Wales hosts Hollywood blockbusters

Sometimes even Hollywood stars have to play best supporting actor to the scenery. Wales has been the location for hundreds of films. Here we pay tribute to our most scene-stealing locations.

  • Actor Matthew Rhys sat at desk by a window playing Dylan Thomas in the film The Edge of Love.
    Matthew Rhys as Dylan Thomas in The Edge of Love

    Matthew Rhys filmed The Edge of Love (2008) in several locations around West Wales, most notably New Quay. This lovely harbour town was the inspiration for Dylan Thomas’ classic Under Milk Wood, although the 1972 movie version, starring Richard Burton, was filmed down the coast at Lower Fishguard, as was the 1955 film Moby Dick.

  • Henrhyd Falls in the Brecon Beacons, with a 90 foot drop is the tallest waterfall in South Wales
    Henrhyd Falls, Brecon Beacons by Paula J James

    In the 2012 movie The Dark Knight Rises, the Batcave is hidden behind the 88-foot (27 metre) curtain of thundering water known as Henrhyd Falls, the highest of dozens of cascades in the western Brecon Beacons.

  • Margam Country House in Margam Park, Swansea
    Margam Park, Neath Port Talbot

    Margam Park is an 850-acre country park with its own 12th-century abbey and neo-Gothic mansion. It’s also a slice of sun-dappled Renaissance Tuscany – when they’re filming the hit US drama Da Vinci’s Demons.

  • Shell Cottage from the Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows film set on Freshwater West beach in Pembrokeshire
    Shell cottage as seen in Harry Potter, Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire

    Shell Cottage, in which Harry and his companions shelter in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was built on the edge of Freshwater West’s mile-long (1.6 km) beach, where Russell Crowe also came to film Robin Hood. Key scenes from the 2012 fairytale Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Kristen Stewart, were shot nearby on Marloes Sands, which also featured in the 1968 historical epic The Lion in Winter, starring Peter O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn.

  • Mali Harries (DI Mared Rhys) on set for Y Gwyll/Hinterland TV show in Ceredigion
    Mali Harries in Hinterland, Ceredigion

    Our own Nordic-noir-style TV detective series is so good, we filmed it twice. The Welsh version, Y Gwyll, was broadcast on S4C in 2013 while the English Hinterland, which was shot simultaneously, goes out on BBC4 in 2014. The series location remains the same: the hauntingly beautiful landscape around Aberystwyth.

  • Caerphilly Castle
    Caerphilly Castle, South Wales Valleys

    Caerphilly Castle is the second largest castle in Britain, and in 1995 Hollywood big cheese Robert Downey Jr was here to film the tragi-comic romp Restoration. Another key location in the film was Tretower Court near Crickhowell which, in 2004, also welcomed Johnny Depp in The Libertine.

  • Llynnau Cregennen
    Llynnau Cregennen, Snowdonia

    So spectacular are the mountains of Snowdonia, film-makers often use them to represent other exotic, far-flung locations: China in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003) and The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958), Kazakhstan for the 1999 Bond movie The World Is Not Enough, and a rather convincing Khyber Pass in the 1968 comedy Carry On Up The Khyber.

This article is featured in Wales View 2014, download a pdf version or request a free postal copy