Film Location Sites
Hollywood has repeatedly chosen Tunisia as the location for its cinematic blockbusters – a billion dollar recognition of the nation’s dazzling good looks, charm and showbiz glamour.
Over 130 productions have filmed under Tunisian skies, from Roman Polanski’s Pirates and romantic drama The English Patient to action film Raiders of the Lost Ark and pioneering comedy Monty Python’s The Life of Brian. Each movie has drawn on the country’s incredible diversity of landscapes from rugged peaks and golden deserts to valleys, salt lakes, powdery sands and historic cities: Tunisia has put them all in the picture, often in a starring role.
Legendary film director George Lucas arguably awarded Tunisia the greatest cinematic accolade when he declared it is the only place on earth for his world-acclaimed Star War series.
Today, many thousands of diehard Star Wars fans make the pilgrimage to Tunisia to visit all the film set locations in the country’s south. As the setting for Mos Espa on Tataouine, the Skywalkers’ home planet, the oasis town of Tozeur and the salt lake Chott el-Jerid is first place film buffs pay homage. The Mos Espa set is eerily well-preserved with the whole town in tact including the gates, the market, Sebulba’s Café, the Pod-racing arena and the streets with Watto’s shop. Close by, some jutting sandstone rocks formed the site of the Jedi duel between Qui-Gonn and Darth Maul in Episode I.
Tucked in amongst thousands of palm trees in and around the city are the sites where several memorable scenes were shot including Shmi Skywalker's funeral in Attack of the Clones and the final shot of Revenge of the Sith. By a twist of fate, the Tataouine location is within easy reach of a key desert location featured in another Oscar-winning motion picture, The English Patient. Other film haunts include the lunar-like desert-scape and subterranean settlement of Matmata, a village seen in the very first Star Wars film – Episode IV: A New Hope. As an otherworldly labyrinth of rock-hewn troglodyte dwellings looped around a deep-sunken courtyard Matmata is deserving of international stardom as an exotic “planet” found on earth. After checking out the Stars Wars props in the desert, movie fans can stay in Luke Skywalker’s home - now the Hotel Sidi Driss – where a Star Wars bar is crammed with film set memorabilia.