The Ultimate Guide to Stunning, Surprising, or Hidden Filming Locations - Atlas Obscura Lists

The Ultimate Guide to Stunning, Surprising, or Hidden Filming Locations

From classic horror to Harry Potter to beloved sitcoms, here are the real places behind your favorite movies and shows.

In 1878, photographer Eadweard Muybridge was trying to settle an important debate: Do all four of a horse’s hooves leave the ground when it gallops? Muybridge set up a series of 24 cameras that would be triggered when the horse started to run, then stitched the resulting photos together in what is now regarded as the world’s first stop-motion film. Though it had a runtime of just three seconds, The Horse in Motion earned an important place in cinematic history. And you can still visit the barn at Stanford University where it was created. (Also, yes, all four hooves do leave the ground. Debate settled.) 

The places where our favorite movies and shows were filmed often hold a special kind of wonder. Some are built from scratch, like the Star Wars sets in the Tunisian desert, while others turn an existing, everyday space into something a little more magical or lousy with nostalgia, like Leadenhall Market (Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter films) or homes used for establishing shots in sitcom intros (such as the San Francisco townhome from Full House). In some cases, writers and directors have been inspired by the landscape itself. From Spaghetti Western to science fiction, these are the locations behind some of your favorite movies and shows.