What is the greatest film location of all time?
Mt. Doom - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
The entire roster of phenomenal locations for the Lord Of The Rings saga could be included as its own entry. Peter Jackson’s sprawling trilogy saw the breathtaking landscapes of New Zealand stand in for Tolkien’s Middle-Earth; their rich, lush lands and jaw-dropping vistas providing the ideal setting for Frodo and his fellowship. The highlight of their journey is without a doubt the gigantic Mount Doom, located in the huge Tongariro National Park. Referred to by tour guides and locals by its proper name - Mount Ngauruhoe - the towering conical mountain consists mainly of ash which makes the six-hour jaunt to its top a hike only the most dedicated fans can manage. The park itself, which is recognisable as the land of Mordor, still provides some of the most beautiful views in the entire country.
Film: Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King | Movie Location: Mordor | Real Location: Tongariro National Park, New Zealand | First Appearance: When the Fellowship reach their final destination.
Release: December 17th, 2003 | Director: Peter Jackson | Genre: Fantasy | IMDB: 8.9 | RottenTomatoes Rating (Audience): 95 % (86%)
The Field - Field Of Dreams
Kevin Costner’s struggling Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella risks his livelihood when he opts to construct a baseball field in his backyard. Shrugging off the advice of his wife Annie, and her nagging brother-in-law, he turfs over his cornfield at the advice of a mysterious voice telling him “If you build it, he will come.” Before long, the ghosts of baseball past pay him a visit to relive their glory days on the field.
Created specifically by the filmmakers on the grounds of a family farm in Dyersville, IA, the site of Kinsella’s revelations about his father come to life in the confines of the baseball diamond. It’s the centrepiece of the entire movie, its story and characters all interwoven by its very existence that’s about more than just the nation’s favourite pastime but the possibility of reconciling with loved ones.
Film: Field Of Dreams | Movie Location: The Kinsellas farm | Real Location: A farm in Dyersville, Iowa | First Appearance: When Ray completes construction on the field.
Release: January 1st, 1989 | Director: Phil Alden Robinson | Genre: Fantasy Drama | IMDB: 7.6 | RottenTomatoes Rating (Audience): 87% (87%)
The Firehouse - Ghostbusters
Establishing their spook huntin’ business, the trio of Ghostbusters set about finding the perfect headquarters for their operation that suits their limited budget. An abandoned fire station in New York City fits the bill, offering their wacky personas an equally-bonkers homestead. The towering building is showcased during a large part of their ‘rise to fame’ montage, as the team jump out of bed and wrestle with the fireman’s pole (“You gotta try this!” yells Ray at one point) before piling into their car ECTO-1. Located in Tribeca, New York the ‘Hook & Ladder 8’ station is still a fully-functional fire house complete with firefighters. Still a mecca for fans of the movie, who trek to its location every year to catch a glimpse of the infamous HQ - now complete with a Ghostbusters logo painted on the sidewalk.
Film: Ghostbusters | Movie Location: Ghostbusters HQ | Real Location: Hook And Ladder 8 Firehouse, New York City | First Appearance: The Ghostbusters finally find a new place for their base of operations.
Release: June 1st, 1984 | Director: Ivan Reitman | Genre: Comedy | IMDB: 7.8 | RottenTomatoes Rating (Audience): 97% (88%)
The Fountain - La Dolce Vita
Nicola Salvi’s beautiful 18th-century piece made its way onto the big screen in Roman Holiday, and even influenced the title of Three Coins In The Fountain. It was however in 1960, when Federico Fellini asked his voluptuous leading lady Anita Ekberg to step into the exhibit and bathe herself, that Salvi’s landmark became instantly recognisable to millions of moviegoers. Situated in Rome’s Trevi District, The Trevi Fountain has long since been a place where people have trekked in the hopes of reliving Ekberg’s moment. Alas, it’s forbidden to enter the fountain itself now, so throwing a few pennies in for good luck is the next best thing for the countless fans who visit the Baroque masterpiece year after year.
Film: La Dolce Vita | Movie Location: The fountain | Real Location: The Trevi Fountain | First Appearance: When Sylvia and Marcello party throughout Rome one evening.
Release: April 19th, 1961 | Director: Federico Fellini | Genre: Drama | IMDB: 8.1 | RottenTomatoes Rating (Audience): 96% (91%)
The Church - The Graduate
In his quest for true romance, Benjamin Braddock behaves how most of us have been instructed to since we were young; he raises his voice in a church, and during a wedding no less! Heading to the United Methodist Church where his paramour, Elaine, is about to become legally bound to another, he storms upstairs as the love of his life is on the cusp of saying “I do.” His fists slam against the glass as he cries her name over and over until she reciprocates and the reunited pair flee. The actual church is located in La Verne, California some thirty miles east of Los Angeles and still stands today - often receiving many visitors keen to replicate the legendary ending of the movie.
Film: The Graduate | Movie Location: The church where Elaine is getting married | Real Location: United Methodist Church, La Verne, California | First Appearance: When Benjamin tries to stop the nuptials.
Release: December 22nd, 1967 | Director: Mike Nichols | Genre: Drama | IMDB: 8.1 | RottenTomatoes Rating (Audience): 88% (90%)
Katz’s Deli - When Harry Met Sally
The diner is a chunk of perfect Americana that remains a well-loved aspect of nostalgia and therefore served as the ideal backdrop for Meg Ryan’s passionate outburst in When Harry Met Sally. You know the one we’re talking about. The movie’s most memorable moment - a louder-than-bombs fake orgasm - happens in a regular diner. Katz’s Deli on Houston Street to be precise.
A New York staple that still attracts countless tourists to this day, many flock to sample the pastrami on rye, while the majority of movie fans are keen to sit in Sally’s chair below a sign of the immortal line “I’ll have what she’s having.” Perhaps a worthy addition to the list because of its classic, timeless status, Rob Reiner’s 1989 rom-com legend made the everyday surroundings of a low-key eatery into the place where massive life revelations occur.
Film: When Harry Met Sally | Movie Location: A diner the couple visit for lunch | Real Location: Katz's Deli, New York City | First Appearance: When Harry and Sally meet for lunch.
Release: July 21st, 1989 | Director: Rob Reiner | Genre: Comedy | IMDB: 7.6 | RottenTomatoes Rating (Audience): 88% (89%)
Manhattan - Manhattan
Woody Allen’s love affair with the Big Apple has seen his whimsical characters explore life and love throughout its five boroughs across the decades. But it’s his loyalty to the island of Manhattan that led to one of his most iconic shots ever captured. The success of the scene’s composition meant the crisp take of Allen and Diane Keaton sat on a bench became the central artwork motif for the film’s poster campaign. The simple idea, of two friends talking before sunrise, is made all the more spectacular by the lights of the Queensborough Bridge behind them. A pair of shadows cast against the ebbing morning light, the bridge looming in the background, it’s a romantic ideal perfectly brought to life by one of Manhattan’s most charming vistas.
Film: Manhattan | Movie Location: The scene of an evening date | Real Location: Queensborough Bridge, New York City | First Appearance: When the pair sit for a chat during an evening stroll.
Release: April 25th, 1979 | Director: Woody Allen | Genre: Comedy Drama | IMDB: 8.0 | RottenTomatoes Rating (Audience): 98% (92%)
The Steps - The Exorcist
A sinister scene at the climax of The Exorcist pauses on the steep staircase situated outside the homestead of possessed pre-teen, Regan McNeil. While the major events of the film itself - head-spinning and pea soup-spitting - take place within the confines of the home, it’s the set of stone stairs outside the abode which lays claim to the film’s scariest moments. The steps, which were a crucial component of several characters’ deaths, are situated outside the house at 3600 Prospect Street in Washington, D.C. Much like the rest of the film they’re found in the Georgetown district of the city, where the exteriors of the McNeil home were shot. An eerie mecca for film fans the world over, the site is still visited to this day by hordes of Exorcist nerds eager for a photo opportunity.
Film: The Exorcist | Movie Location: The steps outside the McNeil home | Real Location: Georgetown, Washington D.C. | First Appearance: During an establishing shot of the house.
Release: December 26th, 1973 | Director: William Friedkin | Genre: Horror | IMDB: 8.0 | RottenTomatoes Rating (Audience): 87% (87%)
Tiffany And Co. - Breakfast at Tiffany’s
The opening sequence of Breakfast at Tiffany’s follows a yellow New York taxi as it pulls up to the corner of 57th Street and drops off Holly Golightly outside the famed jewellers. Gazing through the window in her over-sized sunglasses, nibbling on a pastry and sipping a coffee, so begins one of the only scenes throughout the movie where we learn something of the mystery surrounding Holly. When later describing her regular visits to the store as a relaxing measure, she says “Well, when I get it, the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it. Nothing very bad could happen to you there.” Considering the store name is in the title of the movie, you’d expect it to make an appearance, and so the owners of the hallmark jewellers opened for the first Sunday in DECADES to let filmmakers inside.
Film: Breakfast at Tiffany's | Movie Location: Tiffany and Co. | Real Location: The real Tiffany and Co., New York City| First Appearance: The film's opening scene.
Release: October 5th, 1961 | Director: Blake Edwards | Genre: Drama | IMDB: 7.8 | RottenTomatoes Rating (Audience): 87% (91%)
The Museum Steps - Rocky
The epic training montage in Rocky features one of the best locations in cinematic history. As the tortured, and pushed-to-the-limit Balboa finishes up his regimen the sequence culminates in his charge up and down the steps of the Philadelphia Museum Of Art. The building itself stands in the background; it’s the slats of stone he races up and down that are the real draw. Serving to literally represent his rise to the top, the inclusion of the museum into the movie was a stroke of genius that bound together story, theme and character. It’s no wonder the local government created a Rocky statue at the base of the steps to commemorate such a pivotal moment in movie lore.
Film: Rocky | Movie Location: A part of Rocky's training regime | Real Location: The steps outside the Philadelphia Museum Of Art | First Appearance: During Rocky's exercise montage.
Release: November 21st, 1976 | Director: John Avildsen | Genre: Drama | IMDB: 8.1 | RottenTomatoes Rating (Audience): 92% (68%)
GOAT Staff Score - Film LocationThe candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
|Aesthetics (30%)||Role In Film (25%)||Legacy (25%)||Atmosphere (20%)||Raw Score||Final GOAT Score|
|Lord Of The Rings||10||10||8||9||37||930|
|Field Of Dreams||7||9||5||10||31||760|
|La Dolce Vita||8||6||7||5||26||665|
|When Harry Met Sally||4||2||10||1||17||440|
|Breakfast At Tiffany's||1||4||6||4||15||360|