Keisha Castle Hughes in The Nativity Story, photo courtesy New
Line Cinema.

It’s highly possible that you’ve seen at least some half-dozen movies filmed on location in Morocco and not even known it. Bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and the Sahara Desert, this North African country has stood in for locales in movies as diverse as the classic Lawrence of Arabia to the most recent incarnation of The Hills Have Eyes. In fact, since foreign filming began there in 1987, more than 500 movies have featured the country’s universal landscape as the backdrop. Directors choosing to film in the region have included Bernardo Bertolucci (The Sheltering Sky), Alfred Hitchcock (The Man Who Knew Too Much) and Martin Scorsese (Kundun and The Last Temptation of Christ).

Among the commitments listed by the Moroccan Cinematographic Centre are government cooperation, military and police assistance, a simplified procedure for the importing and exporting of shooting material and professional, trained crews experienced in working with foreign productions. Each year the country sees the production of an average 30 films, but in 2004 alone, 93 U.S. films were permitted production visas.

Most recently audiences would have seen the beauty of this “Western Kingdom” in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Babel. It will also be featured in Catherine Hardwicke’s The Nativity Story, out December 1st. The movie follows the Biblical characters of Mary (Academy Award nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes of Whale Rider) and Joseph (Oscar Isaac) as they deal with the miracle birth of Jesus. While much of the film was set in Italy, key scenes of Herod’s castle and the temple of Jerusalem made use of the beautiful Moroccan landscape.

The following movies also offer visuals of Morocco’s mountains, coasts and dunes include:

The Man Who Would Be King
Hideous Kinky

For more information on filming in Morocco, visit

Share the MovieMaker love!

Comments are closed.

Latest Stories
Copy of Copy of Blue Ruin Poster

Blue Ruin‘s director-writer-DP, Jeremy Saulnier, shares one of MovieMaker‘s greatest “How They Did It” stories of all time, lying, begging and impoverishing himself on the way to Cannes glory with his sleek bullet of a revenge thriller. This article appears in full in our Spring issue, on stands now. Stay tuned tomorrow for Part Two. [...]

Copy of Copy of Sergey Maidukov_01_HR

In our Spring issue, we asked Academy-Award winning director Oliver Stone if film can make a difference in vanquishing the darkness and rot that has pervaded through humanity’s ages. Stone, whose provocative Showtime documentary series The Untold History of the United States recently spawned an education project, is a veteran in the trenches of political [...]

50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee - SFF 2013 Spectacular Now Screening - Featured

Feast your eyes on MovieMaker‘s complete list of the 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee in 2014. Despite original plan to publish the list in installments (we had already begun here and here), we’ve decided we couldn’t keep the news to ourselves any longer. We’re happy to present our much-deliberated, comprehensive list, featured in [...]

Cold in July Featured

Jim Mickle’s new Cold in July trailer guarantees grit, guns, blood, and tears. Not necessarily in that order. Jim Mickle’s first two films Stake Land and Mulberry St were entertaining, if not very sophisticated, forays into modern horror. His 2013 follow-up We Are What We Are showed that Mickle is developing into a refined storyteller, capable [...]


You can take a moviemaker out of New York, but… When my first son Ben was born in Los Angeles 19 years ago, I cut the umbilical cord, held him in my arms, and said, “Ben, I just want you to know one thing—you may have been born in L.A., but we’re from New York!” [...]


This week, New Filmmakers LA brings you the inside scoop on the moviemaking, featuring interviews with directors Dustin Shroff, John McCracken, Danny Finn, Juan Uribe and John Bevilacqua. NewFilmmakers LA (NFMLA) is a non-profit organization designed to showcase the innovative works by emerging filmmakers from around the world, providing the Los Angeles community of entertainment [...]


Seven years ago, MovieMaker interviewed British director Edgar Wright about the second part of his Blood and Cornetto trilogy: the devilishly sharp cop-movie parody Hot Fuzz. Today Wright turns 40, and to celebrate his singular cinematic style we’re revisiting this typically droll conversation between the director, his longtime collaborator Simon Pegg, and writer David Fear. [...]


Jump Outs is an urban gameshow, produced and distributed by DailyMotion as a part of their new digital programming. Production assistant David Quan walks us through the set of the unscripted shoot, involving eight ENG cameras and a dozen GoPros. It’s quiet on top of the Hill. The four of us sit in silence, but [...]

Made In LA - Social Action Documentary

In our Spring 2014 Activism in Film issue (available to the public next Tuesday, April 22!), we asked the question: Can your movie change the world? In our cover story, Beth Portello, co-founder of Cinema Libre Studio, interviewed representatives from all the different groups that make social change possible: grant organizations, engagement strategists, producers, distributors, [...]