Nowhere To Hide (1999)

The 1999 South Korean crime drama “Nowhere to Hide” tells the story of a detective on the hunt for a mysterious assassin. In an early, key scene in the film, Chang Sung-min, played by Ahn Sung-ki, attacks a man in the rain at the 40-stairs in Busan, South Korea. Also known as the 40-step stairway, the stairs are a tourist destination with cultural significance to the area. The 40-stairs was a place for family reunions during the evacuation period of the Korean War. It was also a scene of the frustrated lives of refugees. The refugees who lived there formed shantytowns on the mountain and climbed the 40-stairs every day to go to work or to raise water. The 40-stairs lost its original shape after the great fire in front of Busan Station on November 27, 1953. It was then rebuilt 25 meters to the south of its original location.

LOCATION: 40-step stairway, Jung-gu, Busan, South Korea (GPS coordinates: 35°06’14.1″N, 129°02’04.5″E)

The area to the right overlooking the stairs is where the attack first takes place in the film. There are many statues and sculptures in the area, such as the one of the left. It is also not far from the Busan Museum of Movies, which we recommend if you are in the area.

Burning (2018)

The 2018 South Korean drama “Burning,” starring Steven Yeun, Yoo Ah-in and Jeon Jong-seo, filmed in Seoul and Paju. In the film, Shin Hae-mi, played by Jeon Jong-seo, lives in this apartment. As you can see from the photo, it is located near the N Seoul Tower (a.k.a. Namsan Tower), which is a tourist attraction in Seoul. If you’ve never seen the film, we highly recommend it.

LOCATION: 23 Duteopbawi-ro 38-gil, Huam-dong Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Squid Game

Much of the television series “Squid Game” was filmed on studio sets in South Korea, but there are several real locations you can visit as well. This article contains some spoilers for the show, so we recommend proceeding only if you’ve seen it in its entirety.

In the first episode, Seong Gi-hun, played by Lee Jung-jae, gets picked up to join the Squid Game at this location, just outside IFC Mall in Seoul. This same area pops up again near the end of the series.

LOCATION: Yeoui-daero, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, South Korea (GPS coordinates: 37.524677, 126.924939, across from IFC Mall)

Gi-hun drinks soju and eats uncooked ramen with the old man, Oh Il-nam, played by Oh Yeong-su, at this store front. You can eat in the same spot the characters sat on the right side. The store became a popular destination after the success of the show.

LOCATION: 11 Uicheon-ro 39-gil, Dobong-gu, Seoul, South Korea

The store has a sign out front for the show, as well as numerous printings from the show posted along the front. We didn’t want to to disturb the guests eating there too much, however, so we only photographed one of these spots.

In the final episode, Gi-hun finally meets the creator of the Squid Game at this building, which is actually part of IFC Mall. This isn’t the exact angle seen in the establishing shot, but it is the same building and the same angle of where the creator looks out the window down on the streets.

LOCATION: IFC Mall, 10 Gukjegeumyung-ro, Yeoui-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, South Korea

The game creator makes a wager with Gi-hun on whether anyone will help an unconscious man lying on the sidewalk before midnight. The area is right beside Billy Angel Cake Company, which is partially seen in the show.

LOCATION: 30 Dadong-gil, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Here is the specific spot where the unconscious man lies.

Parasite (2019)

The 2019 Bong Joon-ho film “Parasite” was filmed entirely in South Korea. Some of the key locations were sets built at studios, but there are still some memorable locations which can be visited at practical locations. This article contains some minor spoilers, so if you’ve not seen the film, we discourage reading until after you’ve watched.

The Kim family home is depicted as a basement level unit in a lower class neighborhood. Late in the film, the entire area gets flooded by heavy rains. Due to the requirements of the story, the location needed to be built as a set at Goyang Aqua Studio (250 Tongil-ro 396beon-gil, Ogeum-dong, Deokyang-gu, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea), in order to create the flooding scenes.

Ki-woo, played by Choi Woo-shik, meets with Min-hyuk at this market. The two sit and have drinks at a small table at the corner of the building. The table and parasol where they sit are still there. Min-hyuk offers Ki-woo the opportunity to take over for him as an English tutor for a wealthy girl. The market appears again later in the film, when Ki-jeong, played by Park So-dam buys a peach and exits down the alley on the right. This same area, namely the stairs in the distance on the right, supposedly appear once again later in the film, but we doubt that to be the case and will cover it later in this article.

LOCATION: 32 Songijeong-ro, Ahyeon-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Due to the success of the film, many of the locations are marked in one form or another noting their connection with the film. At the market, this sign can be found on the right side of the building.

Ki-woo walks through this upscale neighborhood to his job interview for English tutor.

LOCATION: 24 Seonjam-ro 8-gil, Seongbuk-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul, South Korea

This same area appears again late in the film when the heavy rains begin and the Kim family hurries home.

The filmmakers did an excellent job of blending real locations with studio sets. Visual effects were composited into some of the street shots, making it very much appear as if the Park house was an actual residence. However, only the streets were real. Every element of the home was created by the production, as documented in the film’s behind the scenes featurettes.

The film’s primary location, the Park house, was built on some open land near Jeonju Film Studio Complex (125-14 Wonsangrim-gil, Hyoja 4(sa)-dong, Wansan-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do South Korea), which is located far away from the locations in Seoul. The first level of the home was a physical set built for the film, while the second level of the home was created entirely with digital effects. Again, the behind the scenes content on the film does an excellent job in demonstrating how it was all pieced together.

The restaurant where the Kim family eats was a real restaurant. Sky Pizza was located at 86 Noryangjin-ro 6-gil, Noryangjin 2(i)-dong, Dongjak-gu, Seoul, South Korea. It has since permanently closed.

After nearly getting caught together at the Park house, the Kim family escapes in the pouring rain on foot back to their home. They are seen descending down these stairs, located near Jahamun Tunnel.

LOCATION: Near 219 Jahamun-ro, Buam-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

There are safe areas to stand on both sides of the street to take photos of the stairs. The city even added this photo marquee, where visitors can stand. They even put black and white bars over the eyeline of the plexiglass, to emulate the film’s poster when posing for photos, which was a nice touch. It’s always great to see a city embrace their filming locations and this is definitely a highly recommended spot for fans of the film.

Here is a closer look at the bottom portion.

Here is a reverse view of the photo area. There is a street leading up to this point and you simply head down a few stairs and you’re there. To cross over to the “Parasite” stairs themselves, you simply go back up the stairs on the left, head uphill a bit and there are a couple spots you can cross above the tunnel, either though a pedestrian walkway or up to the next street and back down, if you prefer. It’s not difficult to reach the stairs, despite the heavy traffic through the tunnel.

At the top of the stairs themselves, there is a sign noting it as a filming location.

While never shown from these perspectives in the film, here are some additional views of the stairs themselves.

Here is a view of the photo area, as seen from the top of the stairs.

Cold and wet, the Kim family descends down the stairs and into Jahamun Tunnel. The tunnel is located at the base of the stairs, as depicted in the film.

LOCATION: Jahamun Tunnel, near 219 Jahamun-ro, Buam-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

As a visual allegory of their low class standing in society, the family continues down more and more stairs. As they approach their neighborhood, they descend down a small flight of stairs. According to numerous sources online, it’s the same stairs seen behind the market early in the film. However, we’re skeptical these stairs were actually used, as the surrounding features simply do not match. In the film, there is no railing down the middle of the stairs and the buildings on both sides look completely different. We’ve included it simply because so many resources point to these stairs as a filming location, but if it is, it was heavily modified.

LOCATION: Near 32 Songijeong-ro, Ahyeon-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea (to the right of the market location)

We lean towards the belief that, due to the heavy amounts of water seen flooding down the stairs, this was probably another set at Goyang Aqua Studio, possibly with visual effects added to widen the scope. We will update this article if we ever find any further clarification, but by our estimation, this was most likely not an actual filming location, in spite of the many resources claiming it is.

Late in the film, Choi Yeon-gyo, played by Cho Yeo-jeong, decides to throw a party for her son. She asks Kim Ki-taek, played by Song Kang-ho, to take her to this grocery market. Somewhat to our surprise, the interior still looks pretty much identical to how it appeared in the film.

LOCATION: 4 Yangjae-daero 71-gil, Bangi 1(il)-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea

While only seen from interior views in the film, here is a look at the outside, for anyone planning to visit.

Lastly, we leave you with Da-song’s self-portrait painting from the film, seen hanging on the wall inside the Park house. The painting was done by Korean artist and rapper Hoony Hoon, who displayed it at some American screenings of the film.

For anyone planning to visit Seoul, South Korea, which we highly recommend, these locations are scattered across a variety of locations around the city. You’ll need several hours to visit them all, which requires driving or use of public transportation.

Black Panther (2018)

The 2018 superhero action film “Black Panther” shot in numerous locations, including Argentina, Busan, South Korea and Atlanta, Georgia. In the early scenes of the film, some kids play basketball in a parking lot in front of an apartment tower, supposedly located in Oakland, California.  The real building is the Wheat Street Towers, located in Atlanta, Georgia.

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LOCATION: 375 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30312

T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, makes his way to Busan, South Korea, along with Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Okoye (Danai Gurira). The three of them enter an exclusive casino in search of Klaue, played by Andy Serkis. The exterior scenes were an elaborate recreation of Jagalchi Market, a famous fish and seafood market. However, it was actually a heavily set dressed portion of the MET Atlanta business park in Altanta, Georgia (675 Metropolitan Pkwy SW, Atlanta, GA 30310). The casino interior was built at EUE Screen Gems Studios in Atlanta (175 Lakewood Way SW, Atlanta, GA 30315).

The real Busan does feature in the film, however, during the ensuing car chase in pursuit of Klaue. Black Panther flips a car over as it crosses Gwangan Bridge.

LOCATION: Gwangan Bridge, Millak-dong, Busan, South Korea

Black Panther rides on the roof of a car down Gwanganhaebyeon-ro, a popular street near Gwangan Bridge. This area has a small beach with a great view of the bridge. Often boats are out on the water lighting fireworks. It attracts a young crowd and is a great area to visit, particularly at night, if you find yourself in Busan.

LOCATION: Near 195 Gwanganhaebyeon-ro, Gwangan 2(i)-dong, Suyeong-gu, Busan, South Korea (GPS coordinates: 35.151638, 129.116886)

After Klaue is captured, he is taken to a CIA site, supposedly still located in South Korea. This is actually back in Atlanta, where the streets were set dressed to appear Korean.

LOCATION: 223 Mitchell St SW, Atlanta, GA 30303

This 2018 Lexus LC 500 Inspiration Series was featured during the aforementioned Busan chase scene. Black Panther rides atop the remotely driven vehicle, leaping onto other vehicles to disable them on the streets of South Korea. The vehicle could be found on display at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California, which ran an exhibit entitled “Hollywood Dream Machines: Vehicles Of Science Fiction and Fantasy” from May 2019 through May 2020.

LOCATION: Peterson Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Lastly, we leave you with a Black Panther statue, which could be found at the Busan Museum of Movies. There were actually a couple statues placed outdoors near the filming locations in Busan, including the beach near Gwangan Bridge covered in this article. Two of the statues were unfortunately destroyed, however, within a month of going on display. They were identical to this one, which is still in tact in the lobby of the Busan Museum of Movies.

LOCATION: Busan Museum of Movies, 12 Daecheong-ro 126beon-gil, Donggwangdong 3(sam)-ga, Jung-gu, Busan, South Korea

Right next to the statue in the museum, you can find this information on the Busan filming locations. The locations are scattered all over the city, so unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit them all, but hope to in the future.

Namyangju Film Studio

Many people have taken tours of the Hollywood film studios, such as Warner Bros., Paramount, Universal, etc.  However, many other countries offer tours around their studios and backlots as well.  Here we’ll take a look at Namyangju Film Studio in South Korea, located in Gyeonggi-do, about an hour outside of Seoul.

LOCATION: Namyangju Film Studio, 138, Bukhangang-ro 855beon-gil, Joan-myeon, Namyangju-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

The road to the studio.  You can find bus rides from Seoul that will take you straight to the studio.

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Inside this building is the studio and several exhibits.  You can go above this building to the outdoor grounds where many sets stand.

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The reverse view from atop of the same building, which is pretty spectacular.  As you can see, the studio is tucked away in the Korean countryside, far away from the city lights.

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One of the most internationally famous films to shoot at the studio was Chan-Wook Park’s “Joint Security Area.”

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The production built an entire, full scale recreation of the Joint Security Area, a highly militarized section of the border between North and South Korea, intended to hold discussions between the two sides.  Obviously filming a movie in the real J.S.A. would not be possible.  Even though the Chan-Wook Park film was completed decades ago, to this day, the set on Namyangji remains the go-to spot for pretty much all South Korean productions looking to film scenes set in the J.S.A.  We did a separate article on this particular set here.

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A tank and some military vehicles from the 2015 film “The Long Way Home” (a.k.a. “Seoboojeonsun”).

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A full scale ship from the 2014 film “Pirates” (a.k.a. “Hae-jeok: Ba-da-ro gan san-jeok”).

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There is also a set for an entire old, traditional Korean village at the studio, but it was being used for filming the day of our visit, so unfortunately our views of this area were limited.

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Some train cars.

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Some interesting paintings along the walls as you head into the interior portions of the studio.

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This contraption was sitting outside of the studio.

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A rope bridge in front of a blue screen, where visitors can simulate crossing a treacherous passing.

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Some film costumes.  The military costumes to the left are from the 2007 film “May 18” (a.k.a. “Hwa-ryeo-han-hyoo-ga”), while the costume on the right is from the 2007 film “Hanbando.”

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Some excellent models and miniatures.

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This photo does not do justice to how beautiful and intricate this miniature shipwrecked city is.

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The prop room.

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Some props and costumes from old Korean films.

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Some old Korean awards and honors.

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If you’re a film lover and find yourself in South Korea, it’s worth taking a visit out to Namyangji Film Studio.  We of course realize most people reading this will likely never make it out there, so we hope this post is the next best thing.

J.S.A.: Joint Security Area (2000)

If you’ve never seen the 2000 South Korean film “Joint Security Area,” from “Oldboy” director Chan-Wook Park, you certainly owe it to yourself to seek it out.  Amongst it’s many accolades, the film was hailed by Quentin Tarantino as one of the 20 greatest films since 1992.

Part of the film is, of course, set in the Joint Security Area, inside the D.M.Z., where the North and South Korean borders meet and where the two governments meet to discuss matters on occasion.  In reality, South Korean citizens are not permitted inside the D.M.Z. or J.S.A., so the production had to create a full-scale replica for the film.  That replica was built at the Namyangju Film Studio in Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, about an hour outside of Seoul.  You can take a more in-depth look at the studio here.

The replica J.S.A. still stands today and looks identical to how it appeared in the film.  The replica structure continues to be used by nearly any South Korean production looking to film scenes set within the J.S.A., but remains best known for being seen in the “Joint Security Area” film.

LOCATION: Namyangju Film Studio, 138, Bukhangang-ro 855beon-gil, Joan-myeon, Namyangju-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

Upon approaching the replica J.S.A, you’ll see this sign in front.

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Here is the actual J.S.A. recreation, which strongly resembles the real buildings.

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This sign is posted next to one of the buildings, depicting the film’s famous final shot.

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A closer look at the “North Korean” side.  Visitors are of course welcome to freely cross the fictitious border, but the resemblance is so strong, it makes for a strange feeling walking across, as if you really are crossing the border.

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The view back of the J.S.A. from the “North Korean” side.

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This pavilion overlooking the J.S.A. was also seen in the film in one scene.  It still appears exactly as it did in the film.

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We leave you with a poster for the film, seen in another section of Namyangji Film Studio.  The film studio offers unguided, public tours for a fairly low price.  We recommend you pay a visit if you’re an international film fan and find yourself in South Korea.

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Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015)

Film locations are of course not limited only to the United States and neither are we!  Several sequences in Marvel’s “Avengers: Age Of Ultron” were shot in Seoul, South Korea.

Ultron tries to force Dr. Helen Cho to make him a new body at U-Gin Genetics Research Lab, where Captain America later shows up.  The research lab is in fact a cultural building used for restaurants, exhibitions, conferences and performances on the Some Sevit Floating Islands.  The islands were man-made on the banks of the Han River, in an effort to bring more cultural activity to the area.  There are three islands there, which are all interconnected.  The research lab building is on the largest of the three islands; Some Gavit.  The building was designed to resemble a flower in full bloom.  All three islands can be easily accessed by foot, don’t be mislead by the “island” distinction.

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LOCATION: 683 Olympic-daero, Seocho-gu, Seoul, 06500, South Korea

Later in the film, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow are in pursuit of Ultron in an action piece that takes place all over the streets of Seoul.  It would be exhaustive trying to cover every street piece, so instead we’ll highlight one key area.  Hawkeye and Black Widow soar in a jet over this sculpture in front of the MBC building.  MBC is one of the major broadcast stations of South Korea.  Several other broadcast stations’ headquarters can also be found in this area.

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LOCATION: 267 Seongram-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul, 121-904, South Korea

They even commemorated the shooting of the film by placing a Captain America shield and Avengers plaque in the ground at the base of the sculpture.

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There is also a video monitor at the location, which plays the Seoul action sequences from the film on repeated rotation.  Below the video screen is information (in Korean) about the shooting of the film at this location.  It’s always a pleasure to see locations embrace and commemorate films in this manor.

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Related articles: The Avengers (2012)