Leg­endary Land­marks

De­spite the de­sign func­tion­al­ity and aes­thetic ver­sa­til­ity of film stu­dios, real back­drops are in­creas­ingly gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity as lo­ca­tion sets. Over the last two decades, more than 340,000 movies and tele­vi­sion shows were filmed on lo­ca­tion, ac­cord­ing to

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Cal­i­for­nia, U.S.

The world may be Hol­ly­wood's oys­ter, but some­times its back­yard works per­fectly as a muse too. Hol­ly­wood Boule­vard in sunny Cal­i­for­nia has been the sub­ject of many block­busters in film history such as Bo­rat (2006) and Iron Man 3 (2013). Western Los An­ge­les' beach­front neigh­bor­hood, Venice Beach, has also been a pop­u­lar choice amongst film­mak­ers. The lo­cale was fa­mously fea­tured in The Big Le­bowski (1998), Mil­lion Dol­lar Baby (2004) and He's Just Not That Into You (2009). A land­mark as iconic as the Hol­ly­wood sign is the Grif­fith Ob­ser­va­tory, which com­mands a view of Down­town Los An­ge­les to the south­east, Hol­ly­wood to the south, and the Pa­cific Ocean to the south­west as seen in Trans­form­ers (2007). In one of its most re­cent ap­pear­ances, the van­tage point can be rec­og­nized in Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone's waltz in La La Land (2016).

New York City, U.S.

A stroll through Cen­tral Park in New York City ig­nites a wealth of film nos­tal­gia. Rec­og­nized as the most pop­u­lar set lo­ca­tion in the film and tele­vi­sion world, the iconic green space has been seen in Men in Black II (2002), Spi­der-Man 3 (2007) and fam­ily fa­vorite Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992). Sim­i­larly, the bustling area of Times Square has been the grounds for ac­claimed scenes in King Kong (1976) and The Devil Wears Prada (2006). The im­age of Kong beat­ing his chest atop the Em­pire State build­ing is leg­endary in cin­e­matic history. Green­wich Vil­lage has be­come the go-to for rom-coms, in­clud­ing Jen­nifer Gar­ner's 13 Go­ing on 30 (2004), P.S. I Love You (2007) and Julie & Ju­lia (2009).

Lon­don, U.K.

The his­toric in­sti­tu­tion of Old Royal Naval Col­lege was the back­drop to award-win­ning The King's Speech (2010) and Les Misérables (2012) while Pic­cadilly Cir­cus played set to Brid­get Jones' Diary (2001) and The Dark Knight (2008). An­other tourist must-visit is Trafal­gar Square, rec­og­niz­able in Chil­dren of Men (2006) and 28 Days Later (2002). The square is prime eye candy in 28 Days Later's first 15 min­utes, as the pro­tag­o­nist wan­ders the empty Lon­don streets in a zom­bie-in­fil­trated world. Be­yond the City of West­min­ster, fi­nan­cial hub Ca­nary Wharf served as set for the hol­i­day sea­son fa­vorite Love Ac­tu­ally (2003). Boast­ing One Canada Square—the se­cond tallest build­ing na­tion­ally—the lo­cale's sky­scrapers also made the ideal set­ting for ac­tion films like Casino Royale (2006) and Bat­man Be­gins (2005).

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