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Screen Tourism

Community of Madrid, film set

Over the years, the Region of Madrid has garnered great prestige and tradition as a national and international film set. Its excellent location, as well as the wide diversity of its locations, together with the major technical skills of the professionals who have worked in the audiovisual sector, have been the main factors that have made Madrid an outstanding filming location since the arrival of the cinematographer in the capital in 1896, and especially from the second half of the 20th century onwards

From the second half of the 1950s and into the 1960s, Spain became Hollywood's favourite film set. The great precursor of Madrid as a Hollywood set was the producer Samuel Bronston, who, among other productions, filmed in Madrid locations such well-known titles as King of Kings (1961), El Cid (1961), 55 Days in Peking (1963), The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) and The Fabulous World of the Circus (1964). Locations such as Navacerrada, Chinchón, Colmenar Viejo and Manzanares el Real were turned into film sets, along with large sets that were installed in the grounds of Las Matas (Las Rozas) and the indoor sets in the capital’s Chamartín Studios.

Other examples of major productions were the legendary Spartacus (1960) by director Stanley Kubrick and starring Kirk Douglas, who filmed important scenes in the Dehesa de Navalvillar (Colmenar Viejo), Alcalá de Henares and the Casa de Campo in Madrid. And the film with which Spain achieved the greatest international recognition as a film set, the great film classic Doctor Zhivago (1965), directed by David Lean, with the present-day Canillas neighbourhood of the capital Madrid turned into a gigantic set that imitated the streets of Moscow, among other locations.

The Community of Madrid also played a key role in launching and popularising the genre known as the spaghetti western. Sergio Leone's so-called "Dollar Trilogy" starring Clint Eastwood, filmed between 1964 and 1966, was the zenith of the European western, with the municipalities of Hoyo de Manzanares and Colmenar Viejo as the main settings for a western genre that hosted more than 200 titles spread over 36 municipalities, as can be discovered in the Madrid guide, Far West Territory.

In recent years, the Madrid Region has once again hosted the filming of major international productions, not only American but also European and Asian. Renowned action sagas such as The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) and Hong Kong's Line Walker: Invisible Spy (2019) have all set their scenes in the city of Madrid.
Major international projects with national productions such as Way Down (2021) by Jaume Balaguero, shot most of their filming in emblematic locations in the Madrid capital, such as the Plaza de Cibeles, the Círculo de Bellas Artes, the Instituto Cervantes and the Palacio de Buenavista, in a filming that recreated the celebration of the 2010 Football World Cup in the iconic Madrid square. The municipality of Chinchón has hosted the most recent experience in the region, with the major American production Asteroid City (2022) by Wes Anderson.

The audiovisual map of Madrid

Different dissemination projects present the locations of films and series shot in the Region of Madrid. This dissemination of Madrid's audiovisual heritage enables the discovery of historic locations for audiovisual productions, which in many cases are still available for use as locations. On the other hand, these initiatives enable exploring the great variety of scenarios in the region, which serve as a basis for the creation of promotional and tourism activities.

Madrid Audiovisual Map

The main objective of the project Audiovisual fiction in the Community of Madrid: shooting locations and development of cinematographic tourism (FICMATUR) is to inventory the audiovisual heritage of the Community of Madrid.

A project that reveals the potential of fictional images filmed in the region as a tourist resource, symbolic value and disseminator of the territorial, historical and natural heritage, as well as determining and studying filming locations as a narrative and expressive resource.

A research work by the GeoCine group, comprised of 21 researchers from different areas of knowledge (geography, audiovisual communication, tourism, library and documentation and computer science) from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and Universidad Camilo José Cela.

Movie map of the city of Madrid

On the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the first cinema screenings in Spain and the shooting of the first films in the capital, Madrid Film Office, the Madrid City Council's film promotion office, published a geo-referenced film catalogue and movie maps that include the locations of feature films, series, commercials, documentaries and other audiovisual works shot in the city of Madrid.

A project presented as part of FITUR Screen, the film tourism section of the major international tourism fair, which highlights the city's extensive audiovisual heritage.