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Pop Culture Must-Sees: Famous Film Locations Around the World

When you can't get to them, you can always binge watch and dream

The Vacationeer

Whether you’re streaming at home or lounging in a movie theater recliner, movies have the power to transport us around the world. Movie buffs can go to these famous film locations and relive the action just like the stars did.

Whether you're dreaming of your next vacation or staying at home binge watching movies, here are a few stunning spots around the world that serve as breathtaking backdrops to some of Hilton Grand Vacations favorite movies.

Scottish Highlands 

Scotland has had its fair share of movies filmed in its dramatic backdrops.

Braveheart (1995)

This epic, starring Mel Gibson as Willian Wallace, shot around Loch Leven, Glencoe, and in the Mamores mountains near Fort William. 

The DaVinci Code (2006) 

Dan Brown’s popular mystery thriller filmed scenes in Rosslyn Chapel in Midlothian, Scotland. Its Gothic architecture made it the perfect choice as a filming location. 

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Edinburgh becomes a star of its own in this blockbuster hit. Old Town Edinburgh provided a unique, gothic, and dramatic backdrop for one of the film’s pulse-pounding action sequences featuring Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

In Stanley Kubrick’s science fiction masterpiece, the scenes on Jupiter filmed in the Isle of Harris. The rocky coastline along the Outer Hebrides brought the alien planet surface to life.

Brave (2012) 

Dunnottar Castle in Scotland was the inspiration for the DunBroch family home in the animated tale, Brave. This fascinating castle is perched dramatically on the cliffs above the North Sea. 

Harry Potter Series (2001 – 2009)

Harry Potter and his friends regularly passed through the Scottish Highlands as they made their way to Hogwarts aboard the Hogwarts Express. One of the most famous backdrops from these movies is the sight of the train crossing the marvelous Glenfinnan Viaduct. 

You can even follow in Harry’s footsteps aboard the Jacobite steam train, which departs each day from Fort William. 

Mary Queen of Scots (2018) 

This biographical film of the young Queen returning to Scotland to rule her country shot on location throughout the Isle in:

  • Glen Coe 
  • North Berwick Beach 
  • Seacliff 
  • Holyrood Castle

Where to Stay in Scotland: Hilton Grand Vacations Club Resorts in the Scottish Highlands.


Utah’s remarkable scenery has always inspired great storytelling. The state’s red canyons, arches, and valleys create a road trip travelers must recreate after watching these films.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Arches National Park near Moab is the backdrop featured in the opening sequence of the third Indiana Jones movie.

Thelma & Louise (1991) 

Desert scenes for this adventure road-trip movie were filmed in and around Moab, Utah, including Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park. The end of the movie filmed in Utah’s Dead Horse Point State Park. Other Utah locations included:

  • La Sal Mountains 
  • Thompson Springs 
  • Mexican Hat 

The Sandlot (1993)

This cult-favorite tale of friendship and baseball was all shot in and around Salt Lake City. The Utah Film Commission hosted an anniversary event on the renovated ‘sandlot,’ now a Utah Film Location Historical Landmark. 

127 Hours (2010)

Every second counts in the true story of Aron Ralston’s harrowing fight for survival. This remarkable adventure takes place in an isolated and visually stunning canyon in Moab, Utah.

Back to the Future III (1990) 

In the final installment of the Back to the Future series, Marty must travel to the wild wild west to save Doctor Emmet Brown. The film shot in the Monument Valley. 

Where to Stay in Utah: Sunrise Lodge, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club


The Pacific Islands of Hawaii has always been one of the most desirable and famous film locations. While there have been over 100 movies filmed in Hawaii over the last century, here is a list of a few favorites.

The Descendants  (2011) 

The Descendants follows the story of Matt King, played by George Clooney around picturesque Oahu and the island of Kauai. In one of the opening scenes, we see King’s house located in Nu’uanu, Oahu, up in the hills. In Kauai, locations include:

Soul Surfer (2005)

This true and inspirational story is about the early years of famous female Hawaii surfer, Bethany Hamilton, and shot around Kauai as well as in Turtle Bay in Oahu. 

Jurassic World (2015) 

A fan favorite since its debut in 1993, the Jurassic Park series is one of the most widely recognized movies of the 20th century. You can walk in the ‘dinosaur’s’ footsteps on a movie tour in the Kualoa Valley, a private nature reserve. 

North Shore (1987)

The cult classic filmed all around Oahu, highlighting the beauty of the North Shore.

Where to Stay in Hawaii: Choose from one of our Hilton Grand Vacations Club Resorts in Hawaii:


Watching a movie filmed on the islands of the Caribbean will certainly make a movie-goer imagine themselves beach side with a cocktail in hand.

Dr. No (1962)

In the film that launched the 007 spy film franchise, James (Sean Connery) must go to Jamaica, to save the world from the evil and mysterious, Dr. No.

Many Bond movies revisit the Caribbean, including:

Pirates of the Caribbean Series (2003 – 2017) 

Of course, the Pirates of the Caribbean series filmed in the Caribbean islands. From St. Vincent and the Grenadines to Dominica, Bahamas, and Puerto Rico, the four films shot in several Caribbean locations. 

Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Although the final scene may “take place” in Mexico, it was shot on St. Croix, the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands on the Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, a leather back turtle hatching ground.

Where to Stay in the Caribbean: Hilton Grand Vacations at The Crane or one of the many Hilton Hotels and Resorts scattered throughout the Caribbean.

New Zealand 

Since Peter Jackson’s success with Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, New Zealand is labeled one of the best places where movies filmed. Besides Jackson’s fantasy trilogies, here are a few more with a New Zealand backdrop.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

Follow the origin story of Wolverine, starring Hugh Jackman. This action-packed film  shot in the Otago region of the South Island. 

Whale Rider (2002)

Whale Rider, showcases some of the North Island’s most stunning coastline, most notably Whangara on the Gisborne coastline on the east coast of New Zealand. 

The Piano (1993)

New Zealand plays the backdrop for the dramatic, award-winning film, The Piano. The film features scenes from Auckland, including KareKare and black sand Piha Beach.

Where to Stay in New Zealand: Hilton Hotels in New Zealand

Films captivate us with well told stories that evoke the magic of travel and the jaw-dropping scenery that overwhelms the senses.  After you catch up on your movie watching, explore the ever-growing collection of Hilton Grand Vacations resorts near famous film locations around the world.


The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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