Fall’s new releases—from the latest James Bond to a modern martial arts blockbuster—are giving us some serious wanderlust.
Get ready fellow globetrotters and cinephiles, because the arrival of fall also means the beginning of movie season, with flicks shot at some breathtaking locations around the world. From a city above the clouds in China’s Heibo province to the rugged terrain of Scotland’s Isle of Skye, here’s a roundup of the season’s most anticipated movies and where you can visit the must-see sites.
The Movie: Spectre
The highly anticipated Spectre, the last installment of the 007 franchise for actor Daniel Craig, delivers jaw-dropping scenes of James Bond scaling a rooftop and skiing through treacherous mountain passes. Besides filming in quintessential London, the movie also takes place in some outrageous locations.
The Location: Mexico City
If you’ve watched the trailer, you’ve seen Daniel Craig don a frightening skeleton mask as he blends into a parade on the streets of Mexico City. This scene was filmed during the Day of the Dead festivities in Mexico’s capital in order to provide an authentic shot of the iconic holiday. Meanwhile, snow-capped mountains in the Austrian Alps served as a back-drop for black diamond-worthy ski chases. These scenes were sot in the postcard-perfect areas of Sölden, Lake Altaussee and Obertilliach, Austria.
The Movie: By The Sea
By The Sea marks the first movie since Mr. and Mrs. Smith in which the power couple Angelina Jolie Pitt and Brad Pitt costar together. The indie film tells the intimate story of a couple in the 1970’s traveling through the south of France. The vacation results in their deteriorating marriage, but the scenery where the movie takes place is nothing short of perfect. Ironically, the scenes were filmed during Angelina and Brad’s actual honeymoon.
The Location: Malta
Principal photography was shot on the small island of Gozo in Malta. The island is known for its rural landscapes and small seaside towns fronted by turquoise waters. It’s hard to imagine any dispute ever happening here, where the views are this magnificent and the atmosphere exudes complete serenity.
The Movie: Macbeth
It’s been more than forty years since a director has decided to depict Shakespeare’s most violent but visceral tragedy. Now, the narrative that’s inspired the premises of many movies and TV shows, including House of Cards, finally gets a refreshing (albeit bloody) adaptation starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. Director Justin Kurzel also enhances the plot with his powerful cinematography and an acute focus on the rugged Scottish landscape where Macbeth was originally set.
The Location: Isle of Skye
What better place to film a play focused on the hostile and the uncanny than Scotland's cragged Isle of Skye? The intimidating beauty of the rocky landscape is the ideal setting for the medieval narrative, and the perfect geographic reflection of the play’s tone. Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland was a stand-in for Macbeth’s castle, and it's a great pit-stop on the way to Skye. In an area that experiences more fog and rain than sunlight, it’s no surprise that while wandering along the side of a cliff you can easily picture a conspiring Macbeth somewhere off in the misty distance.
The Movie: Queen of the Desert
Watch out Lawrence of Arabia, because the Arabian Desert not only has a king but a fervent queen. This biopic follows the life of Getrude Lowthian Bell, an adventurer and explorer who eventually became a British diplomat of Iraq. Bell, played by Nicole Kidman, leaves her aristocratic upbringing in Victorian England for a life traveling around the Middle East.
The Location: Jordan and Morocco
True to Bell’s story, the majority of the filming was done in Petra, Jordan with other scenes shot in Morocco. The movie is filled with expansive shots of rolling sand dunes and galloping camels. Aït Benhaddou, the famous fortified, Moroccan city (and also a location in Lawrence of Arabia), was used for the caravan scenes in the film.
The Movie: The Assassin
This historical drama, set during China’s Tang dynasty, is all about an exiled female protagonist who’s been trained to kill corrupt bureaucrats. The martial arts scenes are beautifully choreographed and reminiscent of the film’s predecessors such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Along with its poignant narrative and impeccable acting, the stunning scenery and backdrops have helped the foreign film receive many accolades.
The Location: China and Inner Mongolia
The Hubei Province in China and Inner Mongolia are stand-ins for the Tang Dynasty’s Weibo region. Birch tree forests are plentiful in this area along with the unmistakable Mongolian grasslands.
The Movie: The Hateful Eight
It’s another nitty-gritty western-inspired flick by the incomparable Quentin Tarantino. The film follows the events that occur after eight bounty hunters become trapped in a cabin up in the mountains during a blizzard. Get ready for some shooting standoffs and classic Tarantino satire along with much needed interludes of beautiful panoramic views.
The Location: Telluride, Colorado
Although the story is set in post-Civil War Wyoming, filming was done on Schmid Ranch in Telluride. Visitors can stay in one of the ranch's twelve log cabins, each equipped with propane lighting and a wood stove (reminiscent of the cabin where the characters are trapped).
The Movie: In The Heart of the Sea
It’s the true story that inspired one of the most well-known aquatic antagonists of all time, Moby Dick. In The Heart of the Sea is about the crew aboard the Essex, which capsizes after a run in with a giant whale. The crew is forced to abandon ship and ends up stranded on an uninhabited island off the coast of South America.
The Location: The Canary Islands
Main photography was done on the Canary Islands, with additional scenes shot at Leavesden Studios on the outskirts of London. Unlike in the film, the Canary Islands are anything but uninhabited and are known for their natural attractions such as Mount Teide, the third tallest volcano in the world, as well as outstanding scuba diving.