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Photograph: Hobbiton Movie Set

101 places all movie lovers should visit

From Harry Potter’s station platform to the Rocky Steps: a bucket list of must-visit spots for film fans

Phil de Semlyen
Written by
Phil de Semlyen
Time Out editors

Remember the last time you went somewhere – anywhere – exciting? After a year parked on the sofa, movies have become our passports to strange, exotic places. With that sense of escapism in mind, we’ve mapped out 101 places around the world that offer something for every film fan, cinephile and pop-culture nerd.

It ticks off everything from legendary film locations, to studio tours, to movie museums, to delis where you should always have what Meg Ryan is having. There are three lots of iconic staircases, a prison or two, a couple of boats, and at least one crashed train. And if none of that tickles your DVD collection, look out for the high school where Ferris skivved off and the Breakfast Club did detention. Oh, and you can check into the cinema hotel where you dial ‘007’ for room service. Happy trails.

NB: Most of the locations on this list are either reopening or planning to reopen. Check with their official sites by clicking on the main images for the latest info.

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Harry Potter famously left for Hogwarts by running through a King’s Cross Station wall and emerging at Platform 9¾. Possibly to discourage people from attempting it, the station has its own magical Potter photo op: a luggage trolley embedded into a wall between the real platforms 8 and 9, providing the joyful illusion that you’re heading for Hogsmeade Station rather than, say, Leeds. Neighbouring St Pancras Station, with its more striking gothic facade, was used for the station’s exterior shots – a decision that had Londoners grumbling about accuracy in a movie that also features a flying car and a bank run by goblins. It’s a cottage industry these days, with a professional photographer on hand to capture the moment and a Harry Potter shop nearby. Then you can hop on the Met line to Watford and see the whole platform recreated at the franchise’s studio tour. Phil de Semlyen 

Fun fact Platform 9¾ was actually filmed between platforms 4 and 5, where the Victorian brickwork is more substantial than on the real 9 and 10. 

🎬Read our review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

📍Discover more of the best things to do in London

The obvious reason to stop in at this ex-prison-turned-museum in central Philly is to visit the surprisingly primly appointed cell where Al Capone once spent seven months. But as any 12 Monkeys stan will tell you, it also held Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt when it stood in for the movie’s psychiatric hospital. ‘This photo shows cell blocks 210 and 211,’ says Eastern State’s senior VP Sean Kelley, ‘where the film’s main asylum scenes were shot.’ Eastern State has also stood in for a Malaysian prison in Vince Vaughn drugs drama Return to Paradise and Drago’s Russian gym in Creed 2, though the latter ended up on the cutting room floor. These days, Eastern State discourages filming – ‘It’s in a beautiful state of decay,’ says Kelley, ‘but it’s difficult to make it look like an active prison’ – but welcomes all comers for a wander and/or an IPA in a new beer garden that’s run with a socially conscious local brewery. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact The audio tour is narrated by Steve Buscemi, who once scouted the location for his own prison drama Animal Factory

🎬Read our review of 12 Monkeys

📍Discover more of the best things to do in Philadelphia


It’s amazing to think people actually choose to stay at Colorado’s Stanley Hotel. Sure, this secluded retreat in the Rocky Mountains is renowned for its lush grounds and epic views – but, y’know, have you seen The Shining? This is the place author Stephen King and wife Tabitha made a brief sojourn, only to find the hotel eerily empty and cut off from the outside the world. It was once a health retreat for tuberculosis sufferers, built by Yankee steam-powered car inventor Freeman Oscar Stanley, but later became a luxury resort and is now a major tourist destination for the movie’s legions of dedicated fans. Whatever you do, avoid room 237. Huw Oliver

Fun fact You should also avoid room 217. That was the room King and his wife actually stayed in. It’s said to be haunted, owing to an electrical explosion that gravely injured the hotel’s chief housekeeper in 1911. 

🎬Read our review of The Shining

Welcome to New Asgard: Better known as St Abbs, a harbourside hamlet in Berwickshire about the size of Thor’s actual abs and the only fishing village in the Marvelverse. Retooling it to represent Tønsberg in Norway in Avengers: Endgame, directors Joe and Anthony Russo set up camp here during production. It’s where Chris Hemsworth’s Norse god comes to nurse his sorrows – and several hundred beers – until his fellow Avengers cajole him out of it. If he’d stayed he might have enjoyed the coastal walks, clifftop views and top-notch scuba diving. There’s no pub in the harbour but you can pick up one of the Ebbcarrs Cafe’s enviable lemon curd sponges. Which might explain Thor’s waistline. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact Thor’s New Asgard local, The Cormorant and Tun, can be found at 6 Seaview Terrace (though it’s a house not a pub).

🎬Read our review of Avengers: Endgame

Alien Museum, Barcelona
Photograph: Luis Escribano

5. Alien Museum, Barcelona

Think you love Alien? Meet Luis Escribano, an Alien fan so dedicated to the sci-fi-horror masterpiece, and the Aliens franchise as a whole, that he’s slowly rebuilding it round the corner from his Barcelona home. He really loves Alien. His immersive 70-square-metre museum features a stretch of corridor from the USCSS Nostromo, part of the shuttle Narcissus, Ash’s lab and a section of the Hadley’s Hope settlement from Aliens, even an Alien³ set. If you fancy taking the hour-long guided tour (€20), message Escribano on Instagram or email On display are costumes, props, and even the odd pulse rifle. Just keep an eye out for the facehugger. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact The museum is keeping pace with the franchise: on display is one of the Engineer’s ampules from Prometheus, signed by Ridley Scott. 

Read our review of Alien

Tons of joints in Hollywood claim to conjure that old sense of silver-screen glamour, but only one literally created it. Polish-born beautician Maksymilian Faktorowicz started out selling wigs in LA, and by the 1920s he occupied this impressive art deco building with his Max Factor cosmetics company, which both created and cornered the industry and consumer markets for screen-ready make-up. Lucille Ball’s red curls? Marilyn Monroe’s blonde locks (supposedly)? You can thank Max Factor for that, and the Hollywood Museum’s collection is stocked with all sorts of make-up tins and beauty contraptions. But the bulk of the exhibition space is dedicated to decades-spanning displays of props and costumes – some playfully silly, like the Dungeon of Doom and its recreation of Hannibal Lecter’s jail cell. Michael Juliano 

Fun fact When you walk into the pink lobby, look for the doors that led to the original make-up rooms, each with a sign that designates whether it was for redheads, blonds, brunettes or ‘brownettes’. 

Read our review of The Silence of the Lambs

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Maine North High School, Illinois
Photograph: Brett Clark

7. Maine North High School, Illinois

We wouldn’t usually point you towards a police station (maybe the one in The Terminator), but this high school-turned-cop-shop has insane movie pedigree. Say hello to Shermer High, the seat of learning for just about every sporto, motorhead, geek, blood, waistoid and dweebie in a John Hughes movie – plus the odd righteous dude. Maine North High School closed in 1981 but it was used in both The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – along with Hughes’s own alma mater, Glenbrook North, eight miles across the north Chicago burbs. Nowadays, the building is used by the Illinois State Police and the sports fields are townhouses. Judd Nelson-style Insta poses have to happen on the tarmac. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact The school gets a misspelt credit at the end of The Breakfast Club as ‘Main High School’. Way to upset a school, guys.

🎬Read our review of The Breakfast Club

The marketability of movie sets has its limits – it’s hard to imagine queues round the block to visit The Village – though not in this corner of Middle-earth. Originally built for The Lord of the Rings movies, then re-upped more permanently for The Hobbit films, Hobbiton is one of the keepers: a perfectly preserved mini hamlet on a 1,250-acre New Zealand sheep farm that has morphed from film set to tourist gold just swimmingly. All Frodo’s favourite spots – Bag End, the Party Tree, Bagshot Row – are present and correct on the tours. Our pick? The Second Breakfast tour for hungry hobbitses. Getting there (and back) from Auckland is an easy drive. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact A Pennsylvania architect and Tolkien nut commissioned his own Hobbit house, complete with a 54-inch round hobbit door. 

🎬Read our review of The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring


This gleaming bar-restaurant 3,048 metres up in the Alpine resort of Sölden looks like the sort of place Bond villains go for after-work drinks. It has its own space-aged cable car, a gourmet restaurant and, since Spectre filmed here in 2015, a James Bond exhibition for anyone looking to keep the British end up after a long day’s skiing. In the movie it was the clinic where 007 meets Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) and then a big old mountain chase kicks off. The exhibition has more of a Bond villain lair set-up, with slick visuals complemented by ridiculous views of the Alps. You’ll get a look at how that big action scene came together and the chance to check out some vintage Bond props (Scaramanga’s golden gun is on display). When you’ve had a browse, best bet is to head to the bar and order a Vesper martini in an ostentatious fashion. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact Because the ice base beneath it moves, the building’s foundations are also movable. Which is apparently not as terrifying as it sounds.

Read our review of Spectre

Any reason to visit the stunning squares of Savannah, with their oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, is a good one. But we’ll be honest: we’re cheating a little here. The actual bench that Tom Hanks sat on in Forrest Gump is in a local museum a few streets away (the Savannah History Museum). But there’s certainly a bench on the north edge of Chippewa Square, where, in the movie, there was also a bus stop at which Gump would sit and tell his colourful life story (‘Life… box of chocolates… etc’) to random strangers, offering them a chocolate for their troubles. You can visit the location and then check out the real bench at the museum within a few blocks. A bench is just a bench though; Chippewa Square is a little gem, a tranquil shady spot, surely about as pleasant as Hanks himself. Dave Calhoun

Fun fact They used several fibreglass benches to shoot those scenes in Forrest Gump. Only one ended up in the museum.

🎬Read our review of Forrest Gump


Manhattan gets the glory, but, just across the East River, Queens offers a handful of really worthwhile museums. One is the Museum of the Moving Image, which sits on the Kaufman Astoria Studios complex (built back in 1920), where, famously, the TV series Sesame Street is shot. MoMI leans into this heritage: it has a great ongoing Jim Henson exhibition, where you can trace his career and play around with his methods. There’s also a corner where kids can experiment with stop-motion animation. Both are strong reasons to bring little ones along to this unstuffy celebration of TV and film, while exhibits dedicated to old camera equipment and filmmaking techniques are more geared to adults. The museum also has an impressive cinema – good for catching classics – and also runs outdoor screenings. It’s a great reason to venture to Queens. Dave Calhoun

Fun fact The first two films featuring the Marx Brothers, The Cocoanuts (1929) and Animal Crackers (1930), were shot at the Astoria Studios.

🎬Read our review of The Cocoanuts

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The Muzey Kino is the place to head for an epic trawl through Russian and Soviet cinema, from A(ndrei Rublev) to Z(vyagintsev). Weirdly, Russia is not overly blessed with cinema museums, but this one, opened in 1989, does all the heavy lifting with a huge archive (there are 20,000 film posters alone), three cinemas and a ton of rare materials delving into everything from montage cinema to the epics of Sergei Eisenstein. It’s an entire film studies module under one neoclassical roof. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact Sergei Eisenstein’s front room is on display (pictured), complete with his furniture, photos given to him by Chaplin and Einstein and a portrait painted for him by Parisian socialite Kiki. 


Of all of the fantastical things to happen in the paranormal comedy Ghostbusters, one of the most unbelievable is that its rag-tag group of scientists are able to somehow buy an entire empty firehouse in the middle of downtown Manhattan. (They ain’t ’fraid of no broker’s fees!) But we digress. Firehouse, Hook & Ladder Company 8, the still fully operational firehouse with a starring role in the 1984 film, is one of the rare famous film locations in NYC that’s still in pristine shape. In fact, it looks like it was just airdropped onto Varick Street straight from a studio backlot. (That’s largely thanks to a multi-million dollar renovation that just finished in 2018.) It’s a must-visit spot for any Ghostbusters fan who can be certain they’ll walk away with a Class 5 Insta shot from their pilgrimage – whether they’re a keymaster or a gatekeeper. Will Gleason

Fun fact The firehouse is so famous it even has its own Playmobil set.

🎬Read our review of Ghostbusters

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Turns out it wasn’t the last picture show in The Last Picture Show. The declining Texas cinema in the 1971 Best Picture nominee is now thriving in author-screenwriter Larry McMurtry’s old hometown of Archer City. In the movie, it’s closing down after a final screening of Red River. When Jeff Bridges, Cloris Leachman, Cybill Shepherd and co rolled into town, it really was just a shell after a fire six years earlier (the interiors were filmed in another Texas theatre). Thanks to a $250,000 rebuild led by local businessman Abby Abernathy, it’s a working theatre again: plays and gigs, mostly, with the occasional movie screening – including the black-and-white one that made it famous. The film evokes mixed feelings here. ‘Archer City is a bible belt town and it was split down the middle during filming,’ remembers Abernathy. ‘Half objected to what was seen as an X-rated movie being shot here. Today, I don’t think they really care.’ Film fans stop by regularly to grab a selfie – and see that monochrome cinema in full colour. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact The theatre features on this handy map put together by the Texas Film Commission. Look out for Paris, Texas and Office Space locations – and Southfork Ranch from Dallas (obvs).

🎬Read our review of The Last Picture Show


Officially the world’s biggest film studios, Ramoji’s colossal scale is best explained in stats: More than 350 Hindi films made every year, 47 soundstages, 1,600 acres, six hotels, countless sets and at least one bird park. Its founder, Telugu film producer Ramoji Rao, created it as India’s answer to a Hollywood studio, but it’s more like India’s answer to all the Hollywood studios sellotaped together. This is where Baahubali, India’s most expensive movie franchise, was filmed. If its scale is breathtaking, so is its familiar array of Indian landmarks: the Taj Mahal, Mysore’s Brindavan Gardens and the Buland Darwaza are all replicated here in loving detail. Cute red buses ferry wide-eyed tourists around daily to soak up the sights and partake in live shows offering kitschy versions of the serious business going on around the studio. Oh, and there’s a theme park too. Because why not? Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact If you want to visit the home of Bollywood, head for Mumbai Filmcity. Tours will take you right into the heart of India’s song-and-dance spectaculars.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope, it’s the Netherlands’ movie museum and archive, a building with big Imperial-base-on-the-Ice-Planet-Hoth energy that’s just as bleeding edge inside as out. Within, you’ll find four cinemas, a film poster gallery, 1,500 bits of rare filmmaking gadgetry (a Mutoscope, Mitchell Camera and Kinamo among them) and enough fun, kid-friendly explainers to turn your wee’un into Martin Scorsese. This is where you can watch The Hateful Eight in 70mm, catch the Stanley Kubrick exhibition or just mosey around some eye-popping visual art. Skip the Rijksmuseum next time and give it a whirl. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact It’s located among the galleries and bars of the newly developed Amsterdam-Noord and is a free ferry ride from Centraal Station. 


It may be more famous for its collection of abstract paintings and sculptures, but MoMA is also a spot every film lover should visit while they’re in NYC. Founded in 1935, its Film Library includes 30,000 films and 1.5 million film stills. From its 50-year-old New Directors/New Films festival (presented in association with Film at Lincoln Center) to its regular screenings of rare and classic films, there’s generally something taking place every day at the midtown institution for cinephiles to take advantage of. Even better, the museum’s current virtual cinema programme presents a curated selection of fantastic films online, hand-picked by museum curators. (The schedule also features new films every week as well as Q&As with filmmakers.) It’s a spot where you can both peer into cinema’s past while also catching its future. Will Gleason

Fun fact Among the museum’s holdings are original negatives of the Biograph and Edison companies and the world’s largest collection of DW Griffith films.

📍Discover New York’s must-visit museums

Plenty of places have a DeLorean, and a couple even have a movie-used stunt version, but only one place has the DeLorean, the most used and detailed version – flux capacitor and all – from the set of Back to the Future. Only a slice of Petersen’s motorised collection is dedicated to movie cars, but they go beyond the obvious icons with unexpected picks (the yellow VW bus from Little Miss Sunshine, Walter White’s Pontiac Aztec) and behind-the-scenes inclusions (a motorcycle with a pair of sidecar seats for filming). But for the most recognisable automobiles, the collection tends to go the extra mile, including the art deco Keaton-era Batmobile and the cartoonish West-era Batcycle, vehicles from both Blade Runners and a real-life recreation of Lightning McQueen. Michael Juliano 

Fun fact There are another 250 cars stowed beneath the museum in a garage dubbed ‘the Vault’, which you can visit with an additional ticket. Look out for Knight Rider’s KITT and Steve McQueen’s personal Jaguar while you’re there.

📍Discover more of the best things to do in Los Angeles


V8 Interceptors, props and other Mad Max-abilia adorn what has to be the world’s first and only museum to a sequel. Unexpectedly, this Aussie temple to Mad Max 2 is the passion project of a Pommie enthusiast, Adrian Bennett, who followed his lifelong love of the movie from Yorkshire to the place it was filmed – Broken Hill in the scorching New South Wales outback – first on holiday, then permanently. ‘I was so taken by the beautiful landscape in the movie, I knew I had to move here,’ Bennett remembers, ‘after checking with my wife.’ He opened the museum in 2010. Aside from the original and replica vehicles, his most prized exhibit is the Feral Kid’s metal boomerang and tiny music box. Check in ahead of time to pay a visit. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact The museum will welcome locals, fans and wannabe road warriors for a celebration to mark Mad Max 2’s fortieth anniversary in March 2022 – the pandemic pushed it back a year.

🎬Read our review of Mad Max 2

Anything that can lure 14 million people to Watford has got to have some major pulling power. Sure enough, this studio tour-cum-Potter-treasure-chest is basically Valhalla for Harry Potter fans. Visiting is far from cheap (tickets for children five to 15 cost £38), but a thre--and-a-half-hour tour recreating both the world and the world-building of the franchise in micro detail guarantees value for your hard-earned galleons. Look out for the Great Hall of Hogwarts, the Forbidden Forest, Platform 9¾ and Diagon Alley, as well as props, costumes, dragons, hippogriffs and butterbeer on tap. You’ll get fleeced in the shops on the way out but won’t mind a bit. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact One exhibit offers the macabre sight of Charity Burbage being fed to Voldemort’s pet snake in front of an audience of Death Eaters. Match that, Madame Tussauds.

🎬Read our review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

📍This magical map shows all the Harry Potter locations in London


With a recent spruce up adding a laser projector and a new screen to its arsenal of film-projecting tech, the NFT1 auditorium is the jewel in the British Film Institute’s (BFI) crown. The red curtain lends a sense of occasion to every screening in this 450-seat cinema where respectful, cell-phone-free crowds soak up film seasons covering everything from Black British filmmaking to comedy greats. But that’s only one reason to visit this corner of London’s culture vulture South Bank: there are two buzzy bars that ebb and flow with moviegoers like a king tide and a DVD and book shop that fills the sizeable gap left by streaming sites (check out Fopp across the river in Covent Garden for hard-to-find films, too). There’s also the Reuben Library, an endlessly useful resource for anyone who wants to go deep on their film studies, and a Mediatheque to watch rarities from the BFI archives. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact BFI Southbank went by ‘NFT’ – the National Film Theatre – until a polarising rebrand in 2007. Londoners are pretty relaxed about it these days. 

📍Discover more of the best things to do in London

If there really is a place called Downtonia (cc Tatler), this huge Hampshire pile is its capital city. In Downton Abbey it’s the home of the Grantham family – although bonus marks if you recognise it as Totleigh Towers from Fry and Laurie’s evergreen Jeeves and Wooster. IRL, it’s the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon who live here and who have welcomed the show’s cast and crew over six seasons to film in the house and on its 1,000 acres of grounds – oh, and one, soon to be two, movie spin-offs. More imposing than the Dowager Countess herself, the castle was completed in 1842 and is dripping in history (the fifth Earl was on the expedition that discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun). Tours are usually packed with fans on a pilgrimage to Downton. And if Hampshire is out of range, Lady Carnarvon has a podcast for you. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact No one is quite sure how many rooms there are. The best guess is around 300. 

🎬Read our review of Downton Abbey

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Like hungover backpackers rushing for a bus, movie productions have had a habit of leaving their shit behind when they’ve wrapped filming these huge, sun-baked film studios in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains. Which is sweet news for any movie lovers taking the $5 guided tour. On the checklist? Chariots from Gladiator, jeeps from Black Hawk Down, a fighter jet from The Jewel in the Nile (the first Hollywood movie to film here) and that bus Brad Pitt once sat on in Babel. There are also a dozen or so recognisable movie sets uncannily rendered in styrofoam, including the city of Yunkai from Game of Thrones. GoT completists can also visit the fortress village of Aït Ben Haddou, 25 kilometres away, which also stood in for Essos in the show. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact A Tibetan house from Martin Scorsese’s Kundun remains intact, right down to the giant prop Buddha inside and the dolly tracks laid for filming.

It may be getting slowly swallowed on all sides by luxury condo towers, but – praise, Nora Ephron – the iconic Lower East Side sandwich spot Katz’s Deli is still standing on Houston Street. Alongside its sky-high pastramis and copious wall signage, the deli is, of course, known for the scene in When Harry Met Sally... where Meg Ryan’s character demonstrates her impressive talent for faking orgasms to both Billy Crystal and an entire room full of stunned patrons. (Who could forget that famous line delivered by a nearby diner: ‘I’ll have what she’s having!’) For those looking for an extra level of detail, you can even enjoy a sandwich underneath a hanging sign marking the exact spot where the scene was filmed. (Well, half a sandwich. No way you’ll ever be able to finish a full one in a single sitting.) The sign reads: ‘Where Harry met Sally… Hope you have what she had! Enjoy!’ Will Gleason

Fun fact The iconic ‘I’ll have what she’s having!’ line was actually delivered by the mother of the film’s director, Rob Reiner.

Read our review of When Harry Met Sally...

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If you ever happen to be in Fiji, this uninhabited, kilometre-long island is well worth a spot on your itinerary. It is, of course, the setting for Robin Crusoe-y survival classic Cast Away in which Tom Hanks is marooned after his FedEx plane splashes down in the Pacific. Getting here is a lot less stressful: Monuriki is found in the breathtaking Mamanucas Islands and visitable via day trip from the nearby island resorts. There’s not much on the island, bar the odd crested iguana and bleached sands, but the azure waters around are heaven for snorkelling and, if necessary, paddling after bobbing volleyballs. Altogether now: ‘Wiiiiiilson!’ Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact The ‘Help Me’ SOS sign on the beach was left there after filming wrapped and is still there today.

🎬Read our review of Cast Away

A longtime hub of the United States’s railway system thanks to its central location in the approximate middle of the country, Union Station’s spacious Great Hall has hosted a pivotal romantic confession in My Best Friend’s Wedding and a superpowered battle in Man of Steel – but a certain marble staircase is the station’s real star. Located on the southern end of the building just off Canal Street, these stairs are where Kevin Costner gets caught in a climactic shootout with gangster Al Capone’s goons in The Untouchables while a baby in a stroller slowly rolls down the steps (spoiler alert: it survives unscathed). The nearly century-old grand staircase received a $2 million overhaul in 2015, but it still retains the same dramatic look that made it an ideal locale for a Prohibition-era showdown. Zach Long

Fun fact Famously, an homage to Battleship Potemkin (see the Odessa Steps entry), The Untouchables’ steps sequence was itself spoofed in a Naked Gun 33 ⅓ scene that features extra prams, heavily armed postal workers and the Pope.

🎬Read our review of The Untouchables

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‘Like nothing I’ve ever seen anywhere else on Earth.’ So says Ridley Scott, a man who has been everywhere else and would definitely know, of Wadi Rum. The filmmaker has made three movies in Jordan’s ethereally beautiful sandstone and granite wadi (The Martian, Prometheus and All the Money in the World), but it was David Lean who first had film fans pilgrimaging to the area after shooting most of 1962’s Lawrence of Arabia here (cineastes with sat nav can find the spot where Lean shot Prince Faisal’s camp at N29° 42' 50" E35° 25' 20"). Since then, it’s probably best known as Mars’s earthly stunt double, its crimson rock formations offering a convincing surrogate for the red planet. It’s also a lot easier to get to: an hour’s drive from Aqaba and 90 minutes from Petra, of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade fame. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact It has stood in for two Star Wars planets (Jedha and Pasaana), and will soon star as the desert planet Arrakis in Dune. Someone get this valley an agent.

🎬Read our review of Lawrence of Arabia

If you’re looking for Rocky inspiration, there are three options: punch some meat, go for a jog while a mate shouts at you through a megaphone, or run up the 72 steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art  – aka ‘the Rocky Steps’ – just like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky and Rocky II. The museum itself has a, um, rocky relationship with its film past which can be summarised as: ‘happy for the visitors, even happier when they actually step inside’. The 8' 6" bronze Balboa statue commissioned for Rocky III once sat outside the museum entrance, then moved to the Spectrum arena across town, and now lives in a quiet cove next to the steps. ‘It didn’t seem appropriate for a movie prop, rather than a piece of fine art, to have the most celebrated spot in front of our amazing art museum,’ says Visit Philadelphia’s Cara Schneider. If you’re an art-loving boxing fan who loves Stallone movies, it’s the ultimate day out. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact At the top of the stairs, there’s a bronze plaque imprinted with Rocky’s sneaker prints situation on the exact spot where Sylvester Stallone once stood.

Read our review of Rocky


Next door to Berlin’s biggest Imax screen in Potsdamer Platz is this more discreet temple to cinema. The Deutsche Kinemathek’s walk-through exhibition time travels through a century of German cinema, from Weimar silent films to the Nazi propaganda industry, and right up to the present day – via the country’s new wave (spot Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s director’s chair). There are always exhibitions aimed at younger movie lovers, and as it’s a major film archive, there’s a wealth of historic documents, storyboards and other rarities squirreled away in the vaults – including Marlene Dietrich, Ken Adams and Werner Herzog’s own archives – for viewing via prior appointment. Germany is spoilt for choice with film museums and there’s another, the Film Museum Potsdam, just outside of town near the famous Studio Babelsberg. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact Among the many Marlene Dietrich treasures are letters from David Bowie, Jean Cocteau and Ronald Reagan, 95 film scripts and even her old school books. 

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Standing in the atrium of Italy’s cinema museum inside Turin’s massive Mole Antonelliana is a bit like being on the ground floor of some huge department store that sells film history. It’s where to come to learn how cinema evolved in this none-more-cineaste corner of the world. It tells the story of how, thanks to trade links between the city’s car and steel industries and Lyon, the home of the Lumières brothers, this new art form was imported and Turin became Italy’s film capital. Then, in the 1930s it all went south – literally – when Rome’s Cinecittà Studios was founded. It’s all recorded here – along with awesome movie props, like Darth Vader’s helmet from The Empire Strikes Back, Marilyn Monroe’s heels, and the robes Peter O’Toole wore in Lawrence of Arabia. And that freaky-looking dude on the ground floor? Say buongiorno to the Moloch from the 1914 silent epic Cabiria. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact You can grab a ticket to the Mole’s Panoramic Terrace, 85 metres up, and spy the Alps in the distance.

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Nicolas Roeg’s wonderfully icky adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches was filmed in this Grade II-listed seaside edifice in Cornwall. In the movie, it’s the Excelsior Hotel that Angelica Huston and her brood of warty sorceresses decamp to; in real life, it’s the five-star Headland Hotel, where a night in one of its ocean rooms will set you back £500 in high season and there are no warty sorceresses. If you want to stay in a room used in the movie, 223 is the one to book. If you’re just here for the seaside good vibes, the Cornish coastline, including the surf-tastic Fistral Beach, is about 50 yards away. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact During the shoot, Rowan Atkinson flooded the film’s production offices when he fell asleep with the bath running a floor up.

🎬Read our review of The Witches

The one place where it’s not just not annoying, but actively necessary to quote Monty Python, this medieval strongpoint on the banks of the River Teith in Scotland stood in for a multitude of castles in The Holy Grail. Doune Castle’s Great Hall is where the ‘Knights of the Round Table’ song was filmed, King Arthur (Graham Chapman) and his knights later return here to be taunted by the French and try to storm the place via Trojan Rabbit. For the £5.50 entrance fee, you’ll also experience some Game of Thrones lore. The castle was used as Winterfell in season one. It also stood in for Outlander’s fictional Castle Leoch. Fittingly, the audio tour is co-narrated by Python hero Terry Jones. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact If you want to visit The Holy Grail’s Castle Aaaarrrrgggghhhh, head for Castle Stalker about a hundred miles away on Scotland’s west coast. It’s here that King Arthur is taunted a second time by the French, before the police arrive and shut the film down.

Read our review of Monty Python and the Holy Grail

📍Discover the best places to visit in Scotland


Walking into the Brutalist home of the Swedish Film Institute in central Stockholm is like stepping into the mind of a filmmaker. The window lines on the façade replicate the holes in a 35mm film strip, its steel staircase swirls like celluloid, and the elevator doors are designed to look like make-up mirrors. Some locals love the building; others have not been so keen. Its memorabilia and well-stocked archives make it a must-visit for anyone who knows their Roy from their Bibbi Andersson. And if you’re heading off on a Seventh Seal-style trail to Ingmar Bergman’s island of Fårö, stop here first for a nose among his screenplays, letters and photos. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact When it was designed in the ’60s, the Swedish military barred it from having windows facing its HQ next door. Instead, architect Peter Celsing designed a giant eye staring directly at their offices.

A film studio so famous it has its own Google Doodle, this ‘Hollywood on the Tiber’ is sacred soil for movie buffs. It was set up by Mussolini, who liked to refer to cinema as ‘a powerful weapon’ (and has some expertise in that area), and its problematic genesis has been mirrored in recent times, with strikes, fires, and productions opting for cheaper eastern European studios. But it’s back on the moviemaking map – Spectre filmed here – and remains an iconic place for a pilgrimage. A €15 ticket gets access to the sets where Fellini shot La Dolce Vita and Elizabeth Taylor played Cleopatra, as well as The Italian Museum of Moving Images next door. There you’ll find Richard Burton’s tunic from Cleopatra, sections of Ancient Rome from HBO’s Rome, and a permanent Fellini exhibition. Bellissima. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact There’s theme park outside of Rome, Cinecittà World, that takes its name from the studio. It was designed by Oscar-winning production design Dante Ferretti, who sadly failed to include a high-adrenaline Satyricoaster among its rides.

Read our review of La Dolce Vita


There’s a lot of cool film memorabilia on display at the Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum (go with ‘DFF’). You’ll find an original Darth Vader helmet, a xenomorph costume from Alien and Marlene Dietrich memorabilia. Though your kids will be busy recreating Avatar on the museum’s green-screen simulator and definitely won’t want to hear about that time you saw the Star Wars re-release in the ’90s. Like the other national movie HQs on this list, the DFF is a hybrid of film museum, cinema and archive, where you’ll find casual movie lovers and academics, restoration work close by the exhibitions on local luminaries like Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Romy Schneider. The main exhibition is divided into four parts: Image, Sound, Montage and Acting. Head to Acting for the juicy Hello! mag insights into the lives of movie stars. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact The globe-trotting Stanley Kubrick exhibition was organised and launched by the DFF back in 2004. Since then, it’s stopped in 20-odd cities, from London to Seoul.

If you’re forking out to visit this just-north-of-Hollywood theme park, then of course you’re going to ride the Harry Potter and Jurassic World attractions. But don’t pass up the tram tour. Yes, it’s technically a SFX-filled ride (with a particularly dreadful Fast & Furious scene). But it’s also a living, breathing piece of cinema with roots that date back more than a century. Depending on what’s closed off for filming, the narrated tram ride snakes its way through active backlot sets (if you’re lucky, you’ll see the rebuilt Hill Valley set), a flooded old west town and familiar movie landmarks like Bates Motel, Whoville and the plane crash site from Spielberg’s War of the Worlds. And even the theme park-y elements should leave you smiling – the water-and-fire-filled Jaws encounter is a rubbery delight. Michael Juliano 

Fun fact The earliest version of the tram tour we know today started in 1964, taking film fans into the commissary, past Doris Day’s dressing room and through a western shootout.

📍Discover more of the best things to do in Los Angeles

Potemkin Stairs, Odessa
Photograph: Shutterstock

37. Potemkin Stairs, Odessa

One of cinema’s most famous and homaged scenes (see the Chicago Union Station entry), Battleship Potemkin’s Odessa Steps sequence is so iconic that myth and fact have blurred completely. There was no actual Tsarist massacre of civilians on its 192 granite and sandstone steps, although director Sergei Eisenstein was channelling real-life protests into this frenzy of jump-cut violence and panic through which a single pram tumbles. As a tribute to the masterpiece shot in its midst, the Ukranian city of Odessa officially changed the name of the steps to the Potemkin Stairs for the film’s fiftieth anniversary in 1955. For anyone with an actual pram, it’s worth noting that there’s a funicular railway running alongside the steps. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact In a visual trick Eisenstein would definitely have been into, the stairs appear endless when viewed from the bottom.

🎬Read our review of Battleship Potemkin

One does not simply walk into Malham National Park… you’ll need to drive, or you can take the bus. When you get there, accessing its JRR Tolkien-inspiring valley, Gordale Scar, requires a hobbity hike too. It’s here that The Lord of the Rings writer is said to have drawn inspiration for Helm’s Deep, site of The Two Towers’ epic dust-up between Saruman’s army and a scratch team of doughty warriors. The connection is more anecdotal than proven, but legend has Tolkien venturing into the Yorkshire Dales during his time as English professor at the nearby University of Leeds. It’s certainly easy to visualise bloodthirsty Uruk-hai scrambling into this 16 million-year-old limestone gorge. Your best route in is via the Malham Landscape Trail. Head to the park centre for a map. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact Ultra runner and part-time cartographer Dan Bell has created a ‘Middle Earth’ map of the area in the style of Tolkien’s own drawings. The perfect pressie for the Merry in your life.

🎬Read our review of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers


What do Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin, Lucille Ball, Arnie, Judy Garland and Jimmy Stewart have in common? They all have entire museums dedicated to them. As does Ava Gardner, whose career and megawatt stardom are celebrated in this shrine to her in Smithfield in her home state of North Carolina. The museum, a passion project by two Gardner superfans that was 20 years in the making, walks through the life of the Pandora and the Flying Dutchman and The Killers actress – from her humble upbringing eight miles down the road to marriage to Sinatra, Oscar nominations and life in London. It’s a heartfelt love letter to a local hero, full of personal photographs, costumes and memorabilia. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact The museum shop sells Gardner’s fried chicken and double-decker pie recipes. 

🎬Read our review of Pandora and the Flying Dutchman

There’s nowhere in the world quite like The Cinema Museum, a higgledy-piggledy vault of cinema memorabilia that occupies what was once Charlie Chaplin’s poorhouse in a quiet nook of London’s Elephant & Castle. It’s been threatened by developers in recent times – you can sign the petition to save it here – but its survival feels vital for anyone who cares about the evolution of cinema going from nickelodeons to multiplexes. Every year, thousands of visitors from as far away as Brazil and India make light of its ‘best kept secret’ label to book in for a mosey around its velvet seats, antique projectors and admission boards, or to take in a silent movie in its screening hall. It’s the definition of irreplaceable. Phil de Semlyen 

Fun fact The museum’s collection is regularly augmented by donations. One superfan gave it four crates of Charlton Heston memorabilia alone. 

📍Discover more of the best things to do in London


It’s usually impossible to pinpoint exactly where a film movement began. Not Dogme 95, which kicked off its low-budget, lo-fi, low-everything reign of moviemaking disruption in this incongruously posh manor house 50 miles west of Copenhagen. This is where new Oscar-winner Thomas Vinterberg’s funny-bleak family drama Festen, the first Dogme film, was shot in 1997. The story of a clan gathering for a sixtieth birthday, a dinner and the public exhuming of horrifying secrets, it was filmed with Dogme’s famous Rules of Chastity. So no lighting, no music, no fancy props and presumably no access to the swanky lakeside grill or lakeside picnics. And guess what? Skjoldenæsholm is happy to host your family gathering for real. Yikes. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact The hotel was still running while Festen was being filmed. Guests would patiently wait to pass through the cast and crew, while the hotel chef ended up in the film as he was working in the kitchen while a scene was being filmed. 

🎬Read our review of Festen

That hoary old cliché about a location being ‘another character’ in a movie absolutely applies to Ex Machina’s sleek Scandinavian bolthole. IRL, the house of slippery tech genius Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac) is an uber-chic hotel and spa tucked away near Norway’s fjords. Ex Machina’s cast and crew spent 19 days filming at Juvet in August 2013, so only its summery side appears in the film, but it’s equally stunning when blanketed in winter snow. Tom Cruise also loves this corner of Norway – so much so that the new Mission: Impossible movie will feature a sequence filmed in nearby Hellesylt in which he drives a motorbike off a cliff. As you do. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact If you’re hoping to recreate the iconic ‘Get Down Saturday Night’ moment and wondering which room to check into, bad news. It was shot at Pinewood.

🎬Read our review of Ex Machina

The Fugitive train, North Carolina
Photograph: Jerry Jaynes

43. The Fugitive train, North Carolina

The Fugitive is not just the story of a falsely accused man on the run from a dogged US Marshal while trying to unpick the mystery of his wife’s murder. Okay, it is mostly that, but scratch a little deeper and you’ll find a weird and kinda wonderful tale of Hollywood not cleaning up after itself. The train and bus used in the scene where Harrison Ford’s surgeon Dr Richard Kimble is almost horribly squished are still sitting where Warner Bros left them back in 1992. Sticklers for local landscapes may spot that this isn’t Illinois where the scene is meant to take place, but remote North Carolina, where the privately owned All Great Smoky Mountains Railway bravely offered its service when other railways were hiding in the nearest farmhouse, henhouse or outhouse. If you want to visit the scene of the crash, hop on one of its trains at Dillsboro and look out for the derelict engine with ‘Illinois Southern’ on the side. Phil de Semlyen 

Fun fact The Fugitive’s equally famous dam scene was filmed at Cheoah Dam across the state. 

🎬Read our review of The Fugitive

Thought the African Queen sank at the end of the movie? Think again. Cinema’s most famous steamboat is alive and well in the Florida Keys, thanks to a circuitous journey from the Congo to the Sunshine State, via California and Oregon, and then a painstaking restoration job by Florida couple Lance and Suzanne Holmquist. At different points, this English-built chugger originally named the Livingstone, languished in a Florida cow pasture and was moored to a Holiday Inn. Now it’s used for pleasure cruises, where a $59 ticket will buy you a 90-minute putter down the leech and rapids-free Port Largo Canals, the chance to work on your Humphrey Bogart impression, and a big helping of film history. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact Another Bogey classic, Key Largo, is set on the same spit of land. Despite being filmed almost entirely in Hollywood, it’s made the actor a local hero – until 2017 there was an annual Humphrey Bogart Film Festival here.

🎬Read our review of The African Queen


A favourite of UK film luminary Mark Kermode, this movie treasure trove is housed within the University of Exeter but very much open for the film history newbies and the cine-literate alike. Like a West Country cousin to London’s Cinema Museum, it revels in the ephemera of both moviegoing and moviemaking down the years: you’ll find one of only 200 original Lumière Cinématographes alongside a thousand other items in the two galleries. It is based on the collection belonging to Scottish auteur Bill Douglas (The Bill Douglas Trilogy), who with his old RAF friend Peter Jewell, spent a lifetime collecting magic lanterns, peep shows, music hall handbills, Chaplin postcards and other movie-going artefacts. It now holds over 85,000 items – some on display, most in the archive but all accessible. It’s all free to explore. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact 
The museum’s collection was recently boosted by 13 Golden Age movie posters donated by Dwight Cleveland, the owner of the world’s largest private poster collection. 

President Snow’s (Donald Sutherland) Capitol mansion in The Hunger Games is found in Atlanta, Georgia. Swan House, a classical pile built in 1928, was used extensively in Catching Fire and more briefly in Mockingjay. The house’s opulent dining room and the room used as Snow’s office both still have plenty of Panem vibes. The Atlanta History Center used to run movie-centric Swan House Capitol Tours, though nowadays Hunger Games fans will need to get round under their own steam or take a group tour of the house and try their luck with Katniss-related questions. May the odds, etc. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact There are bird design motifs throughout the house – although swans rather than mockingjays. 

Read our review of The Hunger Games

The Exorcist Steps, Washington DC
Photograph: Andrew Huff

47. The Exorcist Steps, Washington DC

Forget The Joker steps in the Bronx, this Georgetown spot is the real stairway to movie heaven. Like many of the entries on this list, The Exorcist Steps’ notoriety is at least partly the result of one movie fan’s passion. DC resident and The Exorcist superfan Andrew Huff campaigned for the steps, the site of the horror classic’s bloody climax, to be made an official landmark. After a few months of canvassing support and $10,000 later, director William Friedkin and screenwriter-novelist William Peter Blatty were unveiling an official plaque at the foot of the steps. ‘I love the city and horror films, especially this one,’ says Huff, ‘so it became a labour of love for both’. There are 75 stairs in all, running alongside a building that once housed streetcars (back when the city had them) and ‘the Exorcist House’ at 3600 Prospect Street. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact During filming, Georgetown uni students charged for rooftop access to watch stuntman Chuck Waters lob himself down the newly rubber-lined steps – twice. 

🎬Read our review of The Exorcist

If ‘the PCC’ was a filmmaker, it’d be a mix of Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan: obsessional, in love with movies and wanting to show them in the proper format, godammit. The West End’s repertory cinema is the place to come for 70mm screenings of Die Hard, Lord of the Rings marathons, and to meet the other people who can quote all of Withnail and I. Its reputation as a haven for cult cinema is well-earned and its spoon-lobbing screenings of The Room are legendary, but there’s a real something-for-everyone programming ethos. There’s nothing especially shiny about it, no slick cocktail bar or plush members area – although the sticky floors are purely an urban myth these days and for a tenner, the membership scheme saves regulars a motza – just pure cinephilia. If you love films, you’ll always be among friends. Phil de Semlyen 

Fun fact There’s a suggestions board in the downstairs bar. Stick a film down and it could be screening within weeks.

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The Little Tramp had a big house and it’s situated on a hillside overlooking Lake Geneva in the Swiss town of Corsier-sur-Vevey. It’s about as far as you can get from the Elephant & Castle poorhouse of his childhood (see the London Cinema Museum entry), a palatial pad that he lived in for 20 years until his death in 1977. It’s now a museum to the silent era superstar behind City Lights, Gold Rush, and about six million perfectly timed pratfalls. With detailed mock-ups of Chaplin’s Hollywood studio and sets replicating his movies, it’s at the vibrant, kid-friendly end of the film museum spectrum – there’s nothing stuffy here – although the waxworks, including Chaplin’s friend Albert Einstein in the bathroom, are a little intense. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact Down the road is the Modern Times Hotel. There’s a Chaplin statue outside and the Little Tramp is emblazoned on the side of the building.

🎬Read our review of Modern Times

Nothing sums up the magic of the movies like the enduring appeal of this stretch of idyllic farmland in the American midwest. As Ray Kinsella’s (Kevin Costner) ghostly pal tells him in Field of Dreams, build it and truckloads of people will come – we’re paraphrasing – and they’ve kept coming ever since. Tens of thousands every year since the decision was made to keep the baseball diamond (and farmhouse) intact after the movie. And it’s not just film fans and passersby that stop in. The actual Chicago White Sox are scheduled to pop by to take on the Yankees here in your classic life-imitating-art-imitating-life double play. If both teams don’t emerge from the cornfields, someone needs to have a word. Phil de Semlyen 

Fun fact You can rent the whole field for $125 per hour. If you didn’t bring a bat with you, the shop sells them.

Read our review of Field of Dreams


The ACMI timed its recent renovations perfectly, emerging from lockdown all shiny and new just as Melburnians were re-entering the world with fresh eyes and abundant vigour. New centrepiece exhibition ‘The Story of the Moving Image’ is marvellous, tracing cinema’s beginning from First Nations storytelling with shadow and fire, right through to the latest innovations – all with a fun, hands-on approach to learning. The two cinema screens remain great places to see arthouse movies, with a focus on career retrospectives of filmmakers like Wong Kar-wai and Claire Denis. It’s also the home to ace non-profit film society Melbourne Cinémathèque and the outré trappings of monthly film club Cinemaniacs, as well as blockbuster exhibitions about the moviemaking business. Stephen A Russell

Fun fact With only room for one car in the centrepiece gallery, the ACMI team couldn’t choose between one from the hit TV show Bush Mechanics and the Interceptor from Mad Max. So they spliced two replicas together.

📍Here are 101 things to do in Melbourne at least once in your life

It’s well-known that Australians love their coffee, and not just in the cosmopolitan surrounds of Melbourne. Nope, the frontier mining outpost of Broken Hill in the far west of New South Wales erected its very first coffee palace way back in 1889, as commissioned by the temperance movement. These days, The Palace Hotel is a proper bush pub that’s more likely to slake your thirst with a cold, frothy one than a soy chai latte. And what a place to get loose, with its plethora of astounding murals. But the real reason it has secured its place in Australian cinematic history is through its starring role in Stephan Elliott’s glorious drag walkabout The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. A memorable stop off for Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce and Terence Stamp on their drag crusade across the country, it’s been a tourist hotspot ever since. We’re not sure the temperance movement would approve. Stephen A Russell

Fun fact You can book yourself into the very room the lads kipped in in the movie, the Priscilla Suite, for about $230 per night. 

🎬Read our review of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert


It’s a legendary landmark by any standards – the Eighth Wonder of the World, no less – so the Empire State Building doesn’t really need to lean into its film past to bring in the crowds. Not with those sexy lines, the 360-degree views of New York and enthralling building-of exhibits. Then again, it’s been scaled by movie stars as diverse as Deborah Kerr, Cary Grant, and the big man, King Kong. It’d be a crime not to lean into that a little bit. Sure enough, stop in at the second floor exhibition and you’ll find the furry mitts of a huffing and puffing Kong emerging from the wall like it’s 1933 all over again. The 10,000-square-foot gallery also features an immersive 72-screen theatre running clips of the building’s many pop and movie culture cameos, from Wonder Woman to An Affair to Remember. Phil de Semlyen 

Fun fact You can book in for an all-access tour, complete with green room access and champagne, for $460. It’s what Jay-Z would do. 

🎬Read our review of King Kong

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This iconic building in Singapore’s arts and heritage district of Bras Basah Bugis is easily recognised by its art deco facade. The 16-storey building is home to Cathay Cineplexes, which has been a long-time fixture in the city’s entertainment landscape, as well as The Cathay Gallery, a free-to-enter mini-museum for movie buffs to geek out in. This hidden gem is a time capsule of movie memorabilia that dates back to the early 1930s, with retro cinema chairs, film reels, projectors, cameras and posters on display. It also takes you through the storied history of the Loke family, who were pioneers of Singapore’s film industry and the brains behind the Cathay entertainment empire. Expect the original black-and-white trailer of Cathay’s 1957 horror flick Pontianak to be screened here too. Cam Khalid

Fun fact Home of the British Malaya Broadcasting Corporation when it opened in 1939, The Cathay was used for Japanese propaganda broadcasts during the wartime occupation.


Alfred Hitchcock was a big one for spicing up the soundstage work with magnificent real-life locations (the Royal Albert Hall in The Man Who Knew Too Much, most of San Francisco in Vertigo etc), as well as some that looked like locations but weren’t (Mount Rushmore in North by Northwest). One that was real and has since become legendary by association is Bodega, little more than a hamlet on northern California’s Sonoma Coast, and the setting for Hitch’s flappy fearfest, The Birds. Really, the honours are split between Bodega and nearby Bodega Bay, although the docks that feature in the film are long gone. As this pic by local photographer Francesca Scalpi shows, the old Potter School, from which Tippi Hedren and a class of schoolkids escape death by pecking, is still very much in situ in Bodega. These days, it’s a private residence rather than a school, and the monkey bars have gone, but it’s still a great spot for birdwatching. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact The Birds is celebrated in Bodega Bay at the annual Hitchcock Film Festival. Come for the murder, stay for the chowder.

🎬Read our review of The Birds

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The place where Das Boot was filmed and where The NeverEnding Story was made, this famous old studio began life in 1919 as a Bavarian riposte to Berlin-based big guns like UFA. Hitchcock shot his 1926 lost film The Mountain Eagle here, and Kubrick came here to make Paths of Glory, filming the chateau scenes at the nearby Schloss Schleissheim. Situated in the Munich suburb of Geiselgasteig, it had the good fortune to land on the western side of the Iron Curtain, guaranteeing a post-war revival thanks to films like Cabaret (the Kit Kat Club was a set here) and The Great Escape. Nowadays, it’s as famous as a place where you can ride on the actual Falcor in its NeverEnding Story props or visit the cramped U-boat set used in Das Boot. Ping! Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory was also filmed here. That’s Bavaria that the Wonkavator is flying over.  


The greatest British double act this side of Ant and Dec, Michael Powell and his Hungarian émigré partner-in-cinema Emeric Pressburger were responsible for such indelible classics as The Red Shoes, A Matter of Life and Death and Black Narcissus. In 2014, the pair received the greatest honour London can give its sons and daughters: a Nando’s black card. No, an English Heritage blue plaque to mark the location of their official base between 1942 and 1947. Martin Scorsese calls this partnership ‘the longest period of subversive filmmaking in a major studio ever’ and it all happened in a spartan office in this 1930s block at 125 Gloucester Place, adjacent to the Marylebone Road. Our advice? Skip Madame Tussauds down the road and go pay tribute to the dynamic duo. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact Alfred Hitchcock’s South Kensington flat also has a blue plaque. A two-bedder he shared with his new wife Alma Reville, it featured furniture he designed himself. 

🎬Read our review of The Red Shoes

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Is the wine the side hustle or was Apocalypse Now the side hustle? With Francis Ford Coppola, an accomplished winemaker and master filmmaker, it’s probably a tie these days. He’s been in the wine business since buying a vineyard with the money he made on The Godfather in 1975. The focal point is Inglenook, his pride and joy in Napa, but the Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley is the place to visit. He had The Godfather’s production designer Dean Tavoularis design it to look like Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens, and it’s a kind of Disneyland for the tipsy and the abstemious alike. There’s wine tasting, tours, hikes, outdoor games, a swimming pool and best of all, a movie gallery filled with Oscars and other memorabilia. It’s a place where you can see Don Corleone’s actual desk from The Godfather and then buy a case of Wizard of Oz merlot from the shop. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact Coppola got in early on the whole wine-in-a-can trend and has dedicated a tinnie to his daughter, Sofia. The Sofia Mini promises ‘fresh aromatics, elegant flavors, and light effervescence’. Gentle ennui may ensue.


This beautiful brick-and-wrought-iron atrium has been a staple of noir movies, notably Double Indemnity, and its sunny offices popped up in the downtown LA-loving (500) Days of Summer. But the 1893 building’s most defining role came from playing against type in Blade Runner. As JF Sebastian’s creepy, doll-filled apartment, the Bradbury Building swapped its golden hues for sickly blue fog that silhouettes its stacks of staircases. In real-life, it’s easily LA’s most radiant interior – though the public is only invited to admire it from the ground floor. If you manage to find yourself in the members-only co-working space on the second floor, look for large prints of contact sheets and a killer portrait of Harrison Ford in a trench coat that were taken by on-set photographer Stephen Vaughan. Michael Juliano 

Fun fact Despite its sci-fi connections, the building’s name has nothing to do with author Ray Bradbury. But there is a script-worthy (though dubious) story that mining magnate Lewis L Bradbury commissioned it after his dead brother contacted him via ouija board.

🎬Read our review of Blade Runner

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There’s an old adage among German town planners that no city can’t be improved with the addition of a film museum. Okay, there isn’t but there may as well be. They’re as plentiful as you might expect in the country of Murnau, von Trotta and Wenders. Düsseldorf doesn’t have the film pedigree of Berlin or Munich, but this four-storey rabbit warren of film treasures is a worthy companion to Filmpark Babelsberg, Bavaria Studios, Deutsche Kinemathek et al. And one thing it has that they don’t is a detailed exhibition on shadow puppets, an ancient art that informed the birth of film (and that’s really fun to do when you make rabbit shapes). That focus on the art form’s past is reflected in classic posters, costumes and props, while its present is represented by the funky replica film set upstairs. One thing: not much of this is in English so have your translation app to hand. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact The in-house cinema, the Black Box, has a restored Welte organ for its silent movie screenings.


You won’t find the Yellow Brick Road or the Emerald City, but you will literally head over the rainbow as you enter this historic studio. Yes, this was where The Wizard of Oz was shot back when it was the MGM lot, and artist Tony Tasset’s arching Rainbow sculpture near the entrance will make sure your troubles melt like lemon drops. The studio’s footprint has been significantly downsized since the ’30s: in particular, virtually all of its colourful backlot sets are now gone with the wind (which was partially shot here, too). But that small size actually makes it perfect for an on-foot tour. The magnolia tree-lined sidewalks and white art deco facades provide a pleasant ambience that the other tram-fueled, industrial-edged studios lack. Michael Juliano

Fun fact Oz, of course, wasn’t the only thing to shoot here. The studio was also home to Singin’ in the Rain, Ben-Hur, Spider-Man and North by Northwest, including the scale model of Mount Rushmore.

📍Discover more of the best things to do in Los Angeles

‘A tsunami of extreme nostalgia’ is how English video shop owner and geek godhead Andy Johnson describes his Aladdin’s cave of VHS movies, arcades and movie memorabilia. And he’s not kidding. VideOdyssey is the kind of place to make curious twentysomethings – the majority of its regulars – feel like archaeologists stumbling upon some strange land. He remembers people initially dismissing the store as a mad pipe dream. ‘But word spread and we’re celebrating our third birthday in a few months,’ he says. ‘And we’ve had visitors from all over the world.’ The secret of survival has been building a like-minded community, with regular evening movie screenings and collectors stopping in on the hunt for rare tapes. ‘You can always spot them, because they never give the arcade machines a second glance,’ says Johnson. ‘Then I know it’s time to get serious.’ If you want to rent a film, there’s 10,000 to pick from, a week’s rental costs £2.50. Oh, and there are no late fees. Blockbuster, it ain’t. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact The store supplies free Nostalgia SOS packs to the over-seventies, including ten tapes and a VCR.


This is the Madrid bar at which warring politicians, from Primo de Rivera to La Pasionari, have clinked glasses, Ernest Hemingway found inspiration, and movie stars like Ava Gardner (a regular), Grace Kelly and Sophia Loren once partied. Museo Chicote has been the city’s most iconic cocktail bar since the ’30s, as well as a key location in Pedro Almodóvar’s Broken Embraces and the recent TV hit Arde Madrid, a Spanish series about Gardner’s frenetic nightlife. Its original owner, Perico Chicote, was a barman at Madrid’s Ritz Hotel behind a bar that swiftly brought in political heavyweights and movie stars. His legendary collection of spirit bottles and the secrets whispered between the bar’s art deco walls once made him one of the most powerful figures in the city. The only thing more powerful than that lingering aura is the house cocktail, El Chicote, a head-spinning potion of sweet vermouth and gin. Marta Bac

Fun fact Perico Chicote’s collection of rare booze bottles was so vast, Aristotle Onassis once offered 30 million pesetas ($230,000) for it. Chicote declined.

🎬Read our review of Broken Embraces

📍Discover the 49 best things to do in Madrid

There are rock stars and then there are star rocks. Thanks to its role in Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Devils Tower is definitely one of the latter. This 1,300-foot butte was picked for the movie because it looked like a less obvious version of John Ford’s western locations  – a kind of hipster Monument Valley – and its eerie beauty definitely makes it look like an obvious spot for aliens to land (even if that scene was filmed at an Air Force base in Alabama). It’s much-visited these days, with a 1.3 mile Tower Trail that loops around its base and gives incredible views up its vertical sides. It’s a sacred space for Native Americans, who hold ceremonies here every year and refer to it as ‘The Bear’s House’. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact Between June to September, there’s a free nightly screening of Close Encounters at the nearby campsite.

🎬Read our review of Close Encounters of the Third Kind


Even if you’ve never taken a bite of a glazed donut from Randy’s, you probably already know what its shop looks like. A leftover from LA’s mid-century affair with novelty architecture, this drive-through is topped with a 33-foot-tall doughnut sign that’s been filled with a hungover Tony Stark in Iron Man 2 and a runaway car in Earth Girls Are Easy, the shop’s first starring role. Beyond its filmography, it’s clear that screenwriters and animators have a soft spot for those doughnuts, because The Simpsons, Mars Attacks! and Zootopia have all lovingly parodied that recognisable sign. Michael Juliano 

Fun fact Though the Inglewood spot is the one you want, you’ll find five others in SoCal with scaled-down versions of the sign (and three in South Korea). And the donuts don’t disappoint – you can pick up a dozen for $13.60.

📍Discover more of the best things to do in Los Angeles

Star Wars locations come in all shapes and sizes, from the rocky outcrop of Ireland’s Skellig Michael (Episodes VII and VIII), to Death Valley (Ep IV), to Tikal in Guatemala (Ep VI). Even a London tube station popped up in Rogue One. But if you’re looking to whisk someone away for a romantic Jedi-related date, and they’re not into searing heat, bracing Atlantic air or thousands of commuters, try this former monastery on Lake Como. It was used by George Lucas as Padmé Amidala’s lakeside bolthole in Attack of the Clones, albeit with a CG renovation to make it look more Naboo-y. It’s also a Bond location – 007 comes here to recuperate from his Le Chiffre ball-whipping in Casino Royale. You can tour the house and gardens for €22, or just head straight to the terrace to recreate Anakin Skywalker’s astonishingly bad ‘I don’t like sand’ speech. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact: The villa has some cachet in Bollywood, too. Indian cinema’s power couple, Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone, were married here in 2018.

🎬Read our review of Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones


Master and Commander bores – and we’re everywhere – wish this replica Royal Navy man-of-war has starred in more than one Jack Aubrey movie. But it has at least found a good home since the 2003 sea movie: In San Diego’s Maritime Museum, where it regularly pops out for a sail on the bit of the high seas nearest the SoCal coastline. Until the movie it had been known as HMS Rose, having been built in 1970 as an exact replica of a real 18th century frigate of the same name. Then Peter Weir, Russell Crowe and ten Oscar nominations happened and it became a film star and kept its stage name (it’s basically a more seaworthy Cary Grant). It was sold to the museum on the condition that 20th Century Fox could borrow it back for future movies. So how about a sequel, people? Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact: Russell Crowe has been back for a visit, taking his band 30 Odd Foot Of Grunts to show them his old command. 

🎬Read our review of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

It’s maybe not the height of luxury but this Star Wars location-turned-hotel is so well preserved, it might have been encased in carbonite since 1977. Fans won’t need telling that Hotel Sidi Driss was once Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru’s homestead (before that unfortunate incident with the stormtroopers), and it’s barely changed since George Lucas recreated Tatooine in Tunisia. Expect minimal fuss and few mod cons, but maximum fan frisson as you sit down for tagine in the actual Lars family dining room. There are 20 underground cave rooms to choose from and dinner, bed and breakfast will set you back about $10. You will not be asked to do any moisture farming or droid maintenance while you’re here. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact: For more Star Wars history, head for the nearby seaside town of Ajim, the location for Obi-Wan Kenobi’s house and the Mos Eisley, and very much not a hive of scum and villainy IRL.

🎬Read our review of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope


A life-sized replica of Beijing’s Forbidden City is just one of the epic sets spanning 5,000 years of Chinese history at this sprawling outdoor film studio in Zhejiang province. Founded in the mid-’90s in what was a quiet farming town, ‘Chinawood’ has become a bucket list destination for fans of the country’s martial arts movies and period dramas. It’s been the backdrop for some of Chinese cinema’s most legendary fight scenes and high-drama palace betrayals (power struggles, back-stabbing concubines... you name it). Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Zhang Yimou’s Hero both filmed here. Today, the studio covers more than 2,500 acres, is the filming location for around 70 percent of the country’s film and TV series, and has been known to pull in 20 million tourists in a single year. Amy Snelling

Fun fact: One of its recent TV productions, period drama Story of Yanxi Palace, has had more than 15 billion views on iQiyi, China’s answer to Netflix.

Westwood Village Memorial Park, Los Angeles
Photograph: Shutterstock

70. Westwood Village Memorial Park, Los Angeles

LA is full of star-studded cemeteries. Bette Davis, Buster Keaton and Gene Autry reside at Forest Lawn, while Judy Garland, Marion Davies and Cecil B DeMille all rest at the Paramount-neighbouring Hollywood Forever. And then there’s the compact and less showy Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, which feels like a celluloid secret in comparison. If you’re looking to pay tribute to a cinematic vanguard, search for the grave of Billy Wilder (look in the southeast corner of the cemetery). For Some Like It Hot fans, the site is hallowed ground for the Austrian auteur’s comedy classic as co-stars Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon were both laid to rest here, too, and Wilder’s headstone has a clever nod to the film’s last line: ‘I’m a writer but then nobody’s perfect.’ Michael Juliano 

Fun fact: It’s also the final resting place for Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Natalie Wood, Bettie Page, Truman Capote, Rodney Dangerfield, Kirk Douglas, Farrah Fawcett, Frank Zappa and Merv Griffin, who comes close to Wilder’s epitaph: ‘I will not be right back after this message.’

📍Discover more of the best things to do in Los Angeles


Standing at the crossing of Brooklyn’s Washington and Water Streets gives this killer view of the Manhattan Bridge. The Insta hordes know it and descend on it daily. But Once Upon a Time in America director Sergio Leone got there first, framing his Jewish street kids, Noodles and co, against this backdrop in a shot so ridiculously cool, it ended up on the poster. One thing you won’t see in the frame is the Empire State Building, which is clearly visible on a clear day. This bit of the film predates its construction by a good decade. Anyone fancying a visit to this corner of Dumbo (‘Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass’) should hop on the subway to York Street or the NYC Ferry to Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact: Take a stroll for a few blocks and you can pick up a Hollywood biography or movie making-of book from killer indie bookstore PowerHouse Arena.

🎬Read our review of Once Upon a Time in America

Saruman had Isengard, Peter Jackson has Weta Workshop. The company’s Wellington home is the prop-making, costume-designing engine room of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies – and myriad other movies, not all directed by Jackson. From modest beginnings bringing splatter to Jackson’s cult early films, Braindead and Bad Taste, it’s now the world-building powerhouse where James Cameron comes to figure out what the Na’vi have for breakfast. It’s a total geek fantasia, in other words, and since 2012 tours have shepherded wide-eyed movie lovers through a Smaug’s lair of models, bigatures, chainmail, weapons and the odd goblin. These days, it’s a proper cottage industry, with hands-on workshops sharing the tricks and techniques of Oscar-winning SFX-ers. Stop in at the shop, the Weta Cave, to pick up an orc for the garden. Phil de Semlyen 
Fun fact: Weta takes its name from a local New Zealand insect – fittingly, a bug heavyweight.

Read our review of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey


Attached to a museum in Gruyères, Switzerland that’s devoted to the work of the creator of Alien’s xenomorph and the cover of Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s ‘Brain Salad Surgery’ LP is a bar where you can have a drink amid biomechanical decor. Designed by HR Giger himself, this watering hole is filled with eerie architectural details like spinal cords and rib cages that arch across the ceiling and bone-y seats fit for a Space Jockey – there’s even a wall of creepy baby heads. While you’re soaking in the sights, you can enjoy a glass of HR Giger-branded absinthe, a Nostromo cocktail (black vodka, Coke and lime) or an Alien Blood shot (a boozy combo of rum, curaçao and Baileys). The seating is limited and the bar is a popular attraction, so be prepared to wait your turn to sit in this tavern fit for an alien queen. Zach Long

Fun fact: There’s a second, slightly less atmospheric HR Giger Bar that predates this one, located in Giger’s birthplace of Chur, Switzerland.

🎬Read our review of Aliens

Showbiz’s Buckingham Palace, the Judy Garland Museum is a place of pilgrimage for Judyphiles and, to a lesser extent, Wizard of Oz devotees (though it’s more Garland-centric than solely Oz-focused). It’s to be found in the wood-frame Grand Rapids house where Garland – then Frances Ethel Gumm – spent the first four years of her life in the 1920s, and was the brainchild of local artist Jackie Dingmann when it first opened in 1975. Aside from affording a nose around Garland’s childhood home, complete with its original furniture and fixtures, what’s striking is its unsugarcoated representation of this complex woman and all her triumphs and struggles. Amid all the furs, photos and memorabilia – and the actual horse-drawn carriage from The Wizard of Oz – that makes it an emotional place to visit. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact: A pair of Dorothy’s slippers was stolen from the museum in 2005. They were recovered by the FBI 13 years later.

🎬Read our review of The Wizard of Oz

The Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles
Photograph: Michael Juliano

75. The Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles

It adorns plenty of lazy establishing shots of Los Angeles, and it’s been destroyed by aliens (Independence Day), earthquakes (Earthquake) and a sharknado (…you know the movie). But framing that perfect view of the sign for yourself is actually a little bit trickier than the movies make it seem. Plug the Hollywood Sign into your map app of choice and it’ll send you a mile-and-a-half away to a viewing spot at the Griffith Observatory. Instead, make your way to Lake Hollywood Park, a secluded green space just under the sign. If you want as close of an encounter with those famed nine letters as you legally can, hike up to a trailhead on Deronda Drive that’ll eventually take you behind the sign. Michael Juliano 

Fun fact The ‘Hollywoodland’ sign was only supposed to be up for a year and a half when it was built in 1923. It eventually lost its ‘land’ suffix and, after falling into disrepair in the ’70s, was restored thanks to a fundraising campaign led by Hugh Hefner.

📍Discover more of the best things to do in Los Angeles 

Our pick of the world’s most beautiful cinema is an essential port of call for anyone in, around or within a nine-hour flight of Amsterdam. Its origin story involved a poor Polish Jewish tailor who travelled across Europe to open his dream picture palace, suffering a fire, bankruptcy and the Nazis along the way – and that sense of history endures to this day. Two of the cinema’s three original screens have been lovingly restored, while the main auditorium remains perfectly preserved right down to its Moroccan carpets and vintage Wurlitzer-Strunk organ – and there are three others in a more modern annexe. For the ultimate luxe treat, pay for a box in the opulent main auditorium and order Dutch treats (Amsterdam ossenworst, bitterballen et al) and film-themed cocktails (try the Godfather Highball). Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact: The Tuschinski boasts major music history, too. Its main theatre, the Grote Zaal, has seen Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich, Edith Piaf and Dizzy Gillespie all performing live.

📍Five magical day trips to take from Amsterdam


Want to see Luke Skywalker’s severed hand, an authentic Michael Myers mask and Dorothy’s dress from The Wizard of Oz? They’re all on display, along with hundreds of other artefacts, at the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP, for short), a sprawling institution that celebrates cinema, video games, music and literature. Movie buffs should head for the ‘Scared to Death: The Thrill of Horror Film’ and ‘Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction’ exhibitions, each of which houses a long list of screen props and costumes. You’ll find even more cinematic ephemera in the Science Fiction & Fantasy Hall of Fame – including the Staff of Ra from Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s a silver screen treasure trove that’s full of surprises. Zach Long

Fun fact: MoPOP’s building was designed by Frank Gehry, the architect behind similarly wavy buildings like LA’s Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Founded in 1932, Toho Studios is one of Japan’s most prominent and longest-running production hubs. Famous classics that the studio is known for include Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai and genre-defining kaiju film Godzilla. In more recent years, the studio has expanded its site where up to 200 commercials and 60 films are produced annually – even Netflix is getting in on the act, leasing two of the studio’s soundstages. There are no tours available for visitors to see the inner workings of the studio beyond its walls, but anyone is welcome to view and take a selfie with the small Godzilla stationed at the entrance or the famous Seven Samurai mural just behind it. Emma Steen

Fun fact: Moving with the times, Toho is partnering with TikTok to host an experimental film festival this summer. 

🎬Read our review of Seven Samurai

📍Discover the best things to do in Tokyo


To fans of master animator Hayao Miyazaki, Tokyo’s Ghibli Museum is almost as hallowed as historical local landmarks like the Meiji Jingu Shrine. The museum can accommodate up to 2,400 people a day, but it’s so popular that tickets are often sold out weeks – even months – in advance. If you are lucky enough to book a slot (tickets aren’t available at the venue), you’re in for a treat. Even from the outside, the museum is impossibly charming, with brightly coloured walls shrouded in vines and Totoro welcoming visitors from a glass booth at the entrance. Inside, you’ll find the Catbus from My Neighbor Totoro, which kids can’t resist clambering on to, as well as exhibitions that highlight the process behind Studio Ghibli classics like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. Don’t skip the mini cinema, where you can catch animated short films – including one with a backstory to Howl’s Moving Castle. Emma Steen

Fun fact: Japan will soon also boast a Ghibli theme park – it’s scheduled to launch in 2022. 

Read our review of My Neighbor Totoro

📍Discover the best things to do in Tokyo

The iconic British red telephone box (famous, often, as a place to pee or sleep or worse) may have gone out of general service back in the 1980s, but there are still over 8,000 of them in use. This one in a sleepy Aberdeenshire coastal village has a strong Hollywood pedigree. In Bill Forsyth’s 1983 classic Local Hero, it’s from here that a young American oil executive repeatedly phones his Texas boss (Burt Lancaster) to report on his progress at trying to buy up the village to turn it into a lucrative oil refinery. Now you, too, can turn up in the village and pretend to act out scenes from Forsyth’s McDavid-v-Goliath crowd-pleaser. Dave Calhoun

Fun fact: There was no red phone box in Pennan when they made Local Hero; they used a prop. The phone company installed a real one afterwards to cash in on the popularity of the film. 

🎬Read our review of Local Hero


These days, the Green Mill operates as one of Chicago’s last-remaining late-night jazz clubs, where you can sit down with a stiff drink and take in a set from a seasoned local act. But during the Prohibition era, the club was a favourite haunt of Al Capone. Singer and comedian Joe E Lewis had his throat cut by one of Capone’s men in 1927, after he turned down a contract at the Green Mill – an incident that inspired the 1957 Frank Sinatra film The Joker Is Wild (Lewis survived the attack – just). The bar’s notoriety has made it a popular cinematic backdrop since then too, serving as a watering hole where John Cusack contemplates his relationships over a beer in High Fidelity and a business that James Caan blows up (through the magic of special effects) in Michael Mann’s neo-noir classic Thief. Zach Long

Fun fact: Capone was rumoured to have had an escape route via a trapdoor behind the bar that led to a series of tunnels beneath the street.

🎬Read our review of High Fidelity

📍The best jazz clubs to check out in Chicago

Let’s face it, most of us secretly wish we’d gone to Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters to channel our superpowers (binge viewing and ping pong in our case) a bit more constructively. You can do the next best thing, though, and pay a visit to the real-life location of the X-Mansion. Better known as Hatley Castle, it’s actually in British Columbia, not the comic-book setting of New York State, in easy reach of Vancouver, where many of the X-Men movies and Deadpool were filmed. It’s been a go-to location for films and TV for years (MacGyver once took down a villain here), but there’s other reasons to visit beyond following in the footsteps of Patrick Stewart (and Richard Dean Anderson) – including an ornate Japanese-style garden and a free museum. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact: The Cyclops-eyed will have noticed that other country piles have played the X-Mansion, including Canada’s Casa Loma and Parkwood Estate in X-Men, and England’s Englefield House in X-Men: First Class.

🎬Read our review of X-Men

Tabernas Desert, Spain
Photograph: Fort Bravo

83. Tabernas Desert, Spain

In southern Spain, closer to Africa than Madrid, is one of Europe’s only deserts. Until the ’50s, only windblown bushes crossed this arid expanse of Almería. Then Hollywood producers discovered it, and, as the saying goes, nothing was ever the same again. It quickly became the go-to place to shoot westerns, with everything from Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy to Sergio Corbucci’s Compañeros filmed here. And not just westerns: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Lawrence of Arabia, Cleopatra, and Conan the Barbarian were all shot here. In 2020, the European Film Academy made it one of the 12 treasures of European film culture, alongside the Bergman Centre and the Potemkin Stairs. María José Gómez

Fan fact: There are three studios-cum-theme parks to visit: Oasys Park (aka Mini Hollywood), where The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was filmed; Western Leone; and the largest, Fort Bravo (aka Texas Hollywood). Saddle up and have a mosey through western history.

Read our review of A Fistful of Dollars

Sky Pizza, Seoul
Photograph: Google Street View

84. Sky Pizza, Seoul

Almost overnight, Parasite’s Oscars win transformed this humble Seoul pizzeria into a cult tourist hotspot. In the movie it’s called Pizza Age and it’s where the Kim family earn a very modest crust folding thousands of pizza boxes. Away from its film work, it’s better known as Sky Pizza, a ten-seat restaurant that, thanks to Bong Joon-ho’s magnificent black comedy, is positively thriving. Sales doubled when Parasite won the Best Picture Oscar, with local pride (and an influx of tourists) translating into a new-found appetite for sweet-potato pizza and selfies. Surely a strategic tie-in with Lenny’s Pizzeria from Saturday Night Fever is only a matter of time? Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact: The Kims’ side hustle was partly inspired by a Canadian, Breanna Gray, whose Jedi-like pizza box folding skills the family marvel at on YouTube.  

Read our review of Parasite


You’ve seen Cinema Paradiso... now stay at Hotel Paradiso. This box-fresh Parisian bolthole in the 12th arrondissement launched in March with a whole new concept in hospitality: A hotel in which you’re never more than about ten yards from a big screen and an almost endless library of films to watch. Sure, outside is the City of Light, Eiffel Tower and all, but why even venture out when so much thought has gone into this 36-room cinephile temple? Besides, you can always head up to the roof (there’ll be a cinema screen up there soon too) for a quick look before returning to your Louis Malle binge or sesh in the La La Land karaoke suite. It’s the brainchild of brothers Elisha and Nathanaël Karmitz, the MDs of French cinema chain and distributor MK2, and one of the hotel’s rooms acts as a private booth to its adjacent cinema. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact: The hotel’s phone number ends in ‘2001’. To reach reception from the rooms, you dial 007. 

📍Discover the 93 best hotels in Paris

Tokyo was a star in its own right in Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, so it’s ironic that the famous bar that once hosted ennui-struck Bob (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) is named after an entirely different city. Located on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt, the New York Bar is one of the swankiest venues in town. Johansson’s character hastily ordered a simple vodka soda – don’t do this, it’s a waste. Instead, pore over the extensive cocktail menu, which features inventive blends of sake and sakura liqueur or espresso and amazake, as well as premium Japanese whiskeys of the sort Murray’s character was hired to endorse. With hand-crafted tipples, a killer view and nightly music from the bar’s jazz band, even the most disillusioned souls will find themselves dazzled here. Emma Steen 

Fun fact: The cocktail list includes the Lost in Translation-homaging LIT, a heady combo of sake, cherry blossom and peach liqueurs, and cranberry. Its pink hue is said to be inspired by Charlotte’s underwear at the start of the movie.

🎬Read our review of Lost in Translation


Ingmar Bergman was ahead of the curve with the whole moving-to-the-country life hack. The great Swedish auteur moved to the remote Baltic island of Fårö after discovering it while location scouting Through a Glass Darkly in 1960. He shot other films there, including Persona and Shame, and lived and died there. Nowadays, his legacy is maintained by the Bergman Centre. This former school building brims with memorabilia for Bergmaniacs to revel in, from his Oscar for Fanny and Alexander to his lucky teddy bear, to the light meter that once belonged to his legendary cinematographer Sven Nykvist. Bergman bike safaris are also on offer, taking in Hammars Beach and other famous film locations. Or you can just stay and pretend to checkmate Death with the big chess set outside. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact: Each summer Bergman Week sees film luminaries like Willem Dafoe and Ang Lee journey to the island to celebrate the great man.

🎬Read our review of Persona


This vast palace of movie culture has made the neighbourhood of Xoco, in Mexico City, a huge draw for cinephiles. The 49,000-square-metre complex – the biggest film archive in Latin America – has bars, cafés, restaurants, ten cinema screens and a gallery. A fire tore through parts of the building in 1982, ruining many precious documents, negatives and objects. But a 2012 renovation by Mexican starchitect Michel Rojkind has given the institution a new lease of life. Several big-hitting annual festivals take place here, and there’s even a panoramic outdoor screen in the gardens that hosts free screenings for locals. Huw Oliver

Fun fact: For anyone working up an appetite roaming this huge space, there’s an in-house ice-cream parlour that serves up a mean banana split. 


The world’s first action movie was filmed in this grand old building. The movie? La Sortie de l’Usine Lumière à Lyon. The action? Strolling, mostly. Nothing explodes, no one is gunned down – it’s just the employees of film pioneers Auguste and Louis Lumière leaving their factory – but it heralded the beginning of a new technology that’s lovingly preserved in the Lumières’ old château and film shed to this day. The art nouveau museum is as close as you can get to a time machine back to the beginning of film. You’ll find the Cinématographe n°1, the camera the Lumières brothers used to shoot La Sortie de l'Usine, on display, their 360-degree Photorama, and even the ‘hand-pincer’ they invented to help World War I amputees. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact: You can order a Francis Ford Coppola rosé or a glass of Brad Pitt’s champagne from a café wine list that reads like an IMBd page.

You’ve seen Frozen. Then, if you have kids, you’ve seen it again. Then you’ve seen it 137 more times. Eventually, when you’ve managed to prise the remote control from their tiny hands, you may have idly wondered what inspired its wintry kingdom and Elsa’s ice palace. Say hello to Canada’s Hôtel de Glace, the midway point between chic rest stop for the Gourmet Traveller set and the bit of the Shackleton expedition when things went seriously wrong. Co-directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee discovered the place prepping Frozen and channelled its crystalline look into Elsa’s palace of frosty solitude. The place itself is much more than just the hotel version of one of those novelty vodka bars from the ’00s: the most expensive suite has a hot tub and a fireplace, and guests can go dog-sledding in the woods or fling themselves down the outdoor snow slides. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact: The hotel opens between January and March, then it’s demolished and rebuilt every November using 500 tons of ice and 30,000 tons of snow.

🎬Read our review of Frozen


San Francisco Bay’s fortified and now defunct island prison inspired on-screen stories almost as soon as it opened in 1934. But it was after its closure in 1963 that it took off as an occasional filming location, starting with Point Blank and continuing with Clint Eastwood thriller Escape from Alcatraz. As an active national park now – and a remarkably popular one whose reservations book months in advance – you can’t exactly shut the entire thing down for shooting. So while the delightfully ridiculous The Rock did indeed partially film on the island, most of the Bayhem were shot on a soundstage. (Alas, you won’t actually find a minecart with Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery underneath the island.) Michael Juliano

Fun fact: Miles of power cable was run beneath the bay for 1979’s Escape from Alcatraz, restoring electricity to the deteriorating island.

🎬Read our review of The Rock

A brief history lesson: To counteract destructive winter floods, the Army Corp of Engineers began to line the Los Angeles River and its tributaries in concrete, starting in 1936. Ever since, it’s reduced portions of the river to a feeble trickle for much of the year – and turned it the perfect spot to film the most heroically reckless racing scenes in cinema. Different stretches are used, from Drive’s joyride through Reseda or Grease’s race under the now-demolished 6th Street Bridge (probably the most recognisable area). If we had to single out just one spot, it’d be Bull Creek, a tributary that runs through the northern section of the Valley, star of that chase in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Michael Juliano

Fun fact: With the chopper flying under the Pacific Coast Highway near the river, T2’s helicopter scene was so dangerous that James Cameron personally took over from the camera crew.

🎬Read our review of Terminator 2: Judgment Day

📍Discover more of the best things to do in Los Angeles


Newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst’s coastal castle remains one of the most unforgettable monuments to unfathomable wealth. In the 1930s, Hearst and his mistress Marion Davies kept the San Simeon estate’s grounds filled with zebras, camels and kangaroos, and the interior with stars like Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Mary Pickford. Despite those Old Hollywood connections, though, the castle has only hosted two notable film shoots: a scene in Spartacus at the ancient Greek- and Roman-inspired Neptune pool, and a Lady Gaga music video. But Hearst’s life story and the castle’s gothic touches served as the clear inspiration for Charles Foster Kane’s surreal tomb of luxury, Xanadu, in Citizen Kane. Watch the film’s opening newsreel of Xanadu and then come see for yourself. Michael Juliano

Fun fact: Mank’s recreation of the mansion is the next best thing to visiting. David Fincher’s team didn’t set out to replicate it, but the dining room they created – all stone, arches and tapestries – nails its opulence.

🎬Read our review of Citizen Kane

Of the big five studios, Paramount Pictures is the only one whose HQ is still within the actual neighbourhood of Hollywood – and among all of the other smaller soundstages and lots in the area, the only one that actually opens its doors to the public. Between the studio tour, TV show tapings in the soundstages and occasional ticketed events on the New York backlot like Frieze or the Taste, you can find plenty of excuses to get on the other side of those famous wrought iron gates – and you absolutely should. Paramount looks exactly like the postcard version of a movie studio – probably why it doubled as Woltz International Pictures in The Godfather and played itself in Sunset Boulevard. It’s relatively compact, so seemingly every green space and office can double as a location, particularly along the western flank that once housed Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball’s Desilu studio. Michael Juliano 

Fun fact: On most days it’s just filled with cars, but the ocean-hued Blue Sky Tank can be filled with nearly a million gallons of water. It was used as the Red Sea in The Ten Commandments and more recently as the edge of the world in The Truman Show.

📍Take a deeper dive into LA’s studio tours


There are many reasons to visit this picturebox, film-centric town: Its brewery turns out an award-winning pilsner; the local speciality is something called ‘Silesian Heaven’, a collaboration of smoked pork and fruit that will have your arteries putting in a leave request; and it has a lovely river wending through it. It’s getting solid fives on TripAdvisor, even before you throw in the fact that it looks like a Wes Anderson movie. Specifically, The Grand Budapest Hotel, which was filmed here in 2013. You can see why Anderson picked it: Görlitz is a town with its own colour palette (pinks and oranges, mostly), full of grand townhouses and historic squares. Possibly the only downside is that there’s no real Mendl’s bakery here to pick up a Courtesan au Chocolat (this spectacular creamery in nearby Dresden stood in for it). The fictional pastry’s real-life creator is here, though: head for Cafe Ca Re for a treat. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact: The town shot a tribute video in the style of Wes Anderson to say auf wiedersehen to him and his crew.

Read our review of The Grand Budapest Hotel

La La Land has an uncanny ability to make already-beautiful LA landmarks like the Griffith Observatory and the Colorado Street Bridge even more captivating, and to add lesser-known spots like Angels Flight Railway and, er, the 110 and 105 carpool ramp on to out-of-towners to-do lists. Hermosa Beach’s Lighthouse Cafe sits somewhere in between the two categories. As in the film, it’s indeed a proper jazz club, one that dates back to 1949 and which has hosted the likes of Chet Baker and Miles Davis. But the vibes here are way different than on the silver screen: For starters, it’s right off the beach, so don’t be surprised if you see more bikinis than button-downs. And though jazz is certainly still part of the line-up, you’re just as likely to find local bar bands. If you’re looking for your La La Land moment, you’ll want to head around to the parking lot side of the club where you’ll find the lovely neon sign on the back brick wall. Michael Juliano

Fun fact: The stained-glass lighthouse medallion pinned behind the stage isn’t original to the club, but is a leftover from the film shoot.

🎬Read our review of La La Land

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What started as a small studio in Burbank in the 1920s is now a sprawling lot that – compared to all of the others in LA – we can simply describe as ‘the most’. Warner Bros. Studios is about the same size as the Vatican. Its exterior sets – accessible on foot and aboard a tram via the studio tour – span city, suburb and jungle areas, and its 30 or so soundstages dwarf any other lot in town. Ever wondered where The Goonies managed to fit One-Eyed Willy’s ship? Or Dunkirk’s sinking destroyer? The humblingly huge Stage 16. Want to see a Batmobile? Here’s a warehouse full of them, in Burton, Schumacher, Nolan and Snyder flavours. A bit of an archives addict? Take a seat on the Central Perk couch or scope out galleries stuffed with Harry Potter props. Basically, it’s a cinematic Disneyland (oops, wrong studio). Michael Juliano

Fun fact: Whether it’s playing River City (The Music Man) or Stars Hollow (Gilmore Girls), the studio’s midwestern town square can make any season work – the leaves can be individually removed from or added to the trees. 

Read our review of The Goonies.

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Kodak founder George Eastman invented the film stock that was loaded into the cameras of cinema pioneers like Eadweard Muybridge, Alice Guy-Blaché and Georges Méliès. His old house, a sprawling mansion in upstate New York where he had his eureka moments, is now a museum-cum-time capsule. It’s a space where you can feel yourself tiptoeing that blurry line between moving pictures and the still kind as you explore an array of early filmmaking kit and black-and-white photography. Or you can take a stroll through the yucca-filled conservatory, complete with wall-mounted elephant (Eastman had a Hemingway-esque thirst for stuffing wild animals), or explore his mini photo-processing lab. There’s also a 500-seat cinema – the Dryden Theatre – so you can watch a film in the home of the man who helped create the medium. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact: Martin Scorsese stores his films in the museum’s huge archive, while Spike Lee, Kathryn Bigelow and others also keep their celluloid collections here.


In a country that venerates le septième art like no other, this is where you go to properly bone up on all things movies. This striking postmodern building – designed by Frank Gehry, no less – is in the slightly out-of-the-way Parc de Bercy, in the city’s east. But it’s totally worth the schlep: inside, you’ll find four screens, a restaurant, an exhibition space, a bookshop and the especially brilliant Musée du Cinéma, which holds legendary costumes worn by Hollywood greats (Garbo, Leigh, Taylor), original posters, early projectors, and objects like the head of Mrs Bates from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Bresson, Clouzot, Godard, Truffaut, Resnais, Chabrol were all regulars here at one point or another – why not join the club? Huw Oliver

Fun fact: In 1968 the Cinémathèque’s founder, Henri Langlois, was booted out by the country’s culture minister, as the institution was put under government control. Huge protests ensued – a precursor of the May ’68 student riots.

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John Ford’s Point, Forrest Gump Hill… Monument Valley wears its cinematic past so firmly on its sleeve, you’d half expect there to be a spot called ‘That Gulch Where Chevy Chase Crashed His Station Wagon in Vacation’. Its towering buttes and dusty plains are instantly recognisable from everything from Forrest Gump to 2001: A Space Odyssey and Easy Rider. But most of all, it’s a place of pilgrimage for western fans: the spot where Ford filmed The Searchers, Stagecoach and My Darling Clementine. Stay at Goulding’s Lodge or the aptly named The View hotel, which offers valley vistas from every room. The valley is part of the Navajo Nation, and Arizona Tourism recommends signing up for a tour with an authorised Navajo guide. If you’re self-driving, it’s $20 to take a car (or stagecoach) on the unpaved 17-mile signposted loop. There’s a couple of hiking trails, too. Phil de Semlyen

Fun fact: Be sure to stop in at the museum at Goulding’s Lodge. It tells the story of Henry Goulding, the sheep trader who first introduced John Ford to Monument Valley.

🎬Read our review of The Searchers


Rue Lepic is one of those roads that hums constantly. Sloping up touristy Montmartre, this street is filled with traditional shops, from butcher and bakery to fishmonger, and you can’t move for all the locals having casual chinwags on the pavement. It’s just the kind of place you’d choose to set a film that evokes an oh-so quaint and nostalgic image of Paris – which was exactly what Amélie director Jean-Pierre Jeunet was going for. Want to retrace the title character’s steps? You should start with a double espresso at the Café des Deux Moulins. This is where Amélie herself waits tables, and few sensations beat wiling away the hours at one of the prized terrace seats. The service is brusque, and music blares constantly, but that only enhances the vibe. Your next stop? Monsieur Collignon’s greengrocer on the Rue des Trois-Frères: another of the movie’s key locations. Huw Oliver

Fun fact: The café is named after two local windmills: the Moulin de la Galette, which is now a restaurant, and the Moulin Rouge, which is better known as the birthplace of the can-can.

🎬Read our review of Amélie

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