Lights, camera, attraction: America’s magical movie locations

Thursday, 11 Aug, 2022 0

Coming to cinemas is Don’t Worry Darling stars Olivia Wilde and Florence Pugh in a psychological thriller set against the beautiful backdrop of Palm Springs, California.

It shows off the blue skies, modernist architecture and quintessential palm trees.

Swap the cinema for travelling afar and visit these cinematic destinations that have been the true star in new releases and iconic movies.

From Seattle to Colorado, these film locations will inspire, entertain and encourage travellers to step inside their own movie.


New releases

Don’t Worry Darling – Greater Palm Springs

Screening on 23 September, see the recognisable rows of palm trees and mid-century modern architecture on-screen in Don’t Worry Darling. Greater Palm Springs will be the utopian backdrop for the psychological thriller brought to life by Olivia Wilde, starring Wilde, Florence Pugh, Harry Styles and Chris Pine. One of the most famous Greater Palm Springs locations featured in the film will be the Kaufmann House, an example of desert modernism at its finest.


Old favourites

10 Things I Hate About You – Seattle, Washington

Starring Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the late Heath Ledger, 10 Things I Hate About You is a modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew that went on to become a cult teen rom-com. Much of the film was shot in Seattle; location highlights include Kerry Park in Queen Anne, Lake Union and the Fremont Troll. Stadium High School in Tacoma, just outside of Seattle, was also used as the fictional Padua High School.


Dumb & Dumber – Colorado

Classic comedy film Dumb & Dumber starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels follows best friends Lloyd and Harry as they attempt to return a lost briefcase filled with money. The film was shot and set in Colorado in locations including Aspen, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, and The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.


Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – Mammoth Lakes & Mountain, California 

The Eastern Sierra landscape is dramatic, making it the perfect backdrop for blockbuster films. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was filmed on Mammoth Mountain; viewers can watch Harrison Ford and Kate Capshaw escape death by bailing out of a crashing plane and sliding down the snowy face of the mountain. Mammoth Lakes and surrounding areas have also played host to many westerns, including the John Wayne movie North to Alaska and Ride the High Country starring Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea.


High Noon – Tuolumne County, California 

American western film High Noon is considered a classic of the genre and is praised for its complex exploration of morality, integrity and duty. The film stars Grace Kelly and Gary Cooper, the latter of whom earned an Academy Award. The movie was filmed at Railtown 1987 State Historic Park, known as ‘The Movie Railroad’ for its history and prevalence in American cinematic history since 1919.


Iconic locations

Ladybird – Sacramento, California 

Winner of two Golden Globes Ladybird pays tribute to Director Greta Gerwig’s hometown of Sacramento. The comedy drama, set and shot in Sacramento, follows the life of confused teenage girl Christine (“Ladybird”) as she struggles through the final year of her Catholic high school. Director Greta Gerwig shines the spotlight  on California’s often overlooked capital.


Free Solo – Yosemite Mariposa County, California

National Geographic documentary film Free Solo is a stunning, often nerve-racking portrait of the free soloist climber, Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream of climbing the face of the world’s most famous rock – the 3,000ft El Capitan in Yosemite National Park – without a rope. Documentary filmmaker E. Chai Vasarhelyi and world-renowned photographer and mountaineer Jimmy Chin spent months observing Honnold as he mentally and physically prepared for the climb.


La La Land – Los Angeles, California

La La Land, the 2016 romantic musical comedy was filmed entirely in the City of Angels and it is a homage to the entertainment capital of the world. The film is full of references to old-Hollywood glamour and to some of the most popular movies of all time such as Singin’ in the Rain and The Young Girls of Rochefort. Shot across 48 locations in just 42 days, some of the most recognisable locations from the film worth visiting include Warner Brothers Studios, Rialto Theatre, Griffith Observatory and Grand Central Market.


Almost Famous – Andaz, West Hollywood, California

Kate Hudson’s breakout film, Almost Famous is a much-loved comedy drama full of rock’n’roll history. With West Hollywood’s iconic music history and famed bars, the film shows the now Andaz West Hollywood as the Continental Hyatt House. The hotel was nicknamed the ‘Riot House’ at the time, as its proximity to clubs such as Whisky a Go Go made it popular with touring bands.

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Ray Monty

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