Lies!!! 8 Movie Locations You Assumed Were Real, But Were Actually Totally Fake

Lies!!! 8 Movie Locations You Assumed Were Real, But Were Actually Totally Fake

Yeah, y’know Rocky? It was barely shot in Philadelphia at all. 

By Kristyn Pomranz

OK, it's no secret that plenty of TV shows and movies are filmed on sets, often in Hollywood. (We're not exactly blowing the lid off anything here.) But there are also many high-profile films with heart and soul so deeply rooted in their setting that we can only believe the director and producers took to the streets and filmed where they claimed.

But NO. Just like everything else in this world, even the most geo-iconic movies — some with the city right there in the title! — are brimming with lies. We know they say that movies are magic... but where do we draw the line between "magic" and "I can't trust anything I thought I knew anymore."

Good Will Hunting

Allegedly: Boston

Actually: Toronto

The famous Cambridge setting. The bitter cold. The excessive Southie accents. All wicked lies. Everyone’s favorite Boston-based award winner was actually filmed in Canada. Harvard and MIT? Yeah, both are actually just University of Toronto.

Dallas Buyers Club

Allegedly: Dallas

Actually: New Orleans

In real life, Ron Woodruff did actually smuggle experimental AIDS drugs into Texas, but in the film world, Matthew McConaughey didn’t — the entire movie was filmed in New Orleans (for the massive tax incentives).

Kill Bill: Volume 1

Allegedly: Japan

Actually: China

While The Bride went to Japan to battle the Tokyo yakuza, Uma Thurman actually headed off to Beijing Film Studio, located in the heart of the Chinese capital.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Allegedly: Chicago

Actually: Toronto

If you’ve always wanted to visit Dancing Zorba’s, you’re in for a real disappointment: the Chicago-set movie was filmed in Toronto — and based on the Greek community of Winnipeg!


Allegedly: Philadelphia

Actually: Los Angeles

A Philly icon? Not so fast. According to L.A. Weekly, the low-budget boxer flick couldn't afford to send a union crew all the way to the Philadelphia. So they sent a small team to film the iconic scene where Rocky runs the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum and some exteriors, and the rest was shot in Los Angeles.

Cold Mountain

Allegedly: North Carolina

Actually: Romania

Sure, the production crew could have set up camp on the actual Cold Mountain in Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina, but Romania was much less cluttered with modernity.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Allegedly: Chicago

Actually: Los Angeles

As with all John Hughes films, this one was based in Chicago. But unlike the bulk of his films, this one wasn’t shot there. Even the snow was made in L.A. — out of soap and crushed, wet marble.


Allegedly: The ocean

Actually: Mexico, indoors

OK, so this one’s kind of a trick because obviously they didn’t film Titanic in the middle of the Atlantic. But the full-scale replica of the Titanic ship was built and shot in Mexico, while the ocean scenes were filmed indoors in a massive water tank.

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