Movies filmed in Thailand and Thailand’s film locations
Movies filmed in Thailand
Thailand’s rich film history started with the first film shown in Thailand called Parisian Cinematograph in 1897. This opened the eyes of Thais to a new world where they now realized that the film industry has become a part of the world. It wasn’t until about the 1850’s where movie theatres have come into play in Thailand and expanded greatly after the 1900’s.
After this period in time because of the greater interest in film watching by many people, the film industry has become more reachable for normal people due to higher demand and lower prices. This development was only accelerated when the first Thai film came out. This movie was called Chok Song Chun or in English term, Double luck. Even though the film was a silent film, it was the first step to a great film industry in Thailand. The big step in the film industry with the adaptation of sound came in 1927 where Thailand adopted the Vitaphone system, a technology from Hollywood. Today, Thailand is a nation with very advanced equipment in the film industry and some of the most sought after film destinations worldwide. Many big name productions were filmed in Thailand film locations and the country has a huge amount of talented technicians and artists in the film industry due to great film schools and technology advances. One of the most important reasons why Thailand is a country of many foreign film productions, is because of the geographical beauty and details the nation holds. Because Thailand is rich in natural resources that attract millions of tourists yearly, such as the wonderful beaches, mountains, religion and the party scene of the never ending nightlife in Bangkok. Below we have collected some of the interesting movies that were filmed in Thailand, either partly or fully. As of today, the biggest production ever to be filmed in Thailand as a film location was The Hangover 2.
Only God Forgives
This film was released in 2013, with Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm, Ratha Phongam, Gordon Brown and Tom Burke. The film was directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and produced by Lene Børglum. The main theme of the film is psychological thriller film. This major film holds many aspects to it. First, it starts with Muay Thai, The main martial arts form of Thailand showing the action aspect. Next, is it then reveals in the film that the Muay Thai business is only a cover up for the true reason, the reason is drug smuggling, showing the illegal and wild aspect of Thailand, this gives the dark and misty aspect to the film. Lastly, it involves police and the criminal aspect of the film giving a good sense of thrills in the movie itself. Another reason why this film has become so well known, is because of the main lead actor, Ryan Gosling, due to his acting but mainly his looks that has gained many fans worldwide.
The Hangover 2
This film was released in 2011, with Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong as the main stars of the film. This movie was directed by Todd Phillips and produced by Daniel Goldberg. This movie shown scenes of Bangkok’s crazy nightlife including the famous ladyboys. This film made Thailand’s nightlife seem like a crazy place filled with drugs and alcohol. The reason this worked so perfectly in the film is because a part of it is true, Thailand’s nightlife ranges from calm subtle bars to crazy inside night clubs. All of these was portrayed greatly through the actors and the eye of the director and producer.
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Released in 2010. With Thanapat Saisaymar, Jenjira Pongpas and Sakda Kaewbuadee as the main stars of the film. The film was directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul and produced by Simon Field, Keith Grifith, Charles de Meaux and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. This film is a Thai film that is an art drama film. This film focuses on the topic of reincarnation through the eyes of the main character Boonmee. Because of this concept and Thailand, it is giving an aspect of both where Thai people’s main religion is Buddhism and because of this reason, Reincarnation is believed by many. This is portrayed through the characters where they have no doubt, that it is true. This show also brings art to film and won the Palme d’Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, truly showing the quality of the film and is the first Thai film to do so. Proving another level of The Thai film industries.
Syndromes and a Century
Released in 2006, with Nantarat Sawaddikul, Jaruchai Lamaram and Sophon Pukanok as the main stars of the film. This film was directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul and produced by Wouter Barendrecht and Simon Field. This movie is a Drama film that is written and also produced by the Thai movie industry. The film was premiered in The 63rd Venice film festival. Like the previous movie, it really shows the power of Thai movie experts coming together to produce a quality movie.
Released in 2006 and starring Angelica Lee, Ekin Cheng and Siu-Ming Lau as the main stars in the film. This film was directed by Oxide Pang Chun and Danny Pang Phat. This film is a horror film by the Pang Brothers. This movie was a team up between Hong Kong and Thailand. This film shows the power of Thai production and that Thailand holds many talented people in the movie field. This movie is also a result from the success of the Eye that was also by the Pang brothers. The Pang brothers have chosen thailand as a main part of their films, this means that something special is in Thailand for the film industry to be filmed in over and over.
Released in 2006. With Tadanobu Asano, Eric Tsang and Kang Hye-Jung as the main stars. This film is directed by Pen-Ek Ratanaruang.This film is a crime film that perfectly shows what a Thai film crew can produce, as the director is also Thai and even more the screenplay is done by Prabda Yoon. This film even went further when it premiered in The Berlin Film festival then later also shown in The Bangkok International film festival and The Toronto international film festival. This shows that a Film produced and directed by Thailand can reach international level and become so good that it is comparable to hollywood quality films.
This film was released in 2006, with Dan Chupong and Panna Rittikrai as the main stars. This film was directed by Chalerm Wongpim and produced by Prachya Pinkaew. This is a Thai action film that holds more than just Muay Thai. The theme of this show is set when Thailand was still called Siam, and is focused on the revenge of the main actor who seeks revenge from the killers of his parents. This is film shows the other side of Siam people where cultural aspects are infused with the main characters acting. The show includes action that is also infused with Muay Thai while still offering more to the viewers. Another side of this film is the clothing, Thailand nowadays is nothing like when it was Siam, now Thai’s dress westernized daily. In this film all characters hold the perfect visual of how each class and sex would dress back then, from the rich to the poor. This film will give you the perfect picture of how life was back then in The kingdom of Siam.
This film was released in 2005, with Tony Jaa, Nathan Jones, Petchtai Wongkamlao, Jon foo, Bangkoj Khongmalai as the main stars. This film was directed by Prachya Pinkaew and produced by Somsak Techaratanaprasert, Prachya Pimkaew and Sukanya Vongsthapat. This film is a Thai action filmed that has gone internationally successful and has gained a huge worldwide following from fans all around the world. More common names internationally include, The warrior King, The protector, revenge of the Warrior and Honor of the Dragon. This film shown great martial arts but still infused with the natural resources in Thailand and perfectly visioned Thai arts internationally.
The Eye 10
This film was released in 2005. With Bolin Chan, Lawrence Cheng, Eric Tsang as the main stars in the film. The film was directed by The Pang brothers and produced by Peter Chan, Lawrence Cheng and Eric Tsang. This is another famous show by the Pang brothers. Another name for this film is The Eye Infinity. This is a horror film taken with scenes from Thailand. What this film represents is that Thailand can be a base for filming horror movies. This is from the natural scenes that the country is rich in and furthermore, Thailand itself has many cultural history on paranormal stories and beliefs that can be used in film writing and film planning. Because of the strong beliefs that can be transformed into film versions by movie creators including great movie teams in Thailand itself.
This film was released in 2004, with Sakda Kaewbuadee, Banlop Lomnoi, Sirivech Jareonchon, Udom Promma And Huai Deesom as the main stars in the film. This film is directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul and produced by Charles de Meaux and Axel Moebius. This film is a romantic drama film. Where the main character is a soldier and the story is runned in a rural area in Thailand. This film shows the side of a Thai soldier and most importantly the nature in the rural area where the natural resources is rich and not interrupted by technology and the city. There are not many destinations in the world where natural resources can be filmed in the movie without going through so many travelling plans, and Thailand is perhaps the best destination for a place like this.
Ong-Bak 1 (Muay Thai Warrior) and 2 (The Beginning)
These films were released in 2003 and 2008. With Tony Jaa, Petchtai Wongkamlao and Pumwaree Yodkamol as the main stars in the film. This film was directed by Prachya Pinkaew and produced by Somsak Techaratanapraseert and Prachya Pinkaew. The films were distributed by Sahamongkol Film International and are perfect example on the magical art of Muay Thai. Ong Bak was a instant hit and Tony Jaa was finally recognized as the next big martial arts super star. There was really nothing like it before. The films shows perfect Muay Thai along with the country’s aspect of martial arts. Showing all of these aspects through the eyes of the director and the producers to the world. Just like Tom Yum Kung, The films has become internationally successful and known worldwide.The movies are accepted internationally by critics all over the world. “Tom Yam Goong”, also mentioned in this Thai movie list is actually also an unofficial followup to Ong Bak.
Last life in the Universe
The film was released in 2003. With Tadanobu Asano, Sinitta Boonyasak and Laila Boonyasak as the main stars of the film. The film is directed by Pen-Ek Ratanaruang and produced by Wouter Barendrecht and Nonzee Nimibutr. This film uses three languages in the film. The language that is used at a certain time is chosen by the need of it in the film. From Thai, japanese and English. This film is an artsy film. Because of this the film shows the artsy side of Thailand and its film in a hipster way. The music used in this film also include music from smallroom, a unique music company in Thailand that is still producing quality and diverse music till today. This film has received many awards including, Bangkok international film festival for the FIPRESCI award, The best actor at the 2003 Venice Film festival, Jury prize at the Fant-Asia film festival and Thailand’s official submission for Award for best foreign language film.
Released in 2002, is the first part in the Eye movie series. This film has Angelica Lee, Lawrence Chou and Chutcha Rujinanon as the main stars in the film. The show is directed by The Pang brothers and produced by Peter Chan and Lawrence Cheng. This show is a very successful horror film as there has been two sequels from the original part and include over three remakes of the film, by nations such as India and even Hollywood with Jessica Alba as the main star which is a very famous Hollywood star. A fact about this film, is that the end scene, was based on a real event in 1990 at Petchburi road in Bangkok, Thailand. Thai was a gas explosion that resulted in killing over 90 people, not including the 121 injured with an overall damage of 315 million baht. It was a very sad incident that was reflected in the film, making it even more real and haunting.
Released in 2002. Directed by Kim Jee-woon, Nonzee Nimibutr and Peter Ho-Sun Chan and produced by Duangamol Limcharoen, Jojo Hui, Nonzee Nimibutr, Oh Jung-Won and Peter Ho-Sun Chan. This movie is a horror movie that has a very interesting concept. This film is divided into three parts that each is in their own dialogue language. The languages include Thai, Korean and Mandarin (Chinese). Each part is also directed and collaborated with their own crew from each destination. In each of the films, the themes are memory lost and their way into remembering what they lost in the film, a curse and the result of the curse and lastly a supernatural force bringing back the dead. All of this is the result from a collaboration that cannot be perfected without the Thai film crew, showing the team power and what quality lies within the Thai film horror industries.
The Legend of Suriyothai
Released in 2001. With Piyapas Bhirombhakdi, Sarunyu Wongkrachang, Chatchai Plengpanich, Johnny Anfone and Mai Charoenpura As the main stars. The film was directed by Chatrichalerm Yukol And and produced by Kamla Yukol and Kim Aubry. This film is an amazing film that is definitely listed in the best films about the history of Thailand. The film shows a great story about the queen Suriyothai and her great sacrifice for the king Maha Chakkraphat. Evenmore, the film gives information about the history of Thailand before it is today. These pictures are portrayed in a way that even Thai people didn’t realize how it really was back then. The film truly shows the arts and cultural in a way that cannot be done any better. It also shows how wars were done back then. Elephants are also a good part of the show representing Thailand’s cultural animal that has been through so much with Thai people through all this time. Overall, this film shows the history of thailand along with the cultural of the Kingdom of Thailand in a way that one cannot unsee.
Released in 2000. This film stars the famous and much adored Leonardo Dicaprio. The film took place in Kho Phi Phi, the very famous island in Thailand and one of the most popular filming locations in the country. The crew made the island look paradise like especially for the show. The famous film was shot in Khao Yai national park at a waterfall called Haew Suwat waterfall. This film perfectly shows the beautiful natural aspect of Thailand as a film destination. The Beach created a “paradise on earth” feel that brought us back to a time when life was about spending quality time with your family and nature instead of malls and TV’s.
Tears of the Black Tiger
Released in 2000, with Chartchai Ngamsan, Stella Malucchi, Supakorn Kitsuwon And Sombat Metanee. This film is directed by Wisit Sasanatieng and produced by Pracha Maleenont, Brian L. Marcar, Adirek Wattaleela and Nonzee Nimibutr. This is a action-romance film. Through the show it shows the love between the upper and lower class and the fight they go through for the romance. This shows the space between the rich and the poor in Thailand and gives a good picture of life within the time frame of the 1950’s of the movie. Here are some fact about this film that proves its qualities. It was the first film from Thailand chosen to be in the 2001 Cannes film festival. Because of the amazing response it then was shown at many more movie festivals where it later won the Dragons and Tigers Award for Best New Director at The Vancouver international film festival. It also won many awards for costumes and special effects in Thailand. This shows how great the director was combined with the acting, a good plot and good costumes created the first show that entered into Cannes resulting in internation award and began a new road for other Thai films for the future.
This film was released in 1999, with Pawalit Mongkolpisit, premsinee Ratanasopha as the main stars of the film. This movie was directed by The Pang Brothers and produced by Adirek Jittaleela, Nonzee Nimibutr, Pracha Maleenont and Brian L. Marcar. This film was distributed by Film Bangkok. This film as from the names, is that it is produced by a Thai film and a Thai company. The crew and the actors are all Thai’s. This film even though, was produced by a Thai crew and a Thai film company, it has become successful internationally and has become a part in the thai film industry is accepted and known worldwide. Another great fact about this film is that it won 2 international awards. The first one is the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival in international critics and The second one is 2001 International Film Festival Rotterdam for The Tiger Award.
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Released in 1999, with Claire Danes, Kate Beckinsale, Bill Pullman and Lim Kay Tong as the main stars of the film. This film is directed by Jonathan Kaplan and produced by Adam Fields. In this film, this film shows the legal side such as jail in Thailand through the plot of the film. This film shows the amazing aspect of the criminal scene of Thailand. Thai jail is harsh and the prisoners is not easy to deal with. Thailand’s criminal scene is often used in many films including hollywood films, as it perfectly shows what you get if you decide to engage in illegal activities such as drug smuggling.
Tomorrow Never Dies
Released in 1997, this James Bond film was originally to be filmed in Vietnam but the film location was then changed to Thailand. The film location was the same one used in “The Man with the Golden Gun”. Bangkok even provided a stand-in for Ho Chi Minh City for a scene appearing in the movie.
Heaven and Earth
Released in 1993 and directed by Oliver Stone, the film focuses on the Vietnam war but movie was filmed in Thailand because it was not possible to get filming permissions in Vietnam.It shows how similar the geographical aspects of these 2 countries are, both Thailand and Vietnam have great amounts of rice fields that cannot be found in any western countries. This film focuses on the the Vietnam war but also aspects of life, such as sacrifice and battle. The main characters show the dramatic and emotional aspects involved in making decisions and how war changes their lives in order to survive.
This film was released in 1990. With Mel Gibson, Robert Downey Jr., Nancy Travis and Lane Smith as the main stars of the film. The film is directed by Roger Spottiswoode and produced by Mario Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna. This film is an action comedy film. Filmed in Southeast Asia and including Thailand. The film included Mae Hong Sorn, Thailand. Over 26 Thai military planes were rented by the film crew to use in this movie. This showed scenes taken in Thailand that included humor and combined with action. This was one of the few films that Robert Downey was filmed in Southeast Asia including Thailand. Because he has such a good and large fan base, This film perfectly represents Thailand and The nations filming scenes to the public.
Casualties of War
Released in 1989 and directed by Brian De Palma’s Casualties of War is also a Vietnam War movie. The film also puts great emphasis on friendship on the lines of emotional drama and war. It is not easy to get through but the film blends them perfectly together. The film locations used were Phuket and Kanchanaburi in Thailand. The film made use of beautiful footage from these 2 film locations where the beauty of nature is the main.
Released in 1989. This movie takes filming in Thailand to another level. With the set being set up in Ayutthaya, the film was focused in temples such as Wat Phra Si Sanphet and Wat Ratchaburana. These temples were used as the training scene for the main actor in his action training. The movie includes Thai boxing where in the show is portrayed as an ancient sport that the main actor trains in and go into a deadly battle as the climax of the show. The show combines the cultural art of Wat’s (Thai temple) in Thailand, in Ayutthaya with Thai arts, Muay Thai together creating a stunning cultural movie of Thailand as the centre of it all.
Good Morning, Vietnam
Released in 1987. This movie has one of the most loved actors in history in the film : Robin Williams and anyone who watches this show will be reminded of him deeply. Even though the movie is having to do with war, Robin Williams manages to bring humor and make everyone laugh with his acting. In the movie Robin Williams portrays a guy who just can’t stay out of trouble no matter how hard he tries, the good thing is, even though through all these problems, he has a characteristic of great humor. The movie was filmed in Bangkok and included a main actress as a Thai: Jintara Sukapat.
The Killing Fields
Released in 1984. This movie includes the fight for freedom and how friendship is related to that. The film includes emotional scenes that prove honor and the fight for the better good. The film was filmed Hua Hin and Phuket, as a stand in for Cambodia. This shows another aspect where Thailand are similar in geographical reasons. This film is so great it is an Academy award winner.
The Man with the Golden Gun
Released in 1974. This movie is another part in the James Bond series, this time James Bond being played by Roger Moore. This movie is filmed in Bangkok and famous beaches in Thailand such as Phuket and Koh Tapu which nowadays is commonly referred to as the James Bond island. A famous scene from this movie is the car chase in Bangkok that is often referred to today.
The film was released in 1965. With Sean Connery, Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi, Luciana Paluzzy and Rik Van Nutter as the main stars. The film was directed by Terence Young and produced by Kevin McClory. This film is the fourth film in the James Bond series with Sean as James Bond. The film has become greatly successful in the series and globally. It premiered in Japan then The United States. Film critics gave this film a great review overall. This film showed the natures of Thailand and represents a good scene for filming movies in Thailand.
From the films above it becomes clear that the biggest attraction of Thailand as a film location are nature scenes including the oceans, clear waters, beaches, rain forest, rice fields and the notorious Bangkok with it’s unique and never-ending nightlife and bustling street scenes, mixing old traditional ways with the ultra modern skyscrapers and shopping malls.
Thailand’s film industry has many quality artists, directors, actors, writers and producers. These people have created films like the ones in this post that have reached top international level with prizes from international critics and experts in the worldwide movie industry. The point being that we are lucky to have a large pool of talented people in Thailand which allows us to build teams of the highest caliber for any production.
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