John Wick is an action thriller franchise distributed by Lionsgate. The creator of this franchise is screenwriter Derek Kolstad. The franchise has three installments: John Wick (2014), John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017), and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019). The fourth installment, John Wick: Chapter 4, is coming on May 27, 2022. Another installment is expected to be released in 2023. So far, the movies, starring Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick and Willian Dafoe, have received desirable reviews from critics and have become a commercial success.
John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is a retired assassin. He is forced to return to his job in order to seek revenge for his dead dog that was gifted to him by his deceased wife and the theft of his car. Quite a peculiar story to get five installments, right? But the director has done an excellent job of keeping the audience intrigued with his art of creating neo-noir films.
The franchise quickly became a cult classic and debuted in some other forms of media like video games and comic books.
Filming Locations: John Wick (2014)
Most of the filming for the first installment was shot around New York City and the New York Metropolitan Area.
This enormous cemetery houses around three million people. In the film, the resting place of John Wick’s wife is here. This is where he meets his old friend Marcus (Willem Dafoe). Here, you can see the cinematographer’s breathtaking shot of the cemetery on a rainy day. The cemetery was used in Godfather too, which was one of the inspirations for the creator of John Wick.
Address: 49-02 Laurel Hill Boulevard, Woodside, New York, USA
St. Francis Xavier Church
This church is used to shoot the scene where John Wick makes a grand entrance and opens fire on the Russian Mafia. Unfortunately, St. Francis Xavier Church is known for a panic movement, which happened in 1877 and killed seven people.
Address: 225 6th Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, USA
1 Wall Street Court (also known as Beaver Building) is portrayed as the refuge for every known assassin. Here, there is one vital rule: no bloodshed or be excommunicated and chased.
Address: 1 Wall Street Court, New York, USA
Other locations include Cunard Building, Brooklyn Bridge Park, John Wick House (121 Mill Neck) and Republic Airport in Long Island, CITGO Station, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Edison Ballroom and the Haru Sushi Restaurant.
John Wick: Chapter 2
The filming for this movie was done in New York, Rome and Montreal.
Galleria Nazionale Arte Moderna
The GNAM in Rome is a double for the New York Museum. The Empire State Building was later added through CGI. The interiors of the museum were shot to show the original artwork.
Address: Viale Delle Belle Arti, 131, 00197 Roma RM, Italy
Museo Centrale del Risorgimento (located right next to Roman Forum) was used as the exterior location of the Continentale Hotel in Rome.
Address: Via di S. Pietro in Carcere, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
The hotel interior scenes were filmed in the Grand Hotel Plaza in the center of Eternal City. Also, the iconic views of the dome of San Carlo al Carso Church were shot in one of the hotel suites.
Address: Via del Corso, 126, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Gianna’s Coronation Party
The coronation party scene was filmed in the ruins of Baths of Caracalla, the 1,800-year old Roman Public Baths. Films like The Great Beauty and Zoolander No. 2 also used this location.
Address: Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
John Wick’s entrance to the party scene was shot in the remains of the Forum of Caesar.
Address: Via Dei Fori Imperiali, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
The temple in the background of this scene is Santi Luca e Martina church.
Address: Via Della Curia, 2, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
Gardens of Sallust
The meeting between John and Gianna (Claudia Gerini) occurs in the domed pavilion present in the Horti Sallustiani. These are the remains of Roman gardens from the 1st century BC.
Address: Piazza Sallustio, 21, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
The crew also used other locations such as 72 Terrace Drive and 135 Plymouth Street in New York, Place des Arts Metro and MELS studio in Montreal, Piazza Navona, Antica Libreria Cascianelli, Piazza Degli Zingari and the Scalinata di Borgia in Rome.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
Three major cities, including Montreal, New York City and Morocco, were used to shoot this film.
New York Public Library
Parabellum comes from a popular Latin saying, “Si vis Pacem, Para Bellum” meaning “If you want to have peace, be ready for war.” And Reeves did a great job in fulfilling that phrase. John is attacked by a killer and the fight begins in between the bookshelves. Obviously, it ends with John Wick killing 94.
Address: 476 5th Avenue, New York, USA
United Palace of Cultural Arts
You remember The Tarkovsky Theater, right? It’s the home and training facility for the Russian ballet and the secret assassin academy. The building used for that scene was built in 1930 and served as a deluxe movie theater until 1969. Then, it was purchased by a church community. The crew used the exterior, auditorium and lobby of the building. However, the backstage scenes were shot in an empty estate located in Yonkers.
Address: 4140 Broadway, Washington Heights Manhattan, NY, USA
The port and citadel of Essaouira were used as a double for Casablanca. This is where John walks via the maze-like path and archway streets of the median. Wick and Sofia (Halle Berry) meet a member of the High Table, Berrada. The scene was filmed in the city walls of Essaouira and the ramparts with a view of the Atlantic Ocean. Some scenes in Season 3 of Game of Thrones were shot here as well.
Place Marché aux grains’ central portion was used to shoot the Kasbah fight scenes. It is a small square filled with shops, arcade lines and pebbled pavement.
This remote oasis town in Merzouga, near Erfoud, Morocco, was used for the scenes in the Sahara desert. It is close to the Algeria border with fantastic views over the vast sand dunes and the desert.
Some locations like the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Grand Central Terminal, 86 St. in Brooklyn, Chinatown, Times Square and Gold Coast Studios in Long Island were present in some scenes of the third installment.
You may have witnessed some iconic shots with top-of-the-notch lighting and cinematography in these films. Most of the scenes were shot on dark and rainy days to reflect the hero’s assassin attitude. A lot of films make some horrible mistakes when it comes to a dark and rainy scene. But, this franchise showcases some excellent work done by the crew to show the locations in a good way. As fans of the John Wick franchise, we can all agree to that and appreciate the crew for finding the locations apt for the characters and accurately using the proper lighting and angles.