Can You Guess If This Movie Was Made in Canada or the US?


By: Ashley Linkletter

7 Min Quiz

Image: Paramount Pictures / 20th Century Fox / Lightstorm Entertainment

About This Quiz

It's a familiar scene for most of us. You're watching a movie that takes place in Seattle only to notice that in the distance, atop a large building, there's a Canadian flag waving in the wind. Or the setting convincingly takes place in Chicago until the moment you see a Toronto bus go by in the background. The rationale behind shooting a movie north of the border makes sense from a financial perspective; filming a movie in Canada is cheaper and is also accompanied by a generous tax credit for production companies. It's also fairly easy to make Canadian locations look like American cities. Toronto has done numerous stints as Chicago, Detroit and New York City, while Vancouver and the surrounding area can be transformed into virtually any location in the Pacific Northwest. 

The same goes for movies that have been filmed in the United States. Milwaukee makes a great Cleveland, Portland can look just like San Francisco and Los Angeles, with its many movie lots, can be made into just about any location the film requires. With all of these bait-and-switch moves, it can be truly difficult to try and guess the actual locale of a movie set. 

This quiz will take you from coast to coast and across the Canada/United States border many times. You'll also learn all about how some of your favourite movies were made (including plenty of trivia!) Are you ready to get started? Lights, camera, action — let's go! 

It may have looked like the Titanic was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in the film of the same name, but it turns out they were actually in which East Coast city?

"Titanic" may follow the adventures of poor American artist Jack Dawson, but the movie was largely filmed in Halifax. Director James Cameron was given permission to film onboard the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, a ship used by the Canadian Coast Guard to break ice in order to create Arctic passageways.


"Footloose" is a classic '80s drama about a small town where dancing is illegal. Where was this iconic Kevin Bacon movie filmed?

It turns out the "Footloose" film crew stayed true to the town's fictional location of Bomont, Utah. Several locations in Utah County were used, including the Geneva Steel mill (which closed its doors in 2001) and the city of Provo (for the scenes at the drive-in.)


In the 2004 remake of "Dawn of the Dead" Milwaukee is overrun by zombies. Were those zombie really in Milwaukee or were they somewhere else?

Luckily for the inhabitants of Milwaukee, "Dawn of the Dead" was shot in Thornhill. In truth, it was the "Dawn of the Dead" film crew that took over Thornhill (not the zombies): the Thornhill Square Shopping Centre was the central filming location as were the surrounding neighbourhoods.


Regina George and company got up to their "Mean Girls" antics in Chicago. Where was the actual filming location?

Once again, Toronto proves itself to be Chicago's literal twin city! The film used several famous Toronto locations to create a Chicago high school campus in the movie "Mean Girls" the University of Toronto, Malvern Collegiate Institute and Etobicoke Collegiate Institute.


Joshua Jackson, Jared Leto and Tara Reid starred in the 1998 slasher movie "Urban Legend." Was this '90s thriller shot in the United States or Canada?

The Canadian cities of St. Catharine's and Toronto, Ontario were transformed into a spooky New England university town thanks to some creative set design. In the film, Pendleton University (a fictional school) is the setting for most of the murderous mayhem — this is actually the University of Toronto.


Where did the Griswold family spend their time while filming "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation"?

Hip-hip-hooray for Christmas vacation! "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" was filmed over two main locations: Colorado and California. Many of the snowy outdoor scenes were shot in Summit County, Colorado while the Griswold house and neighbourhood street was built on a soundstage in Burbank.


The movie "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" is in many ways a love letter to the city of Toronto. Where was it filmed?

An example of a film being true to its setting, "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" was filmed on location in Toronto. Torontonians will spy a Pizza Pizza franchise, Casa Loma, Sonic Boom records, Wychwood Library, St. Michael's College School and a Second Cup coffee shop throughout the movie.


The location of "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey" can be found in which country?

If you guessed the United States, you're correct! The state of Oregon showed its true chameleon-like abilities by standing in for California — including San Francisco (downtown Portland) and the Sierra Nevadas (the Eagle Cap Wilderness area.)


The story of "The Time Traveler's Wife" takes place in Chicago, but where was it filmed?

Film crews took advantage of Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario's familiar look, turning both cities into sets that look just like Chicago. There is one blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment where a Canadian flag can be blowing in the wind at the top of a building.


"The Terminal," a movie starring Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones, takes place in JFK Airport. The exterior shots of the airport were taken in which city?

The exterior shots of JFK Airport are, in fact, shots of the Montréal-Mirabel International Airport in Montreal. In reality, this airport was built with the intention that it would be a major international flight hub but it fell into eventual disrepair. It is now largely used for helicopters, private airplanes and cargo flights.


In "Source Code" Jake Gyllenhaal's character is forced to relive the same eight minutes over and over again on a Chicago commuter train. Were those eight minutes spent in Canada or the United States?

While a few exterior shots were on location in Chicago, the majority of the movie was filmed in Montreal, Quebec. The only recognizable shot of Chicago in the entire movie is at the end, when the protagonist visits Anish Kapoor's "Cloud Gate" sculpture (or, as it's more widely known, "The Bean.")


Based on Truman Capote's experience writing the book "In Cold Blood," the film "Capote" is set in Kansas. Are those real Kansas fields in the movie or are they located somewhere in Canada?

The movie "Capote" looked just like it took place in Kansas despite being filmed in Winnipeg and Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada. Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died in 2014, was credited by the film industry of Manitoba as being a major force behind the province's later use as a setting for films.


Starring Rebecca De Mornay as the vengeful Mrs. Motts, the '90s thriller "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" was filmed in which country?

"The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" was filmed in Washington state. Seattle, Tacoma and Issaquah were all used as locations throughout various points of the movie. The beautiful home that features heavily in the movie is inhabited and can be found in Tacoma (although the exterior received a paint job some time ago.)


Can you guess where the interior scenes for "Good Will Hunting" were filmed?

True to the storyline of "Good Will Hunting," the exterior shots were filmed on location in Boston. However, the University of Toronto provided the setting for many of the interior shots of Harvard and the dorm rooms (several other Toronto landmarks also make an appearance in this movie.)


Three out of the four "Twilight" movies were filmed in the Pacific Northwest. Were they filmed in Canada or the United States?

Even though the "Twilight Saga" was set in the (fictional) town of Forks, Washington, the production team decided to make the film in British Columbia. Three of the movies were filmed in and around Vancouver, British Columbia: "New Moon," "Eclipse" and "Breaking Dawn."


"American Psycho" is a dark satire set in Manhattan, New York. Was the movie shot on location, or somewhere further up north?

Despite satirizing Wall Street yuppie culture, "American Psycho" was filmed in Toronto, Ontario. In order to make the movie look and feel as though it was taking place in New York, film crews took establishing shots in Manhattan to frame the location of the movie.


The runaway hit film "Juno" stars Canadian actress Ellen Page, but was it really filmed in Canada?

This baby is Canadian! "Juno" was shot in Vancouver and the surrounding area in British Columbia (taking the place of Minnesota, the story's actual location.) Director Ivan Reitman chose Vancouver, White Rock and Surrey intentionally, not due to convenience or budgetary restrictions.


Who can take credit for "Dumb and Dumber" — Canadians or Americans?

"Dumb and Dumber" was filmed in several locations across Utah and Colorado (while some of the scenery at the very beginning of the movie was shot in Rhode Island.) The Danbury Hotel in the movie was actually filmed in the real-life Stanley Hotel which can be found in Estes Park, Colorado.


Featuring breathtaking scenes of the great outdoors, the movie "Into the Wild" was filmed in which country?

Based on the true story of Christopher McCandless, a young man who tragically died after living alone in the Alaskan wilderness, "Into the Wild" was filmed in Cantwell, Alaska. Why Cantwell? The small town is 80 kilometres from where McCandless died (it would have been too dangerous and costly to film the bus where he died.)


"The Shining" has some incredible exterior shots of the Overlook Hotel, some involving plenty of snow. Where were these scenes filmed?

The famous winding aerial shot at the beginning of "The Shining" was filmed near Saint Mary Lake in Montana on Going-to-the-Sun Road. The infamous Overlook is actually Timberline Lodge, a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders.


It may have been the Soviet Union versus the United States in "The Hunt For Red October" but in real life, the movie was filmed in which country?

"The Hunt For Red October" was shot in two very different US locations: Alaska and California. Port Valdez, an inlet near Anchorage, stood in for the Soviet Union shots near the beginning of the movie. All of the scenes inside the submarine were filmed in Los Angeles Harbor.


Stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. "The Outsiders" was filmed in which country?

Staying true to the setting in S.E. Hinton's book of the same name, Francis Ford Coppola shot "The Outsiders" on location in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Fans of the movie can even go on a tour of "The Outsiders" filming locations — a VIP ticket will get you a tour hosted by Ponyboy himself!


Classic Christmas caper "Home Alone" has one of the most festive settings of all time. Where was it made?

"Home Alone" was shot on location in the state of Illinois. In fact, the actual house used in the movie was bought in 2012 after being on the market for over a year (a steal at $1.58 million!)


Atom Egoyan's haunting film "The Sweet Hereafter" appears to be authentic in terms of its Canadian setting, so where was it actually made?

The two-time Oscar-nominated film "The Sweet Hereafter" is directed by a Canadian, stars Canadian actress Sarah Polley and takes place in an isolated small town in British Columbia. It turns out the shooting location was also Canadian — the film was made in British Columbia and Ontario.


The surrealist comedy "Being John Malkovich" takes the viewer on a whirlwind trip through time and space. Where was the movie physically filmed?

Director Spike Jonze made his feature film directorial debut with the strange yet inspired movie "Being John Malkovich" and chose to make its movie and real-life setting Los Angeles and the surrounding area. The University of Southern California, Koreatown and RMS Queen Mary all make appearances.


E.T. phone home! Where did the film crew call home while shooting "E.T. the Extraterrestrial"?

"E.T." was filmed in Culver City, Los Angeles County (for both exterior and interior shots, the latter of which were filmed at Culver City's Laird International Studios), Crescent City, Del Norte County (for scenes involving the redwood forest) and Porter Ranch, a suburban neighbourhood in San Fernando Valley.


Released in 1998, "Meet Joe Black" is a story about what would happen if Death fell in love with a mere mortal. Where was this moving film made?

"Meet Joe Black" was filmed in Rhode Island and New York City (specifically Manhattan and South Slope, Brooklyn.) The movie's interior shots were also shot in a nearby location, the Teaneck Armory in Teaneck, New Jersey.


"Major League" follows the zany antics of the Cleveland Indians baseball team — where was this classic comedy filmed?

The production team behind "Major League" decided to film in Milwaukee instead of Cleveland due to financial limitations (the movie had a relatively small budget of $11 million to work with.) The spring training scenes, however, were shot in Arizona where the actual Cleveland Indians trained until 1992.


A violent tale of retribution, "The Boondock Saints" takes place in Boston. Was the movie filmed in Canada or the United States?

Despite the two main protagonists' vow to enact vigilante justice on the worst criminals of Boston, the vast majority of the movie was shot in Toronto, Ontario. Only the very final scenes of the movie were filmed on location in Boston.


The hit comedy "Bridesmaids" takes place in Milwaukee and Chicago but was filmed elsewhere. Can you guess where it was filmed?

Filming for "Bridesmaids" was completed in Los Angeles (not in Chicago or Milwaukee, where the movie takes place.) When shooting the movie, the trick was to find select areas in LA that could be made to look like the Midwest; a difficult feat considering the differences in architectural and geographical landmarks.


The movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" was filmed in which part of the west coast?

Staying true to Ken Kesey's novel of the same name, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" was filmed in Oregon state. Much of the film was shot at the Oregon State Hospital, a public psychiatric hospital and the setting in the novel located in Salem, the state's capital.


Was the creepy 2009 movie "Orphan" mostly filmed in Canada or the United States?

Principal photography for the movie "Orphan" took place in three Canadian cities: Toronto, Montreal and Port Hope, Ontario (a small portion of the movie was filmed in Connecticut, where the story was supposed to take place.)


Can you guess if Robert Redford's "A River Runs Through It" was filmed in Canada or the United States?

While the movie's plot centres around the Maclean brothers, it's fair to say that the state of Montana is a character in and of itself. True to form, Redford shot "A River Runs Through It" in and around three Montana rivers; upper Yellowstone, Boulder and Gallatin.


Some of "Galaxy Quest" takes place on another planet. Where was this world created?

Thanks to the film crew's decision to film in Utah's Goblin Valley State Park at a location that was only accessible via dirt road, the park was able to use the money from production fees to pave the road, making it more accessible to visitors and park rangers.


Where was the horror movie "It Follows" filmed?

Just like the actual story setting of the movie "It Follows," the filming was produced in Detroit and the surrounding area. The film's scariest set location? Northville Regional Psychiatric Hospital, an abandoned hospital that is rumoured to be haunted by former patients.


Where was the movie "The Virgin Suicides" filmed?

Sofia Coppola's debut film "The Virgin Suicides" was set in Detroit but filmed in Toronto, where the University of Toronto and Richmond Hill (part of the Greater Toronto Area) were used as stand-ins for a high school and the suburb where the Lisbon girls lived with their parents.


The film "Brokeback Mountain" was set in Wyoming, but where was it actually filmed?

Based on a short story by Annie Proulx, director Ang Lee's 2005 Oscar-winning "Brokeback Mountain" was set in the mountain ranges of Wyoming. In reality, filming was completed on location in the Rockies (situated in the province of Alberta.)


The real-life high school portrayed in "10 Things I Hate About You" can be found in which of the following places?

With the exception of the final prom scene (which was filmed in nearby Seattle) "10 Things I Hate About You" was shot entirely in Tacoma. Real-life Stadium High School was used as a stand-in for the movie's Padua High School, and many of the students were cast as extras for the film.


In the Edward Norton version of "The Incredible Hulk" the final fight scene takes place in New York City. Where was the actual filming location?

Watching the 2008 rendition of "The Incredible Hulk" is like taking a tour through Southwestern Ontario — you'll find the cities of Toronto, Hamilton, Belleville and Trenton behind all the CGI overlaid over top of real-life buildings (of which there is plenty.)


The movie "Seven Years in Tibet" did a great job of convincing the audience it was filmed on location in Tibet. Was this movie filmed in Canada or the US?

If you guessed Canada you're correct! Many scenes in "Seven Years in Tibet" were filmed on location near Campbell River, British Columbia. Other footage was shot in Argentina, Austria and the mountain ranges of the Andes.


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