In the global landscape of cinema, Hollywood, Bollywood, and Nollywood stand out as the titans of the industry. They represent the largest film markets in the world. While Hollywood blockbusters enjoy widespread recognition for its productions and global influence, it has often overlooked the talent and depth of African cinema and narratives. Undoubtedly, mainstream Hollywood historically underrepresents African stories, despite the continent’s vibrancy and talent.

However, a handful of Hollywood blockbusters have chosen to film on location in various African countries, showcasing the breathtaking beauty and immense talent of the continent and contributing to a growing recognition of the importance of diverse storytelling in mainstream cinema. From the sweeping deserts of Morocco to the communal villages of Ghana, these Hollywood blockbusters shine on the global stage.

Hollywood Blockbusters Shot in African Countries

Mad Max – Namibia

Photo credit: Rich Fury

“Mad Max: Fury Road” is a 2015 action film directed by George Miller. Set in a post-apocalyptic desert wasteland where resources are scarce and survival is a constant struggle. The story follows a lone wanderer haunted by his past, who becomes entangled with a rebel warrior fleeing from the tyrannical ruler.

The film is a relentless adrenaline rush of car chases, explosive action, and stunning visual effects. “Mad Max: Fury Road” explores themes of feminism, environmentalism, and the human spirit’s resilience in the face of oppression. It earned widespread acclaim as one of the greatest Hollywood blockbusters and action films of the 21st century.

District 9 – South Africa

Photo credit: Eduardo Parra

Neill Blomkamp directed “District 9,” a 2009 science fiction film. The story unfolds in a world where extraterrestrial refugees are confined to a meager refugee camp called District 9. The film explores themes of xenophobia, segregation, and immigration. In fact, the movie itself was shot in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The plot centers around a government agent tasked with relocating the aliens to a new settlement outside the city. However, a series of events leads him to undergo a transformation. His newfound thoughts about the refugee camp make him a target of both the government and powerful corporation. “District 9” is a gripping tale of empathy, redemption, and the consequences of unchecked prejudice.

Beasts of No Nation – Ghana

Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian 

Cary Joji Fukunaga directed “Beasts of No Nation,” a 2015 film. Adapted from Uzodinma Iweala’s novel of the same name, the movie takes place in an unnamed West African country. Although, the movie, in particular, was shot in Ghana. The movie follows Agu, a young boy shattered by a rebel attack on his village. This attack leads him into the horrors of becoming a child soldier. Agu endures brutal training and experiences the unfortunate realities of war. As the conflict escalates, Agu wrestles with his conscience and questions his loyalty to the rebel cause.

The film powerfully depicts the impact of war on children. It showcases compelling performances by Abraham Attah and Idris Elba, offering an authentic portrayal of the plight of child soldiers in war-torn regions.

Blood Diamond – Mozambique

Photo credit: Jun Sato 

The movie”Blood Diamond”skyrocketed to success in 2006. The story revolves around a mercenary, journalist, and fisherman turned diamond miner during the civil war in Sierra Leone. Their paths connect as they navigate the landscape of Sierra Leone in pursuit of a rare pink diamond.

Amidst the chaos, “Blood Diamond” delves into themes of greed and exploitation. It unquestionably exposes the devastating impact of the diamond trade on the people of Sierra Leone. With compelling performances and intense action, the film offers a look into the cost of conflict and the search for justice in a world driven by greed and violence.

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind – Malawi

Photo credit: Monica Schipper

Chiwetel Ejiofor directed “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” a 2019 drama film. The movie is based on the true story of William Kamkwamba, a young boy from Malawi. Set in a rural village, the film follows a boys journey to defy the odds and harness the power of wind energy to save his community from famine and drought. He embarks on a quest to build a wind turbine using salvaged materials, although he faces extreme adversities.

The film highlights creativity, perseverance, and an unwavering belief in the potential for positive change. It is an inspiring tale of community, determination and innovation.