Posted by: Jerry Garrett | March 31, 2013

Where Was OBLIVION Filmed?

Where in the world is Tom Cruise?


Oblivion“, starring Tom Cruise, is Hollywood’s latest (so far) vision of a post-Apocalyptic Planet Earth.

While much of the film’s sequences were created completely by computers, there are many actual pre-Apocalyptic locations here on Earth (assuming you are reading this here, and not at some extra-terrestrial location); the filmmakers did a very good job of scouting locations that looked remarkably convincing as places where the End of the World had already come and gone.

The basic answer to the question, “Where was ‘Oblivion’ shot?”, is California, New York, Iceland and Louisiana. While Louisiana (because of its generous film tax credits and incentives) was used for most of the sets and interiors, the most notable exterior locations are from June Lake, a beautiful sub-alpine lake just east of the boundaries of Yosemite National Park in northern California.

June Lake is located 20 miles of Mammoth Lake, California, which is a popular snow skiing area during the winter, and fisherman’s paradise in the summer. June Lake – there’s a small village and lodge near it – is one of the four lakes (June Lake, Gull Lake, Silver Lake and Grant Lake) that comprise the popular June Lake Loop. It is located about 5 miles south of the southern end of Mono Lake. just of of U.S. Route 395. It is located within the boundaries of the Inyo National Forest.

And, yes, it is as idyllic and unforgettably scenic as it appears in the movie. No CGI there.

The back country behind it – besides Yosemite – includes the Devil’s Postpile National Monument, the Sierra Nevada (or High Sierra) mountains and the John Muir Wilderness. Yes, this area was among Ansel Adams‘ favorite spots for photography, and there’s a wilderness area here named after him as well. Of note to hikers, the Pacific Crest Trail joins the Muir Trail and the Yosemite-Tahoe Trail in this general vicinity.

It really is a place where you could see yourself spending the rest of your days peacefully.

Langjokull Ice Field (Wikipedia)

Less hospitable were the desolate vistas Jack (Tom Cruise) scans that are in the Highlands of Iceland, a lonely but scenically jaw-dropping area in central Iceland near the capital of Reyjavik. This includes the Langjokull (“long glacier”) ice cap and the funny-shaped mountain called Jarlhettur (the “Earl’s Cap”). The whole area is inaccessible about 11 months of the year. The filmmakers went there during the very brief summer months – and there was still plenty of snow, ice, glaciers, moulins (deep crevices), extinct calderas and even a couple of active volcanoes.

Some people say the special effects in this movie stole the show. I would vote for the actual scenery. It’s the real deal.

Jerry Garrett

March 31, 2013


  1. and hawaii for the surrounding of jacks house

  2. The highlands of Iceland is truly spectacular in many, many places. No wonder it’s used in movies. Here is a list of more famous movie locations and info about where to camp close to them:
    Happy travels!

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