With everybody having a camera phone, it can sometimes feel like we’re always living in a kind of film. But there’s nothing quite like the actual movies themselves, of the Hollywood variety. To step inside one of your favourite movies, you can take a trip down to Florida to visit Universal Studios with their dozens of fun, movie-related rides.
But one of the best ways to explore your favourite movies is to go to the locations where they were filmed. Then ask yourself, how did the experience compare with the film – was it just as magical and oozing beauty, or was it nothing like what you see on the screen? There’s only one way to find out…
Central Park, New York
Probably the most filmed location in the history of cinema is popular with film makers for a reason. It’s not only right in the centre of Manhattan, it’s also huge, beautiful and meticulously maintained. The first movie to be filmed in Central Park was the first film version of Romeo and Juliet in 1908, which makes it not only one of the most popular film locations in the world, but one of the first! Since then around 10 Hollywood movies a year on average are shot in Central Park, making it one of the most iconic walks you will ever take.
For western directors, Egypt holds a particular kind of magic. A good chunk of the James Bond classic The Spy Who Loved Me was set in the land of the Pharaohs, with glamorous sequences featuring Roger Moore set against a backdrop of central Cairo, the River Nile and the Giza pyramid complex. All four Cleopatra films show ancient Egypt through the eye of Hollywood, as was the classic Poirot mystery Death on the Nile.
Venice Beach, California
From the TV show Baywatch to the film about Jim Morrison and his band The Doors, Venice Beach is prime movie real estate. Here you can not only walk along its famous boardwalk all the way to Santa Monica, you can see the famous Muscle Beach where Arnold Schwarzenegger trained.
Koh Phi Phi Ley, Thailand
Danny Boyle’s fourth feature, The Beach, starred Leonardo DiCaprio as a backpacker searching for a hidden beach. Fans of the 1995 film will of course want to check out one of the film’s most iconic locations, Koh Phi Phi Leh island in the Krabi province. However the majestic scenery was said to be damaged by the production, and the government have continued to redevelop the surrounding area. For a more secluded beach similar to what the film depicted, try the unspoiled island of Koh Kood , or the small island of Ko Tao whose waters are popular with divers in the know.
The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
There’s the classic scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, where James Stewart rescues Grace Kelly from drowning in the Bay, which may be the most famous scene in movie history featuring the Golden Gate Bridge. But the city of San Francisco, with its distinctive sloping streets and cute wooden houses, is used as the setting for thousands of movies which, like the city itself, are both stunning and memorable. See Also: Bullitt, Mrs Doubtfire, The Maltese Falcon, and Superman: The Movie.