Preikestolen, one of Norway’s most iconic tourist spots, provides a perfect backdrop for the cliffhanger finale of Mission: Impossible – Fallout, while the bustling streets of Paris giving the stars a chance to show off their driving skills. “Mission: Impossible is about immersing an audience into these places, and celebrating the geography of the environments we’re in,” says Tom Cruise. Here’s a closer look at the locations used in each of the six Mission: Impossible movies.
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The first Mission: Impossible film, show all the way back in 1996, was something of an unexpected hit. Cruise was as popular as ever, but the TV remake fad had produced some mixed results. What made Mission: Impossible stand out, however, was the globe-trotting adventures of Cruise and his IMF (Impossible Mission Force). The opening scenes were set and shot in Prague, taking in the gorgeous moonlit Charles Bridge and a memorable escape on foot across Wenceslas Square in the heart the city.
The film’s visually spectacular Eurostar sequence was largely shot on sound stages just outside of London, but scenes in Langley, Virginia (which include the famous heist-on-a-rope stunt) were partly filmed on location.
Locations: Prague, Liverpool Street Station, Washington DC and Virginia.
The Mission: Impossible sequel opened with Cruise scaling the impressive rocks of Dead Horse Point in Utah. The vertigo-inducing scenes signalled a new series trademark, which involves Cruise putting himself in outlandish situations for real. Director John Woo expressed his concerns about the star doing the stunt himself in the movie, but Cruise was adamant he would do it. The star’s eagerness to perform real-life stunts – in real-life settings – means there are virtually no limits for the Mission: Impossible location scouts.
Locations: Sydney, Utah and various other locations around Australia and the US.
The third film in this series is something of an oddity. The action is ramped up but the tone is a lot darker. However, location hopping is still a key theme in Mission: Impossible III. Cruise and co find themselves in Berlin on a complicated mission at the start of the movie. There are extensive scenes in China, including a leap into the unknown in Shanghai, and a protracted sequence in Vatican City.
Philip Seymour Hoffman played the villain, and his escape involved a huge action set piece on the bridges of Virginia Beach in the US.
Locations: Xitang and Shanghai in China, Virginia Beach, Berlin, Italy.
Ghost Protocol feels like the most global film in the series. At times the transitions feel a little clunky as we are hurled from Eastern Europe to India to the Middle East, but there are some stand-out moments.
A particular highlight is the scene shot along the facade of the impressive Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Cruise is seen swinging from the side of the world’s tallest building, once again doing many of the stunts for real.
Locations: Mumbai, the Burj Khalifa in UAE, Budapest, Moscow, Canada and Czech Republic.
We recently spoke to one of the stunt co-ordinators responsible for the chase scenes in some recent Mission: Impossible movies and found out that the vehicular action on the narrow streets are among the most difficult to film. In Rogue Nation we see Cruise take to two wheels and race around the streets of Morocco in a thrilling sequence.
There’s a great scene involving Rebecca Ferguson in Vienna, too, but the series always manages to find a way back to its London roots, and Rogue Nation is no exception. Keep an eye out for an early moment in Piccadilly Circus around the old Red Light District of Soho.
Locations: Morocco, Vienna, Kuala Lumpur and various UK locations.
“The language of Mission: Impossible is about going to real locations”, says director Christopher McQuarrie. Proof, it were not already evident, is to be found in the filmmaker’s second film in the series.
From a high-flying helicopter stunt across New Zealand to weaving against the flow of traffic around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, Fallout is all about putting the characters in spectacular locations around the world. Cruise even injured himself when attempting a leap between to buildings in London, and they kept the scene in the movie!
Locations: Preikestolen in Norway, Queenstown, London and Paris.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is out now.