From Inception to Dune: Here are 7 Movies That were Shot in the Middle East

Hollywood films are known for their wonderful cinematography, which draws us in and holds our attention with the small elements that are normally featured in the picture. With that being said, Hollywood is constantly on the lookout for diverse locations that would blend in with the plot while mesmerizing us with their beauty. Those sites are usually in the Middle East, especially when it comes to blockbusters. Egypt, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are three countries that provide vibrant settings for films with an aesthetic that is unlike anything else on the planet.

Therefore, we’ve put up a list of seven Hollywood films shot in these three countries. Those films were carefully shot with the director’s purpose of presenting the characters in a variety of sceneries that would also play a key role in the stories. Thus, what better place to film vehicle chases, action scenes, and sci-fi sequences than Egypt, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates?


This is a mind-blowing film directed by Christopher Nolan, who is known for creating great films that leave audiences speechless. A dramatic chase between Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy was set in Mombasa, Kenya, but it was really filmed in the Old Souk of Tangier, a city in northwestern Morocco, by Nolan.

Via: IMDb

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Tom Cruise is one of those actors who likes performing his own stunts and creating action scenes that have revolutionized the Hollywood action genre. This film featured Cruise climbing Dubai’s Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building) without the use of a stunt double! One of the most bizarre scenes in the entire “Mission Impossible” franchise.

Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen

Who doesn’t love the “Transformers” movies? The excellent VFX and graphics work in the classic Autobots vs. Decepticons fight gave us shivers and made us wonder whether our vehicles would convert into transformers! The film was shot in Egypt, specifically in the Giza Pyramids and Luxor. Because it was a “very secretive” project where the crew spent three days filming the scenes there.

Men In Black: International

Are you a big fan of science fiction adventure movies? Well, “Men In Black: International” was a successful film that portrayed Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson as Men In Black agents hunting extraterrestrial aliens that are up to no good! The movie featured extended scenes that were shot in Morocco, specifically the Sahara Desert near Merzouga and in Marrakech, as well.

James Bond: Spectre

The “James Bond” movies are one of the most well-known films of the twentieth century. Agent 007, played by Daniel Craig, travels the globe on top-secret missions to rescue the day! This time, Daniel Craig and French actress Léa Seydoux head to Oujda, Morocco’s northeastern city, to film a train sequence for the film. Not only that but also the film was shot in places like Tangier and the Moroccan desert.

John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum

Keanu Reeves is a top Hollywood action actor who has encouraged a generation of younger actors to chase their aspirations and master this genre through his films. His best works are “The Matrix ” and “Speed,” which made us fall in love with his fantastic performance! “John Wick” is a unique story in that it depicts the underbelly of criminal organizations and how difficult it is to break out. John Wick travels to Essaouira, which was disguised as Casablanca in the film, in the third installment of the trilogy. We witness him walking around the old town of this city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, through archway alleyways and maze-like corridors.

DUNE 2021

Director, Denis Villeneuve’s version of “Dune” had magnificent and stunning photography, making it one of last year’s most anticipated films. Villeneuve fell in love with the UAE and its desert terrain, therefore a large portion of the film was shot as a double for Arrakis planet in the Liwa desert in Abu Dhabi.

We hope that other filmmakers will be motivated to use those exquisite settings to better reflect the Middle East’s aesthetic appeal. This is a fantastic approach to promote the region and demonstrate that there are some fantastic locations for filming.

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