6 Times the UAE Looked Stunning in Hollywood Movies | ExpatWoman.com

6 Times the UAE Looked Stunning in Hollywood Movies

Rapidly becoming a popular location for filmmakers, the UAE has provided fantastic backdrops and scenes in recent Hollywood films

Posted on

9 April 2017

Last updated on 29 May 2017
6 Times the UAE Looked Stunning in Hollywood Movies

It's no surprise that the landscapes in this country provide ample space for filmmakers and Hollywood stars to create their playgrounds for the next big blockbuster. From Matt Damon to Tom Cruise, Shia LaBeouf to Daisy Ridley, the UAE has attracted some huge names to the country in recent years.


Who can blame them? With wide, open deserts, magnificent architectural landscapes and luxurious settings, it's no wonder filmmakers are choosing the UAE as their backdrop more and more. 

So grab some popcorn and relax, as here are the top blockbusters that have been filmed in the UAE. 

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)

Anyone who has ever visited the Burj Khalifa will be well aware that she starred massively in the 2011 Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol film. In what has been hailed as a magnificent - but very scary - stunt, in which Tom Cruise himself did all of the work, fans see the actor return as unstoppable agent Ethan Hunt... Who scales the side of the largest building in the world. Other Dubai locations that star in the movie include Jumeirah Zabeel Sarah, Dubai International Financial Centre, and Satwa.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015) 

The highly anticipated Star Wars Episode VII brought both new and old characters to the country, as part of their journey of battling against the dark side once again. In a mission to defeat The First Order, Hans Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) are joined by a new Jedi, Rey (Daisy Ridley), and a runaway stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega).

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The movie kicks off with an introduction to Rey on the planet of Jakku, a wasteland that is in fact filmed in Abu Dhabi's own Rub' al Khali desert. During the film itself, Rey mentions the Liwa outpost - a nod to the Liwa desert in the UAE. Star Wars fans living in the UAE were no doubt proud to see the country star so heavily in such a huge blockbuster. 

Fast & Furious 7 (2015)

Probably one of the most jaw-dropping moments that has been filmed in the UAE is the infamous stunt jump - with a CAR - between the Etihad Towers. While Fast & Furious 7 halted filming after Paul Walker tragically passed away, in an effort to complete the film, CGI was used with the help of Walker's brothers, Cody and Caleb. The film was partially shot in Abu Dhabi, with other shooting areas including Yas Island, the Liwa Desert and the Emirates Palace hotel.

Star Trek Beyond (2016) 

The whole of Dubai was abuzz with excitement when the news came that the latest Star Trek film would be filmed in the Emirate. Understandably - we mean, who can blame them - Dubai's architectural landscape became the perfect backdrop for the film's 'futureland' Starbase, Yorktown.

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Simon Pegg himself, the script co-writer, described the city as a 'gateway to new cultures', which served as a perfect place to create an imagined conflict-free world that directors wanted Star Trek to show. Other locations for shooting in Dubai include Meydan Racetrack, the Burj Al Arab, Sheikh Zayed Road, Downtown Dubai and JLT.

Syriana (2005)

Shot in 15 locations across the world, including the USA, Morocco, Egypt and Switzerland, Syriana tells several stories woven together in the world of petroleum politics. Starring George Clooney, Jeffrey Wright and Matt Damon, the film was a major blockbuster. The desert scenes are based in Iran, but a lot were actually shot here in Dubai's desert.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010) 

While perhaps the UAE doesn't appear as obviously, as it does in the above films, the more luxurious scenes of this film were actually captured in Dubai, with the rest of the film shot in New York. In this Wall Street sequel, Michael Douglas reprises his role as Gordon Gekko, who mentors his son-in-law Jake (Shia LaBeouf), while trying to gain back his empire. 

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