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8 Films You Didn't Know Were Shot in Marrakech

Written on : 09 December 2020
By : Laura Wendy Harders López
8 Films You Didn't Know Were Shot in Marrakech

If there's one thing for sure in the film industry, is that the Middle East offers a plethora of stunning filming locations. Many directors that want to produce epic movies featuring exotic, historical, adventure and action-related themes seem to have found a gold mine in this fascinating region. And it comes as no surprise that many films that have said to have taken place in countries such as Egypt, Iran or Abu Dhabi, have, in fact, been produced in Marrakech. Due to its breathtaking landscapes, deserts, bustling souks, and picturesque villages, not to mention the more secure political environment compared to its neighbouring countries, many famous movies have been shot in this marvellous city. 

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1) Gladiator

The Hollywood movie Gladiator with actor Russell Crow as "Maximus", is one of the most epic films in the last twenty years. The fascinating storyline was produced in many iconic Middle Eastern locations, especially in Morocco. However, one of the best scenes was filmed in Aït Benhaddou, a fortified village UNESCO World Heritage only 3 hours drive from the city centre of Marrakech. This stunning medieval small village from 1600 BCE, known as a "ksar", has been an iconic filming location not only for Gladiator but also for scenes of the Mummy, Alexader the Great, Lawrence of Arabia, and for the City of Yunkai in Game of Thrones. And overall, various scenes of slavery have taken part in this remarkable location. For instance, this place is where Maximus in Gladiator is enslaved and taken to train as a gladiator. 

If you're on your holiday in Marrakech, you shouldn't miss out on visiting this beautiful place!

2) The Mummy

The 1999 adventure horror movie "The Mummy" is another epic Hollywood film produced in Morocco and many of its scenes in Marrakech. Despite the story set in Egypt, the country at the time was very unstable politically. Thanks to Morocco's spectacular landscapes, historical towns and stability, Egypt found the perfect substitute, as well as Cairo, got supplanted by Marrakech. 

As mentioned before, Aït Benhaddou served as an iconic filming location for The Mummy, as for many other epic films. 

Gara Medouar is another breathtaking filming location, where they entirely produced "The mystical city of Hamunaptra" of the "Mummy"-- the City of the Dead. Also, it is an iconic "James Bond" filming location. 

3) Queen of the Desert

The "Queen of the Desert", an epic biographical drama, stars Nicole Kidman and James Franco, and it is a story based on the extraordinary life of Gertrude Bell- a writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer and political attaché for the British Empire at the beginning of the 20th century. Most filming locations of the film are produced in the Sahara Desert, however, other iconic scenes were located in the sumptuous Mammounia Hotel in Marrakech and the bustling markets of the Lksour district of the medina.

4) Hideous Kinky

The film "Hideous Kinky" serves as a striking portal to the bustling life of the Red City in Marrakech, and its colourful ambience. The viewers of the movie will be transported into the scenery, sounds, culture and people of Marrakech. This film stars Kate Winslet and is based on an autobiographical novel of an English mother who moves to Morocco with her two children in the early 70s to seek for spiritual revelation. And stay at a low-cost Marrakech hotel--  Le Foundouk No. 192 on Rue Moussine.

5) Mission Impossible 5

Morocco was the main country where Mission Impossible 5 was filmed. Iconic places such as the Walls of the Kasbah of the Udeyas in Rabat served as various chase scenes, and you could also see many iconic landmarks like the Mosque Hassan II in Casablanca. Also, many locations were shot in Marrakech, such as the Jemaa el Fna Square, serving as a spectacular setting, and the narrow streets of Marrakech. The Old Guard city featured at the beginning of the movie, was also entirely produced in Marrakech.

6) Sex and the City 2

6) Sex and the City 2

The film Sex and the City 2, even though centred in Abu Dhabi, was completely shot in Marrakech. You can vicariously enjoy the sumptuous scenes of the characters lavishly enjoying themselves at luxurious hotels, costume changes, and drinking fabulous cocktails. Places such as Mandarin OrientalMouassine and Jema El Fna Square (the latter where they appear wandering around the bustling souk markets) are some of the star filming locations of the movie.

If you'd like to experience a fabulous holiday like Carrie Bradshaw and her girlfriends in Marrakech, you shouldn't miss out on visiting these places!

7) The Source (Le Source des Femmes)

The French drama-comedy film "Le Source des Femmes" depicts a marvellous oriental fairy tale filmed in a small village an hours drive by jeep from Marrakech. It is a quaint remote mountain village with no light or electricity. Here, the protagonist, a woman called Leila,  goes on a sex strike due to always travelling great distances for fetching water. This a perfect film to watch before your forthcoming holiday to Marrakech!

8) The Man Who Knew Too Much

8) The Man Who Knew Too Much

And last but not least, the blockbuster "The Man Who Knew Too Much", is an Alfred Hitchcock suspense thriller film set in the heart of Marrakech, in the Jemaa el Fna-- which has served as a filming location for other numerous movies. This quintessential oriental market shows snake charmers, storytellers, busy food vendors, spice and fruit stalls and hagglers.
The film's storyline centres around innocent American tourists whose son's kidnapping triggers a twisting scheme of international intrigue.  
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