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Movies With Places In The Title That Weren't Actually Shot There

Updated September 23, 2021 5.4k votes 887 voters 53.2k views21 items

List RulesVote up the movies you're surprised to learn weren't shot where they take place.

Classic films like Roman Holiday, Out Of Africa, and the early James Bond movies captivated audiences by immersing them in real-life, far-away locations. But not every film is shot on-location, obviously; sometimes, cheaper lookalike cities or sets are used to stand in for other cities, which is a completely normal filmmaking practice. But sometimes, the two things clash, and a movie that's supposed to be set in a very specific place - so specific that the place's name is literally in the name of the movie - isn't actually even shot there.

Here's a list of movies that have places in the title but were actually shot in entirely different settings, and a few facts about how it all played out.

  • Gangs of New York, Martin Scorsese's 2002 adaptation of the Herbert Asbury book of the same name, was shot at Cinecittà in Rome, Italy. According to production designer Dante Ferretti, the Five Points neighborhood and other key landmarks in the movie were planned and built well in advance of shooting. Later, paint, smoke, and lighting was crafted emphasize Gangs of New York's intense ambience.  

    • Actors: Cameron Diaz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Liam Neeson, Daniel Day-Lewis, Martin Scorsese
    • Directed by: Martin Scorsese
    Were you fooled?
  • The dystiopian John Carpenter film Escape From New York, in which Kurt Russell's Snake Plissken character is trapped in a futuristic Manhattan that's been turned into one big island prison, was actually shot in St. Louis. Large matte paintings were used to recreate the New York City skyline, a scale model of New York was used for aerial shots, and some additional scenes - such as a futuristic-looking concrete bridge that's actually a real-life dam - were actually filmed at various locations around Los Angeles.

    • Actors: Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell, Ernest Borgnine, Isaac Hayes, John Carpenter
    • Directed by: John Carpenter
    Were you fooled?
  • With locations in Shreveport and Baton Rouge, LA, Battle: Los Angeles (2011) moved from one L.A. to another.

    Film producer Neal Moritz noted the benefits in filming in Louisiana, "the kind of movie we were making, we really needed to be able to shoot in locations that would have been impossible to shoot in L.A... I could never have shut down the 405 or the 10 [freeways] for weeks like we did with in Louisiana.”

    • Actors: Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan, Shaffer Smith, Aaron Eckhart, Joey King
    • Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman
    Were you fooled?
  • The daunting, overwhelming house in The Amityville Horror (1979) looks very much like the notorious dwelling in the town of Amityville, NY. It is actually located in Toms River, NJ, but served as a mainstay of the franchise.

    As the site of the murders of the DeFeo family in 1974, the real house in Amityville, located at 112 Ocean Avenue, was deemed off-limits by authorities and residents of the town. As a result, filming was moved to New Jersey.

    • Actors: James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger, Murray Hamilton, Helen Shaver
    • Directed by: Stuart Rosenberg
    Were you fooled?