They say that history has a way of repeating itself, and film locations certainly prove the point.

One of the films that had a big influence on Spain’s role as a primary, international film location destination was Lawrence of Arabia.

Stephen Spielberg was one of the people involved in remastering David Lean’s classic film into a digital format and this would be one of the reasons he chose Spain to shoot two films The Empire of the Sun and Indiana Jones and the Last crusade, both of which, like Lawrence, used Andalusian sites.

The recent popularity of Super Hero films has also brought American film makers back to Spain, and the locations are frequently ones previously used.

Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019), in which Spider Man and his friends go on holiday and are doing Europe when some evil needs to be sorted out, used the town of Belchite, Zaragoza, which was destroyed in the Spanish Civil War. Spiderman’s enemy, a malicious, powerful monster takes the blame, but Terry Gilliam had already been there in 1988 for The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

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Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) was filmed in Almeria at the Alcazaba castle, representing Themiscyra, Wonder Woman’s hometown. The castle had previously represented a wide range of countries, including Egypt, where it appeared in Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s Cleopatra (1963).

Alcazaba Almeria
Alcazaba, Almeria

Filming also took place at Tenerife, around the mountains of Teno y Masca, where Wrath of the Titans (2012) was shot.

Both Terminator and Rambo recently used some Spanish locations. In Rambo’s case, Rambo 5: Last Blood (2019) used the increasingly photogenic Canary Islands to represent Mexico, while Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) went back to a 1965 location, the dam at Aldeadávila de la Ribera, Salamanca, which opens and closes David Lean’s other Spanish classic Doctor Zhivago.


Assassin’s Creed (2016) opens with an eagle (or is it?) swooping down into the cloister of a castle, which is La Calahorra, Granada, scene of many a film since Action of the Tiger (1957), when it represented Albania in Sean Connery’s first of many Spanish excursions.

La Calahorra Granada

In another scene from Assassins’ Creed Michael as a child narrowly escapes capture when a convoy of vehicles comes for his father, who is hiding out at Las Salinas, which represented Baja California, although in Patton 1970, it represented North Africa. The emblematic church, Santuario del Saliente, stands next to the Salinas by Cabo de Gata.

Old locations never die, and the film makers keep on returning to the same places following the philosophy of Hollywood; if a plot is successful, why choose a different one?

May the circle be unbroken.

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