Action! The World's Must-See Movie Locations

Posted by Rich Mancini on 2/8/2013
Posted in: Tauck’s Travelogue
Tags: Travel

I’ve been a movie buff for as long as I can remember… back to my earliest memories as a kid of the “extra added late-night feature” from the back seat of the family car at a drive-in theatre. Ever since, I’ve loved visiting filming locations where movies were actually created – and I’m not alone. So for all you other cineastes out there, I’ve put together a Top Ten List (in no particular order) of famous filming locations you’ll visit on some of our Tauck trips worldwide. Lights, camera… action!

1. Oahu, Hawaii – Stick your toes in the sand on the eastern coast of Oahu, near the location of the famous Burt Lancaster/Deborah Kerr “kissing in the surf” scene in 1953’s From Here to Eternity… during a stay at The Royal Hawaiian, also featured in the film (on The Best of Hawaii). Originally written with the lovers standing up, the classic take with the waves hitting Lancaster and Kerr in the clinches on the sand was reportedly a last-minute inspiration from Lancaster and director Fred Zinnemann.

Filming Locations

2. Paris, France – We’ll take you to various locations featured in Woody Allen’s comic fantasy Midnight in Paris – including Claude Monet’s gardens at Giverny, where Gil (Owen Wilson) admits his yearning for the romantic Paris of old (on Normandy, Brittany, Paris & the Loire Valley); and sites of Gil’s run-ins with pompous know-it-all Paul, at the Musée de L’Orangerie, the gardens of Versailles (on The Art of Living: Barcelona to Paris), and the Musée Rodin (on Artistic Impressions: Monte-Carlo to Paris). 

3. Petra, Jordan – A remarkable city carved out of rose-colored sandstone cliffs by the Nabataeans about 2,500 years ago, this UNESCO World Heritage Site in modern-day Jordan has captured the world’s imagination for centuries. But its centerpiece, the massive Al Khazneh (a.k.a. “the Treasury’), starred as the “Canyon of the Crescent Moon,” where the Holy Grail resided, in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. And you’ll visit it on our Israel & Jordan or Egypt & Jordan: Timeless Treasures, Ancient Lands.

4. Rome, Italy – The “Eternal City” itself is essentially one big movie set – and exploring Rome on our Italy trips means visiting sites including the famous Fontana di Trevi, which figured prominently in both 1954’s Three Coins in the Fountain and Roman Holiday; the timeless Colosseum, where Russell Crowe fought Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator, and Hepburn and Peck rode a Vespa in (again) Roman Holiday; and the Piazza Navona, with its Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (a.k.a. the Bernini Fountain), featured in Eat, Pray, Love, the 1990 version of Three Coins in the Fountain, and the thriller Angels and Demons.

5. Nairobi, Kenya – The Nairobi suburb of Karen is named for Baroness Karen Blixen, whose coffee farm occupied this area until 1931. The world knew her better as the Danish writer Isak Dinesen, whose memoir Out of Africa would become an Oscar-winning film. On Kenya & Tanzania: A Classic Safari, you’ll walk in Dinesen’s steps at the Karen Blixen Museum, the 1912 farmhouse where the author lived with her Swedish husband and later with British adventurer Denys Finch-Hatton – and yes, much of the movie, with Meryl Streep as Dinesen and Robert Redford as Finch-Hatton, was created using the farmhouse as the filming location. 

6. Oxford, England – Along with being one of the world’s oldest and most famous institutions of higher learning, England’s Oxford University has not only played itself as a location in such films as Shadowlands, Brideshead Revisited, The Red Violin, What a Girl Wants, An Education and The Oxford Murders – but has also provided backdrops for scenes in The Madness of King George, Young Sherlock Holmes and most of the Harry Potter movies. Check it out on a guided walking tour on England, Scotland & Wales.

7. Monument Valley, Arizona – The majestic sandstone buttes of Monument Valley, set near the Arizona-Utah state line and the Navajo Nation, provided an iconic backdrop for classic John Ford westerns like Stagecoach, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Fort Apache, Rio Grande and The Searchers. But they’ve also appeared in diverse flicks from Easy Rider and 2001: A Space Odyssey to Back to the Future Part III and Forrest Gump. You can explore them by air and / or land on America’s Canyonlands and Red Rocks & Painted Canyons.

8. New Delhi, India – One of many things that made the Oscar-winning biopic Gandhi, starring Ben Kingsley, so compelling was the fact that many key scenes were recreated in the actual locations of real-life events in and around New Delhi. They include the Mahatma’s assassination in the gardens of Gandhi Smriti, now a national memorial, and his huge funeral procession from the Viceroy’s Palace, along Rajpath to the India Gate… all places you can see with Tauck on A Portrait of India and Northern India & Nepal.

9. Beijing, China – The sweeping story of the last of China’s emperors to rule from Beijing’s Forbidden City was told by Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci in The Last Emperor. It was among the first movies by Western filmmakers to be shot in part in the People’s Republic, with many scenes filmed within the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace – both of which you’ll explore on China, The Yangtze River & Hong Kong.

10. Machu Picchu, Peru – One of my favorite foreign-language films ever, 2004’s The Motorcycle Diaries is the ultimate “road movie” – following young Argentine medical student Ernesto (later Ché) Guevara and his friend Alberto Granada on their 1952 motorcycle trip across much of South America. The Incan ruins of Machu Picchu, as well as the cities of Cusco and Lima, are among their stops… and among yours, too, on Tauck’s Empire of the Incas: Peru & Bolivia and Peru & the Galápagos Islands.

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