From Hollywood films to hit TV shows, Glasgow has played host to major cinema and TV screen productions in the past few years. Much of the popularity of filming in the city is due to the incredible range of architecture and unique grid street system, which allows the city to masquerade as different eras and cities.
Glasgow is starting the new decade with a bang, with the release of the Oscar and Golden Globe winning WW1 film, 1917, which was filmed in Glasgow. Check out just some of Glasgow's top filming locations below to find the perfect spot for a photo-op to replicate one of your on-screen favourite scenes.
One of the biggest film releases of the year, the Steven Spielberg and Sam Mendes film, 1917, hit cinema screens in the UK on January 10, 2020. The city's former Govan Graving Docks at the River Clyde was used as a backdrop for the filming of the WW1 epic, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth and home-grown talent Richard Madden. And the setting isn't the only Glasgow link, as the film was co-written by Glaswegian screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns. 1917 recently picked up the Golden Globe for Best Picture (Drama), the BAFTA for Best Film and three Oscars including Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects.
The hugely popular TV show, Outlander, has made stars of its cast members, as well as of Scotland’s scenery and castles. And Glasgow has provided the backdrop for many of the fantasy-romance show’s memorable scenes. Get ready to 'Glasgow spot' as season 5 hits TV screens this February. City locations used in the latest and previous seasons include Kelvingrove Park, which doubled for Boston Park, the University of Glasgow, which doubled for Harvard University, and John Street at the City Chambers, where Claire and Frank got engaged and the medieval Glasgow Cathedral, which doubled as a 1740s Parisian, ecclesiastical hospital - L'Hôpital des Anges.
“My favorite location was Glasgow Cathedral, where we shot scenes for ‘Faith.’ I admired it every time we drove past it in season 1, and was thrilled when we finally were able to have it as a location. Gary Steele did a beautiful job of turning the church into our L'Hôpital des Anges, and you can really feel the ghosts in that building, which was built in the 12th century. Glasgow is a stunning city and the people there were so kind to us. I felt a real magic in those streets.”Toni Graphia – Executive Producer & Writer
The movie franchise returned to Glasgow to film for the spin-off Hobbs & Shaw (released August 2019), bringing superstar Idris Elba to the city. This time, the cars and motorbikes zoomed through the streets of the city centre and Merchant City, as Glasgow doubled as London.
The cast and crew first filmed in Glasgow in 2012 for the 6th instalment of their hugely popular franchise, with the city's financial district and Broomielaw area used as the location of filming for a number of high-octane car chases.
Two Glasgow films released in 2019 to both receive critical acclaim and awards were Wild Rose and Beats.
Wild Rose follows down-on-her-luck Glaswegian country singer Rose (Jessie Buckley) as she attempts to juggle life as a mum and wannabe country singer. Filmed and set in various Glasgow locations, the film includes performances in the city's famous country music club, Grand Ole Opry, and the stunning Old Fruitmarket. The film picked up BAFTA Scotland awards for Best Film, Best Actress and Best Writer.
Beats closed the 2019 Glasgow Film Festival in style. Adapted from the hit play by local Kieran Hurley and executive produced by Steven Soderbergh, Beats is a coming of age tale following two friends as they attempt to go to their first-ever rave. Actor Lorn Macdonald picked up the Best Actor award at the 2019 BAFTA Scotland Awards.
Outlaw King, starring Hollywood’s Chris Pine as Robert the Bruce, used a number of Glasgow locations for the filming of this epic 14th Century tale. The iconic Cloisters at the University of Glasgow, which date back to 1451, were transformed into a grand banquet hall for a medieval feast for the 2018 Netflix original.
This is not the first time that the gothic-revival architecture of the university has influenced popular culture - it is said to be the inspiration behind Hogwarts, and was used for filming for Outlander and Cloud Atlas.
Outlaw King also filmed at Glasgow Cathedral, which doubled as Greyfriars Church and at a purpose-built set in Mugdock Country Park, which is north of the city.
The Wife brought Hollywood royalty to Glasgow, as Glenn Close, in an Oscar nominated role (2019), was joined by Christian Slater, as they filmed at various locations. One of the main spots was at Hutchesons' Hall, an elegant building on the fashionable Ingram Street.
Built in the early 19th Century, the former hospital and now trendy Hutchesons City Grill doubled as both a Stockholm restaurant and a grand hotel lobby.
The film, which sees Glenn Close’s character explore her relationship and past, also filmed at the Barrowland Ballroom, Malmaison Hotel, Bothwell Street, Pollok House, Flemington House and The Royal Faculty of Procurators. Also, the stars were spotted city sightseeing, with Christian Slater taking in the Riverside Museum and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which he shared on Instagram!
Sky Atlantic and HBO have both recently filmed in Glasgow city centre for hit shows set in New York.
Topping a number of critics' lists of 'best TV shows of 2019' and scooping two Golden Globes 2020, Succession follows the life of a complicated New York family, headed up by Scots actor, Brian Cox. Scenes for season 2 of the acclaimed HBO dark comedy were filmed in George Square, Cochrane Street and Montrose Street, with the city this time doubling as current day New York. Watch this space for whether the cast and crew will return to film season 3, which is set to start filming in early 2020.
Much lauded British actor Benedict Cumberbatch was seen running down a number of Glasgow city centre streets, whilst filming Sky Atlantic drama, Patrick Melrose, which aired in 2018. Film crews took advantage of Glasgow’s grid system and well-preserved Victorian architecture at the likes of Cochrane Street, Bothwell Street and St Vincent Street to replicate New York City in the 1980s. The series also featured the famous Barras Market, which doubled for New York’s meat-packing district and Glasgow’s oldest restaurant, Rogano, which is instantly recognisable from its distinct art deco style.
In 2011, a number of Glasgow’s steep streets were used by the Wachowskis whilst filming Cloud Atlas to replicate 1970s San Francisco. It’s at the junction of George Street at Montrose Street that Halle Berry’s character attempts to evade capture from an enemy targeting her in this thrilling time travelling tale.
One of the most exciting set pieces in the Brad Pitt zombie apocalypse movie World War Z – the outbreak of the virus – took place on George Square and Cochrane Street. The beauty of George Square’s buildings – most notably the City Chambers – has resulted in this becoming the city’s most filmed location.
The arthouse alien film Under the Skin is set in Scotland with large sections shot in Glasgow. The director used hidden cameras to capture unsuspecting Glaswegians’ reactions to the main character’s (Scarlett Johansson) actions, included scenes outside Celtic Football Club, Buchanan Galleries and the Trongate.
BBC drama Guilt transformed a building at the corner of Bell Street and Albion Street into a record store, Leith Beats. The four-part thriller, starring Mark Bonnar and Jamie Sives was aired in the latter half of 2019 on the new BBC Scotland channel with the Victorian architecture of the Merchant City on display in many scenes.
The Replacement, which was filmed exclusively in the city, followed an architect going on maternity leave, whose supply cover is seemingly taking over her life. Aired in 2017, the BBC drama based their fictional architectural firm in Commonwealth House on Albion Street and gave many people house envy with their characters' stunning Glasgow homes.
The gripping BBC drama The Cry, which aired in autumn 2018, was filmed on both sides of the globe in Glasgow and Melbourne. The thriller, starring Jenna Coleman, as a new mother whose baby goes missing, included filming locations at the Gallery of Modern Art, Pollok Country Park and a Glasgow hidden gem, the Sixty Steps.
Article last updated: January, 2020