Astoria, Oregon – The Goonies
Classic adventure movie, The Goonies, became a firm family favourite after its release back in 1985. The film, which follows the escapades of a group of kids searching for the lost treasure of notorious pirate One-Eyed Wille, was set in the historic US port town of Astoria, Oregon. The story of the Goonies misadventures in Astoria are ingrained on the brains of a generation, which is why many dedicated film fans make the pilgrimage to Astoria to see the various well-known locations across the city for themselves.
Many famous settings from the film are scattered around the city and true Goonie enthusiasts should make time to visit them all. From the fictional ‘Goondocks’ neighbourhood, which is actually located on 38th Street, to the Clatsop County Jail, found on Duane Street opposite to the Flavel House Museum, where those pesky Fratellis were held until they escaped.
The city of Astoria is well aware of the market for Goonie-related excursions and memorabilia, offering maps to the various sets and locations as well as fantastic audio tours of the city. For people who grew up glued to this quirky cult movie, Astoria is the place to be!
Almeria, Spain – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, released way back in 1966, has been established as one of the all-time greatest Spaghetti western films. The motion picture, starring Hollywood superstar Clint Eastwood at the start of his career, has stood the test of time and remains a firm favourite amongst wannabe cowboys.
Despite the fact that the film follows three gunslingers fighting over confederate gold during the American Civil War, it was actually largely filmed in Almeria at the Spanish studios known as Mini Hollywood. After filming was completed on the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, extras from the film decided to buy the set and run it as a tourist attraction, a project which took off immediately.
Mini Hollywood is now one of Almeria’s most popular tourist hotspots, allowing tourists to see the sets and locations from this classic movie, amongst many others filmed there during the Hollywood’s Spaghetti western era.
Phuket, Thailand – The Beach
The Beach, directed by Danny Boyle and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, follows naive traveller Richard as has roams Thailand in search of paradise. Fans of the film will remember the incredibly beautiful locations used throughout movie, most of which were shot on or close to the Thai island of Phuket.
Whilst the film never quite made it is a classic, the stunning locations in 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.
Auckland, New Zealand – Lord of the Rings
Peter Jackson, director of the multi-award winning Lord of the Rings Trilogy, famously cast New Zealand to play the part of Middle Earth in the epic fantasy films. The country’s spectacular natural landscape was the ideal place to bring to life many of Tolkein’s wonderfully imagined settings, from the Hobbit’s Shire to the Fangorn Forest. The films have a dedicated legion of fans, many of whom make the pilgrimage to New Zealand for the sole reason of experiencing some of these incredible locations in real life.
Luckily for them, extensive guided Lord of the Rings location tours are available from towns and cities around the country, including the port city of Auckland, from which travellers can embark on their own adventure through Middle Earth, following in the footsteps of Frodo, Sam, Gandalf or Aragon. Alternatively, fans can navigate the locations themselves, journeying across New Zealand to visit the impressive mountains, forests and lakes captured in the film.
On the North Isand, close to Auckland, is the Waikato town of Matamata, which was used to represent the tranquil Shire, where Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin start their adventure. Film fans can then travel across to Mount Victoria and Katoke National Park in Wellington, which were filmed for scenes involving Rivendell and the Gardens of Isengaard. 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, where many other scenes were shot.
Lord of the Rings focused tours have become big business in New Zealand, as more and more fantasy fanatics flock there to experience the dramatic scenery of Middle Earth up close.
Hawaii – Jurassic Park
Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park arguably became one of the most popular films in the world when in was released in 1993. The film’s mix of drama, action, majestic locations and dinosaurs captured the imagination of millions of viewers. To bring Jurassic Park to life, Spielberg needed to find an exotic and unspoilt environment in which to film and, unsurprisingly, he chose Hawaii for some of the most iconic scenes.
Perhaps the most famous image from the film is the large front gate to the park, which was shot at Blue Hole, Kaua’i in Hawaii. The exceptionally tense scene, where Dr. Alan and the children must scale an electric fence, was also brought to life on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i, whilst the epic dinosaur stampede was shot at Kualoa Ranch on the island of O’ahu.
Devoted fans of the Jurassic Park movie are sure to get a kick out of a trip to Hawaii, as guided film set tours are available across the islands, giving tourists the chance to experience the sights and sounds of Jurassic Park, fortunately without the man-eating dinosaurs to worry about.