Is This Film-Featured Town a Real Town or a Fake Town?


By: Jonnathan Chadwick

7 Min Quiz

Image: Scott Rudin Productions

About This Quiz

Time and place are two of the most important parts of any story. Sometimes they're the most important. You might not remember a character's name or learn their age, but it's impossible to ignore their setting. In some of the best films, the setting functions as another character, and more often than not, it's the most important character.

Movies like "The Wizard of Oz" or "Fargo" couldn't exist without their settings playing an integral part of the story. "The Goonies" wouldn't be the same if it was set in New York City and Batman probably wouldn't save Gotham City if it was located in Montana. Even movies like "Jaws" and "Hoosiers" center around unique towns. Some of them are real, some of them are fake and some of them are impossible to tell the difference.

What do you know about the real and fake towns featured in movies? Can you really get a pizza at Mystic Pizza? Is Stepford, Connecticut really full of perfect wives? Is it truly a wonderful life in Bedford Falls and has a killer clown ever terrorized Derry, Maine? Take a look at these film-featured towns and tell us which towns are real and which towns are fake.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone dance around La La Land in "La La Land." Is that a real place?

La La Land sounds like a fake place but it's a nickname for Los Angeles. You can see dozens of real places throughout the movie. The opening traffic jam was filmed on the ramp to the 110 freeway, and the dance scene takes place in Griffith Park.


There's no place like home, but what about Emerald City in "The Wizard of Oz." Is that a real place?

Emerald City is the capital of Oz and both of those places are fake. The yellow brick road from Munchkin County is fake and Munchkin County is also fake. None of them are based on real places. Emerald City is home to the Palace of Oz, which is where the Wizard sits.


Frances McDormand and William H. Macy perfect their fake accents in "Fargo." Is Fargo a real place?

Fargo is real and the most populous city in North Dakota. About 125,000 residents call the city home, but it's not the state's capital. Bismarck is the capital of North Dakota. The town is named after William Fargo of Wells Fargo.


"The Goonies" tells the story of a group of kids who go searching for treasure in Astoria, Oregon. Is Astoria a real place in Oregon?

You can find places named Astoria in New York, Oregon, Budapest and more and they're all real. Astoria is recognized as Oregon's oldest city and today has a population of less than 10,000 residents.


If you fly a DeLorean "Back to the Future," you might land in the California town of Hill Valley. Real or fake?

Hill Valley is a fake town in California. The "Back to the Future" trilogy and spinoffs all feature the town in many different time periods. The real filming locations were various towns in California.


What about Bedford Falls from "It's a Wonderful Life." Is it real or fake?

Bedford Falls and the upside-down Pottersville are both fake towns. Bedford Falls is based on Seneca Falls in upstate New York and there are many similarities between the two towns, but the movie was filmed in California.


Connecticut is known for its pizza. Is Mystic, Connecticut from "Mystic Pizza" a real place?

Mystic Pizza and Mystic, Connecticut are both real places. A fake Mystic Pizza restaurant was built in a nearby town for filming, and when the film was released, the real Mystic Pizza was remodeled to resemble the movie version.


Stepford, Connecticut is known for being the home to "The Stepford Wives." Is Stepford a real town?

Stepford is based on real towns in Connecticut, but it's a fake town. It's fictionally located in Fairfield County, which is a real place in Connecticut. The movie adaptations were mostly filmed in towns within Fairfield County.


Batman spends most of his time saving the people of Gotham City. Is Gotham City real or fake?

Gotham City looks incredibly similar to New York City, and it's no secret the Big Apple served as inspiration for the city. Several cities around the world like London, Hong Kong, Chicago and Vancouver have all served as inspiration for Gotham City. It's fictionally located in New Jersey.


Stephen King's "It" terrorizes the small town of Derry, Maine. Is Derry a real town?

Derry is one of the most famous fictional towns in all of literature. Stephen King created it along with many other fictional locations in Maine. The town is fictionally located near Bangor, Maine, but King has said Derry is his fictional representation of Bangor.


Do you know where "Rocky" takes place?

"Rocky" is one of the best sports movies ever made and one of just a handful to win best picture at the Academy Awards. The Rocky statue still stands in Philadelphia and most of the movie was filmed in the city.


Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and others visit the California city of Toontown to figure out "Who Framed Roger Rabbit." Is Toontown a real place?

Toontown is located right next to Burbank, California but it's a fake place. It's a fictional town run by cartoon characters and often dangerous to humans. "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" is considered one of the best live-action animated films.


There are many cities named Manchester in the U.S., but is "Manchester by the Sea" a real place?

Manchester-by-the-Sea is a small beach town in Massachusetts with a population of about 5,000 residents. The town is right on the ocean and is home to several beaches and several small islands just off the coast.


Gene Hackman leads a high school basketball team from Hickory, Indiana to glory in "Hoosiers." Is Hickory a real town?

Hickory, Indiana is a fake town but the movie "Hoosiers" is based on a real story. Milan, Indiana is a real place and served as inspiration for Hickory. The Milan High School basketball team became the smallest school to win the Indiana state title in 1954.


Napoleon Dynamite is from Preston, Idaho. Is that a real place?

Preston, Idaho is a real town and you can even find "Napoleon Dynamite" tours offered around town. Most of the film was filmed in the town and the film's creators even attended the city's high school.


We watch Harry and Lloyd travel from Providence to Aspen, Colorado in "Dumb and Dumber." Is Aspen a real place?

Harry and Lloyd live in Providence, Rhode Island, and travel to Aspen, Colorado, in the film. Both cities are real places, but none of the film was shot in Aspen. The Aspen shots were filmed in Breckenridge, Colorado and Park City, Utah.


Savannah, Georgia is on full display during "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." Is Savannah real?

Savannah, Georgia, is one of the most famous towns in the southern United States and serves an integral character in this story about good and evil. The town is known for its Colonial and Victorian buildings planted among century-old oak trees.


"Stand by Me" follows four boys as they grow up in Castle Rock, Oregon. Is Castle Rock a real town?

Two of Stephen King's greatest stories, "Stand By Me," and "The Shawshank Redemption," were actually short stories and not novels. "Stand By Me" was originally titled "The Body." The story centers around four boys who find a dead body. And don't get confused: King's novella was set in Castle Rock, Maine, location of many of his tales.


"Now and Then" tells the story of three girls who grew up in Shelby, Indiana. Is it set in a real town?

Shelby is a real town in Indiana but Shelby in the movie is a fake town based on Winchester, Indiana. It's confusing but the movie was actually filmed in Savannah, Georgia. The movie version doesn't depict the real Shelby. Only 500 people live in the real Shelby and there isn't even a school in town.


Mox leads the West Canaan Coyotes to greatness in "Varsity Blues." Is West Canaan a real town in Texas?

Texas is known around the world for being the center of high school football, but West Canaan is not a real place. The movie tells the story of an all-star quarterback and the second-stringer who becomes a local superstar.


The Whos from Whoville experienced firsthand "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Is Whoville real or fake?

As awesome as it would be for Whoville to be a real place, it isn't. Whoville was created by Dr. Seuss and there are no geographic hints as to where it may be located. Since Seuss lived in Springfield, Massachusetts, many believe Whoville represents the nearby town of Easthampton.


You'll have to visit the small town of Endora, Iowa if you want to know "What's Eating Gilbert Grape." Is Endora a real place?

Leonardo DiCaprio made a big name for himself when he was nominated for several awards after his performance in this 1994 film. The film is set in the fictional town of Endora, Iowa and was actually filmed in Texas. Eldora, Iowa is a real town.


Punxsutawney Phil predicts the weather in "Groundhog Day." Is Punxsutawney a real town?

Punxsutawney Phil is the most famous groundhog in the world and people all across the country await his weather prediction every year. Punxsutawney is a real town in Pennsylvania with a population of about 6,000 residents.


Don Corleone in "The Godfather" got his name from the small town of Corleone in Sicily. Is Corleone a real town?

The Godfather's real name is Antonio Andolini, but he changes his name when he enters New York City via Ellis Island as a teen. He simply takes the name of the town where he was from when officers ask for his last name.


Jaws terrorizes vacationers on the New England beach town of Amity Island. Is Amity Island a real place?

"Jaws" is one of the movies that created the term "blockbuster" and is considered one of the best movies ever made. It's set in the fictional town of Amity Island,. Most of the film was shot on the Massachusetts island of Martha's Vineyard.


Zion is the most important city in "The Matrix." Is Zion a real place?

Zion is the real name for dozens of places across the globe, but the city of Zion in "The Matrix" is fake. It's known in the story as the last human city in the world. It resembles Jerusalem and is said to be the city of God.


"The Shawshank Redemption" takes place at Shawshank State Penitentiary in Maine. Is that a real place?

The Shawshank State Penitentiary is a fake place located in the real state of Maine. Stephen King usually uses fictional towns for his stories, but part of this story takes place in the real town of Portland, Maine. The jail is based on the Mansfield Reformatory in Ohio.


If you're familiar with "Sleepy Hollow," you've probably heard of the Headless Horseman. Is Sleepy Hollow a real place?

Sleepy Hollow is actually a village within a town in upstate New York. It sits within Mount Pleasant and is only about 30 minutes north of New York City. The author of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," Washington Irving, is buried at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.


High school football players in Odessa, Texas feel all the pressure of the world on their shoulders in "Friday Night Lights." Is Odessa a real town?

Odessa is a real town in Texas and high school football is kind of a big deal in the city. Parts of the film were shot at Ratliff Stadium, which is a high school football stadium that sits more than 19,000 people. The high schools that use the stadium have less than 8,000 enrolled students combined.


Crows start attacking residents of Bodega Bay, California in "The Birds." Is Bodega Bay a real place?

Bodega Bay sits in Sonoma County in California and has a population of just more than 1,000 residents. The film was mostly filmed in Bodega and Bodega Bay. The horror thriller is one of Alfred Hitchcock's most popular.


A group of elite specialists have to overthrow the government of Turgistan in "6 Underground." Is Turgistan a real place?

This Netflix movie was released in 2019 and had a budget of $150 million. The film was directed by Michael Bay and featured a plethora of expensive explosions and chases. The high-tech country of Turgistan is a fake place.


The Simpsons are from Springfield. Is that a real town?

There are many real towns named Springfield in the country, but the town the Simpsons live in is fake. There is no town in the world that features all the geography seen in the Simpsons' Springfield. The show's creator said he based it off Springfield, Oregon.


Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon find themselves wandering around the perfect town in "Pleasantville." Is Pleasantville real or fake?

Pleasantville is a black-and-white, fake town set in Midwest America. Everybody and everything in town is perfect. Residents of the fictional town start gaining color as they lose their innocence and learn more about the world.


A bunch of students spend their last day of high school "Dazed and Confused" in Baytown, Texas. Is that a real town?

This coming-of-age story by Richard Linklater was one of the best of the 1990s, and the '90s was filled with coming-of-age classics. High school freshmen and seniors waste away the last day of school in small-town Texas. Baytown is a real place with a population of over 70,000.


"Beetlejuice" follows the story of a ghost who haunts a house in Winter River, Connecticut. Is that place real or fake?

Beetlejuice appears in the fictional town of Winter River, Connecticut and most shots of the town were actually filmed in Corinth, Vermont. The film was released in 1988 and went on to attain much success, including an Oscar for Best Makeup.


You might run into Michael Myers if you celebrate "Halloween" in Haddonfield, Illinois. Is that a real place?

Haddonfield, Illinois is a fictional town and the movie "Halloween" was mostly filmed at movie studios in California. There's a Haddonfield in New Jersey and that's where writers got the idea for the fictional town.


Billionaire "Mr. Deeds" is from the small town of Mandrake Falls, New Hampshire. Real or fake?

Adam Sandler plays a pizzeria owner in the fictional town of Mandrake Falls in this comedy from 2002. The shots of Mandrake Falls were actually shot in New Milford, Connecticut. Other scenes were filmed in upstate New York as well as California.


Jim Carrey lives in a perfect beach town called Seahaven Island in "The Truman Show." Is Seahaven Island a real place?

Seahaven Island is as fake as it gets. The fictional town is even fake in the movie and is nothing more than a gigantic Hollywood movie set. Jim Carrey plays the character of Truman Burbank and he's unwittingly starring as the lead role in a reality show.


"The Amityville Horror" is based on a real story, but is Amityville a real place?

Amityville is a small town on Long Island with a population of just under 10,000 residents. "The Amityville Horror" is based on a true story but has been challenged several times since it was released. There are at least 20 horror films about Amityville.


High school seniors come alive as the town of Anarene, Texas dies in "The Last Picture Show." Is Anarene a real place?

Anarene, Texas is a real town in Texas and nobody has officially lived there since at least 1950. Its population was well below 100 residents by 1942 and the town's sole school, railroad and post office were abandoned not long after.


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