This blog is for the avid film fanatics amongst you and for those who know the movie business inside and out but are always looking to learn something new. Read on to learn more about a selection of famous movie locations that you can also visit on a wonderful all-inclusive cruise getaway.
St. Croix, US Virgin Islands – Shawshank Redemption
Everyone loves the ending to the Shawshank Redemption (if you haven’t seen it SPOILER ALERT AHEAD). After the mild-mannered and wrongly-accused Andy DuFresne has served years behind bars in brutal conditions, suffering through no fault of his own and doing the bidding of the corrupt prison warden, he finally escapes.
Digging your way out of jail is no easy feat, which is probably why he took so many years to do it! After scrambling through his self-made tunnel, breaking into and crawling through miles of disgusting sewage before tricking a bank and giving the horrible warden his comeuppance, Andy heads towards Mexico and his freedom.
When Morgan Freeman’s character ‘Red’ is finally released at the very end of the film, he sets off, following the clues to find Andy. What many people don’t know is that the beach on which Red walks along whilst Andy fixes his boat at the end of the movie is not Zihuatanejo in Mexico at all. The scene was actually filmed on the picturesque island of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands, which was chosen because of its ideal natural beauty and pristine coastline. So remember, don’t always believe that the characters actually are where your favourite movie says they are!
New Zealand – Lord of the Rings
New Zealand has been the backdrop for many world-famous movies including the Chronicles of Narnia and the 21st century remake of King Kong. The nation is probably best known, however, for the role it played in Peter Jackon’s incredible Lord of the Rings trilogy as the setting for the mythical and magical Middle Earth. New Zealand’s spectacular natural landscape was the ideal place to set the stage for Tolkien’s timeless novels, from the Elven outpost of Rivendell to Fangorn Forest. Due to the legions of fans that adore both the books and the films, many people travel to New Zealand simply to observe the locations used for this epic on-screen adventure.
Lord of the Rings tours have become very popular across New Zealand, allowing avid hobbit-wannabes to see exactly where the movies were shot. Several locations across the North and South Islands were utilised for the film, including the Waikato town of Mamato, near Auckland, which was portrayed as the quaint Shire were Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin begin their adventure. Fans can also travel across to Mount Victoria and Katoke National Park in Wellington, where scenes involving Rivendell and the Gardens of Isengaard were filmed. For a thorough tour of the Lord of the Rings locations, a trip to the South Island is also necessary, to Canterbury and MacKenzie Country, which provided the location for many other memorable scenes from the films.
Hawaii – Jurassic Park
Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park became one of the most popular films in history after its release back in 1993. The film combined drama, action, grandiose locations and dinosaurs to capture the imagination of millions. To make Jurassic Park believable, Spielberg needed to find an exotic and verdant landscape on which he could film and, to no ones surprise, he chose Hawaii for some of the most famous scenes.
Perhaps the most iconic scene from the movie is the moment the large front gate to the park opens. This famous image was shot at Blue Hole, Kaua’i in Hawaii. The incredibly tense scene, in which Dr. Alan and the kids must climb an electric fence, was also brought to life on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i, whilst the impressive dinosaur stampede was shot at Kualoa Ranch on the island of O’ahu.
Dedicated fans of the Jurassic Park movies are sure to thoroughly enjoy a trip to Hawaii, as guided film set tours are available to visitors all over the islands, offering the opportunity to experience the Jurassic Park up close, fortunately without any hungry dinosaurs to contend with.
Tokyo, Japan – Lost in Translation
The multi-award winning movie ‘Lost in Translation’, directed by Sofia Coppola and starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, is a love story following the affairs of an American actor going through a mid-life crisis and a young, bored married woman, both of whom arrive in Japan for different reasons. Sofia Coppola’s script and direction as well as both Murray’s and Johansson’s acting was critically acclaimed and the movie became an instant hit all over the world.
Most of the filming was carried out in Tokyo’s most vibrant and colourful districts, Shibuya and Shinjuku, where the unique Japanese culture is truly on display. Fans of the movie can take time to visit some of the locations in the film, including the hotel at which the two main characters meet located in Shinjuku and the restaurant in Shibuya at which they dine together. Tokyo is an exciting city regardless of the famous movie locations based there, but the many fans of this film will get a kick out of visiting these locations and observing them for themselves.
Phuket, Thailand – The Beach
The Beach, directed by Danny Boyle and featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, follows young intrepid traveller Richard as has roams Thailand in search of his personal paradise. Fans of the film will remember the incredibly stunning locations used throughout movie, most of which were shot on and around the Thai island of Phuket.
Whilst the film never quite made it is as an all-time classic, the beautiful locations within the movie inspired many viewers to make the journey to Thailand and experience this ‘paradise’ first hand. The majority of astonishing places seen in the film are just a short ferry journey away from Phuket, including Hat Maya on Phi Phi Leh Island, which was used as the setting for the ‘perfect beach’. The stunning waterfall that Richard must descend, named Haeo Suwat Falls, can also be found close by, in Khao Yai National Park.
Although the film was shot in various spots across Thailand, Phuket is a great place to start a tour of the many incredible locations used in this fast-paced and dark story of one man’s search for the perfect beach.