World travel

Movie Maps: Where Films Are Shot Worldwide

We’ve all felt it: a sudden desire to travel, sparked by some exotic scene that’s playing across the silver screen. What’s more intriguing than the prospect of a real visit to the far-flung geographic gems that movies reveal? At HotelsCombined, we’ve got all your REAL travel needs covered – even to destinations you’ve only seen on film. In fact, we set out to uncover the hottest spots for film locations across the world, using Movie-Locations.com’s massive database to determine where the movie magic happens when Hollywood leaves… Hollywood.

First, we surveyed the number of major-studio films shot in every nation worldwide, and determined the 10 countries outside the U.S. with the most film locations total, ranked in order. Check them out in the graphic below.

10 Foreign Countries

While the character of Western Europe may be changing rapidly, its romance still holds sway over movie-makers, and by extension, audiences: Eight of the top 10 belong to that region. While some might argue that Ireland, Scotland, and Wales don’t qualify as separate nations (depends which pub you walk into), their respective movie résumés are more than ample enough to be assessed independently. For those who yearn for the rolling hills surrounding Hogwarts, a trip to Wales is in order. If The Matrix is more your speed, try Australia; for those in the know, Keanu’s virtual world looks a heck of a lot like Sydney.

What about the prevalence of film locations on American soil? Turns out, the American movie industry reaches far beyond Tinseltown’s borders. We determined the number of films shot in each U.S. state, as the heatmap below reveals:

Most Movie Location in State

Predictably, California tops our list: Between its varied natural beauty and proximity to the world’s most powerful studios, no other state can really keep up. New York put up a good fight, though, clocking in at second with New York City to thank (more on the Big Apple’s storied film geography in a moment). Many of the top 10’s remaining states offer close approximations of either foreign deserts (Arizona, Nevada, Texas) or tropical retreats (Florida), appealing to producers hoping to keep their operation stateside.

This all begs the question: Totals aside, where were America’s most famous films shot? Which states can lay claim to true cinematic gems? We’re not taking sides, but we do have a graphic that just might fuel that debate:

Most Iconic Movie Filmed in State

Recognize the Matthew McConaughey icon for Dazed and Confused? “It’d be a lot cooler if you did.” While the most iconic film from each state will always be subject to spirited debate, there’s no disputing the richness of the country’s film geography as a whole. From Alaska’s Insomnia to Florida’s Goldfinger, every region has some cinematic gold to call its own.

And then there are some places that get more than their fair share of film appearances: Los Angeles, London, and maybe most of all, New York City. When it comes to a high concentration of classics, NYC is unmatched. We decided to look at exactly where some of the city’s unforgettable films were shot. Here’s our illustrated map:

New York City Film Locations

Whether you’re looking to enjoy Sex and the City’s shopping or A River Runs Through It’s magnificent wilderness, we’ve got the tools to get you there. At HotelsCombined, we know that travel isn’t just for movie stars… or their budgets. Pick any one of these movie backdrops, and we’ll help you create an adventure all your own!

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79 thoughts on “Movie Maps: Where Films Are Shot Worldwide”

  1. Not a single scene of About Schmidt was shot in Iowa. It was shot in Omaha (which is in Nebraska).

    And even if it were, it is not more iconic than Field of Dreams to anyone who has been alive more than 10 minutes.

    Thanks for treating our state with no concern so you can do some stupid marketing stunt. We will return the favor when we see your products.

  2. “About Schmidt” was set in and filmed in Nebraska, not Iowa. Iowa’s iconic movie is “Field of Dreams,” which was also actually filmed here.

    1. Thanks Ken. You are correct, About Schmidt was filmed almost entirely in Nebraska with only a couple of Iowa locations. Field of Dreams is a good suggestion though; it’s very iconic for the state!

      1. The you may want to move Dances With Wolves from Wyoming to South Dakota, as that is where almost all of that classic filmed (and is also where the main film tourism site is). Armageddon shot in SD for minimal time…and it’s certainly not set there either.

        As for Wyoming, insert Close Encounters of the Third Kind, as Devils Tour is one of the leading examples of film tourism.

        The Firm was filmed almost entirely in Tennessee, where it is also set. And yet you have it for Arkansas?? Cast Away filmed in TN for a day or two. It needs to go. Give Arkansas Sling Blade.

        Brokeback Mountain for New Mexico? Really? It filmed in Canada and is set in Wyoming. How about Red Dawn for NM….or any other movie that actually filmed mainly in that state?

        Bridesmaids for Wisconsin? Two days of shooting. The rest was filmed in California and most of the plot takes place in Chicago. Michael Mann’s Public Enemies is partly set and substantially filmed in Wisconsin. That or any other film that spent actual time there would be better.

        Forrest Gump didn’t film in North Carolina. At all. But Lincoln did shoot in Virginia and never set foot in South Carolina. It did shoot a fair amount in Georgia, which is where the iconic bench scene in Savannah took place. But if you prefer to keep Road Trip which has no memorable scenes or locations as the iconic film for Georgia…well, Forrest has a quote about that.

        I could keep going, but these are the biggest offenders.

  3. Poor research in the iconic movies per state. Forrest Gump belongs in Georgia or Washington D.C., or South Carolina. No part was filmed in Virginia. Washington D.C. is close to VA but is independent.

    Virginia wants it’s movie!

  4. How is the movie Fargo considered for North Dakota when 99% of the shots are from Minnesota and they only did some snow shots in North Dakota because of a melting snow?

    1. I was wondering the same thing. Poorly researched map. The only thing North Dakotan about the movie Fargo is literally the title. Everything else is Minnesota.

  5. Fargo was filmed in Minnesota. Most of the movie take place in Minneapolis. Have you seen the movie? Bridesmaids was not shot in Wisconsin. A stock flyover of Milwaukee was all they showed.

  6. Proof that sites like this have zero credibility. “Dances With Wolves”, winner of seven Academy Awards including Best Picture in 1991, was filmed entirely in South Dakota! Only ONE scene was filmed in Wyoming! Just for fun or not, a good writer would fact-check before publishing their story.

  7. The giant movie “Giant” was filmed in Texas. I think this is a little more iconic than “Dazed and Confused” don’t you??? It was filmed on a ranch in Marfa, Texas.

  8. So, maybe you didn’t do a whole lot of research on Alaska, but there has been more than one film shot up here.

    Perhaps you didn’t hear about “Beyond” or “Big Miracle” (nee “Everyone Loves Whales”) or even “Wolverine” or “On Deadly Ground” … but “On Frozen Ground” was pretty big.

    In fact, IMDB makes it pretty easy to see that there are a lot more films than just the ones I listed off of the top of my head that were shot in Alaska.

    Like “Hunt for Red October” shot its opening sequence here.

    And the first “Transformers” had a lot of scenes shot here, although most of them were dropped after a rewrite/re-edit.

    “Into the Wild” … “Star Trek 6” … “The Thing”
    …the list really does go on and on.

    If you’re looking for an “Iconic” film — “Big Miracle” is certainly more “iconic” than “Insomnia” will ever be.

  9. Dances with Wolves was shot primarily in South Dakota, not Wyoming.

    And like someone else said, About Schimdt is Nebraska. I agree for Iowa, “Field of Dreams” is a better option. “Is this Heaven?” “No, it’s Iowa”. 🙂

  10. I can think of two Academy award winning iconic films more associated with South Dakota than Armageddon. How about Dances with Wolves and North by Northwest. How was this research done?

  11. “Dances With Wolves” for Wyoming? Seriously? Try “Shane.” It’s still a crossword puzzle clue for heaven’s sake!
    “Dances With Wolves” was primarily shot in South Dakota…..sigh

  12. Fargo is more about Minnesota, the whole story is based in Minnesota. Also, maybe 3 snow scenes were shot in North Dakota, none in Fargo.

  13. The most iconic movie filmed in WV is in no way “Sweet Dreams”. It is “The Deer Hunter”. People who have never heard of “Sweet Dreams” have heard of “The Deer Hunter.”

    Heck, more people have seen the “Crying Indian” anti-litter public service commercials (also partially filmed in Weirton) than have seen “Sweet Dreams”.

    1. Absolutely true! I was in my twenties when the deer hunter was being filmed. I still remember the trailer in the parking lot that belonged to Weirton Steel where they filmed a lot of the movie.

    1. It’s true, it looks like the filming was based in Ohio. We used movie-locations.com when putting together the map, which suggested that some of the scenes were shot in Indiana. Very happy to hear all suggestions though!

    2. I was surprised to learn that Pearl Harbor is on the list of movies which were filmed, at least in part, in Indiana. The Gary Works of U.S. Steel, on the south shore of Lake Michigan, was the stand-in for the industrial section of Tokyo in the scenes of bombing raids on Tokyo.

  14. I’d say that ‘Dances with Wolves’ would be the most “iconic” film shot in South Dakota. Only one short scene in ‘Armageddon’ was shot here. The battle scenes in ‘Starship Troopers’ were filmed in the badlands here.

  15. You’re cracking me up with Pirates of the Caribbean for Utah. The home of monument valley and every John Ford western is not known for Pirates of the Caribbean.

  16. Most Iconic for Kentucky would be STRIPES. A bunch is shot in Louisville & all the “Russian” scenes are at the Makers Mark Distillery in Bardstown, KY.

  17. I know that movies older than, say, the 1980s may not come to mind, but the movie that I see as most iconic of California was Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”. At the very least, the scenery was. and still is, magnificent there.

  18. I thought parts of Caters of the moon in IDAHO were used in star wars. That would seem more iconic then what we got stuck with.

  19. One scene of Rain Man was filmed in Indiana, most of it was in Kentucky. How about Hoosiers or Rudy, both probably more iconic than Rain Man.

  20. Not trying to sound picky, but I might have to challenge ‘cast away’ for TN with ‘the green mile’ since most of it was filmed in tn. Cast away makes me think of a remote island.

  21. Great job on all of these maps — love the idea, presentation and information.
    Arkansans in general would probably pick SLINGBLADE as the most iconic film shot in the state — because of what it did for native son Billy Bob Thornton’s career, its Oscar recognition, its place in pop culture, and its role in the independent film surge of the 1990s.

    THE FIRM is a good choice on a technicality (it only shot a few days on the Arkansas side of the Mississippi River — mostly shot in Memphis). But even a more recent film like MUD, would be considered a movie “made in Arkansas” more than THE FIRM. (TRUE GRIT was set in Arkansas but neither iteration of it was filmed in the state.)

  22. You should’ve picked ‘The Outsiders’ for OK, especially considering the cast is renovating the house from the film before it is placed on the national historic registry.

  23. Buffalo, New York: The Natural. Robert Redford, Glenn Close, Kim Bassinger, Robert DuVal, Robert Prosky in one of the greatest baseball movies ever!!

  24. HA! Road Trip for Georgia? How about Smokey and the Bandit or The Green Berets? Cape Fear (1991), Driving Miss Daisy, Fried Green Tomatoes, Deliverence, and Forrest flippin’ Gump!

  25. To Kill a Mockingbird was actually filmed in Hollywood and not on location. Norma Rae would probably have been a better shout for Alabama.

  26. Also, Stripes was shot in Louisville and Elizabethtown, KY. There’s also Crowe’s Elizabethtown, which, honestly, wasn’t very good.

  27. I know the area around Aurora Il has been getting a lot of attention thanks to DC Universe. The Smallville sceens are Plano Il. Some filming around Aurora And the Funeral Procession for Superman was filmed in Yorkville. In fact where the grave of Superman was filmed was Yorkville Il.

  28. “Dazed and Confused” for Texas? What about “The Last Picture Show”, “Giant”, “Midnight Cowboy”, or “Kill Bill Volume 1”?

  29. What a bunch of horsehockey. Many of the films of which you speak we’re not filmed in the states you show them. Some aren’t even based on those places?
    Who did your research? The Bastard love child of rainman and Gump?
    Alot of the movies filmed in Canada mainly Vancouver.

    What a shitshow.

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