If you're a film buff, movie tourism is a great way to see the world - your way.
Beware, though - not every film is shot on location so first make sure those canals were actually in Venice and not in a studio backlot somewhere.
I'm a movie lover (and despair for more time to see as many as I'd like) and my travels are often inspired by films. When I can, I do visit the locations at which my favorite films were shot. And if I can't, I live vicariously.
Here are a few I've visited.
The last thing I expected on my visit to Panama was to be obstructed by gigantic film trucks in the Casco Viejo, the Old Town, and much less to be asked to move a potted plant from my balcony because it would "be in the way". But there you go, the price of fame. The week I visited a scene in supposedly La Paz, Bolivia, was being shot down the street in this so-called hotel (I say so-called because it's actually the Cultural Institute and the only hotelish thing about it were these smart window dressings and logos).
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Not my favorite film but Gladiator certainly had some spectacular locations, one of which I visited in Morocco, the fortified city south of Marrakesh. So you won't be surprised to know that many more films were partly shot here, such as The Man Who Would Be King, Jewel of the Nile, Kundun, The Mummy and many more. Morocco is just that kind of place.
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Istanbul is a visual feast wherever you look so it has unsurprisingly been the backdrop for many films including several James Bonds plus The Accidental Spy, Topkapi, Midnight Express and The International. Outside Istanbul, Turkey has often been substituted for nearby countries, for example Iran, where filming freely would be nearly impossible.
I often wonder why a film is shot in a certain place rather than another so I looked into it. It now makes better sense. Here are some of the criteria for choosing a film location:
If you enjoy visiting movie locations, you'll find plenty of tours in cities popular with film directors, in Los Angeles of course but also London, Paris, New York and New Zealand, among others.
It's not quite the same as being in a movie, but it is a bit like being behind the scenes.