Friday Feature: The World Map According to Hollywood by @cartoonbeardy

As many home-makeover shows inform us, everything hinges on three words; Location, Location, Location!

It's advice film makers might be wise to heed, as we present to you some of the worst gaffs in film geography. Bring a map and hit the jump:

Patriot Games

In a film rife with mistakes regarding the layout of London and the underground stations of the Piccadilly line, the worst has to be an impressive gaff that most audiences, surprisingly, fail to notice. Before the assassination attempt on Harrison Ford, we see him exit the Greenwich Naval College, unsurprisingly in Greenwich in South East London. However, Ford is waving at his wife and daughter, who are coming out of Buckingham Palace... 10 miles away... on the other side of London... Just to add salt to the geographical wounds, we cut to the assassins in a taxi cab driving towards Ryan, who are clearly driving down Clarkenwell road, which is 4 miles east of Buckingham Palace and 12 miles north of Greenwich.


Danny Boyle's adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s book about drug users must have taken method acting to the extreme and had the location manager dosed up too. You see, Trainspotting was set in Leith, on the outskirts of the Scottish city of Edinburgh, however in the majority of external shots, clues like orange busses and clear shots of Campsie Fells, reveal that actually Renton & co are in Glasgow, fifty miles away!

Independence Day

Okay it’s a dumb film to start with, but perhaps seeing as it climaxes with the whole globe going to war with interstellar locusts, you’d have hoped the script writers would know where these places actually are. When a British commander sends a message to the Americans, he tells them that Israel and Syria have prepared strike wings to take out one of the alien spaceships. He says the aircraft are being prepared in the Golan Straits. Unfortunately, the straits nearest to the Golan Heights are about a thousand miles south, in the Indian Ocean. Oops!

Krakatoa, East of Java 

A classic geographical cock up occurs before a frame of the film is even shown. It's such a massive gaff that it even managed to make it into Trivial Pursuit as a movie question. The mistake? Simple really… Krakatoa is west of Java, but the producers changed the location because “East sounded more exotic"

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 

Not so much a geographical mistake as a complete and total lack of understanding about the location they’re recreating. Firstly the League travel up the narrow (and shallow) canals of Venice in the battleship-sized Nautilus, passing underneath bridges that would have to be six floors up for the super-sub to fit under. Then Tom Sawyer (played by some bloke with an acting career as secure as a hymen on a South-London council estate) and Sean Connery proceed to have a car chase around the city. Now it may come as a surprise, though I suspect not, but it is still worth pointing out that Venice; Has. No. Roads! A car chase in Venice would be like a pearl-diving competition in the Sahara desert!

The Great Escape

When Steve McQueen escapes the German troops, he grabs a motorbike and heads for allied territory. After jumping a fence in Poland, he finds he's in Switzerland. That's some jump! As Eddie Izzard once put it: "In case you don't know the geography, the map goes something like this: Switzerland, then Germany, then Venuzuela, then Beirut, then THE HANGING GARDENS OF BABYLON, then Poland."

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