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Morocco for the Movie Lover

10

September 25, 2012 by Amanda

As early as 1897, filmmakers began taking advantage of Morocco’s unique landscapes and distinctive cities to serve as the backdrops for their films.

French director Louis Lumiere was filming silent classics in this North African country before the year 1900. But it wasn’t until Orson Welles shot his adaptation of “Othello” there in the 1950s that other filmmakers began setting their sights on Morocco, too.

caminante no hay camino

Photo by bachmont, on Flickr

Since then, a host of films — low-budget and blockbuster alike — have cast Morocco in a starring role.

If you’re a movie buff headed to Morocco — whether for a Marrakech holiday or a camel safari in the Sahara — here are some of the sites you’ll want to be sure to keep an eye out for:

Marrakech

This large city, with its long history and famous souks (markets) and Medina, has starred in many a film.

Marrakech Rooftops

Photo by jonl1973, on Flickr

In “Sex and the City 2,” Carrie meets up with old flame Aidan in the Medina. The luxurious Mamounia Gardens hotel in Marrakech has been featured in movies like “Alexander” and Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (the latter also starred the city’s square and souks). Even the musical “Mamma Mia” featured scenes filmed in Marrakech.

Aït Ben Haddou

Ait Ben Haddou, an ancient fortified city near Ouarzazate, has played the backdrop for many movies, including Russel Crowe’s “Gladiator,” “Babel,” and “Lawrence of Arabia.”

Ait ben Haddou (Ouarzazate-Morrocco)

Photo by Abdel Charaf, on Flickr

Erfoud

The town of Erfoud itself hasn’t appeared in too many films, but the surrounding desert has. The Erg Chebbi Dunes south of Erfoud were used to film all the “Sex in the City 2” desert scenes. And Brendan Fraser’s “The Mummy” was filmed on location in a dormant volcano near Erfoud, where the entire set was constructed.

Sonnenaufgang Erfoud-166

Photo by roman.scheiwiller, on Flickr

Tangiers

This northern Moroccan city was used most recently to film several scenes in Christopher Nolan’s “Inception.” Scenes from that movie such as the Mombassa chase sequence and the “limbo” city that Leo’s character Cobb creates with his wife were all filmed in Tangiers.

Casablanca

I probably don’t have to explain why Morocco’s largest city made its way onto this list. No, the 1942 Bogey/Bergman classic of the same name wasn’t filmed on location (it was actually shot almost entirely in a studio!) — but that doesn’t stop people from visiting anyway because of the movie.

The mosque Hassan II at dawn, Casablanca, Morocco

Photo by Milamber’s portfolio, on Flickr

 

These of course are only a small taste of the movies shot in Morocco. Other films that have also featured bits of this North African country include:

  • “Hidalgo”
  • “Troy”
  • “Rules of Engagement”
  • “Black Hawk Down”
  • “Kingdom of Heaven”
  • “The Hills Have Eyes”
  • “Patton”
  • “The Bourne Ultimatum”

 

It seems if you need a desert scene in your movie, Morocco is a pretty good place to go to film it.

——

Would any of these films inspire you to visit Morocco?

 

 

*Note: This post was brought to you by a third party.

 


10 comments »

  1. Casablanca is the greatest movie ever made, although it doesn’t surprise me that it was shot in studio at the time. Alt Ben Haddou, on the other hand, is a surprise destination for me. I think Gladiator is one of Ridley’s best shot films and to combine that with LoA and Babel(not sure if underrated or not)…well, you could say I’m searching for flights right now. Who knew? Morocco is for (movie) lovers.
    Brian Swanick recently posted..First Time Flyer GuideMy Profile

    • Amanda says:

      Morocco definitely is for movie lovers! While researching this post, I discovered a LOT more movies have been filmed there than I ever realized! Very cool to know.

  2. H-Bomb says:

    Don’t forget the classic Marx Brothers pardody, “A Night in Casablanca” (although I haven’t been able to determine where it was actually filmed — like the movie that it makes fun of, it may have been made on back lots in Hollywood). And “Jewel of the Nile,” the sequel to “Romancing the Stone” that reunited the wonderful team of Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito, was filmed in part in the Moroccan city of Fes. When I was in that city, the owner of a carpet store told me that DeVito had come into his store while they were out there for the shoot.

    Did you come across this wikipedia page when you were working on this post?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_foreign_films_shot_in_Morocco

    Oh, and also, although it’s not a “film,” the reality show “Real Housewives of New York” spent several episodes in Morocco last year. Not that the vapid stars of that program were capable of appreciating their exotic surroundings . . .
    H-Bomb recently posted..Country no. 26: singing at an Irish bar in Germany during OktoberfestMy Profile

  3. Ayngelina says:

    It`s always been on my travel list, so close to Europe it`s too tempting not to made a side trip.
    Ayngelina recently posted..And this little piggy ran…My Profile

  4. Nico says:

    Morocco continues to be popular with people making TV series as well. Game of Throhes is currently being shot there as we speak.
    Nico recently posted..The Other Inca TrailMy Profile

    • Amanda says:

      I imagine it’s probably pretty cheap to film there. That’s very cool GOT is currently filming there! I LOVE that show!

  5. Wow, didn’t know most of the facts discussed in here. I love the movie “Inception” but didn’t know some scenes were filmed in Morocco. I don’t know if I want to see “Sex in the City 2”.
    Ruth (Tanama Tales) recently posted..Travel Makes Me More PoliteMy Profile

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