Morocco is home to one of the busiest non-Hollywood film studios, which helps to explain why so many films are set there. It’s a beautiful country in North Africa, with a rich history and culture. It’s an ideal setting for many movies, whether in ancient times or modern days. The country’s unique landscape and architecture make it a perfect film location scout.
Morocco is as famous as other countries, such as Egypt or Tunisia, for its charm attracts filmmakers worldwide. It has a long history with film, dating back to the 1900s. In fact, it was one of the first countries in Africa to support filmmaking and actively built infrastructure for the industry. The Rabat movie production studios opened in 1919, making Morocco one of the first countries outside Hollywood to have such facilities. The cinematographic potential is enormous, and multiple film production companies will assist you with the production of your film, providing services such as shooting permits, accommodations, catering for the crew, local workers, and foreign talent, allowing you to focus on what’s more important, making your movie. The government also helps create an unforgettable cinematic experience for local and foreign producers by providing its mind-blowing landscapes to complete their projects and make them come alive on screen.
Morocco has a fantastic diversity of landscapes in its cities and regions, whether on location or studio. The Moroccan Film Commission is an agency that supports the development of local and international film production companies. It helps film producers find the right location, technical teams, equipment, and services they need to produce their films in Morocco.
Top known movies set in Morocco
The best movies filmed in Morocco range from iconic films to ones you’ve probably never heard of. This list includes movies with a plot or scenes that take place in a Middle Eastern country, as well as films that were shot in Morocco location and featured local actors.
The top films set in Morocco include Lawrence of Arabia, The Mummy, and Gladiator.
Gladiator by Ridley Scott
Gladiator, released in 2000 and directed by Ridley Scott, is an epic historical drama that depicts the life of a Roman general named Maximus Decimus Meridius. The story follows Maximus Decimus Meridius (Crowe), a general whom Commodus betrays, the emperor of Rome, and his son. After 10 years in captivity, he returns to Rome seeking revenge. The film stars Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, and Connie Nielsen.
The movie was a massive success at the box office and received positive reviews from critics. It won five Academy Awards out of six nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Crowe.
The Gladiator was filmed in a desert city next to Ouarzazate, Morocco. The town is surrounded by mountains and has a unique architectural style that resembles ancient Rome. So if you’re looking for the ideal affordable location scout with a lot of landscapes to offer, Ouarzazate is your first go-to location.
The Mummy By Stephen Sommers
The Mummy, the 1999 action adventure starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, is an excellent movie for getting lost in the desert with your loved ones. It’s also just a fun movie filled with action and adventure. For those who aren’t familiar with The Mummy: it’s an ancient Egyptian horror story that follows a reincarnated mummy called “Imhotep”, who accidentally awakened, and now that he’s up, he seeks to wake his loved one and get revenge on those who desecrated his tomb. In this version of the tale, we’re introduced to archaeologist Richard O’Connell (Brendan Fraser), an Indiana Jones-type character who travels across Egypt searching for artifacts from ancient times. Alongside him are Evelyn (Rachel Weisz), a librarian and a history buff with her brother Jonathan Carnahan (John Hannah), who are trying to get the mummy back to its eternal sleep.
The film has everything: the romance between our two main protagonists, Richard O’Connell and Evelyn Carnahan; humor courtesy of John Hannah; intense fight scenes between mummies versus humans; unexpected plot twists; amazing scenery shots of Morocco—you’ll be transported into another world when watching this masterpiece!
The main scenes were filmed in Marrakech as the lost city of “Hamunaptra”. Marrakech has a lot to offer, from bazaars and souks to its unique architecture and vast dessert. It’s a great location to film, and this movie is living proof.
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Kingdom of Heaven by Ridley Scott
Another successful Ridley Scott chef-d’oeuvre. It’s set in the Kingdom of Jerusalem during the Crusades and stars Orlando Bloom as Balian de Ibelin, a blacksmith who becomes a hero after he defends Jerusalem from Saladin (Liam Neeson). Eva Green also stars as Sibylla, the sister-in-law of King Baldwin IV (Edward Norton), who becomes queen when her husband dies—much to her dismay. The director created a visually stunning world full of opulent costumes and breathtaking scenery.
The movie was partially filmed in Ouarzazate, Morocco—where Scott had previously shot Gladiator. It was nominated for Best Cinematography at the Academy Awards in 2005 but lost to Memoirs of a Geisha. It won the Golden Schmoes Awards and Visual Effects Society Awards for Best Special Effects and Best Visual Effects.
Babel By Alejandro González Iñárritu
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and written by Guillermo Arriaga, Babel is a 2006 psychological drama film that follows four different stories from around the world in Morocco, Japan, Mexico, and the US. The film is about a number of people who are connected by an incident at a party in Morocco that ends with an American tourist being shot dead.
After serving as jury president at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, Iñárritu became inspired to write Babel after a trip through Morocco. The film was suggested for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and is a global co-production among companies from the United States, Mexico, and France.
Babel is set in the Berber village of Taguenzaltand its neighboring community, Ouarzazatelocated in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. The deaf-mute’s house was shot in Japan and the ranch in America.
Alexander By Oliver Stone
In 2004, Alexander was brought to life in an epic film, to say the least.
Based on the life of Alexander the Great, this film was a massive success at the box office and met with widespread acclaim from both critics and audiences.
The film follows Alexander’s life from birth to death, focusing on his rise to power and conquests across Asia Minor, Egypt, Persia, and Europe.
Oliver Stone directed it, and its screenplay was written by Stone and Christopher Kyle, with help from Laeta Kalogridis.
In this filmmaking, a lot of effort was put into getting the right backdrop for all of its scenes. Numerous sequences were filmed in Morocco, and the country’s most picturesque spots—the Lower Atlas Mountains (situated east of Marrakech), Marrakesh, Essaouira, and Ouarzazate —were the main chosen places.
The Moroccan desert provided the scenery for many scenes in the film, including those set in Babylon and Bactria.
Finding sites that faithfully reproduce the landscape as it would have appeared in the 4th century BCE is challenging. Nevertheless, Morocco served as the ideal backdrop, even though it does not look the same as it did in the fourth century BCE.
The Man Who Would Be King By John Huston
The Man Who Would Be King, starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine, is about two British soldiers who decide to go off on their own and build an empire in the wilds of Afghanistan.
The movie was written by John Huston and Gladys Hill and directed by John Huston. It’s based on a book written by Rudyard Kipling in 1888, but the film deviates from the book quite a bit.
In the movie, Connery plays Daniel Dravot, while Caine plays Peachy Carnehan. They’re both British soldiers who are discharged after being caught stealing from the army storehouse where they work. They decided to use their military experience to build an empire in Afghanistan—which at this time was still under British rule—and become kings. But the duo’s adventures are not without conflicts, including betrayal by one of their own.
The movie was filmed in France, Morocco, and Pinewood Studios. The Moroccan scenery is taken in a fortified town called At Ben Haddou, a spectacular village in the southeast that has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
Lawrence of Arabia By David Lean
You probably already know Lawrence of Arabia, but that doesn’t mean you should skip this section. The 1962 film stars Peter O’Toole as British officer T.E. Lawrence and follows him through the Arabian Peninsula during World War I. Directed by David Lean, who won seven Academy Awards for the film—Best Picture and Best Director among them—and it remains one of the best movies ever made.
You can’t go wrong with Ait Ben Haddou in Ouarzazate again, with its tiny kasbahs (fortresses), some fifteen miles northwest of Ouarzazate. Gladiator, The Jewel of the Nile, and The Last Days of Sodom and Gomorrah all include crimson towers. Three kilometers outside Ouarzazate on the P31, the enormous and now-collapsing Glaoui Kasbah was transformed into a hotel just for the actors.
Mission Impossible- Ghost Protocol By Brad Bird
Mission Impossible- Ghost Protocol is a 2011 action spy film directed by Brad Bird, written by André Nemec and Josh Applebaum, and produced by J.J. Abrams. It is the fourth film in a series of action thrillers Mission Impossible series which debuted in 1966.
In this film, Jeremy Renner plays a rogue agent tasked with stealing the Russian president’s nuclear launch codes. The film was shot in Moscow, but a lot of the desert scenes were filmed in Morocco.
The film received five Academy Award nominations and was named won the Saturn awards for Best Editing and Action Film.
So if you’re in the search of for an eye-catching filming location with some tremendous shooting opportunities for your next action or adventure movie, Morocco may be just right for you!
Sex and the City 2 By Michael Patrick King
Sex and the City 2 was prerecorded in Marrakech, a movie starring Sarah Jessica Parker and other A-list actresses. This 2008 film made Morocco even more popular with tourists than it already was before. But sadly, this success didn’t last very long as critics panned it for being too commercialized and formulaic. Despite their best efforts to make this movie look like a success story of women empowerment, Sex and the City 2 did not win critical acclaim nor improve Morocco’s reputation as an exotic destination for lovers of fine wine or good cinema.
The Old Guard By Gina Prince-Bythewood
The Old Guard is a film that follows the lives of four soldiers stationed in Morocco after World War II. The film was directed by Andrew Garfield, who stars in it alongside Chris Evans and Josh Brolin.
The movie is an adaptation of Wharton’s short story “The Old Guard”. The original book was published in 1968 and tells the story of three American soldiers stationed in Morocco after World War II.
The script calls for many of the story’s pivotal scenes to take place in Morocco, so it makes sense that most of the shooting will also occur there.
Morocco Film Location Scout
Morocco is a beautiful country with amazing landscapes and architecture. Its culture and history are also diverse—and it has a growing film industry! It has become one of the most famous filming locations for movies and TV shows for its affordability compared to other film location scouts. Morocco also offers an array of different settings – from beaches to mountains to desert dunes – all within driving distance from one another.
Filmmakers worldwide have used their country as a backdrop for their work since the 1950s! The country has been featured in many movies and TV shows, including “Casablanca” (1943) and, more recently, “Game of Thrones.” The Moroccan government also supports the film industry, making it easy for directors to work there. It is one of the few places where filming can occur in almost any location at any time of year.
Morocco: the land of adventure, romance, and box-office movies
It’s a cliche, but Morocco really does have it all. It is often touted as one of the world’s most exotic destinations. It has everything from old Roman ruins to beautiful beaches, from palm trees and desert landscapes to lush greenery and mountain ranges. You can go from a dense forest to the Sahara desert in just one hour!
The weather is quite accommodating: even in the dead of winter, you’ll still be able to capture some fantastic shots with minimal amounts of snowfall (if any), and the colors are absolutely breathtaking.
And if you’re looking for ancient architecture or structures, Morocco has got it all: old ruins dating back thousands of years ago, as well as castles and fortresses built by French colonizers during their occupation in the 19th century. There are also plenty of modern buildings, many of which were constructed during Morocco’s “golden age” in the 1960s when it underwent rapid industrialization under King Hassan II’s leadership.
The people of Morocco are amiable, so you won’t need much help finding willing participants for your shoot!