Cities "Doubling" As Other Cities In Movies

I recently read on the internet a post by someone who was inquiring about whether Montevideo, Uruguay has “doubled” for Havana, Cuba in movies before. Someone replied that the Uruguayan Capital city has never been used as a setting for the Cuban capital in movies. But that they have seen Barcelona, Spain used as Havana in “Voyage of the Damned” and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic filling in for Havana in “Godfather II”.

I knew that sometimes locations used in movies are not the actual location, but another place “doubling” for that city. I remember in 1999’s James Bond film “The World Is Not Enough”, a scene was supposedly shot in Azerbaijan. Who knows if it actually was filmed in that country or not?
This is not surprising, it’s hard and not worth it to travel and shoot in the actual place for one scene only. Among other reasons.

But I have no idea in which movies or shows cities doubling for other cities, and have never paid much attention or thought to it.

Do any of you actually know of places doubling for other places in movies.

Please mention.

Vancouver has stood in as a generic San Francisco fairly often. The two cities have similar climates, hilly terrain and even electric trolley bus lines. Obviously, the major buildings and views are different, but for close-scale street scenes, Vancouver has been cheaper in terms of labor, permits, etc.

Not sure if this is what you are looking for but Vancouver never plays itself.

Toronto certainly stands in for many cities in the US.

The Freshman, set in New York, was filmed in Montreal.

The old districts of Helsinki often stand in for Moscow. Firefox was filmed there, and I recognized the Helsinki Metro immediately.

In the Soviet series of Sherlock Holmes movies (which were excellent, BTW), Baltic cities stood in for London.

Looks like Canadian cities are cheaper than USA.

They used Dallas for Detroit in at least one of the Robocop movies. Real Detroit was way too run down to even play a run down Old Detroit.

Yes, all examples are welcome. Good responses to everyone.

I don’t recall ever recognizing L.A other than it’s when it’s supposed to be L.A in the movie, show or commercial. Never as one city, then as watching it realizing that blank city is really L.A standing in for that city by recognizing a detail.

I find your attention to the Helsinki Metro interesting.


Some of Robocop 2 was filmed in Houston. I once worked with a guy who was an extra (he played a security guard at the OCP building, iirc).

Last of the Mohicans was set in upstate New York, but filmed in North Carolina.

Also see:

California Doubling

And St. Louis substituted for New York City in Escape from New York because Real New York wasn’t run down enough!

The early scenes in the movie Stripes were supposed to take place in New York City. In reality, they were filmed in Louisville, KY. Ft Knox is not too far from Louisville. The scene where Bill Murray stops the cab he’s driving and throws the keys into the river? That was the Second Street Bridge that spans the Ohio River, leading into Indiana.

Trivia bit: The bridge that was used in that scene is the one that Muhammad Ali is alleged to have thrown his Olympic medal after still experiencing racism.

A lot of the city scenes in The Avengers were filmed in Cleveland, including the scenes where Loki appeared (supposedly in Stuttgart) and the scenes where the Avengers fought the Chitauri (supposedly in Manhattan).

One surprising one is Full Metal Jacket. Kubrick didn’t feel like traveling so the entire movie was filmed in the United Kingdom - including the battle scenes that were supposed to be in Vietnam.

I rode on it when I visited a classmate there. She (a native Finn) thought it was something of a joke, because it had only one line (this was in 1990) with not too many stops. You don’t really need the Metro to get around Helsinki; I did it very well on foot. And after having lived in Moscow for almost a quarter century, I can tell you the Metro there bears little resemblance to the one in Helsinki.

The Green Berets was set in Vietnam, but filmed in Georgia (USA). :smiley:

Los Angeles has stood in for numerous cities. The TV show Castle takes place in NY, filmed in LA. The early season of McGuiver was supposed to take place in various locations around the world, filmed in LA.
The very first mission Impossible TV show was supposed to take place at an Eastern European prison. The exteriors were filmed at Fairfax High School. My father’s construction office was a guard shack.

A fair amount of Up In The Air was filmed in St. Louis. One neighborhood stood in for Chicago. A couple places were used for a Wisconsin town (I think; wherever Clooney’s character was supposed to have grown up). Some empty buildings were also used for interior shots.