The Most Filmed Location in Every Country in the World
For many decades, the film and entertainment industry has produced many programs, shows, and movies which not only created the perception of legends in terms of actors and actresses; but it has also elevated locations around the world which also have achieved considerable legendary status.
As an example, how many times have you watched a movie and you see an actor or actress in a supporting role and wondered where you have seen him or her before? More pertinent to this article is whether you experienced a similar feeling pertaining to the location when watching a film and wondered, “Is that location familiar to me because I saw it in a different movie?”…
…or better yet — as a reader of The Gate — you likely traveled to that location in the past and recognized it. Perhaps you either exclaimed “Hey — I’ve BEEN there!” or simply shrugged your shoulders in a nonchalant manner and barely mumbled, “Yeah, I’ve been there.”
I have been given express written permission to use the illustrations, maps, and the verbatim text from this article — which was written by Barbara Davidson from NetCredit — in this article which pertains to the locations which were filmed the most in every country in the world, which includes the landmarks and buildings that have the most movie credits on the Internet Movie Database, which is more popularly known as IMDb. As a bonus — among other information — this article also includes the top ten locations which are filmed the most in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The Most Filmed Location in Every Country in the World
You turn to your viewing buddy (or to Google) to ask “what have I seen that guy/building/monument in before?” Your buddy probably shrugs. Some locations, like some actors, are just there. Again and again. Doing their thing in every movie ever made, apparently.
This article identifies the “that guy” locations of every country in the world.
Using the Advanced Search feature of IMDb, movies from January 1, 1900 to Thursday, December 31, 2020 which had data about filming locations were selected. The locations from all the movies in the list were collected and compiled a long list of movie and location pairs. The number of appearances of each location were then counted and separated the locations by countries.
The data was collected in December of 2020.
- The most-filmed location in the world is Central Park in New York City, with 532 movie credits.
- Europe’s number one movie location is Trafalgar Square in London, England, with 131 credits.
- The most-credited location outside of Europe and America is Kabul in Afghanistan (113 credits).
- Only four countries have a top location with more than 100 credits: US, Canada, UK, and Afghanistan.
The Top 10 Movie Locations in the World
Use the slide show below to flick through the top ten locations most-filmed overall. Hover over each illustration to reveal more information.
It’s no surprise that the US dominates the location tables, seeing that the US film industry is the most profitable in the world (although Bollywood makes more films). Central Park is a bona fide movie star, with 532 appearances to its name – including a title appearance in a movie from the year 1900 named In Central Park.
Canada’s Niagara Falls is a highly cinematic landscape, with a thundering 142 movie credits to its name. Meanwhile, Mexico’s top location is another to have been namechecked in the very movies in which it has appeared: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a gritty John Huston flick in which Humphrey Bogart goes prospecting for gold in the eponymous mountain range.
Chile and Ecuador’s number one locations are tied for top ‘place’ in South America. Each has 50 credited appearances on IMDb. The Atacama Desert in Chile is famous for having the largest radio telescope in the world. The observatory’s high-tech appearance makes it ripe for espionage flicks – from Spy Kids to James Bond.
Ecuador’s star location is a little more genteel. The Galapagos Islands are the birthplace of the theory of evolution, thanks to the vast diversity of unusual animals who dwell there. This makes it a natural destination for documentary-makers, as well as providing an exotic background for Master and Commander and, ironically, The Bible: In the Beginning (another John Huston picture.)
London’s Trafalgar Square seems to appear in every “arriving in London” montage ever, so it’s no wonder it’s the top location in Europe. The real-life square is packed with galleries and museums, and frequented by protesters due to its proximity to the UK’s political district. This is what makes it so haunting to see it completely abandoned as the zombie flick 28 Days Later unfolds.
Spain’s top location is also in our top five. The Cabo de Gata is a coastal region in Andalusia. Sounds a bit broad for a movie location? Not when you realize it is known as “Europe’s only desert,” qualifying the arid landscape to double for America’s wild west in dozens of Spaghetti Westerns, such as Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Middle East and Central Asia
Okay, so Kabul is a whole city, but it’s the most-credited location in this region and the fourth most-credited in the world. As the capital of Afghanistan, this exquisite city has found itself at the heart of a series of civil and international conflicts over recent decades, and is therefore the subject of dozens of documentaries. However, locally-produced cinema is on the rise as the city experiences a rebirth.
The number two location in the region is another capital city but with fewer than half the credits of Kabul (113 vs. 45). Damascus, in Syria, has been another focal point of armed conflict. But it is also an important cultural center and one of the region’s oldest cities, having been founded in the 3rd millennium B.C. Like Kabul, it owes much cinematic coverage to the documentary form. Syria has a fascinating film history of its own – just much of it doesn’t appear on IMDb!
Rest of Asia and Oceania
Feel like you’ve seen Sydney Opera House somewhere before? Australia’s signature building is also the nation’s number one movie star (category: locations). In addition to all the live shows that have been filmed and added to IMDb (including Live Aid), the location has also provided a stunning background for action flicks including Mission: Impossible II and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie.
In Asia, Japan’s top location claims 19 credits across various genres. Mount Fuji is an aesthetic icon, place of reverence, and thrilling landscape. It has played in pictures as diverse as the 1956 Around the World in 80 Days and the Japanese classic, Street Without End.
Dakar is Senegal’s capital and a lot of movies are set here. However, it still seems curious that it is the number one location in Africa, particularly with the mega-industry of Nollywood in Nigeria. Maybe Senegalese producers are more diligent in completing the IMDb paperwork. Senegal has a fascinating cinematic history, although it has tapered off of late. The work of Djibril Diop Mambéty, including Dakar-set Touki Bouki, is particularly worth a look.
Egypt’s most-filmed location is the Karnak Temple Complex in Luxor. In addition to serving many documentaries, the temple appears in the Agatha Christie adaptation Death on the Nile. And, of course, James Bond has been here to do battle with steel-toothed henchman, Jaws – in The Spy Who Loved Me.
The world of movies offers a caricatured landscape of the real world. Frequently-used exterior shots promote the importance of big national monuments, searing them into the collective memory in a way that doesn’t quite match the history of the world outside the cinema. And they look great being blown-up, jumped-off, or kissed beneath by our favorite (human) stars, too.
Don’t forget to check out the table below to sort through our full movie location data!
As a person who has not only traveled the world but has also delved into acting — here is my profile at the Internet Movie Database, which only includes some my work and not all of it — I found the topic for this article to be especially interesting; and I hope you found it interesting as well…
…but it only lists the top locations in the world which have been filmed the most. Please feel free to add locations around the world that have been featured in films which are memorable to you in the Comments section below.
Bow Bridge is in Central Park in New York. Photograph ©2007 by Brian Cohen.