if you leap across the water the way she did. But you can take a stroll along the walkway of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, where the scene took place.
But in real life, the island of Ko Phi Phi Leh is a whole lot easier to get too. All you have to do is get to Krabi Province, which is on southern Thailand’s west coast. Then hop aboard a boat, and you can walk on the same sand that DiCaprio once did. Don’t go from June to September because it’s closed to tourists as authorities attempt to reverse the damage done to the marine environment from all the people visiting and the ocean pollution.
The scenes were shot on the Aegean island of Skópelos, near the Kastani beach on the southwest coast. But there were two things that were built specifically for the film. One was the beach bar, and the other was the jetty, which was taken down after filming was completed.
But you don’t have to watch the film to experience these ethereal places. You can do what director Peter Jackson did and take a plane to New Zealand, where the movies were filmed. The scenery is spectacular and there’s no CGI required. But you might want to pay for a guided tour.
In the “X-Men” film series, Hatley Castle was used as a school for mutants. But in the real world, it’s actually a national historic site that you can visit by taking a ferry from Vancouver’s Tsawwassen Terminal to Victoria’s Swartz Bay Terminal.
The Swan House in Buckhead, which is in Atlanta, GA, subbed as President Snow’s mansion. The House itself was built for a cotton businessman and his wife back in 1928. And if you’re ever in Atlanta, you can take a tour of the house.
The scenes were horrifying. But what makes the location even scarier is the fact that the asylum is real, except, it’s not an asylum at all. It’s something much worse. The scenes in the film were shot in Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary.
In the film, alien prawns were contained inside a slum designed to keep the extraterrestrials away from the human population. But producers didn’t have to get too creative with the backdrop since the movie was filmed in a slum neighborhood located in Johannesburg.
Kirk and Spock actually found some at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. But it turns out, that science fiction, was more like science fact… at least, in this case it was. The Aquarium in the film was the real Monterey Bay Aquarium, located south of San Jose, California.
Other sci-fi fans might have been happy just to get the chance to live in Elliott’s house. Well, as it turns out, that’s not an impossible dream. The home is real and you can drive by it if you’re ever in Tujunga, California. It’s located on Lonzo Street, but you’ll have to evict the family currently living there.
The Emerald Canyon, located in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, just 50 miles north of Eureka, California, became the backdrop of a number of scenes, like the ones where humans ran from dinosaurs. The setting was as big of a blockbuster as the dinosaurs seen in the 1997 film.
A lot of the backdrop used was from a region known as Siem Reap, where Angkor Wat, a temple complex is located. One of the temples in the film is called the Tha Prom temple. Oh, and while you’re in this area, order yourself the “Tomb Raider Cocktail,” at the Red Piano. It was Angelina Jolie’s favorite restaurant.
Remember the “Jurassic Park” gate? While the gates themselves were removed, two large poles remain on the sides of the road on Mount Waialeale, where the movie was made. The National Tropical Botanical Gardens in Kauai was also the site where Grant uncovers a nest full of raptors.