Skip To Content

    11 TV Shows And Movies That Filmed In The Locations They're Set And 11 That Made You Think They Did

    Mary Poppins starring Julie Andrews didn't film a single scene in London.

    1. First, Sex and the City was shot on location in New York City, which allowed the city to basically become its own character.

    HBO

    During its six seasons, Sex and the City shot mainly in New York City, and the upcoming revival series, And Just Like That..., is also filming there. Some of the most notable locations the series used were the Plaza Hotel, The Loeb Boathouse in Central Park, the New York Public Library, and more. Before filming the revival series, Sarah Jessica Parker even visited the exterior of Carrie's apartment in the West Village.

    2. But even though Friends was set in NYC, the series never filmed there. Instead, the Warner Bros. Studios lot in California was transformed to look like NYC.

    Chandler and Joey getting into Phoebe's taxi and the gang playing football
    NBC

    While the establishing shots of NYC and the exterior of the iconic Friends apartment building are all actually in NYC, the entire show was filmed in Los Angeles. In fact, when Phoebe runs through Central Park, she's simply running in the small park on the Warner Bros. lot. For the recent reunion special, the cast filmed on the iconic Stage 24, which is where they filmed the entire series from 1994–2004. Other shows that have filmed on the Warner Bros. lot include Gilmore Girls, Pretty Little Liars, and more.

    3. The Queen, which earned Helen Mirren an Academy Award for Best Actress, filmed all over the UK, including London and Scotland.

    Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth in The Queen
    Miramax

    Helen Mirren and the rest of The Queen cast filmed throughout the UK in locations like Castle Fraser in Scotland and Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, which was used as the exterior of Buckingham Palace in the movie. In fact, the manor looks so much like Buckingham Palace, it was also used in The Crown Season 2.

    4. However, Mary Poppins, which earned Julie Andrews an Academy Award for Best Actress, was filmed entirely at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California in 1963.

    Mary, Bert, Michael, and Jane looking out at London from the roof
    Disney

    Despite the London scenery that is seen throughout Mary Poppins, the film was shot entirely on the Disney Studios sound stages. Artist Peter Ellenshaw created "100 matte paintings" that were used as the backdrops for some of the most iconic scenes. In fact, Peter put tiny holes in the paintings so that lights could be projected through the back of the painting and make it look like lights were turning on throughout the city.

    5. All the President's Men, starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, filmed throughout Washington, DC in 1975.

    Bob and Carl working in All the President's Men
    Warner Bros.

    While All the President's Men filmed in Washington, DC, the movie did have to re-create the Washington Post's newsroom on sound stages because the Post denied them from filming inside their real office. Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, set designers, and more crew members were only permitted to visit the Post prior to filming, in order to learn as much as they could about the daily lives of the journalists and see what the offices looked like.

    6. But Scandal, which followed Olivia Pope and her team in Washington, DC, was mostly filmed in Los Angeles except for a few scenes.

    Olivia and Fitz talking in the Rose Garden
    ABC

    For seven seasons, Scandal actually filmed at the Sunset Gower Studios in Los Angeles and made various locations around Los Angeles just look like Washington, DC. One of the few times the show shot on location in DC was for the series finale, when Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn shot their final Olivia and Fitz moment.

    7. Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., and Chicago Med have all filmed on location in Chicago since Chicago Fire began production in 2012.

    The cast of Chicago Fire filming on the street and the Chicago PD cast filming in the snow
    NBC

    All three of the Chicago shows film throughout Chicago and on the sound stages in the city. In fact, the firehouse featured on Chicago Fire is Engine 18, which is a real working firehouse that was organized after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. The casts joke that other than it getting "super cold," it's a lot of fun to film on location. Jesse Lee Soffer, who plays Jay Halstead, said he loves that the city is like "another character on the show."

    8. However, Chicago — you know, the award-winning movie based on the Broadway musical — didn't actually film in the Windy City in 2002. It filmed in Toronto.

    Roxie and Velma singing
    Miramax

    Chicago was filmed in several prominent Toronto locations, including Osgoode Hall, which was the courthouse seen in the film. Toronto and Vancouver are often referred to as "Hollywood North" as more and more films and TV shows are shot there. In fact, in 2019, TV and film production spent a whopping $1.12 billion in Toronto.

    9. Mare of Easttown was actually filmed in the suburbs around Philadelphia and Delaware County, which is where the fictionalized version of Easttown is supposed to be.

    Mare and Zabel knocking on a door, and Helen and Siobhan sitting in a park
    HBO

    Mare of Easttown filmed at Sun Center Studios in Aston, Pennsylvania, and then they used the surrounding areas for exteriors and other filming. Talking about how important filming in Delaware County was, director Craig Zobel said, "Delaware County and that area of Southern Philadelphia really does look very unique in its own way and we wanted to make sure we got as much of it in the frame as possible."

    10. However, The Queen's Gambit was mostly shot in Berlin, with locations there made to look like Moscow, Las Vegas, Mexico City, Paris, and more.

    Beth playing chess and walking in the street
    Netflix

    Although Beth travels all over the world, and her home is in Kentucky, the show mostly filmed in Berlin. Anya Taylor-Joy actually filmed Last Night in Soho straight into The Queen's Gambit and had to fly to Berlin to start filming ASAP. She said, "[After Emma] I died in my bed, and then I did Edgar Wright’s movie Last Night in Soho. And then that finished, I flew to Berlin and we started doing Queen’s Gambit. It was a lot."

    11. Nora Ephron's classic film Sleepless in Seattle did film a lot of its iconic moments in Seattle, Baltimore, and New York City, which is where the film is set.

    Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle
    TriStar Pictures

    In the early '90s, Sleepless in Seattle actually filmed on location in order to get an authentic feel of the cities it was portraying. Not only did the movie visit Pike Place Market in Seattle, but Sam and Jonah's houseboat was a real houseboat located on Lake Union. In fact, Sam's home sold for more than $2 million back in 2014.

    12. However, Grey's Anatomy, which has basically become synonymous with Seattle, doesn't actually film there, but rather in Los Angeles.

    Cristina talking to Meredith, and Meredith and Derek with the house of candles
    ABC

    While we see the Space Needle and other Seattle establishing shots on Grey's Anatomy all the time, the series is mainly shot on sound stages in Los Angeles. So, if you want to pose with Seattle Grace or Meredith's house IRL, they would be in Seattle, but you won't find any cast members filming there. The show has only filmed moments with the cast in Seattle for the Season 14 premiere in 2017.

    13. Moonlight, which follows Chiron during three stages of his life, was shot in Miami, Florida, which is where the movie is based.

    Chiron talking and standing in the street
    A24

    The cast and crew all traveled to Miami to film Moonlight in 2015. The film was shot in Miami's Liberty Square, which is where director Barry Jenkins and writer Tarell Alvin McCraney grew up. In fact, Barry and Tarell attended the same elementary and middle schools, but didn't know each other until a mutual friend gave Barry a copy of one of Tarell's plays.

    14. However, Brokeback Mountain, which tells the story of Ennis and Jack, who herd sheep in Wyoming, was filmed throughout Alberta, Canada, namely in the Canadian Rockies.

    Ennis riding his horse
    Focus Features

    In 2004, Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, and the rest of the Brokeback Mountain cast and crew went to Canada to film. Alberta wildlife authorities originally prohibited the film from bringing domesticated sheep up the mountain for the big herding scenes because they could spread disease to the wild sheep. Eventually, the crew was allowed to bring domesticated sheep to one mountain, miles away from any other sheep, and they had to bring them home every day.

    15. High Fidelity, starring Zoë Kravitz, filmed throughout NYC, notably Brooklyn, during its one (and sadly only) season.

    Rob standing on the street and entering her record store
    Hulu

    In the movie version of High Fidelity, the setting is actually Chicago, so the series switched things up and had Rob's record store be in Brooklyn instead. While all of the interior scenes were filmed on sound stages, the exteriors are all actually in Brooklyn and NYC. The moments outside of Rob's store and apartment were filmed on Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn. 

    16. But Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which tells the story of our favorite 99th precinct in Brooklyn, actually films in Los Angeles.

    Jake and Amy getting married
    NBC

    Even though Jake, Amy, Rosa, Holt, Charles, Terry, Scully, and Hitchcock have some amazing and hilarious adventures in Brooklyn, the show is really filmed at the CBS Studios in Los Angeles. Despite the move from Fox to NBC after Season 5, the show has remained on the same sound stage until the series wrapped filming on the final season in 2021.

    17. Dazed and Confused, which tells the story of a group of high schoolers in Austin, Texas, actually filmed on location, which allowed the movie to have an authentic feel.

    The cast of Dazed and Confused
    Gramercy Pictures

    Dazed and Confused not only filmed in Texas, but it also searched for its cast there. Matthew McConaughey was discovered at a bar in Austin by casting director Don Phillips, and that's how he got the role of David Wooderson. Don recalled the meeting, saying, "I come home to the hotel one night and go to the bar, and this handsome dude comes in with a beautiful blonde. The bartender says to him, 'See that guy down there? That’s Don Phillips. He cast Sean Penn in Fast Times.' And Matthew goes, 'I’m gonna go down and talk to this guy.'"

    18. But while Mean Girls is set in Evanston, Illinois, the movie was actually shot in Toronto.

    Regina running away from Cady
    Paramount Pictures

    Daniel Franzese, who played Damian, recalled going to Radiohead concerts with the cast and visiting Niagara Falls while filming in Toronto. Mean Girls used Etobicoke Collegiate Institute and several other schools in the area for the high school scenes, including the iconic auditorium where the talent show takes place.

    19. One Tree Hill, which is set in the fictional town of Tree Hill, North Carolina, actually filmed in the state for nine seasons.

    Peyton and Lucas talking on the side of the road and everyone at the river court
    Warner Bros.

    On their podcast Drama Queens, Hilarie Burton, Sophia Bush, and Bethany Joy Lenz talked about moving to Wilmington, North Carolina to film and how they never imagined they would have a "global fanbase" for the show. Talking about the history of film in Wilmington, Hilarie said, "There were so many cool things that had shot there before we got there. So, for me, it was like, 'Oh, I get to go live in a vacation town.' And Dawson's Creek had just reigned supreme in Wilmington."

    20. However, Outer Banks doesn't shoot in North Carolina, but instead it makes Charleston, South Carolina look like OBX.

    The Pogues on their boat
    Netflix

    When production on the series started, the show made the decision to film in South Carolina due to North Carolina's anti-LGBTQ+ laws that were in effect when production began. North Carolina has since repealed the "bathroom bill," but Outer Banks has continued to film in South Carolina. However, the show did actually go to Barbados to film scenes for Season 2.

    21. Villanelle and Eve's adventures in Killing Eve are filmed on location throughout Europe, with production taking place in Tuscany, Romania, Spain, London, Berlin, and more.

    Villanelle standing outside a gorgeous vineyard in Tuscany
    BBC America

    Executive producer Sally Woodward-Gentle said that very early on, the show made the decision that "as far as possible, we were going to shoot in the actual places where the story is set." This started right from the first week of filming Episode 1, when the cast and crew traveled to Tuscany to film Villanelle's first kill. Writer and executive producer Suzanne Heathcote also said that when the writers are crafting a season, they always try to think of "where haven't we seen."

    22. But, finally, the opening scenes from Captain America: Civil War, which show Wanda accidentally collapsing a building in Lagos, were filmed in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Atlanta, Georgia.

    Wanda looking shocked and a Lagos market
    Marvel

    While Marvel does travel to some amazing locations for filming, Captain America: Civil War made you believe the Avengers had traveled to Lagos, but in reality it's made up of several locations between Atlanta and San Juan. All of the Marvel movies film in the studios in Atlanta, so it's no surprise that they worked some movie magic to make it look like Wanda, Steve, Natasha, Sam, and more had traveled.

    Obviously, there are a TON more movies that have either filmed on location or made you think they did. Do you have another one that completely blew your mind? Tell us in the comments below!

    TV and Movies

    Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.

    Newsletter signup form