Spain, a big-screen destination
Molina de Aragón Castle
Belmonte Castle in Cuenca was used in the filming of 'El Cid'
Avila city walls
Mónsul Beach in Almería was one of the sets for 'Indiana Jones and the last crusade'
James Bond, Indiana Jones, Anakin Skywalker, Lawrence of Arabia, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly… All these characters have come to Spain to shoot their adventures. And they're not alone. Spain's cities and landscapes are often chosen as settings for international productions and renowned directors. Did you like the film? Then you're sure to love seeing the places they were made too.
Thanks to the magic of film, there are places in Spain that have been transformed into far-off worlds, the wild west or the Siberian steppe. On other occasions, the scenes are more easily recognisable. Spain's cities, monuments and countryside have often become "sets" for major international productions, as well as titles that have already taken their place in film history. Come and discover them and you'll be amazed –and you'll enjoy the films all the more when you see them again.
Scenes from yesteryear...
Spain's incredible wealth of monuments is a real gold mine for filmmakers. The castle in Molina de Aragón, in the province of Guadalajara, witnessed the investigations of Sean Connery in The Name of the Rose. Meanwhile, the city of Soria and its surrounding countryside served to recreate the world of Doctor Zhivago. The filmmaking genius Orson Welles also chose the province of Soria to shoot Chimes at Midnight in the village streets of Calatañazor. What's more, some of the battle scenes were filmed inside the city walls of Avila, whose historic centre has the UNESCO World Heritage designation.
Charlton Heston and Sofia Loren starred in the story of El Cid, the famous medieval Spanish knight, which was shot in places such as Belmonte Castle in the province of Cuenca, Manzanares el Real in the province of Madrid, and the Mediterranean beaches of Peñíscola in Castellón, among others. Another castle, Loarre in the province of Huesca, was chosen by Ridley Scott for some scenes in his film Kingdom of Heaven. Cabo de Gata Nature Reserve, in Almería, and Plaza de España square, in Seville, were used in the classic film Lawrence of Arabia. Clint Eastwood took his first steps in the famous spaghetti western genre in Almería: films such as For a fistful of dollars, For a few dollars more and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly were shot in the Tabernas desert. Some of the sets and western towns that were built back then can still be visited to this day.
And scenes of today...
Some of the biggest box-office hits of recent times have also found ideal locations in Spain. It was in Cabo de Gata, on Mónsul Beach, in fact, that Steven Spielberg shot the scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Sean Connery frightens some seagulls with an umbrella to bring down a German plane. In Attack of the clones, the second episode of Star Wars, Plaza de España square in Seville serves as the palace of queen Amidala on the planet Naboo. The James Bond films have also found a place here too: the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum and its surroundings, were the setting for the opening sequence of The world is not enough, while in Die another day, the famous spy can be seen strolling through the streets of Cadiz. In Cantabria, meanwhile, in the village of Las Fraguas you'll find Los Hornillos Palace, where Nicole Kidman had a few frights in The Others.
The landscape of Almería and Fuerteventura were also chosen by Ridley Scott for his film Exodus.
Furthermore, two major Spanish cities, Madrid and Barcelona, are often the setting for film shoots. In Barcelona, the streets of the Gothic Quarter, Plaza Real Square, the Pueblo Español attraction and Horta Maze park provide settings for the cinematographic adaptation of the novel Perfume. The most emblematic places in Madrid such as Plaza Mayor Square, the Gran Vía, the Fine Arts Academy or Paseo del Prado Avenue have all also been chosen for productions such as Deception, with Ewan McGregor and Hugh Jackman, or The Bourne Ultimatum, with Matt Damon. They are also frequent locations in the films of Pedro Almodóvar, one of Spain's most international directors. If you visit Castile-La Mancha, the Spanish Region that Almodóvar comes from, you can go on a route that takes in the different settings of the film Volver. In Andalusia you can also go on an itinerary based on The way of the English, directed by well known Spanish actor Antonio Banderas.
These are just some of the places in Spain to have experienced the magic of Hollywood. And don't forget you can enjoy the best cinema at the international film festivals held each year in Spain, including San Sebastián, Sitges and the Seminci de Valladolid. In Spain, film is a chance to discover a whole host of emotions: come and see for yourself.
Iñaki Pardo. Festival Internacional de Cine de San Sebastián
Festival Internacional de Cine Fantástico de Cataluña - Sitges