7 Famous international movies made in Spain

by Deborah Cater
Film set location - famous international films

During a visit to the United States, Spanish Prime Minister Sánchez announced he wanted to make Spain the European Hollywood. Streaming platform Netflix has already invested millions in a production hub in the Madrid region, the first in Europe. Here are 7 famous international movies made in Spain.

In March, Netflix announced its intention to invest more than €1.6billion in Spanish productions up to 2025. Further details on have not been disclosed so far. What is certain is Spain has also been the setting for major international film productions several times in the past. Below are the seven best known.

Lawrence of Arabia

The British adventure film Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean, 1962) was filmed in Seville, Almería and Huelva, among others. In addition to Spain, recordings were also made in Jordan and Morocco. According to the American Film Institute (AFI), this is one of the best film productions in history. In 2007, the AFI ranked Lawrence of Arabia at number 7. In Seville, the scenes were shot in the Plaza de España, the Real Alcazar, the Plaza de Miguel de Mañara and in the tile palace Casa de Pilatos. The dunes of Cabo de Gata and the beach of Algarrobico were chosen in Almería. In Huelva, Doñana Natural Park was the setting for this film classic.

Doctor Zhivago

Doctor Zhivago (David Lean, 1965) is one of the most romantic films in cinema history and is based on the book by Boris Pasternak. This film was shot entirely in Spain, more than 80% of the outdoor scenes were shot in the city and province of Soria (Castile and León). The remaining scenes were shot in Salamanca and Madrid. However, because the shooting took place in one of the warmest Spanish winters in history, many scenes had to use artificial snow.

The good, the bad and the ugly

When it comes to international film productions shot in Spain, the western genre cannot be missed. The best known is The good, the bad and the ugly (Sergio Leone, 1968); the third part of Leone’s dollar trilogy (part 1 was A Fistful of Dollars, part 2 was For a Few Dollars More) starring Clint Eastwood. All three parts of this spaghetti western were shot in Spain. Locations included the deserts of Tabernas and Cabo de Gata in Almería, Santo Domingo de Silos in Burgos and La Pedriza in Madrid.

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Indiana Jones and the last crusade

This 1989 blockbuster by Steven Spielberg was filmed in England, Jordan, Italy, America and Spain. Here too, Almería was chosen as the ideal filming location because of its desert-like landscape. Furthermore, recordings were made on the beach of Mónsul and Mojácar and at the Guadix train station in Granada. The lead roles in this film were for Harrison Ford and Sean Connery.

The Others

The 2001 psychological horror film The Others is a Spanish-Italian-French-American co-production, directed by Spain’s Alejandro Amenábar. He demanded the film be shot in Spain. Accordingly, the executive producer of the film – American actor Tom Cruise – complied with Amenábar’s wish. The outdoor scenes were shot at the Palacio de los Hornillos in Las Fraguas (Cantabria). The lead role was played by American actress Nicole Kidman. Also, the film received several major awards, including eight Goya awards and the Saturn for best horror film.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

This most recent film (Phil Lord, Christoffer Miller, 2018) from the list was shot in the Canary Islands, in the most beautiful natural landscapes of the island of Fuerteventura. For this spin-off of the Star Wars series, the producers set their eyes on the volcanic Valle de Pecenescal and the Jandía Natural Park, where the weather is sunny almost all year round.

The Limits of Control

In the winter of 2009, thriller The Limits of Control by American director Jim Jarmusch was filmed in Madrid, Seville and Almería. Jarmusch previously made independent films such as Down by law (1986), Ghost Dog (1999) and Broken Flowers (2005). The Limits of Control stars Isaach de Bankolé, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Gael García Bernal and Luis Tosar. Scenes for the film were shot in Madrid’s Plaza de Ildefonso and at the iconic Torres Blancas building in the Spanish capital.

In short, Spain is a natural choice for even more famous international movies.

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