Published: 24/12/2013 12:14 - Updated: 24/12/2013 12:46

Starring Scotland as...

Skye provided the 'gnarled woodland' required by the makers of 47 Ronin.
Skye provided the 'gnarled woodland' required by the makers of 47 Ronin.

IF parts of new fantasy film release 47 Ronin look strangely familiar, then don’t be too surprised.

Although set in feudal Japan, and starring Keanu Reeves as an unlikely samurai, parts of the film were shot on Skye.

However,  47 Ronin is far from unique in having Scottish scenery stand in for other parts of the world.

Starring Scotland as...


World War Z

Perhaps the best known recent case of Scotland standing in for somewhere else was Brad Pitt’s epic zombie movie with scores of US vehicles imported into Scotland’s largest city to dress it up as the second largest city on the US Eastern seaboard, while hundreds of the undead rampage across George Square right in front of Glasgow City Chambers.

San Francisco

Cloud Atlas

Just a short stroll from George Square along George Street will take you across the USA from World War Z’s Philadelphia to Cloud Atlas’s San Francisco where Halle Berry’s intrepid reporter dodges a hitman and a matte shot of the Golden Gate Bridge gives the illusion that we are in the City by The Bay.

The Yugoslavian coast

From Russia With Love

James Bond’s ancestral homeland has featured as herself in a number of 007 movies, most recently Skyfall, but Scotland has also been called on to double for other locations visited by the globe-trotting secret agent, as when the coast of Argyll provided the location for From Russia With Love’s climactic boat chase.

Eastern USA

Flash Gordon

The heroic hunk’s inter-planetary journey to battle space tyrant Ming the Merciless begins when he takes off from Broadford Airstrip on Skye. More recently star Sam Jones gave his backing in a different fight — not to thwart Ming’s evil schemes, but to keep the island’s airlink open.

Somewhere over Central Asia

The Dark Knight Rises

The big bad of the final film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, the masked and menacing Bane (Tom Hardy) is introduced in a breath-taking aerial escape sequence filmed over the Cairngorms. One stuntman even became wedged in the roof of a building in Feshiebridge at the end of the parachute sequence.

The magical kingdom of Stormhold


Originally, director Matthew Vaughn intended Iceland to stand in for the fairy-tale kingdom where hero Tristan (Charlie Cox) searches for a fallen star. When red tape scuppered that plan, all the story’s author Neil Gaiman had to do was look outside the window of his house on Skye to come up with the perfect alternative.

Think of any more examples? Then just let us know in our comments section.

A scene from Stardust.
A scene from Stardust.

47 Ronin goes on general release on Boxing Day.

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