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Lights, Camera, Biltmore!
Although Biltmore was created to provide a restful retreat from the outside world, sometimes the bright lights and stars of Hollywood come calling!
Since the golden age of filmmaking, Biltmore has starred as a majestic backdrop for some unforgettable movies. The appeal as a filming location is obvious: the estate includes Biltmore House--a majestic French Renaissance-style chateau that can easily be seen as a castle--plus acres of formal gardens and miles of rolling hills and scenery, all conveniently located in Western North Carolina within the city limits of historic Asheville.
Here are a few of Biltmore’s most notable big screen appearances:
In this classic 1953 drama, actress Grace Kelley portrays a princess from a minor royal house attempting to secure an advantageous marriage that will secure the throne taken from her family during Napoleon Bonaparte's rule. Biltmore House appears extensively throughout the film as the exterior of Kelley’s palatial home with one particulalry iconic scene taking place along the Lagoon and French Broad River. Although it was not featured in the film, one of Biltmore’s most notable antiques is a game table and chess set owned by Napoleon Bonaparte.
Last of the Mohicans
Producers of this 1992 drama starring Daniel Day Lewis were searching for locations that resembled the old-growth forests of the Catskill Mountains as they might have appeared at the turn of the 19th century. Luckily for Hollywood, Biltmore's elaborate grounds were planned by Frederick Law Olmsted--the father of American landscape architecture--nearly 100 years earlier and included forest land and mature trees suitable for the producers' cinematic needs. In addition to the sweeping fields and forests, the movie features a scene in which a carriage drives across the estate’s signature red brick Bass Pond bridge. Last of the Mohicans movie trivia: when filming extended into the fall, the production crew used organic green paint on several locations to create the illusion of summer foliage.
With settings as diverse as Greenbow, AL and Vietnam, you may wonder how Biltmore was selected to make an appearance in this beloved 1993 Tom Hanks classic. During one scene where Forrest Gump is running across America, he was actually running along the road which today leads to The Inn on Biltmore Estate and Antler Hill Village & Winery!
In 1994, America’s largest home served as the sprawling estate of the world’s richest comic book family. Richie Rich featured many of interior shots of Biltmore House, and some rooms were left largely unaltered during filming--even paintings of Vanderbilt family members were prominently featured. Although the estate does not feature the Rich's signature dollar-sign topiaries on the lawn or a Mount Rushmore-inspired family portrait looming over the gardens, this delightful comedy remains a favorite with all ages today during our Summer Film Series at Antler Hill Barn.
In this chilling sequel to The Silence of the Lambs, an ensemble cast, including Oscar-winning actors Julianne Moore, Anthony Hopkins, and Gary Oldman, offered dramatic performances against the stunning backdrop of Biltmore. Featuring the estate as the home of the reclusive Mason Verger, the thriller incorporated many different locations such as the arched Lodge Gate and the façade of Biltmore House, some of the grand rooms on the first floor, and several outlying buildings including Antler Hill Barn.
Learn more about the feature films and television productions featuring Biltmore.
Featured image: Beautiful evening reflection of Biltmore House
-- First image: West view of Biltmore House and French Broad River
-- Second image: Bass Pond Bridge, featured in The Last of the Mohicans
-- Third image: Antler Hill Barn, featured in Hannibal