Films shot in Morocco

Films shot in Morocco

   Cinema in Morocco has been a true institution for several decades. Indeed, Ouarzazate has, over the years, become Morocco’s film citadel. Thanks to this influence and its extraordinary scenery, the country has been able to distinguish itself on the big screen, often with great films. Therefore, we decided to choose 8 films shot in Morocco to make you fall in love with this country. Once you discover the films in Morocco, we are sure you will look forward to a wonderful trip to Morocco!

   Morocco offers authentic and evocative scenery and settings. This great variety of scenery has actually allowed directors, set designers, and actors from all over the world to perfectly empathize with the context they wanted to create. Therefore, in some cases, Morocco becomes the Holy Land, and at other times it is transformed into a fantasy setting. But more often than not Morocco plays itself, with its great magic and exoticism, which has made men from every continent dream for centuries.

Films shot in Morocco

A Train to Marrakech:

   If you are looking for a film that will help you understand the soul of Morocco and its most authentic traditions, we recommend “A Train to Marrakech.” The film was released in 1998 and is based on the novel Hideous Kinky by Esther Freud, great-granddaughter of Sigmund Freud. The story of this film shot in Morocco is about Julia, a 25-year-old London girl and already a mother of two girls, who move to Morocco in the 1970s. This journey is seen as an escape from an unfaithful husband and a gray London.

  Thus Marrakech becomes the symbol of rebirth, the search for a new meaning in life. Indeed, the protagonist will fall in love with Bilal, who will show her the traditions of Morocco and the way to integration. She will then enter the Madrasa of Ben Youssef, Jemaa el-Fna Square, and authentic Middle Atlas villages such as Tinghir. A portrait of the post-hippie generation of the 70′s obsessively seeking the exotic.

Tea in the desert:

   One of the most famous phrases is: “We are probably the first tourists to land here after the war.”We are not tourists. We are travelers.” 

   Tea in the Desert represents a cult among films shot in Morocco. Based on the novel of the same name by Paul Bowles, the film impeccably delineates the reality of Morocco in the immediate postwar period. Not coincidentally, the American writer himself lived permanently in Tangier, a controversial city beautifully captured in the film.

   It is 1947, and a couple accompanied by a friend embark on a journey that will lead them to discover the hidden secrets of the Sahara Desert. At a time when pushing so deep into the desert represented a feat, the three soon realize the myriad pitfalls and difficulties they will face. In addition to Tangier, we recognize the beautiful Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou and the magical desert near Ouarzazate.

Marrakech Express:

   Among the many films shot in Morocco, we cannot begin this list without mentioning one of Gabriele Salvatores’ masterpieces. Indeed, Marrakech Express represents the Italian emblem of the road trip. And the beautiful “red city” thus becomes a point of arrival, the final goal to be reached in a journey in constant search of the exotic. Therefore, we find four young travelers set off for Morocco, intent on rescuing a friend detained in Marrakech.

   Having arrived in North Africa, they will find themselves in the desert with not a few surprises, and they will come up against the most authentic Moroccan reality. In fact, Abatantuono and his friends will cross the dunes of the Sahara by bicycle, and play the unforgettable ball game in Erg Chebbi. Finally, in the exciting final scene, we recognize the great charm of Merzouga. A film that made history in Italian cinema and that, even today, is a symbol of Morocco in cinema.

Films shot in Morocco

The Gladiator:

Among the best-known films shot in Morocco, we definitely find “The Gladiator.” Ridley Scott’s colossal, masterfully played by Russell Crowe, we can call it the superstar host of the Ouarzazate studios. In fact, very little introduction is needed for this award-winning film.

   The film was actually shot in various locations, including Malta, Britain, Spain, and Germany. But in the ubiquitous walled city of Ait Ben Haddou, the filming of the training of Maximus and the other gladiators took place. An extraordinary film, in which Morocco also made its small contribution.

Films shot in Morocco

Game of Thrones:

In Morocco, we find not only big-screen movies, but also highly successful TV series. This is the case with the very famous “Game of Thrones” saga. In fact, Morocco is featured in some important scenes of the third season. If you are a fan of the series, you will surely remember the slave town of Yunkai. Well, this is none other than Ait Ben Haddou! This spectacular Kasbah is, in fact, featured almost exaggeratedly in films shot in Morocco. But one can hardly blame the filmmakers, for this place truly conveys something mystical.

   Finally, sticking with the third season of the Iron Throne, remember the walls of the fantasy city of Astapor? These are none other than the fortifications of Essaouira! In fact, the first meeting between Daenerys and the Unsullied took place in the beautiful town on the Atlantic. You may recognize Essaouira by the Borj el-Barmil bastion, clearly distinguishable in almost every scene set in Astapor.

The Crusades:

Cinema in Morocco often sets the stage for different places. Such is the case with “The Crusades,” Ridley Scott’s film released in 2005. In fact, Ouarzazate is home to the important Atlas film studios. And it is precisely here that the main scenes in the desert were filmed.

   Therefore, the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert became Israel and Jordan, and the beautiful walls of Ait Ben Haddou were transformed into the defensive structure of Jerusalem. Also staged in Morocco are the historic siege of Kerak Castle and the exploits of Saladin. A great way to discover the history of Jordan, and explore the environments of Morocco!

The man who knew too much:

So here we are in Marrakech, in the iconic Jemaa el-Fna Square. We are at the dawn of great cinema when the master of the thriller Alfred Hitchcock decided to set one of his sweeping detective stories in Morocco. Considered one of the director’s greatest masterpieces, “The Man Who Knew Too Much” tells of a murder committed in the very symbol of the Berber city.

   The beautiful scenes shot in Jemaa el-Fna Square give us a sense of the incredible vitality of this place. Indeed, among storytellers, snake charmers, and merchants a murder will take place, amidst the curious and astonished gazes of the locals. An engaging film, which makes us discover the splendid authenticity of Marrakech.

The Last Temptation of Christ:

Among the films/colossal shot in Morocco, we also find “The Last Temptation of Christ,” by Martin Scorsese. So, as you might imagine, Morocco disguises itself in the Holy Land and the life of Jesus comes to life in the country’s most beautiful locations. For example, the ruins of ancient Volubilis were chosen to stage the purification of Solomon’s Temple.

   While the encounter between Jesus and Pontius Pilate was staged entirely inside the Royal Palace of Meknes. Finally, the rest of the story was shot entirely between Ouarzazate and the Atlas Mountains. A film that has been much discussed, but one that allows us to learn about the history of the Holy Land while admiring the beautiful locations of Morocco.

Traveling to the Movie Sets in Morocco:

If you have been inspired by Moroccan film sets, the Morocco Imperial Cities Tour is for you. You will indeed travel to Marrakech and its extraordinary Jemaa el-Fna Square, Fés, Rabat, Casablanca, and Meknés. In addition, you will have the opportunity to visit ancient Volubilis and the holy city of Moulay Idriss.

   In case, on the other hand, you want to visit the cinematic highlights in Morocco, we recommend the Morocco Tour: Great South & Kasbahs. Indeed, you will have the opportunity to breathe the essence of Morocco in the Erg Chebbi Desert, and in Atlas villages such as Tinghir or Erfoud. Finally, this tour will take you to Ouarzazate, Morocco’s Hollywood, and you will be able to find yourself in the scenes of numerous films in the Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou.

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