In a bid to attract tourists to the country, Thailand has always had an open-door policy fo Hollywood and other major players in the international film industry to shoot movies in Phuket and its surrounding areas. Moreover, the Thai Film industry has over the past decade, produced numerous good movies that have been received well both in Thailand and on the international market. Thailand is home to lots of technicians routinely hired for movie production, and when coupled with the broad range of exotic locations for movie scenes spread across the islands, makes the country a prime location.
Here is a list of the top eight favorite movies that have been filmed on the island of Phuket from the 1970s onwards:
1. James Bond Movie: The Man With The Golden Gun
It is the 9th movie in the James Bond series. Shot in 1974, the film features Roger Moore as James Bond, the hero while Christopher Lee plays the lead villain, Francisco Scaramanga. Most of the film’s scenes were shot in Asia: Thailand (Phuket), Macau, and Hong Kong.
Scaramanga’s bases are arguably the most important locations in the movie and filmed at Khao Phing Kan in the scenic Phang Nga Bay. For tourism purposes, this island was renamed the James Bond islet and has become a popular landmark that attracts hordes of tourists every day.
See related post: 5 Facts About James Bond Island
2. The Beach
This movie is based on the intriguing Alex Garland novel by the same name and features Leonardo DiCaprio in the starring role. Since its release in the year 2000, this movie has been instrumental in making a tiny cove on the eastern side of the island of Ko Phi Phi Leh famous around the world. What’s more intriguing is that the actual island from the novel is located near Koh Samui in Thailand while the island on which the movie was shot is on the western side of the isthmus in the Andaman Sea. At the beginning of the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio, the lead character, stays in the OnOn Hotel in Old Town Phuket.
You might also want to check Phuket’s top 12 beaches.
3. Tomorrow Never Dies
Directed by Roger Spottiswoode, This is the 18th movie in the James Bond series and was shot in 1997 using select locations in Thailand to represent scenes from nearby Asian countries. For example, scenes for the Ho Chi Minh City were filmed in Bangkok while those for Khao Phing Kan were shot in Phang Nga Bay, which was the second time the bay was used as a shoot location for a Bond movie.
4. Heaven and Earth
Heaven and Earth is a 1993 film directed by Oliver Stone, and it relates the consequences of the Vietnam War on local life. The movie follows a true war story written by Le Ly Hayslip (Hiep Thi Le) and rotates around the horrid experiences of a Vietnamese woman during the war, including her journey from Vietnam to the United States of America and back.
The Portuguese House (Baan Chinpracha) that is the central piece in the movie still stands and is open to tourists visiting Phuket Old Town. On the other hand, scenes featuring rural life in Vietnam were filmed in the province of Krabi.
5. Cutthroat Island
An action/romantic/pirate movie shot in 1995 and features Geena Davis in the starring role. While the film itself was a flop by international standards, it is loved for its plot that rotates around Morgan Adam’s (Matthew Modine) quest for a treasure map lost in 1668 Jamaica. The producers used the scenic setting of Ko Phi Phi Leh in Maya Bay for the film’s exterior view, which went a long way in making the film worth watching.
6. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
This 2004 film is the sequel to the much acclaimed Bridget Jones’s Diary and features the same cast: Bridget Jones played by Renee Zellweger, Mark Darcy by Colin Firth and Daniel Cleaver by Hugh Grant.
Some of the most important scenes in the movie were filmed in Bangkok (such as the Soi Cowboy) Phuket Island (Nai Yang Beach and Phuket Airport). The romantic cruise ship scenes were filmed in the bay off Panyee Island).
Stealth is a 2005 action drama featuring Jamie Foxx, Jessica Biel and Josh Lucas as three US Air Force pilots chosen to test an ultra-modern fighter jet piloted by an AI (artificial intelligence) prototype that was learning how to perform complex maneuvers from the three talented pilots. However, things go out of control when the AI starts thinking for itself and making autonomous decisions.
The relaxation scenes for the pilots were shot in Ko Phi Phi Leh in Maya Bay.
8. The Impossible
One of the most recent films with scenes shot in Old Town Phuket, and it follows the story of an English family who was staying at a beachfront resort in Khao Lak in 2004 when the tsunami struck. Juan Antonio Bayona directed the film and released in 2012.
It took one year to put the tsunami sequence together, in addition to combining on location shots. The film also used a miniature of the beach resort mentioned above.