Mexico has always been a great country in which to shoot films. Not only has it got its own thriving movie industry, but it is very close to Hollywood. A short drive, or an even shorter plane journey, can see a whole cast and crew coming south of the border. They are all taking advantage of the megadiverse scenery and the wide open spaces. Everything from deserts to rainforests to oceans to subterranean worlds to sprawling urban locations can be found here. Of course, it helps enormously that average production costs are up to 30% lower than in the USA, Canada and Europe.
According to The Internet Movie Database, some 16,218 movies have been filmed in Mexico. This has been going on since the very dawn of Hollywood. Some of the scenes are rather surprising. For example, who guessed that the climatic sinking scenes, in 'Titanic', were filmed in Rosarito; or that the same location doubled as Pearl Harbour? We couldn't possibly cover all of the movies here. However, here is a taste of what Mexico's scenery helped bring to the silver screen. Please do comment with any of your favorites that we missed.
'Fun in Acapulco' (1963): Elvis Presley did go to Acapulo to film this.
'Licence to Kill' (1989): Sanchez's home is actually the real life Villa Arabesque, on the di Portanova Estate, near Las Brisas in Acapulco.
'Limitless' (2011): The cliff dive happened here.
'The Real Cancún' (2003): Filmed in and around the real Cancún.
'Apocalypto' (2006): The rainforest scenes were filmed here.
'Against All Odds' (1984): This is where Coach Sully catches up with Brogan and Wyler. The Sacred Cenote, which plays a prominent role in the film, is located at Chichén Itzá.
'Against All Odds' (1984): This is where Brogan found Wyler.
Isla de Mujeres:
'Against All Odds' (1984): The Cozumel scenes were actually shot on Isla de Mujeres.
'Licence to Kill' (1989): This is where James Bond and Felix Leiter find Sanchez. It's also where the underwater scenes were filmed.
Mexicali, Baja California:
'The Game' (1997): Van Orton is left here by gamesters.
Home of Estudios Churubusco (Churubusco Studios), where films have been made since 1945. Amongst those known internationally are: The Fugitive (1946), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1968), Amityville II: The Possession (1982), Rambo: First Blood Pt II (1984), Licence to Kill ( 1988), The Hunt for Red October (1989), Total Recall (1990), Romeo and Juliet (1996), The Mask of Zorro (1998) and 'Resident Evil: Extinction' (2006), plus many more besides.
'Licence to Kill' (1989): Much of Isthmus City is really Mexico City. The ornate post office is real. It's Mexico's City main post office (Oficina Central de Correos, Calle Tacuba 1 y Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas). The 'El Presidente', where James Bond and Pam Bouvier spend the night, is really Gran Hotel de la Ciudad de Mexico, though the exterior is Biblioteca de la Banca de Mexico (Library of the Bank of Mexico). The City Theatre doubles as Sanchez's office, while the 'Isthmus Casino' is usually a restaurant called 'Casino Espanol'. Just outside the city, the Otomi Ceremonial Center was used as the set of the Olimpatec Meditation Institute.
Total Recall (1990): Many of the scenes were filmed in and around Mexico City. There is supposedly still blood splatter stains, at Metro Chabacano, on the Tacubaya-Col. Puebla Line, where the escalator scene was filmed. The lobby and penthouse of Hotel Nikko Mexico were also used; as was Metro Insurgentes subway station, in the Glorieta de los Insurgentes shopping mall.
Free Willy (1993): Some of the city scenes were filmed in Mexico City.
'Limitless' (2011): Some of the tropical party scenes were filmed at Punta de Mita and on Isla Marietas.
'Limitless' (2011): Some of the party scenes were filmed in Bahia de Banderas, Puerto Vallarta, including the reckless driving through the streets.
'Night of the Iguana' (1963): Much of the film was recorded here. The cast, including Deborah Kerr, Ava Gardner, Sue Lyon, Emilio “El Indio” Fernández and Richard Burton all stayed in the town, along with director John Huston, and were visited often by the author, Tennessee Williams. This took place just as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were starting their relationship.
'Predator' (1987): Filmed in Mismaloya, near Puerto Vallarta. Some of the props have been left there as a permanent tourist attraction.
Rosarito, Baja California:
Home of Baja Studios, which was originally built to film James Cameron's 'Titanic'. Amongst the films recorded here are: Titanic (1997); Tomorrow Never Dies (1997); Deep Blue Sea (1999); In Dreams (1999); Pearl Harbour (2001); The Fast and the Furious (2001); Life of Pi (2002); Master and Commander:The Far Side of the World (2003) and Jumper (2008).
Titanic (1997): Vast tank built here was where much of the sinking footage was filmed.
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997): Used the tank built for 'Titanic' for the sea landing scene.
Rumorosa Pass, Mexicali:
'Licence to Kill' (1989): The climatic car chase, nominally on 'Paso El Diablo', was filmed at the Rumorosa Pass, 50 miles west of Mexicali.
San Felipe, Baja California:
'Quantum of Solace' (2008): The dogfight that ensues when James Bond and Camille survey Quantum's land acquisition by air was filmed here.
'Against All Odds' (1984): This is where Brogan and Wyler finally get together.
'The Cave' (2005): The flooded cavern system was partially a composite of several cenotes on the Yucatán peninsula. The scenic shots were in Mexico, while the action shots were in a controlled environment, namely a large tank in Romania. There was also some open water footage. The crew were on the Yucatán for five weeks capturing all this pretty scenery.