Apr 19 2013 1:30pm

8 Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies Filmed in Iceland

I have a confession: I am obsessed with Iceland. I’ve only been there once, but I’ve been mesmerized by the place ever since. (Would you like to see my 3500 vacation photos? Seriously, I’d be happy to show you them. All of them. One by one.) So it was not terribly surprising to me that Iceland has become Hollywood location scouts’ darling of late. Being there, you cannot help but to feel that the Earth is a living thing, in constant flux—with thousands of dramatic waterfalls, volcanoes, geysers (in fact, the geyser), and otherworldly landscapes shaped by old and new eruptions, it’s a natural stand-in for both the beginning of time and the ends of the earth.

With Thor: The Dark World —filmed in part in Iceland—opening this weekend, I thought I’d take a look at some other science fiction and fantasy movies that have been shot on this spectacular island...


Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones in Iceland

“When the long night comes, north of The Wall becomes the kingdom of the dead.” Special effects and method acting need not apply when filming endless winter in Iceland: in this featurette you can see “Jon Snow” and others discussing the icicles in their beards and the stupendous landscape. (Fun fact! During the filming for season 2, crew members would chip off ice from the ancient glaciers nearby to put in their drinks.)



Prommetheus in Iceland

Remember those innocent days when we were all stoked to see Prometheus? Listening to Ridley Scott’s Comic Con broadcast, I was excited to hear he was using Iceland to represent primordial Earth. I was less excited to realize, after seeing Prometheus, that Iceland was the only truly mind-bendingly awesome thing about the movie, particularly in that first scene revealing the origins of humanity in the dramatic Dettifoss waterfall.


Batman Begins

Batman Begins

Bruce Wayne learns his Batman-y ways in a Tibetan monastery—except Tibet is Svínafellsjökull, Iceland in this instance. Here Liam Neeson and Christian Bale engage in a classic training sequence on an icy glacier:


Journey to the Center of the Earth

Jourrney to the Center of the Earth

Snæfellsjökull is a glacier-topped volcano on the western edge of the spectacular Sneafellsnes peninsula. Jules Verne made it the entrance to the center of the Earth in his famous novel, so it was a natural fit for the 2008 movie adaptation to be filmed there, as well!


Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider seems to have gone all over the world for locations, including Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. Incidentally, this location has also been used in at least two James Bond movies.



Oblivion in Iceland

In Tom Cruise’s Oblivion, Iceland stands in for a post-apocalyptic and largely abandoned Earth. Sadly, like Prometheus, the look of the movie is its only real showstopper.


And now, for my Nordic fixation, two upcoming blockbusters:

Thor: The Dark World

It’s a homecoming of mythic proportions! Thor Two has used Iceland to stand n for the Dark World. Ther are so many reason to be looking forward to this movie, and Iceland IS ONE OF THEM.



Russell Crowe in Darren Aronofsky's Noah.

Darren Aronofsky has been working on an adaptation of the biblical story of Noah, with Russell Crowe in the title role. The movie is slated for March 2014 and also stars Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, and Jennifer Connelly. Aronofsky has taken to sharing tidbits and shots of Iceland on his Twitter account, for those interested!

Lesley A
1. Lesley A
The Gerard Butler version of Beowulf was also filmed in Iceland, in quite horrendous weather!
Irene Gallo
2. Irene
Thanks for the tip. I’ll check out, the photos look amazing. Here’s a production shot from the movie’s website:
T S Davis
3. tee+D
? I feel you on the vacation pictures - I've been twice, one in the dead of winter, the other, high summer. And I'm still obsessed. And now I want to rewatch all of these films!!

Maybe, since we're bound to have TEN THOUSAND new Star Wars movies (erg) they'll film one there.
Lesley A
4. Hedgehog Dan
Hmm... I thought that Stardust was filmed in Iceland as well...
Irene Gallo
5. Irene
@3: tadmack
I was there in July but I'm so tempted to go in Winter. I’d loe to see teh Northern Lights. And their New Year’s fireworks look crazy.

@Hedgehog Dan
You are right...although I wasn’t abel to discern what was Iceland and what was seemed the bulk of it was Skye.
Chris Nelly
7. Aeryl
Funny Iceland related story I heard on NPR. Apparently, its so sparsely populated that most everyone is distantly related. Someone developed an app that you can use when you are on a date. You and your date both check into the app, and it will tell you how closely(if at all) you are related.
Lesley A
8. Gatwick
For those of you interested in Iceland - last weekend's Financial Times (13/14 April weekend supplement) has an article of a driving holiday around Iceland. You may want to check that out.
Lesley A
9. Roger Roger
Astropia was filmed in Iceland. It is a cute little Icelandic fantasy geek movie. Sort of. I liked it.
Lesley A
10. Bjarney Inga
Stardust was indeed filmed here. Ben Stiller has an upcoming movie that was also filmed here, and I can't remember any more. Icelandic person saying hi.
Turlough Delaney
11. Goobdroog
Apparently Christopher Nolan was spotted scouting locations in Iceland for his next film, Interstellar.
Lesley A
14. Kadere
I love how the title says "sci-fi fantasy MOVIES" and the first thing's a TV show.
Lesley A
16. Nightreader
@7 That is actually a thing here. Go back 7 or 8 generations and you're related to 90% of the population. I don't have the app myself but it makes a lot of sense, I've had a crush only to find out the guy was a cousin.
Anyways, always happy to see Iceland get some love ^^
Lesley A
17. filkferengi
What about "Journey To The Center Of The Earth" from 1959? Besides the landscape, other scenic highlights include James Mason and Pat Boone .


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