When you love movies as much as you appreciate good music, you’ll know that electric jolt you get down your spine when you recognize places from the silver screen. Nothing beats the feeling of knowing where you’re standing is the exact same spot your favourite actor once stood, or that the bar your elbows are resting on right now is the same one that a legendary singer has touched.
We’ve put together a list of famous movie locations around the world (from as new as 2018 to as old as 1965), where you can actually visit in real life and take a picture to immortalize your memories.
The drag bar where Ally sang “La Vie En Rose” in A Star is Born Location: Los Angeles, USA
When Bradley Cooper and Lagy Gaga’s A Star is Born came out last year, the internet exploded with speculations on their love for each other. Who can forget their first meeting in a drag bar, tinged in red, as Ally (Lady Gaga’s character) belts out a powerful rendition of La Vie En Rose that leaves Jackson Maine speechless? Shot in a real cocktail bar in LA called The Virgil (not actually a drag bar, though), it’s worth a visit just to see the ultra cool décor and the stage where Ally (and later, Jackson) sang.
The jazz club from La La Land Location: Paris, France
Dubbed as one of the top ten films of 2016, it’s easy to see the allure of La La Land, a romantic musical starring Emma Stone and the internet’s boyfriend, Ryan Gosling. Feel a piece of the magic at Caveau de la Huchette and immerse yourself in the world of jazz and swing – in real life, the bar is open every day, featuring an impressive lineup of performers that will have your toes tapping and your hands clapping.
“The Winner Takes It All” cliff from Mamma Mia! Location: Skopelos, Greece
Stunning views, crystal-clear waters and beautiful music… 2008’s Mamma Mia! struck home for many ABBA fans, who were a) awed by how seamlessly their favourite songs were incorporated into the movie, and b) suitably impressed by the singing prowess of the all-star cast from the likes of Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and more. If you visit the island of Skopelos in Greece, you can see with your own eyes where Donna (Streep’s character) sang The Winner Takes It All to Sam (Brosnan’s character) before proceeding to run up a cliff to a church on top of the hill, all without even breaking a sweat or losing her breath.
East High School from High School Musical Location: Salt Lake City, USA
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the High School Musical franchise shaped many of our teenage years. Whether you wished you were Zac Efron or Vanessa Hudgens, there’s no denying that the music was pretty catchy, and the actors (although very young at that time) made a huge effort and actually could sing. It’s been over ten years since the last HSM movie was released, but East High School, where they shot the movies, is real, down to its name, and is actually open to the public for self-guided tours after school hours!
The sprawling Raichand palace from Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham Location: Buckinghamshire, England
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (or fondly known as K3G) is by far one of the best Bollywood movies ever made. With an all-star cast like Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Amitabh Bachchan and his real-life wife Jaya, Kajol, Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor and more, even the ever-critical Rotten Tomatoes has given it a 100% score! Dripping with unimaginable wealth, family drama and tear-jerking scenes, K3G set the bar as the Bollywood movie to watch, with die-hard fans from Malaysia all the way to Hong Kong and beyond. The actual location for the opulent Raichand palace is actually Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, England, and for the full “live-like-Bollywood-royalty” experience, you can actually have your pre-wedding photos taken there!
The beachside resort where they shot The Bodyguard Location: Fontainebleau Miami Beach, USA
In 1992, The Bodyguard became the second-highest grossing film of the year, making $411 million worldwide. It was also Whitney Houston’s acting debut. The movie might not have been well-received by film critics, but it was the music that saved The Bodyguard. Many of the key scenes were filmed at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, which still stands tall and proud today. The award-winning beachside resort is a monstrosity, boasting 1,504 rooms, 12 restaurants and a 40,000 square foot spa. In case you were wondering, by “shot”, we mean “made the movie”, not “killed Kevin Costner’s character”.
The “16 going on 17” glass pavilion from The Sound of Music Location: Salzburg, Austria
“I am sixteen, going on seventeen…” One of the iconic songs in the 1965 movie which had all teenage lovers going “Aw, how romantic!” Shot in an outdoor gazebo made of glass, we saw Franz and Liesl explore their budding romance, sheltered from the rain as they dance and twirl away. Originally located on the grounds of Leopoldskron in Austria, the gazebo was relocated to Schloss Hellbrunn, Salzburg, because of regular trespassers. Not only can you take your very best Franz-and-Liesl pose in front of the glass pavilion, but you can also visit many other locations that were featured in the movie!
Jay Chou is famed for his on-location MVs: Thailand, France, England, Japan, Russia, Venice and of course, Edinburgh for Ming Ming Jiu 明明就, a firm Karaoke favourite. 65 million views on YouTube = 65 million people admiring the beauty of Edinburgh’s medieval architecture. Some have even gone the extra mile to recreate stills of the music video (see photo series above; and he’s not the only one).
The statue built in honour of PSY’s “Gangnam Style”
When PSY broke the internet with his (in)famous song, Gangnam Style, nobody could have predicted its effect on the K-pop industry. Nine years and 3.3 billion views later, the ultimate homage was paid in the form of a Gangnam Style Statue, erected in 2015 outside South Korea’s COEX Mall. When you stand on the stage below the signature ‘crossed-hands’ sculpture, the song automatically plays so you can channel your inner PSY.
The hotel where Taylor Swift danced like nobody’s watching in “Delicate”
The Kim & Kanye VS Taylor saga was one of the most scandalous things to happen in 2016, but it spawned a new Taylor (since the old Taylor is dead) and a new album. One of our favourite songs in the Reputation album is Delicate, but the music video is the true star here: it shows Taylor in the splendid Millennium Biltmore Hotel, as she discovers that she is invisible and starts dancing through the hotel, a metro station and a street in the rain before ending up in a bar where people can actually see her.
What’s your favourite location from this list? Let us know!
Cover Image: Toa Heftiba / Unsplash
Writer | Michelle Tan
Underneath her RBF, Michelle is actually a friendly raccoon. Loves collecting ugly things, changing her hair colour, and dinosaurs (not necessarily in that order).