Morocco is a country full of culture and beauty, making it a popular destination for filmmakers all over the world.
From stunning desert landscapes to vibrant souks, Morocco has served as the backdrop for many Hollywood and international films.
In this roundup, we present a list of 15 extraordinary movies filmed in Morocco.
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Where to watch these movies filmed in Morocco?
Many of the movies filmed in Morocco are available for streaming or purchase on digital platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Google Play.
Dependent on where you are located, some of the titles may be available on local TV and streaming services. But the easiest and most convenient way to find and watch them is via Amazon Prime Video.
You can get one month free of Amazon Prime Video by signing up for their free trial. This gives you access to a wide variety of movies and shows including many of the films shot in Morocco.
MOVIES SHOT IN MOROCCO
1) Othello (1951)
Othello (aka The Tragedy of Othello and the Moor of Venice) is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare, probably in 1603, set in the contemporary Ottoman–Venetian War (1570–1573) fought for the control of the Island of Cyprus, a possession of the Venetian Republic since 1489.
Heroic general Othello (Laurence Fishburne), the only African in the Venetian army, is carrying on a courtship with white noblewoman Desdemona (Irène Jacob). Their hasty marriage causes some political upheaval, but the military leader is quickly dispatched to halt an invasion of Cyprus. Once there, Othello’s lieutenant, Iago (Kenneth Branagh), who believes Othello has wronged him, conceives a plan to get revenge by convincing the new husband that his wife is unfaithful.
Legendary director Orson Welles began production of his “Othello” movie in Italy, however financial challenges led to most of the film being shot near Casablanca.
Other scenes were set in El Jadida and Essaouira, coastal cities south of Casablanca.
2) The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
The Man Who Knew Too Much is a 1956 American suspense thriller film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock, starring James Stewart and Doris Day. The film is Hitchcock’s second film using this title, following his own 1934 film of the same name but featuring a significantly different plot and script.
In the movie, Dr. Ben McKenna (James Stewart) is on vacation with his wife (Doris Day) and son in Morocco when a chance encounter with a stranger sets their trip, and their lives, on a drastically different course. The stranger, killed in front of the family in the marketplace, reveals an assassination plot to the Americans. The couple’s son is abducted in order to ensure the plot is kept secret, and suddenly the mother and father, with no help from the police, must figure out a way to get their child back.
The opening scenes were filmed in the souks and the Jemaâ el Fna, the amazing main square, of Marrakech, with its dizzying array of food stalls, storytellers, and snake-charmers.
Also, the couple stays in the famous, and extremely pricey, Hotel La Mamounia, one of the world’s classic luxury hotels, within the old city walls.
3) Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Lawrence of Arabia is a 1962 British epic historical drama film based on the life of T. E. Lawrence and his 1926 book Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
Due to his knowledge of the native Bedouin tribes, British Lieutenant T.E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) is sent to Arabia to find Prince Faisal (Alec Guinness) and serve as a liaison between the Arabs and the British in their fight against the Turks. With the aid of native Sherif Ali (Omar Sharif), Lawrence rebels against the orders of his superior officer and strikes out on a daring camel journey across the harsh desert to attack a well-guarded Turkish port.
Several scenes of Lawrence of Arabia were shot in the Sahara desert in Morocco. The crew spent four months scouting for locations and shooting the film on location in Morocco, including Aït Benhaddou and Ouarzazate.
4) The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
The Man Who Would Be King is a 1975 adventure film adapted from the 1888 Rudyard Kipling novella of the same name. It was adapted and directed by John Huston and starred Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Saeed Jaffrey, and Christopher Plummer as Kipling (giving a name to the novella’s anonymous narrator).
Based on a short story by Rudyard Kipling, this adventure film follows the exploits of Peachy Carnehan (Michael Caine) and Danny Dravot (Sean Connery), English military officers stationed in India. Tired of life as soldiers, the two travel to the isolated land of Kafiristan, where they are ultimately embraced by the people and revered as rulers. After a series of misunderstandings, the natives come to believe that Dravot is a god, but he and Carnehan can’t keep up their deception forever.
In addition to Pinewood Studios, The Man Who Would Be King movie was filmed on location in Morocco, notably in the Ait Benhaddou Kasbah.
5) The Jewel Of The Nile (1985)
The Jewel of the Nile is a 1985 American action-adventure romantic comedy film directed by Lewis Teague and produced by Michael Douglas.
Like Romancing the Stone, the opening scene takes place in one of Joan’s novels. This time, instead of Jesse and Angelina in Joan’s wild-west scenario, Joan and Jack are about to be married when pirates attack their ship. The Jewel of the Nile sends its characters off on a new adventure in a fictional African desert, in an effort to find the fabled “Jewel of the Nile”.
The Jewel f the Nile features two marvelous Moroccan locations, the Kasbah of Aït Benhaddou and the imperial Meknes.
6) The Mummy (1999)
The Mummy is a 1999 American action-adventure film written and directed by Stephen Sommers. It is a remake of the 1932 film of the same name.
The movie is about an archaeological dig in the ancient city of Hamunaptra, an American serving in the French Foreign Legion accidentally awakens a mummy who begins to wreak havoc as he searches for the reincarnation of his long-lost love.
The Mummy movie used Marrakech as a double for the Egyptian capital city Cairo, and parts of the sequel were filmed in the High Atlas Mountains, along the spellbinding Todra Gorge canyons and the breathtaking Dades Valley.
7) Gladiator (2000)
Gladiator is a 2000 epic historical drama film directed by Ridley Scott and written by David Franzoni, John Logan, and William Nicholson. The film was co-produced and released by DreamWorks Pictures and Universal Pictures.
Maximus is a powerful Roman general, loved by the people and the aging Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Before his death, the Emperor chooses Maximus to be his heir over his own son, Commodus, and a power struggle leaves Maximus and his family condemned to death.
The powerful general is unable to save his family, and his loss of will allows him to get captured and put into the Gladiator games until he dies. The only desire that fuels him now is the chance to rise to the top so that he will be able to look into the eyes of the man who will feel his revenge.
So where was Gladiator filmed?
The Gladiator movie was filmed in different locations around the world including the UNESCO World Heritage Site Aït Benhaddou. Ait Benhaddou is a fortified city, or ksar, along the former caravan route between the Sahara Desert and Marrakech in Morocco.
It’s a must-see attraction when visiting Morocco.
8) Black Hawk Down (2001)
Black Hawk Down movie is based on the 1999 non-fiction book of the same name by journalist Mark Bowden, about the U.S. military’s 1993 raid in Mogadishu.
The film takes place in 1993 when the U.S. sent special forces into Somalia to destabilize the corrupt government and bring food and humanitarian aid to the starving population.
Using Black Hawk helicopters to lower the soldiers onto the ground, an unexpected attack by Somalian forces brings two of the helicopters down immediately. From there, the U.S. soldiers must struggle to regain their balance while enduring heavy gunfire.
The movie was made in Morocco, largely around Rabat and the nearby city of Sale, across the Bou Regreg River, on the Atlantic coast.
9) Alexander (2004)
Alexander is a 2004 historical drama epic film based on the life of the ancient Macedonian general and king Alexander the Great. It was directed by Oliver Stone and starred Colin Farrell.
The story is an epic that is as daring and ambitious as its subject, a relentless conqueror who by the age of 32 had amassed the greatest empire the world had ever seen. Past and present collide to form the puzzle of the protagonist, a tapestry of triumphs and tragedies in which childhood memories and Alexander’s rise to power unfold side by side with the later-day expansion of his empire, and its ultimate downfall.
The massive sets for the ‘Hindu Kush’ in the movie were built in the Atlas Mountains about an hour’s drive outside Marrakech. Also, Alexander’s palace grounds are the gardens of the famous La Mamounia Hotel in Morocco (also seen in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much).
10) Babel (2006)
Babel is a psychological drama film directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and written by Guillermo Arriaga. The multi-narrative drama completes Arriaga’s and Iñárritu’s Death Trilogy, following Amores Perros and 21 Grams.
Babel tells the story of two Moroccan boys living in the desert and an American couple visiting Morocco. The boys were tending to the sheep herd while playing with their father’s rifle. To test the range of the rifle one of the boys decided to shoot a moving car on a highway. The boy’s actions resulted in a tragedy and the film follows the story of how the lives of all those involved are affected.
The film stars an ensemble cast including Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael García Bernal, and many more. It was filmed mainly in Morocco around the city of Ouarzazate. Other scenes were shot at Taguenzalt, a small village located near Ouarzazate.
11) The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
The Bourne Ultimatum is a 2007 action-thriller film directed by Paul Greengrass and loosely based on the 1990 novel of the same name by Robert Ludlum. The screenplay was written by Tony Gilroy, Scott Z. Burns, and George Nolfi and is based on a screen story of the novel by Gilroy.
A former CIA assassin continues his quest to fill in memory gaps. When a `Guardian’ reporter stumbles onto his trail, the man spies his chance to blow the Blackbriar black-ops brigade wide open. With some very powerful people intent on keeping their skeletons buried, he is in more danger than ever before, as his former paymasters send a series of elite killers after their reformed ex-colleague.
There were scenes of The Bourne Ultimatum movie filmed in Tangier and Rabat, Morocco.
12) Inception (2010)
Inception is a 2010 science fiction action film written and directed by Christopher Nolan, who also produced the film with Emma Thomas, his wife.
Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a thief with the rare ability to enter people’s dreams and steal their secrets from their subconscious. His skill has made him a hot commodity in the world of corporate espionage but has also cost him everything he loves. Cobb gets a chance at redemption when he is offered a seemingly impossible task: Plant an idea in someone’s mind. If he succeeds, it will be a perfect crime, but a dangerous enemy anticipates Cobb’s every move.
The foot chase sequence with Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) was filmed in the narrow alleyways and bustling souks of Tangier. The northern Moroccan city doubled as Mombasa, Kenya.
13) American Sniper (2014)
American Sniper is a 2014 American biographical war drama film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Jason Hall. It is loosely based on the memoir American Sniper (2012) by Chris Kyle, with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice.
Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) joined the S.E.A.L.s in order to become a sniper. After marrying Taya (Sienna Miller), Kyle and the other members of the team are called for their first tour of Iraq. Kyle’s struggle isn’t with his missions, but about his relationship with the reality of the war and, once returned home, how he manages to handle it with his urban life, his wife, and his kids.
The ‘Iraq’ war sequences of the American Sniper movie were filmed in Morocco. The country’s capital, Rabat on the Atlantic coast, and its neighbor city of Sale across the Bou Regreg River, doubled for war-torn ‘Fallujah’ – as they previously stood in for ‘Somalia’ in Ridley Scott’s 2001 Black Hawk Down.
14) Mosul (2019)
Mosul is a 2019 Arabic-language American war action film written and directed by Matthew Michael Carnahan.
The film is based on the 2016 Battle of Mosul, which saw Iraqi Government forces and coalition allies defeat ISIS which had controlled the city since June 2014. The plot movie is about a young policeman who, along with an elite group of Iraqi soldiers, fight their way through a dangerous city to reclaim it from ISIS.
The filmmakers of Mosul shot the film in Marrakech instead of Mosul due to the ongoing fighting in Iraq. In Morocco, they found a location that looked similar and was able to recreate war-torn Mosul by using a combination of CGI and practical effects.
15) The Old Guard (2020)
The Old Guard is a 2020 American superhero film directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and written by Greg Rucka, based on his comic book of the same name.
The film tells the story of four immortal warriors who have been protecting humanity for centuries. However, their main strength is also their greatest weakness. Their strange gifts for achieving immortality mean that this group is really threatened. Based on the acclaimed graphic novel by Greg Rucka and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, ‘The Old Guard’ is an action story, full of intrigue, that shows us that living forever can be much more complicated than it seems.
Morocco appears repeatedly throughout the film. Marrakech was also used as a setting for the scenes in Afghanistan and other enclaves. Among the most striking places are the El Fenn hotel, the Berber village of Obaki on the Plateau du Kik (a region in the Atlas mountains), as well as the market of Jemaa el-Fnaa, and other locations such as Tamansourt, Harbil, Tayzelt, the Agafay desert, Boukhriss or Kettara.
Here is a recap list of the films that have been shot in Morocco with their locations:
- Othello (1951) : El Jadida, Essaouira
- The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) : Marrakech
- Lawrence of Arabia (1962) : Sahara Desert, Ouarzazate
- The Man Who Would Be King (1975): Marrakech, Ouarzazate
- The Jewel Of The Nile (1985): Meknes, Ait Benhaddou Kasbah
- The Mummy (1999): Marrakech, High Atlas Mountains (Dades valley and Todra Gorge)
- Gladiator (2000): Marrakech, Ouarzazate, Sahara Desert
- Black Hawk Down (2001): Rabat, Sale
- Alexander (2004) : Marrakech, Atlas Mountains
- Babel (2006) : Ouarzazate
- The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) : Tangier, Rabat
- Inception (2010) : Tangier
- American Sniper (2014) : Rabat, Sale
- Mosul (2019) : Marrakech
- The Old Guard (2020) : Marrakech
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