Movies set in Petra

On Location in Jordan

From the red-rose rocks of Petra to the the awe-inspiring dunes of Wadi Rum, the country of Jordan has long attracted film crews in search of a bit of movie magic. 

Here, Penhaligon’s lists some of the must-see films set in Jordan to inspire one’s next movie marathon. You might even end up prying yourself away from the sofa for an action-packed adventure yourself.

Travelling to Petra


The otherworldly scenery of Wadi Rum – also known as the Valley of the Moon – was the perfect backdrop for the film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel, Dune. Gracing the screen in 2021 to the delight of science-fiction fans across the world, the action-packed story follows the mythic journey of hero, Paul Atreides, as he ventures to the most dangerous planet in the cosmos to ensure his family’s safety.

Queen of the Desert

Werner Herzog’s 2015 biographical epic follows the life of Gertrude Bell from her early twenties until her death. Bell, a British archaeologist, writer, and political officer, devotes her life to exploring the Middle East and establishing the Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Jordan as she navigates a torrid love affair with her fellow explorer. 

The Lost City of Petra’s majesty can be seen on the big screen through Bell’s eyes as the historic site remains mostly untouched since her 1900 desert tour. Attracting visitors from across the globe, the ancient temples remain a wonder of the world.

Lawrence of Arabia

Based on the life of intrepid explorer, T. E. Lawrence, this 1962 British epic is widely regarded as one of the most influential films ever made. Set mostly in Wadi Rum with a few excursions to Petra, the film accurately accounts for T. E. Lawrence’s influential power against the Ottoman Empire and his divided allegiance between the British Army and his Arabian comrades during the First World War.

The Martian

All desolate dusty rocks and red sands, Wadi Rum moonlights as Mars in Ridley Scott's 2015 sci-fi adventure picture, The Martian. When an astronaut becomes stranded on the red planet he must find a way to signal earth of his whereabouts to be brought safely home. With miles of sand sweeping the land, Jordan was the ideal location for filming, and it is sometimes easier than not to forget that the stars' feet remained on solid ground when shooting.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

If not for Harrison Ford, Indiana Jones has graced our screens at some point throughout its franchise for a little dose of adventure, action, and romance. Perhaps the rugged James Bond of Jordan, a small-town archaeologist is thrust into the spotlight once again when he finds himself in pursuit of his missing Father, a Holy Grail scholar, who has been captured. 

Not unfamiliar with temples (particularly those that are filled with doom), it comes as no surprise that these big-screen stars might find themselves shotting in Jordan. Of course, nothing says Indiana Jones quite like sandstone canyons and ancient architecture.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Few would dispute that George Lucas’ science-fiction saga is one of the most successful franchises to ever bless the big screen and, as such a box office hit over the last several decades, its success has afforded it quite the filming budget. 

Upon returning for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in 2018, the cast and crew jet set to the Maldives, Iceland, and Jordan for filming. Wadi-Rum of Southern Jordan has become a particularly popular location for a bit of extra-terrestrial-esque mis-en-scene in Hollywood and stars as the infamous Jedha in Star Wars. Jedha, a desert moon that orbits NaJedha is appropriately named as CGI-masked version of the valley of the moon.


The Leading Lady: Gertrude Bell


A Guide to Petra


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