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See What Tatooine, Hobbiton, And 14 Other Former Film Sets Look Like Now

Global exploration website Atlas Obscura has got the goods on what became of some well known (and lesser known) film sets since shooting wrapped.

  • <p>Matamata, New Zealand <br />
From Atlas Obscura: Director Peter Jackson turned New Zealand sheep farmer Dean Alexander's ranch into Hobbiton, the village from which Frodo Baggins starts his quest.</p>
  • <p>Inside Hobbiton</p>
  • <p>Tunisia <br />
Early <em>Star Wars</em> films used Northern Tunisia to stand in for Tatooine. George Lucas used real locations, like the cave homes of Matmata and built sets, like Mos Espa, from scratch. All locations were left standing once filming wrapped. The caves which stood in for Luke Skywalker’s home in some scenes are now a hotel, the Sidi Driss.</p>
  • <p>Guadalupe, California <br />
From Atlas Obscura: Cecil B. DeMille built a set in the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes for his 1923 film <em>The Ten Commandments</em> (not to be confused with his later remake starring Charlton Heston). He buried the set after shooting, but later, documentarian Peter Brosnan set about excavating the site.</p>

<p>The site is an active archeological site, and is thus closed to visitors. Brosnan is at work on a documentary chronicling his efforts.</p>
  • <p>Ouarzazate, Morocco</p>
  • <p>Set from <em>Kundun</em></p>
  • <p>South Korea<br />
Set for <em>The Legend</em></p>
  • <p>Nami Island</p>
  • <p>North of Montgomery, Alabama<br />
<em>Spectre</em> in 2006</p>
  • <p>Southwest United States<br />
There are the remains of the 1960 John Wayne film <em>The Alamo</em>, just north of Brackettville, Texas.</p>
  • <p>New York City, New York</p>
  • <p>Remains of the Old West in Spain</p>
  • <p>Alamo replica in Brackettville, Texas</p>
  • <p>Mini Hollywood in the Tabernas Desert</p>
  • <p>Malta <br />
From Robert Altman’s 1980 film adaptation of the comic Popeye. Since the film wrapped, Malta has turned the set into the Popeye Village theme park. The park preserves the original 20 buildings constructed for <em>Popeye</em>’s “Sweethaven” setting, and adds a museum devoted to the movie’s history. It also stages shows featuring Popeye and Olive Oyl, and scenic boat tours of the village and its bay.</p>
  • <p>Walking through Popeye Village</p>
  • <p>Dubuque County, Iowa</p>
  • <p><em>Field of Dreams</em> in 2003</p>
  • 01 /22
    | HOBBITON

    Matamata, New Zealand
    From Atlas Obscura: Director Peter Jackson turned New Zealand sheep farmer Dean Alexander's ranch into Hobbiton, the village from which Frodo Baggins starts his quest.

  • 02 /22

    Inside Hobbiton

  • 03 /22
  • 04 /22
    | MOS ESPA AND TATOOINE

    Tunisia
    Early Star Wars films used Northern Tunisia to stand in for Tatooine. George Lucas used real locations, like the cave homes of Matmata and built sets, like Mos Espa, from scratch. All locations were left standing once filming wrapped. The caves which stood in for Luke Skywalker’s home in some scenes are now a hotel, the Sidi Driss.

  • 05 /22
    | Mos Espa
  • 06 /22
  • 07 /22
  • 08 /22
    | CITY OF THE PHARAOHS

    Guadalupe, California
    From Atlas Obscura: Cecil B. DeMille built a set in the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes for his 1923 film The Ten Commandments (not to be confused with his later remake starring Charlton Heston). He buried the set after shooting, but later, documentarian Peter Brosnan set about excavating the site.

    The site is an active archeological site, and is thus closed to visitors. Brosnan is at work on a documentary chronicling his efforts.

  • 09 /22
    | ATLAS FILM STUDIOS

    Ouarzazate, Morocco

  • 10 /22

    Set from Kundun

  • 11 /22
    | NAMI AND JEJU ISLANDS

    South Korea
    Set for The Legend

  • 12 /22

    Nami Island

  • 13 /22
    | SPECTRE

    North of Montgomery, Alabama
    Spectre in 2006

  • 14 /22
    | ALAMO VILLAGE, GUNSMOKE VILLAGE, AND PIONEERTOWN

    Southwest United States
    There are the remains of the 1960 John Wayne film The Alamo, just north of Brackettville, Texas.

  • 15 /22
    | ACROSS THE UNIVERSE STOREFRONT

    New York City, New York

  • 16 /22

    Remains of the Old West in Spain

  • 17 /22

    Alamo replica in Brackettville, Texas

  • 18 /22

    Mini Hollywood in the Tabernas Desert

  • 19 /22
    | POPEYE VILLAGE

    Malta
    From Robert Altman’s 1980 film adaptation of the comic Popeye. Since the film wrapped, Malta has turned the set into the Popeye Village theme park. The park preserves the original 20 buildings constructed for Popeye’s “Sweethaven” setting, and adds a museum devoted to the movie’s history. It also stages shows featuring Popeye and Olive Oyl, and scenic boat tours of the village and its bay.

  • 20 /22

    Walking through Popeye Village

  • 21 /22
    | FIELD OF DREAMS

    Dubuque County, Iowa

  • 22 /22

    Field of Dreams in 2003

Green-screen technology can put actors anywhere on the globe, or outside of it, and make the scene at least somewhat convincing. The more authentic method of building a world for audiences, however, is actually, physically building that world—with an elaborate film set. In some cases, these worlds live on long after the cameras have stopped rolling.

Once James Cameron finished using the enormous scale model of the Titanic he'd built for exteriors on what was then the most expensive movie of all time, he sold off parts of the ship for scrap metal. According to online guide to uncommon travel spots Atlas Obscura, though, other film sets have had interesting afterlives. Some have become premier tourist destinations like New Zealand's "Hobbiton," where Lord of the Rings was shot, and Tunisia's Popeye Village, home of the 1980 Robert Altman bomb, Popeye. Some sets from Star Wars, meanwhile, have gone on to different fates. While Tunisians have converted Tatooine into a hotel, Mos Espa stands exactly as George Lucas's crew left it. Similarly, savvy Texans can remember the Alamo any time.

Remember the Alamo?

Take a look at more film sets in the slides above, and go to Atlas Obscura to read more about what's become of them since the film crews left town.

Slideshow Credits: 01 / Anup Shah; 02 / Rob Chandler; 03 / Anup Shah; 04 / John Roberts; 05 / John Roberts; 06 / Scott Roberts; 07 / John Roberts; 08 / BriYYZ; 09 / Martijn.Munneke; 10 / Martijn.Munneke; 11 / Thddbwnd, Wikimedia; 12 / Flickr user Whyyan; 13 / Sunsurfr; 16 / Emilio del Prado; 17 / Larry D. Moore; 18 / Fabio Alessandro Locati; 19 / Edwinb, Wikimedia; 20 / Ploync, Wikimedia; 21 / Madmaxmarchhare, Wikimedia; 22 / Joel Dinda;

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