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Top 10 Commonly Used Filming Locales

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script Written by Susan Faile. Hmmm, this place looks familiar. Where have we seen that again? Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 filming locales used in multiple movies and TV shows. For this list, we’re taking a look at locations, locales, places, areas, sites and more that appear time and time again on the big and small screens. Special thanks to our users kenn1987, Brian Kaslewicz, Robert H., Liljo, Alan pelc, Jonathan Cobbs, David Ram, Andreb139, Andrew A. Dennison, asianpower66, KingWilly, Treshun Thomas, Mattzilla McKenna and Dusto22 for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script Written by Susan Faile.

Top 10 Commonly Used Filming Locales


Hmmm, this place looks familiar. Where have we seen this again? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 filming locales used in multiple movies and TV shows.

For this list, we’re taking a look at locations, locales, places, areas, sites and more that appear time and time again on the big and small screens.

#10: Hatley Park National Historic Site
Colwood, Canada

This site, located near Victoria, British Columbia, Canada is fit for royalty. In fact, the mansion in the park, called Hatley Castle, was intended to be the Canadian residence of the British Royal Family during World War II. Instead, the park’s gardens and castle have become movie and TV stars. The stately abode has housed bad guys like Lex Luthor in the “Smallville” TV series, educated characters in “Masterminds” and the “X-Men” movie series, and terrified film audiences watching “The Changeling.”

#9: Bronson Canyon
Los Angeles, California

This location has appeared in so many versions of the “Star Trek” TV series and movie franchise that Trekkies probably recognize it as quickly as they do William Shatner or Patrick Stewart. The East Portal, which features a cave entrance, is especially popular and easily identifiable as the entrance to the Batcave in the 1960s’ “Batman” TV series. Some other movies and shows filmed, at least in part, here include “The Scorpion King,” the “Mission: Impossible” TV show, and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”

#8: Old Royal Navy College
Greenwich, England

This British location, which was actually used by the Royal Navy until 1998, may be the most versatile on this list. In “The Dark Knight Rises” it was a café, in “Patriot Games” it was a stand in for a lecture hall, in “The King’s Speech” it traveled through time as Buckingham Palace, and in “Les Miserables” it even successfully pretended to be Paris. It’s also a good place for drama; in “National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets,” Nicolas Cage’s character had a meltdown surrounded by its splendor.

#7: Hollywood Sign
Los Angeles, USA

Literally nothing says “Hollywood” like this well-known sign, made with 45-foot high letters and perched in the hills surrounding the legendary Los Angeles neighborhood. It’s been watching over the city since 1923, and has become a star in its own right as a meeting place, hiding place, or target of destruction. The two lead characters in “Friends with Benefits” hung out in the sign, Dr. Evil cleverly hid behind it in “Austin Powers in Goldmember,” and a tornado blew it away in “Sharknado.”

#6: Hatfield House
Hatfield, England

Even though this place, located in the UK, is huge, it would be crowded if all the movie characters who lived here were onsite together. Some of the interesting bedfellows to be made in such circumstances would include Lara Croft of “Tomb Raider” fame, Detective Sherlock Holmes in the 2009 action mystery flick, Batman—it served as Wayne Manor in two movies about the caped crusader, and Mary, Queen of Scots, who was imprisoned here by Queen Elizabeth I in “The Golden Age,” to mention just a few.

#5: Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco & Marin County, USA

The Hollywood sign lets movie viewers know they’re watching something set in L.A., and this bridge is one of the most iconic symbols of San Francisco. As a result, it’s been used in numerous movies and TV shows both as part of a scenic backdrop, and as a prop to be digitally manipulated. Memorable moments include a madman with a school bus full of scared kids traversing it in “Dirty Harry” in 1971, and part of the bridge getting destroyed in 2014’s “Godzilla” re-boot.

#4: Greystone Mansion
Beverly Hills, USA

Even though it’s in Beverly Hills, this classic Tudor mansion could just as easily be in the British countryside. Its most recognizable feature, as far as its use as a filming location is concerned, is probably its elegant staircase. Popular films that used the mansion include “Spider-Man,” where it served as the palatial home of Harry Osborn’s father, “There Will Be Blood,” where it was definitely the site of bloodshed, as well as “The Bodyguard,” “Rush Hour,” and “The Social Network.”

#3: Johnie’s Coffee Shop
Los Angeles, USA

This place, along with the Quality Café, is a popular movie meeting location. Some films that have used the authentic mid-20th century diner include “Very Bad Things,” American History X,” and “Volcano.” Unfortunately, if you’d like to have a cup of joe at the same counter where the Dude sat in “The Big Lebowski,” or to re-enact the tipping scene from “Reservoir Dogs”—a couple of other movies filmed at this historical landmark - you can’t. Johnie’s has been closed for 15 years—it’s only open for filming.

#2: Vasquez Rocks
Sierra Pelona Mountains, USA

Just like Bronson Canyon, this L.A. location, with its foreboding jagged rocks, was a favorite of the “Star Trek” original series folks. In fact, the show used the site so many times that it’s been nicknamed “Kirk’s Rock,” and has been featured in movie and TV homages to “Star Trek” including “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” and an episode of “The Big Bang Theory.” In addition to all of its “Star Trek” related uses, it’s served as a backdrop in various other types of movies.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- BBC Quarry
United Kingdom
- Broughton Castle
Broughton, England
- Golden Ears Provincial Park
British Columbia, Canada
- Bradbury Building
Los Angeles, USA
- Mount Rushmore
Pennington County, USA

#1: Monument Valley
Colorado Plateau, USA

This picturesque desert area, located on the state line between Arizona and Utah, has been a popular location for filming since the 1930s. Many types of movies, including westerns, comedies, and sci-fis have featured some portion of this unique part of the Colorado Plateau. The title character in “Forrest Gump” ended his long run here, Tom Cruise climbed its steep rocks in “Mission: Impossible II,” and Clark Griswold haplessly tried to find a gas station in the iconic locale in “National Lampoon’s Vacation.”

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite movie or TV filming locale? For more fascinating Top10s every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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