What Are the Most Popular Cities in the World for Shooting Films?

Over the years, the setting has become an integral part of the plot in a number of films. Directors are often fussy about the backdrop of the movie and, if they don’t get it right, it can throw everything else out of sync.

Some cities are used purely for visuals, but others can be used as part of a narrative device. Well-known cities also offer familiarity to viewers, and this helps them feel more of affinity towards to the film. Here are some of the cities that directors tend to favor above all others.


New York

When it comes to film locations, New York is probably the city that springs to most people’s minds first. The Big Apple has been used as the backdrop for countless classics, and seems to have magical properties that come out perfectly on the screen. The majority of Woody Allen’s films were set in the city, with Manhattan in 1979 his most famous love letter to the urban heart of New York. Not only has the city boosted the careers of directors, it has also shaped the path of actors. Sydney Mae Diaz recently commented on how New York was the perfect training ground for becoming an actor.



There have been too many films set in New York to count. Shooting in the legendary city goes all the way back to the early 20th century. At this time, there were a number of short films, with the first being What Happened on Twenty-third Street, New York City in 1901. Some of the most iconic New York-based pictures include Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver in 1976, Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby in 1968, and Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters in 1984.


Las Vegas

While a lot of the gambling games that are available in Las Vegas started elsewhere, it is the Nevada city that has helped worldwide audiences learn about them. This is why a lot of online blackjack games have Vegas in the name, as players instantly associate it with the glitz and glamor of the gambling hub. An example of this can be seen at Betway online casino, where there are seven blackjack options that have Vegas in the name. These include Vegas Strip Gold Series and Vegas Downtown Blackjack. The blackjack table has frequently been used as a way to introduce characters in films, and it can add excitement to a scene as well. One of the most famous blackjack films of recent years was Robert Luketic’s 21 in 2008.

Films have played a massive part in Vegas becoming as notorious as it is today. There have been more than 90 movies set in Sin City over the years, and some of these were absolute classics. The first ever offering was Ralph Murphy’s Las Vegas Nights in 1941. It was Frank Sinatra’s film debut, which marked the beginning of Sinatramania and a long relationship between the singer and the city. Some of the most notable Vegas-set movies include Rain Man in 1988, Casino in 1995, and The Hangover in 2009.



Outside of the USA, London is the most popular city for films. The capital of England is instantly recognizable, and has a number of landmarks that can make excellent additions to scenes. Some of these include Big Ben, the London Eye, and the Houses of Parliament. Directors have been clever and ambitious in their use of London as well, with some truly memorable scenes. Who can forget Lennie James trying to “blag” a London bookies in Snatch, Cillian Murphy walking across a deserted Westminster Bridge in Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, or when the Millennium Bridge was destroyed by dementors in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince?


Some of the best-known films set in London are Mike Newell’s Four Weddings and a Funeral in 1994, Richard Lester’s A Hard Day’s Night in 1964, and John Landis’s An American Werewolf in London in 1981. It has also been used for scenes in a number of James Bond offerings, and other classic city-hopping movies like Mission Impossible.

Another top filming location worth mentioning is Liverpool, which is often used as a cheaper alternative to London. Barcelona and Paris are also two favorites of filmmakers who want to create offerings set in Europe. They are chosen because of their famous landmarks and the uniqueness they can offer compared to American locations.

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