Saudi Arabia is recognized worldwide for its ancient history and culture, cradling many human civilizations. The kingdom is also home to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which attract many people. This marvelous place offers vast and beautiful landscapes suitable for shooting a film. The generosity and incredible hospitality of the Saudis attracts many Hollywood filmmakers. Here is a list of Hollywood movies shot in Saudi Arabia that you must watch.
1. Malcolm X (1992)
Malcolm X is a hit Hollywood film and was the first non-documentary film to receive permission to shoot in Mecca. The film focused on the journey of Malcolm X. The scenes in Saudi Arabia occur when the main character performs Hajj. Today, the film is considered one of the best cinematic biographies and one of the best films of the 1990s.
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2. Wadjda (2012)
Another movie from our list of Hollywood movies shot in Arabia is Wadjda. It is the first Hollywood film shot in Saudi Arabia. by a director, Haifaa Al Mansour. The film won numerous awards at international film festivals. Moreover, it is the first Saudi film selected for the Oscars. Nevertheless, it was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Foreign Language Film and other festivals.
3. Cello (2022)
Cello is a truly global production, with cast and crew members from France, Italy, Canada, the Middle East, Britain and America. It received support from Saudi production company Rozam Media. Moreover, it is based on a novel and screenplay by Saudi author and Chairman of the Kingdom’s General Entertainment Authority, Turki Al Alshikh. In the movie you can see some places of Al Ula and the city of Saudi Arabia.
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4. Cherry (2021)
The AlUla region of Saudi Arabia is home to over 20,000 square kilometers of rugged desert landscape. Additionally, the 2,000-year-old historic town of Hegra presents itself as a cinema site. Cherry, starring Tom Holland, is the story of an Iraqi veteran with PTSD who turns to bank robbery to pay for his and his wife’s opioid addiction. The film’s second unit spent three days shooting in AlUla, replacing the Iraqi desert, and one day in Riyadh.
5. Journey to Mecca (2009)
A Journey to Mecca by Ben Kingsley stars Chems-Eddine Zinoune, Hassam Ghancy, Nabil Elouahabi and Nadim Sawalha. The film follows the pilgrimage of Ibn Battuta (1304-1368), a 20-year-old Muslim religious law student. In the film, he set out from Tangier, a city in northern Morocco, in 1325, about 3,000 miles from Saudi Arabia. Undoubtedly, this movie will take you on a magical adventure of Saudi Arabia.
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6. Kandahar (2022)
According to AlUla Film Commissioner Stephen Strachan, the film’s international cast and crew of more than 200 people in the kingdom include around 10% Saudi citizens. Also, in the movie, you will see places like AlUla, Tabuk, Hail, Jeddah and Taif. Production began in November 2021 and is expected to wrap this month. It is one of the last Hollywood films shot in Saudi Arabia
7. Desert Warrior (2022)
In the kingdom, it is the biggest production ever to come from Hollywood. Wyatt, the director of Rise of the Planet of Apes, leads a team of more than 500 people on this big-budget historical epic, the first major foreign production in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, you will see scenes from the Red Sea coast, Neom, which is a huge region of 26,500 square kilometers larger than Belgium.
8. Barakah Meets Barakah (2016)
Last but not least in our list of Hollywood movies shot in Saudi Arabia is Barakah meets barakah. This award-winning comedy-drama depicts a Saudi love story between a middle-class man and a wealthy woman filmed in Jeddah. Additionally, the film was Saudi Arabia’s official submission for the 2017 Oscars.
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So, here we end our list of Hollywood movies shot in Saudi Arabia. Soon, Saudi Arabia will become the global hub for filmmakers with its vast landscapes. Do you know of any other Hollywood films shot in Saudi Arabia? Let us know in the comments section.
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