Cornwall has long been used for the backdrop and location of several well-known films throughout the decades. From smaller productions to big blockbusters, the Cornish landscape has offered a spectacular range of films sets from the stunning shoreline shots of Newquay in the Pirates of the Caribbean series to the charming setting of Mevagissey in the hit comedy film Bad Education.
A trip to Cornwall means you’re never very far from the action and visiting one of these interesting spots offers the perfect photo opportunity with the backdrop of your favourite films. So if you fancy stepping into the shoes of the A-listers and seeing where it all happened, take a look at our film tour around the region for the perfect complement to your stay in Cornwall.
The captivating scenery and breathtaking locations in the north of the region have offered several backdrops for hit films. The mystical lands surrounding Boscastle were an inspiration for films such as Saving Grace (2000) and romantic drama Oscar and Lucinda (1997). Moving around the coastline, James Bond’s Die Another Day (2002) opening sequence on a ‘Korean’ beach is, in fact, the sandy shores of Holywell Bay. Another of Cornwall’s enchanting locations Terbathwith Strand near Tintagel was used in the 1996 Shakespeare adaption Twelfth Night (1996) starring Helena Bonham Carter and Richard E Grant.
The south of the region has provided filmmakers with a charming selection of historical backdrops. A popular location that sets the scene for several films is the pretty harbour spot of Charlestown (above). Famously known for its role on the Poldark TV series, you may have seen this quaint village in a few other hit films too. Charlestown is also the location for the brilliant Cornish film, Bait, directed by Mark Jenkin. This destination plays the part of Portsmouth harbour in the romantic comedy based on the Jane Austen novel Mansfield Park (1999), and offers its setting to another book adaption, Rebecca (1997) by Daphne Du Maurier’s.
In more recent screenings, South Cornwall has appeared in Tim Burton’s remake of the popular film Alice in Wonderland (2010) where we see Antony House in Torpoint appear in fanciful garden scenes. The much-acclaimed Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016) also features snippets from several locations including Caerhays Estate, East Portholland and Porthluney Cove, all near St Austell.
The West provides a spectacular range of locations from dramatic cliff tops to stunning sandy shores. Several well-known films offered the perfect backdrop and many you may not have spotted. RAF Argus and the docks of Falmouth provided scenes in the hit film World War Z (2011) starring Brad Pitt whilst the beautiful setting of St Michael's Mount in fronted the exterior of Sauvage’s French castle in Johnny English (2003).
You’ll certainly have spotted the beautiful locations in the film Ladies in Lavender (2004) featuring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. Cornwall plays a starring role in this film with plenty of Cornish favourites in the limelight including Cadgwith, Helston, Penzance and Prussia Cove to name a few.
You may also have been fooled into thinking Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides (2011) had been filmed in a tropical location but for some of the scenic scenes set in the hit movie, you’ll see snippets of the beautiful sands of St Ives (above) depicting this dreamy location.
Other film locations in Cornwall
As we all know, films are rarely set in one place and for many, clips of several destinations can be found in one movie. The brilliantly British film About Time (2012) starring Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy and Donhnall Gleeson has several chances to spot favourite Cornish treasures including Vault Beach near Gorran Haven (above) and St Michael Penkevil church near Truro. The childhood favourite Thunderbirds (2004) also used several shots of the coastline depicting the landscape of Tracy Island.
The South West lends itself to spectacular movie backdrops due to its range of landscapes and diverse locations. So if you’re visiting the region, be sure to take a peek at these impressive places, you may even get the chance to do some celebrity spotting.
If you'd like to witness Cornwall's silver screen beauty for yourself, take a look at our wide range of self-catering cottages and find the perfect property for you.