As enthusiastic as we are about photography, most of us at 500px are huge film fanatics as well. There’s something about the escape into an incredible story with equally as engrossing scenery that usually sees us first in line at the theater for new releases. We often wonder where in the world the places we’re seeing on the big screen actually exist, so, using the talents of the 500px community, we scouted the filming locations of 10 movies with breathtaking backdrops. Read on and bookmark these locations as possible destinations for the next time you want to be transported to another world.

The Chronicles of Narnia

Cathedral Cove by Brian Wilson on 500px

When the Pevensie siblings discover the ruins of Cair Paravel while playing at a gorgeous beach in the film adaptation of The Chronicle of Narnia they’re actually standing in the real world location of Cathedral Cove, along the Coromandel Peninsula of New Zealand, as seen in the photo above.

While New Zealand doubled as much of the land of Narnia, the lakes and mountain peaks of Glacier National Park in Montana, also made an appearance in The Chronicles of Narnia.

Light Storm by Brian Wilson on 500px

The Hobbit

Bag End Panorama by Brian Wilson on 500px

Any Tolkien fans will recognize Bag End, the picturesque house of Bilbo Baggins and Frodo Bagging in the town of Hobbiton, part of The Shire region where all hobbits made their homes. The real-life Shire can be found in Matamata, New Zealand where humans can take tours of the film sets created specifically for the Lord of the Rings films and The Hobbit. Once you’ve visited, you can tell all your friends you’ve journeyed through Middle-Earth.

Hobbit home by Brian Wilson on 500px

Harry Potter

Diagon Alley by Brian Wilson on 500px

On any average day, the Leaky Cauldron, the wizard’s pub in muggle London, is actually the site of an optician along Bull’s Head Passage in London’s Victorian-era Leadenhall Market. In the non-cinematic world, the familiar scenes of the Hogwarts Express carrying young witches and wizards to Hogwarts is a train’s journey across the Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland.

Journey through Scotland by Brian Wilson on 500px

Hunger Games

Hunger Games by Elaine Li on

In the final installment of the Hunger Games movies, Mockingjay – Part 2, the backdrop for the streets of the Capitol is the Paris suburb, Noisy-le-Grand, specifically a Postmodern residential complex called Les Espaces d’Abraxas designed by Spanish architect, Ricardo Bofill. Built in the late 1970s, the buildings make an eerily perfect location for a science fiction story like The Hunger Games.

District 12, the home of Katniss Everdeen and her family, is the poorest district of Panem. It’s represented in the movie series by the abandoned town of Henry River Mill Village, in North Carolina, which was once home to a textile mill.

Henry River Mill Village by Brian Wilson on 500px

Alice in Wonderland

Shadows by Brian Wilson on 500px

Director Tim Burton’s 2010 movie adaptation of Alice in Wonderland filmed its big garden party scenes at Antony House, an early 18th-century mansion in the UK’s Cornwall county. The carefully manicured hedges and topiaries of the National Trust site made a perfect spot for Alice to fall down the rabbit hole.

Antony House by Brian Wilson on 500px

The Golden Compass

Tom Quad by Brian Wilson on 500px

The picture-perfect town of Oxford and its many colleges are often seen in films. Many of the Harry Potter movies were set there, and another popular children’s book series-turned-film, His Dark Materials also has scenes at the University of Oxford. In The Golden Compass, Lyra boards a sky ferry docked at Tom Quad, the largest quad in Oxford. The Painted Hall of the Old Royal Navy College in Greenwich, London doubled as the dining room of Jorden College, where Lyra called home.

London Painted Hall Ceiling- ORNC by Brian Wilson on 500px


Bibliothèque Sainte Geneviève by Brian Wilson on 500px

The Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève in Paris, a library which now holds the collection of one of Paris’s oldest abbeys, serves as the site of the Film Academy Library in Martin Scorsese’s 3D film Hugo, which is based on the children’s novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

Pan’s Labyrinth

Belchite by Brian Wilson on 500px

The abandoned village of Belchite in eastern Spain has been the real-life site of many battles through Spanish history. Today, it’s a destination for history buffs and served as the location for the opening scene of Guillermo del Toro’s movie, Pan’s Labyrinth.


Pont de Bir-Hakeim - Paris by Dean Preston Photography on

Director Christopher Nolan and his crew traveled the globe to create the dream worlds imagined in Inception. We love the bridge scene from the movie, where the character, Ariadne, manipulates her dream world using giant mirrors and the columns of the Pont de Bir-Hakeim in Paris.

Star Wars

Star Wars movie set, Tunisia, Sahara Desert by Brian Wilson on 500px

In A New Hope, we first meet Luke Skywalker on his home planet of Tatooine. The desert of southern Tunisia was selected by location scouts to serve as this famous planet in the Star Wars universe. Several sites throughout the desert appear in the films as parts of Tatooine.