Four Fantastic Iconic Movie Destinations

Feb 20, 2024 | Articles, Geography, Movies

Whether it’s an action movie, a romantic comedy, a psychological horror or other genre, people across the world love a good movie. According to data on the website of consumer and market data firm Statista, it’s estimated that movie theatres across the world would have sold 5.7 billion tickets by the end of 2022. By 2026, the annual figure is expected to be around 7.7 million tickets.

North America, which comprises the United States and Canada, is one of the most influential film-making regions in the world. From mid-2022, all of the most expensive movies in history were made in American studios or in cooperation with them. Of course, film makers like to shoot their movies in the best locations possible. Below is a discussion of iconic destinations and famous movies that have taken place in them, including Las Vegas, which is a go-to location for casino-related movies.


The popularity of movies and importance of good locations

Locations can make or break a film. The team tasked with finding a location must read the script and understand its requirements, research potential locations, visit the site and obtain the relevant permissions. Then the moviemakers can go on to make iconic movies that, because of their location, take them across the world.

Think, for instance, of James Bond “Casino Royale”, filmed in Monaco; of “The Godfather”, which took the makers from filming in New York to filming in Sicily, Italy; or even of “The Beach,” filmed out in Thailand. Amazing films, and the locations really added to them. Here are some fantastic film destinations, plus some of the films shot there.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas is the entertainment and gambling capital of the world. Whether you’re there to make a movie or just visiting for a holiday, you’re in for amazing time. The entertainment acts that come to Las Vegas help boost the gambling and casino culture even further. There are many iconic casino hotels and resorts to visit on your trip to Vegas including Caesars Palace, MGM Grand and The Venetian. If, however, you can’t get to Las Vegas and are Canada-based, many Quebec casinos offer bonuses so you can still enjoy some casino games online.

Las Vegas’s gambling culture makes it perfect for movies based on gambling or casinos, or which feature either or both. Who can forget Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn failing at a Vegas blackjack table in “Swingers”? Or Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise making a fortune at blackjack in “Rain Man.” Or Joe Pesci getting stroppy at the table in “Casino” before Robert De Niro leads him away from the casino.

Salzburg, Austria

Very few people can forget the image of Julie Andrews singing in a field against the backdrop of mountains. Salzburg, Austria, is another iconic movie destination and featured in the 1965 film “The Sound of Music,” based on the 1959 musical. The Reiteschule (summer riding school), Karajan Square and the “Horse Pond”, Mirabel Palace and Gardens and Salzburg Archabbey are other locations you might recognize in the movie. If you’re a fan of romantic comedies, you might also recognize Salzburg from the romcom “Just Married,” starring Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy.

Kauai, Hawaii

The island of Kauai and other locations in Hawaii provided the scenery for Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park,” an epic blockbuster starring Sam Neil, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum about a theme park of dinosaurs that goes horribly wrong when the dinosaurs break free. The Na Pali Coast features as the fictional island Sorna (or “Site B” as they refer to it in the film). According to movie website IMDB, The Blue Hole, Kauai, was used for the large front gate to Jurassic Park, and Kauai’s Jurassic Kahili Ranch has featured as a location for “The Lost World” and “Jurassic World.”

Hawaiian locations have also served other big movies. The romance movie “Pearl Harbor”, which stars Ben Affleck, Cuba Gooding Jr, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale, Alec Baldwin and others; the Ben Stiller comedy “Tropic Thunder”; and, in part, the adventure movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” with Harrison Ford, are a few.

Petra, Jordan

Speaking of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” fans of Indiana Jones will want to make a pilgrimage to Al Khazneh, in Petra, Jordan. This temple that appears in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” the third in the trilogy, is the mystical temple of the Holy Grail and, in true “Indy” style, is riddled with booby traps and boasts lots of intricate chambers. Fans wouldn’t be able to step inside the real temple, so seeing it will have to be enough though. Other films you might recognize Petra and the popular landscape of Wadi Rum from include “Lawrence of Arabia,” starring the late Peter O’ Toole, and “The Martian,” starring Matt Damon.

The world is full of fantastic destinations to film movies. Other films that feature fab destinations include “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” filmed in Cambodia, “In Bruges”, shot in Bruges, Belgium, and “Pirates of the Caribbean,” which chose St Vincent and Domenica as its location.

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Thomas B.