Shooting locations of the movie Willow

As the sequel to Willow arrives in series on Disney+, discover the filming locations of the original movie.

Follow Willow’s footsteps in her quest to the Daikinis’ kingdom.

Telling the story of how an apprentice sorcerer from the Nelwyn people rescues a chosen princess from the Daikinis kingdom, Willow is a film that has gained a cult following over the years, shot between the UK and New Zealand.

A quest in a universe inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien’s, starting in the surroundings of a witch’s castle…

Surroundings of Bavmorda Castle

If Bavmorda Castle (Jean Marsh) was built from scratch in an old slate quarry in Wales, it was integrated through the magic of special effects in Tongariro National Park in New Zealand, where years later would be shot The Lord of the Rings. Tongario National Park covers an area of 795.98 m2, 320 km north of Wellington. Consisting of volcanoes and a large rainforest, it is home to 56 species of birds such as the kiwi, the blue duck or the karea. It is possible to hike and climb there during the summer season. One of the routes climbs to the top of Mount Tongariro.

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Nelwyns Village

Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) lives with her family in a Nelwyns village, far from the world of men. One day, while trying to become the great wizard’s new apprentice, Willow sees his destiny change forever. The village was recreated in the gardens of Brocket Hall in England. Brocket Hall is a neo-classical country house that is a listed historic monument. The site also includes a vast wooded park where many films have been shot.

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Nelwyns Wood

While the Nelwyns village itself was built entirely on the land of Brocket Hall, the surrounding forest is indeed the Epping Forest, an English wood tragically famous for having served as a shelter for many brigands and other murderers. A favorite place for hikers, the forest is located in the district of the same name and borders several villages. It is the muse of artists who inspired the Genesis song The Battle of Epping Forest. For a long time frequented by convicts and highwaymen, it is unfortunately also famous for containing several graves of people murdered nearby. It has been used several times as a film location.

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Leaving home to rescue Princess Elora, Willow (Warwick Davis) took some friends with him. Its route takes the company through spectacular landscapes like Burney Falls, actually located in California. Fed by underground springs, this 40-meter high waterfall provides a constant flow of 379 million liters of water per day. Particularly appreciated by Theodore Roosevelt, who called them the eighth wonder of the world, this set of waterfalls is part of the national natural monuments of the United States since December 1954. Prized for its fishing, the site has naturally attracted filming. Films such as Stand By Me have been shot here.

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Arriving at the crossroads, in the heart of a vast semi-desert landscape, Willow (Warwick Davis) and her companions meet the rebel knight Madmartigan (Val Kilmer). The latter being imprisoned in a suspended cage. A crucial scene from Willow, shot in New Zealand. Named after Jack Tewa, a man known for being the first to discover gold in the area, the settlement covers an area of 1,200 hectares in the heart of one of New Zealand’s most spectacular landscapes. Once a wilderness area, it is now home to nature-based housing, a golf course, stores, restaurants and several hiking trails. Jack’s Point offers several homes for sale and has been continually expanding since its inception.

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On their way to Bavmorda’s castle (Jean Marsh), Madmartigan (Val Kilmer) and Willow (Warwick Davis) stop at a waterfall. The occasion for the knight to make taste to the small Elora the black roots which he adores, with the great displeasure of Willow. A waterfall actually located in County Wicklow near Dublin. The highest waterfall in Ireland, Powerscourt Waterfall sits in the middle of the grounds of the manor of the same name. Open to the public, although located on private property, it offers a most impressive and somewhat humid spectacle. The tumultuous waters plunging into the Dargle River.

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Lake of Fin Raziel

Willow (Warwick Davis), accompanied by Madmartigan (Val Kilmer), Raoul (Kevin Pollak), Franjean (Rick Overton) and little Elora Danan finally arrive on the shores of the lake of Raziel, the good witch. The latter having been banished to a tiny island that Willow ‘s production found in New Zealand. Home to many whales, seals and dolphins, Milford Sound is framed by majestic mountains, the highest of which is 1,692 meters high. Discovered for the first time by James Cook on November 11, 1770, the site is also known to have been the scene of the search for gold deposits. One of the most famous prospectors, Donald Sutherland, even gave his name to the waterfalls. Milford Sound welcomes approximately 550,000 tourists per year. It is one of the most popular places in all of New Zealand and a famous filming location.

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Fin Raziel Island

Arriving at the lake, Willow (Warwick Davis) leaves Madmartigan (Val Kilmer) and takes a small boat to reach the island of Finn Raziel (Patricia Hayes), a witch who is supposed to help her overcome the reign of the dreaded Bavmorda (Jean Marsh). An island actually located in New Zealand. It gets its name from the fact that depending on where you look, it often remains invisible. It must be said that it rises only a few centimeters above the water. Lake Wakatipu, on which it is located, is huge. It is the third largest in the country and the longest, with 291 km. The lake itself was used in the filming of The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring and the series Top of the Lake.

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Base camp

Prisoners of Bavmorda’s (Jean Marsh) men, Willow (Warwick Davis) and Madmartigan (Val Kilmer) are taken to a base camp up the mountain. Once they arrive, under the cover of night, the two heroes manage to escape. A scene shot by Ron Howard in the Cardrona Alpine Resort in New Zealand. Six ski lifts lead to the ski slopes, between 1260 and 1860 meters of altitude. Opened to the public in 1980, the site includes both ski and snowboard slopes. It is a tradition that before leaving the place, women leave their old bra on the fence. Previously privately owned, the ski resort is now owned by Cardrona Alpine Resort.

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Bavmorda Castle

Driven by George Lucas’ ambition to produce a great adventure film, Willow benefited from a substantial budget. So much so that production has built a real castle, at least in part, on an abandoned slate quarry in Wales. Built in 1870, these workshops closed for the first time in 1969 before reopening in 1972 as the North Wales Quarrying Museum. A museum created with the help of a large grant. This includes an exhibition entitled To Steal a Mountain, dedicated to the life of the workers who once extracted slate.

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Cult! movies: 100 mythical places of cinema [French Edition]

Since the dawn of cinema, films have invaded the world and highlighted sometimes unexpected places. Every film location has its secrets. The latter are sometimes as exciting as the feature films themselves.

Did you know that the cemetery where the final duel of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was built from scratch and that no body lies there? Or that the bus ofInto The Wild has been moved to discourage fans from spending the night there? From the story of the construction of The Bridge on the River Kwai to the incredible encounter during the shooting of the last scene ofIndiana Jones and the Last Crusadeembark on an exciting world tour with the greatest stars of the seventh art. Shiver in the real haunted house ofAmityville and discover the terrifying anecdotes of the making ofApocalypse Now in the Philippines. Visit the building of Blade Runner before stopping at Hogwarts and finally landing in Jurassic Parkin the middle of the Hawaiian archipelago. What if we also took you behind the scenes of the making of the Hobbits’ village of Lord of the Rings ?

Produced by a team of pop-culture specialists and enhanced by numerous anecdotes, Cult! movies tells the secrets of the places that made the history of cinema.

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By Gilles Rolland

Monday, November 28, 2022

Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.

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