10 Great Films That Take Place In A Single Location

Sometimes one room is all you need.

Al Pacino Dog Day Afternoon
Warner Bros.

The average feature film takes place in dozens of locations, but sometimes it's fun when a director scales all that back, confining the actors to just one single room. 

In fact, that's a whole fascinating subgenre in film: movies that take place all in one location. The characters will sit around and have a conversation that becomes quite meaningful, or maybe they find themselves all stuck in a room and they have to figure out how to escape. Whatever the setup is, these films give off the feeling of a play more than a movie, focused entirely on dialogue rather than special effects or action. There's no need for huge sets or big budget CGI here.

That's the case with all 10 of these movies, which never allow their characters to leave this one place at any point. They're all really fascinating exercises in minimalist filmmaking, and it's almost like the director is challenging himself to see how much he can accomplish with so little. The fact that none of these movies are boring despite being this limited is a testament to how talented these filmmakers really are.

From courthouses to cubes to coffins, these films prove you don't need to spend millions of numerous lavish sets to frame a compelling and entertaining story...

10. Tape

Al Pacino Dog Day Afternoon

From Boyhood's Richard Linklater, Tape is a really fascinating movie that gets a lot accomplished despite its extremely low budget. The whole thing was shot on a camcorder, and you can really feel that. It looks extremely cheap and, taking place all in a motel room, the production value is rather low. But that just places more emphasis on the dialogue, and that's what this is really all about.

In the film, Vince (Ethan Hawke) comes to his hometown because his friend Jon (Robert Sean Leonard) has an entry playing in a film festival. Jon arrives at Vince's motel room and they reminisce about their high school years, but that soon goes off the rails as tension between them grows greater and greater. Eventually Vince's ex-girlfriend Amy (Uma Thurman) gets involved.

The film does a great job generating tension, and you really feel the awkwardness during this conversation when Vince begins to confront Jon. It all escalates rather quickly, and your opinions of these characters rapidly shifts throughout the film. It's a fascinating morality play with compelling, realistic dialogue, and it's way better than a film shot on a camcorder in a motel room has any right to be. 


Lover of horror movies, liker of other things. Your favorite Friday the 13th says a lot about you as a person, and mine is Part IV: The Final Chapter.