World travel

Movie Maps: Where Films Are Shot Worldwide

We’ve all felt it: a sudden desire to travel, sparked by some exotic scene that’s playing across the silver screen. What’s more intriguing than the prospect of a real visit to the far-flung geographic gems that movies reveal? At HotelsCombined, we’ve got all your REAL travel needs covered – even to destinations you’ve only seen on film. In fact, we set out to uncover the hottest spots for film locations across the world, using’s massive database to determine where the movie magic happens when Hollywood leaves… Hollywood.

First, we surveyed the number of major-studio films shot in every nation worldwide, and determined the 10 countries outside the U.S. with the most film locations total, ranked in order. Check them out in the graphic below.

While the character of Western Europe may be changing rapidly, its romance still holds sway over movie-makers, and by extension, audiences: Eight of the top 10 belong to that region. While some might argue that Ireland, Scotland, and Wales don’t qualify as separate nations (depends which pub you walk into), their respective movie résumés are more than ample enough to be assessed independently. For those who yearn for the rolling hills surrounding Hogwarts, a trip to Wales is in order. If The Matrix is more your speed, try Australia; for those in the know, Keanu’s virtual world looks a heck of a lot like Sydney.

What about the prevalence of film locations on American soil? Turns out, the American movie industry reaches far beyond Tinseltown’s borders. We determined the number of films shot in each U.S. state, as the heatmap below reveals:

Predictably, California tops our list: Between its varied natural beauty and proximity to the world’s most powerful studios, no other state can really keep up. New York put up a good fight, though, clocking in at second with New York City to thank (more on the Big Apple’s storied film geography in a moment). Many of the top 10’s remaining states offer close approximations of either foreign deserts (Arizona, Nevada, Texas) or tropical retreats (Florida), appealing to producers hoping to keep their operation stateside.

This all begs the question: Totals aside, where were America’s most famous films shot? Which states can lay claim to true cinematic gems? We’re not taking sides, but we do have a graphic that just might fuel that debate:

Recognize the Matthew McConaughey icon for Dazed and Confused? “It’d be a lot cooler if you did.” While the most iconic film from each state will always be subject to spirited debate, there’s no disputing the richness of the country’s film geography as a whole. From Alaska’s Insomnia to Florida’s Goldfinger, every region has some cinematic gold to call its own.

And then there are some places that get more than their fair share of film appearances: Los Angeles, London, and maybe most of all, New York City. When it comes to a high concentration of classics, NYC is unmatched. We decided to look at exactly where some of the city’s unforgettable films were shot. Here’s our illustrated map:

Whether you’re looking to enjoy Sex and the City’s shopping or A River Runs Through It’s magnificent wilderness, we’ve got the tools to get you there. At HotelsCombined, we know that travel isn’t just for movie stars… or their budgets. Pick any one of these movie backdrops, and we’ll help you create an adventure all your own!

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