10 legendary filming locations to visit to the sound of Ennio Morricone's compositions

Movie Music

Ennio Morricone has worked on more than 500 feature films, series and TV shows, covering a wide variety of styles. Known for his numerous collaborations with Sergio Leone, having contributed to building the iconic image of the American western in the collective unconscious, this outstanding musician has remained very productive throughout his career. His route crossed that of Henri Verneuil, John Carpenter or even Quentin Tarantino. Morricone, whose compositions forever inhabit these 10 filming locations…

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Sad Hill (Burgos, Spain)

Blondin, Tuco and Sentenza meet at the Sad Hill cemetery for their final confrontation… Built especially for the needs of the film in a valley near the village of Santo Domingo de Silos in Burgos, the cemetery of Sad Hill is abandoned as soon as the filming is over. Soon, while Spain was undergoing a major crisis, crushed by Franco’s regime, the inhabitants of the region plundered the place and snatched a large majority of the crosses made by Sergio Leone’s team. Wooden planks later used to consolidate roofs or repair houses can still be seen today. Covered by land carried by the wind, the site is again updated by fans 49 years later. An association is then formed to completely renovate it and thus return it to its superb. Several celebrities such as director Joe Dante and Metallica’s musicians participate in the crowfunding campaign. A film crew goes on location to shoot the movie Sad Hill Unearthed. You can now visit it for free and walk in the footsteps of Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach, to the sound of The Ecstasy of Gold, the legendary song by Ennio Morricone…

Once Upon a Time in America – Sergio Leone – 1984

Washington Street (New York, USA)

The place was made world-famous by the emblematic poster of the film, showing the final scene. This spot is very popular with tourists and photographers. The lights at sunset in the evening are beautiful. Once upon a time in America was a disaster for Sergio Leone, five years before his death. Today, however, this $30 million film, with only five box-office hits, is considered a cult masterpiece.

Les Huit Salopards – Quentin Tarantino – 2015

Schmid Ranch (United States)

Set mostly in a cabin lost deep in the woods during a snowstorm, The Dirty Eight was filmed at Red Studios, 846 North Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood. The snow-covered exteriors are located at Schmid Ranch, 4553 County Road 60M in the state of Colorado, near the town of Telluride. An area overlooked by the Wilson Peak in the San Miguel Mountains. Where John Wayne shot the first version of True Grit in 1969. Strongly influenced by John Carpenter’s The Thing, Quentin Tarantino considers The Eight Bastards as his first real horror film. Ennio Morricone won a Golden Globe and an Oscar for his music.

The Untouchables – Brian De Palma – 1987

Chicago Union Station (Chicago, USA)

The most famous shooting in the film takes place on the stairs of Union Station in Chicago. A city that Brian De Palma exploits very extensively in The Untouchables, following in the footsteps of the real Eliot Ness, the policeman played by Kevin Costner on the screen, and Al Capone. The famous gangster being played here by Robert De Niro. An actor that Brian De Palma wanted very much for the role of Capone… Although it is an adaptation of the eponymous book by the real Eliot Ness, the film follows the television series broadcast between 1959 and 1963.

U-Turn – Oliver Stone – 1997

Waldorf Café (Superior, USA)

Bobby Cooper (Sean Penn) breaks down near the small town of Superior. He entrusts his car to a strange garage owner (Billy Bob Thorton). Garage that’s all that’s left today. The café where he shelters, on the other hand, still exists. However, it is impossible to quench one’s thirst there. And if the city is still recognizable, several buildings have suffered the ravages of time and the elements since the end of the shooting… U-Turn marked the beginning of the feud between Sean Penn and director Oliver Stone. The former said of the latter: “I get along with all kinds of animals, but not with pigs”.

Fear of the city – Henri Verneuil – 1975

Bir-Hakeim Bridge (Paris, France)

The stage is one of the most legendary tours on this bridge. In pursuit of the mobster Marcucci (Giovanni Cianfriglia), Superintendent Jean Letellier (Jean-Paul Belmondo) jumps on the roof of a metro line 6. The sequence runs between the Charles-de-Gaulle – étoile and Dupleix stations, and takes place on an MP73 train set up just a few weeks before shooting. The scene was rehearsed slowly at first before gradually increasing the speed to reach 70 km/hour. Released in cinemas on 9 April 1975, the day Jean-Paul Belmondo turned 42, the film attracted a total of 4 million viewers.

My name is Nobody – Tonino Valerii – 1973

White Sands National Monument (United States)

A major tourist site in New Mexico in the United States, White Sands National Park has hosted multiple film shoots including My Name is Nobody, the cult western with Terence Hill, set to music by Ennio Morricone. A place also visited by Clint Eastwood in Hang ’em high.

The Sicilian Clan – Henri Verneuil – 1969

Apartment of the Malanese (Paris, France)

The building houses the activities of the Malanese Mafia family. Directed by Patriarch Vittorio (Jean Gabin), it is housed at this address where his workshop is also located. This is the only film that brings together on screen the sacred monsters Alain Delon, Lino Ventura and Jean Gabin. To write the screenplay, Henri Verneuil asked the advice of José Giovanni, a former gangster, sentenced to death and then pardoned, who later became a novelist. The director wanted to make the free adaptation of Auguste Le Breton’s eponymous book published in 1967 as credible as possible.

For a handful of dollars – 1964, And for a few dollars more – 1965, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – 1966 – Sergio Leone (Almeria Mini Hollywood, Spain)

Almeria Mini Hollywood, Spain

Wishing to save as much money as possible, Sergio Leone decided to shoot his westerns in Spain, in the region of Almeria. This is where he packs up for a handful of dollars, and for a few extra bucks and a piece of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The site, still visible today, has been converted into an amusement park called Mini Hollywood . Although they collaborated on several films, each contributing to the other’s fame, Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone had a hard time getting along at first. The first did not speak Italian and the second knew only a few words in English. The actor did not hesitate to play on this concern for communication to impose his own dialogues in certain scenes.

Once Upon a Time in the West – Sergio Leone – 1968

Monument Valley (United States)

The majestic landscapes of Monument Valley in the state of Arizona in the United States are among the most emblematic filming locations of this legendary western. Once upon a time in the West also exploited the scenery of the Tabernas Desert in Andalusia. Most of the interiors were shot at the Cinecitta studios in Rome, Italy. Strangely enough, the film, although it won all the votes in Europe, did not initially succeed in uniting the public in the United States. Ennio Morricone composed the music beforehand to allow Sergio Leone to play it to the actors during the shooting of the scenes.

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By Anthony Thibault

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

From the "Casimir generation", Anthony has kept (in addition to a passion for Goldorak) a taste for inventive images, experimentation and curiosity. Passionate about travel and pop culture, he co-founded Fantrippers with Nicolas Albert to share his passion with as many people as possible.

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