February is the time of the year when our movie obsession reaches fever pitch, because of the Oscars. It occurred to us that it would be the perfect time to do an article combining two of our favourite pastimes - Travel and Movies.
"Around the World in Movie Destinations" is a visual tour of places where movies were filmed, in some cases not where you'd expect. If you are on holiday anytime soon, or thinking about where to plan a break this year, why not visit one of these?
Dark Knight Rises Rajasthan, India
The prison scene in the finale of the Dark Knight Rises was filmed at the beautiful Mehrangarh Fort in Rajasthan, India. Rajasthan is well known to many travellers to India, but not so much for movie destinations. It's well worth checking out this site in addition to the more typical tourist spots.
The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift Tokyo, Japan
This movie showed us much of Tokyo, but often at breakneck speed . . . Japan is known for many things, but very few visitors make the trip for the automotive side of the country. If you are a petrolhead, you'll know Japan has a rich and varied car history, with some real gems there past and present.
Argo Istanbul, Turkey
Argo was filmed on location in Istanbul. The iconic Blue Mosque is shown briefly before the secret meeting. Unique in its position straddling two continents, Istanbul is a city most seasoned travellers agree should be visited at least once in a lifetime.
Mission: Impossible Prague, Czech Republic
Prague has been a staple movie backdrop for many films in recent years. But there's a strong case for arguing that no Hollywood movie has used the beautiful Charles Bridge as effectively as the first (and best?) instalment in the Mission Impossible franchise, source of so many memorable quotes.
12 Years A Slave Louisiana, USA
12 Years A Slave showed the world many aspects of America, and was visually compelling. One of the less-often spoken of features of the movie was its portrayal of the historic plantations of Louisiana. Images like this illustrate why they formed a perfect setting for this powerful movie.
The Shawshank Redemption St Croix, US Virgin Islands
Many places in the world offer beautiful beaches for film-makers, and we often wonder how the lucky folks who choose movie destinations decide on beaches to use. The last scene of the Shawshank Redemption, where Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins reunite, was supposed to have been in Mexico. But actually it was shot on location at the spectacular St Croix beach in the US Virgin Islands.
Gladiator Aït Ben Haddou, Morocco
Morocco is another country that has become known for movie destinations, with its knack for believable impressions of so many places in the world (and beyond!). While the first movie shot in Morocco was in 1897, our pick is more recent: from Gladiator, where Maximus is sold into slavery here at Aït Ben Haddou.
Spectre Mexico City, Mexico
Spectre is one of our favourite movies from 2015, not least because of the sheer spectacle across so many scenes. The phenomenal Day of the Dead scene is one of the most memorable pieces of cinema set in Mexico. The shooting actually stopped Mexico City for a few days.
The Last Emperor Forbidden City, China
Many have heard of the Forbidden City, but far fewer know what it actually is, or even where it is (Beijing). The Last Emperor was the first Western movie the Chinese authorities permitted to film there. Its haul of Oscars in 1987, including Best Cinematography, was one of the results.
Lord of the Rings Matamata, New Zealand
New Zealand has long been a place in the world that offers far more than is generally realised. For example, it's location so close to Australia means many are unaware how physically large it is - somewhere between the UK and Japan in size. But a series of recent successful movies opened many eyes to its breathtaking beauty - including Avatar, 2 of the Narnia films and The Piano. But it was the Tolkien movies that were best known for their location. Matamata now even has its own "Welcome to Hobbiton" sign!
So have we got you to reconsider where you'll be going on holiday this year?!