Recognizable worldly locations and monuments play a huge role in filmmaking. Just like casting and directing, set locations and scenes can make or break a movie. How could we possibly recognize an alien attack without the destruction of The Statue of Liberty? Can we even consider the movie “action-packed” if someone or something didn’t go crashing through Big Ben’s face? Is it even a zombie movie if it didn’t depict an eerily quiet and empty metropolis?
As viewers, we rarely notice the film locations in movies or television programs. Often times, the character drama begs all of our attention and we can’t be bothered by a beautiful backdrop. Nowadays, scenic landscapes are painted in so much CGI they’re almost unrecognizable. That being said, if you look back at some of your favorite movies and TV shows, you’ll realize many are set in the same place.
Drastically different movies, from period pieces to epic hero films, share many of the same sets. Think about it: There are only so many castles, underground highways, and famous landmarks in the world. Is it really any surprise that some of the locations and sets from your favorite—and wildly diverse thematically—movies are filmed in the same locations?
10. The Ksar Of Aït Benhaddou, Morocco
The Ksar of Aït Benhaddou, Morocco is a fortified village along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech in Morocco. The "perfect synthesis of the earthen architecture of the pre-Saharan regions of Morocco" isn't as small as it looks. Past the spooky fortified walls are homes, a mosque, community gathering sites, two cemeteries, and more.
You may recognize the Moroccan clay architectural wonder from The Mummy, Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, and Prince of Persia—or for its position on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Built against the Atlas Mountain with angle-like towers, steep walls, and few inhabitants, Aït Benhaddou’s unique appearance gives movies and films a desolate and almost other-worldly appearance, which is why it stood in as Yunkai, one of the three Slaver’s Bay city-states in Game of Thrones.
Tucked between Ouarzazate and Marrakesh, the ancient trading post is basically in the middle of nowhere, but tourists and TV / movie buffs, alike, happily make the trip to see where Russell Crowe trained as a gladiator.
"Are you not entertained?!" (Sorry, I simply had to quote it.)