Over the years, the Community of Madrid has garnered great national and international prestige and status as film set. Its excellent location, as well as the wide diversity of locations, together with the high level of technical qualification of the audiovisual professionals have nurtured the perfect breeding ground for this to happen.
Spain became Hollywood's favourite film set in the 1950s. Then, in 1960 Stanley Kubrik chose the Madrid mountains to shoot the legendary "Spartacus" (1960), which starred Kirk Douglas and won four Oscars. But, undoubtedly, the person who truly launched Madrid as a location for Hollywood productions was director Samuel Bronston in films such as "55 Days at Peking" (1961), with great stars, such as Ava Gadner and Charles Heston, and filmed in Las Rozas. However, the film with which Spain achieved the greatest international recognition as a film set clearly was "Doctor Zivagho" (1966), directed by David Lean. In this film, the Canillas neighbourhood became a gigantic set that simulated the streets of post-revolutionary Moscow.
On the other hand, the Community of Madrid also played a key role in the creation of the genre known as Spaghetti Western, which subsequently became very popular.
As far as Spanish cinema is concerned, Madrid has always been at the forefront. Thus, one of our most renowned directors, Pedro Almodóvar, began his career in the world of cinema with titles such as "Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Average Girls" (1980) or "Labyrinth of Passion" (1982) choosing the streets of Madrid as the perfect setting for many of his films. Alejandro Amenábar also chose the Community of Madrid as the main location for "Open Your Eyes" (1997), showing us a deserted Gran Vía. Similarly to the case of Alex Iglesia with "The Day of the Beast" (1995).
Our region has been the chosen setting for international feature films, many of them blockbusters, such as one of the most important action sagas of recent years, "The Bourne Ultimatum", which included several locations in Madrid. This film, starring Matt Damon, was awarded 3 Oscars and collected the highest box office figures of the popular saga. Recently, there are other major blockbusters which have also been filmed in Madrid, such as "Way Down" (Jaume Balagueró) or the Hong Kong film "Line Walker 2".
After the COVID-19 health crisis, many shoots have been resumed in the region of Madrid, with more than 250 projects shot in 2020.
These include international series such as "La Fortuna" by Alejandro Amenábar, produced by Movistar+, which was filmed in Leganés, Torrejón de Ardoz, Cercedilla, Mejorada, Valdemorillo and Colmenarejo. Other series that have been filmed in different locations in the Community of Madrid and which have had a great promotional impact include: "Veneno", "Jaguar", "Elite", "Cable Girls", "The House of Flowers", "The Ministry of Time", "Pequeñas Coincidencias", "The Neighbor", ...
As for feature films, they finished shooting "Official Competition" by The Mediapro Studios, co-directed by Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat and starring Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas, which was shot in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Las Rozas and the city of Madrid. There have been other titles such as "The Perfect Family" ¸ directed by Arantxa Echevarría, (Lazona Producciones and Atresmedia Cine) which was filmed in Rascafría and Madrid, or "Renaceres" a documentary by Lucas Figueroa about Madrid during lockdown with striking images of a completely deserted city centre.
The growing interest of the general public in visiting places where films and series have been shot generates an important opportunity to promote destinations and foster tourism visiting these sites. This phenomenon is growing all over the world and constitutes an important alternative to diversify the tourism offer and to counteract its seasonality.
More than 80 million travellers choose their holiday destination on the basis of films and TV series they have seen. This is a new type of tourism that responds to a shift in the interest of the new culture consumers towards the audiovisual industry.
On behalf of Film Madrid, several routes have been developed with the aim of promoting the natural scenery of the city taking into account the natural scenery. These publications have a double objective. On the one hand, to promote knowledge of these filming locations, which are still available for film professionals. On the other hand, to promote film tourism in the Region, through the interest raised by the locations of these films.
Madrid City Council offer through its filming office Ciudad de Madrid Film Office several film routes in the city: