Where Was The Lighthouse Filmed? An In-Depth Look At The Filming Locations

The critically acclaimed psychological thriller The Lighthouse, directed by Robert Eggers, transports viewers to a remote and mysterious island off the New England coast in the 1890s. If you’re wondering where this eerie black-and-white film was shot, you’re not alone.

Keep reading to uncover the real filming locations that brought The Lighthouse to life.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Lighthouse was primarily filmed on Cape Forchu in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. Additional shooting took place at the studios of Screenworks in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Overview of The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse is a critically acclaimed psychological horror film directed by Robert Eggers. Released in 2019, the film stars Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson as two lighthouse keepers who are stranded on a remote New England island in the late 19th century.

As they battle isolation, madness, and supernatural forces, tensions rise and the line between reality and nightmare becomes increasingly blurred.

Quick synopsis of the film’s plot and premise

The film follows the story of Ephraim Winslow (played by Robert Pattinson), a young man who takes on a temporary job as a lighthouse keeper on a desolate island. He is paired with Thomas Wake (played by Willem Dafoe), an experienced and eccentric lighthouse keeper.

As the two men spend their days maintaining the lighthouse and battling the harsh elements, they slowly descend into madness.

The film is known for its atmospheric setting, intense performances, and intricate storytelling. It delves into themes of isolation, power dynamics, and the human psyche, leaving viewers captivated and intrigued.

Background on the film’s production – director, main actors, release date, accolades

The Lighthouse was directed by Robert Eggers, who gained critical acclaim for his previous film, The Witch. Eggers is known for his attention to detail and his ability to create immersive and atmospheric films.

Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson deliver outstanding performances in the film, showcasing their incredible range as actors. Their chemistry onscreen adds to the tension and unpredictability of the story.

The film was released on October 18, 2019, and received widespread critical acclaim. It was praised for its exceptional cinematography, haunting score, and the performances of its lead actors.

The Lighthouse garnered several accolades, including nominations for Best Cinematography and Best Production Design at the Academy Awards. It also won the FIPRESCI Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and received numerous other accolades from film critics and festivals around the world.

For more information about The Lighthouse, you can visit the official website of A24, the film’s distributor, at https://a24films.com/films/the-lighthouse.

Main Filming Location: Cape Forchu, Nova Scotia

The main filming location for the movie “The Lighthouse” was Cape Forchu, located in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada. This picturesque coastal area was chosen for its stunning natural beauty and its resemblance to the isolated setting required for the film.

With its rugged cliffs, rocky shores, and iconic lighthouse, Cape Forchu provided the perfect backdrop for the eerie and atmospheric scenes depicted in the movie.

Description of Cape Forchu and why it was chosen

Cape Forchu is a headland that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Its remote location and dramatic scenery made it an ideal choice for “The Lighthouse.”

The filmmakers wanted to capture a sense of isolation and desolation, and Cape Forchu provided the perfect setting for this. The rugged terrain and crashing waves added to the authenticity of the film, transporting viewers into the eerie world of the story.

Specific shooting spots on Cape Forchu, including the lighthouse

During the filming of “The Lighthouse,” several specific spots on Cape Forchu were utilized to bring the story to life. The iconic lighthouse itself played a central role in the film, serving as a symbol of isolation and mystery.

Its towering presence against the backdrop of the stormy sea created a visually striking image that added to the film’s overall atmosphere. Other areas of Cape Forchu, such as the rocky coastline and the cliffs, were also used to capture the harsh and unforgiving nature of the environment surrounding the characters.

Behind-the-scenes details and challenges of filming there

Filming on location at Cape Forchu presented its fair share of challenges for the cast and crew of “The Lighthouse.” The unpredictable weather conditions in Nova Scotia added an element of unpredictability to the shoot, with storms and high winds often interrupting filming.

However, these challenges also provided opportunities for the filmmakers to capture the raw power of nature and incorporate it into the story. Despite the difficulties, the team persevered and successfully brought the haunting world of “The Lighthouse” to life on the shores of Cape Forchu.

Additional Shooting in Halifax

While the majority of the filming for the movie “The Lighthouse” took place in Nova Scotia, Canada, there were also additional shooting locations in Halifax. These additional locations provided the filmmakers with the necessary facilities and resources to bring their vision to life.

Interior shots filmed at Screenworks studio

One of the key locations in Halifax where interior shots were filmed for “The Lighthouse” was at the Screenworks studio. This state-of-the-art facility provided the perfect setting for capturing the intricate details of the film’s indoor scenes.

The studio’s advanced technology and versatile spaces allowed the production team to create a realistic and immersive experience for the audience.

At Screenworks studio, the filmmakers had access to a wide range of equipment, including high-quality cameras, lighting setups, and sound recording devices. This enabled them to capture every nuance and emotion portrayed by the actors and bring the story to life on the big screen.

Use of sound stages to build key sets like the lighthouse interior

In addition to the Screenworks studio, the production of “The Lighthouse” also utilized sound stages in Halifax to build key sets, such as the interior of the lighthouse. The use of these sound stages allowed the filmmakers to have full control over the design and construction of these important locations.

By building the lighthouse interior on a sound stage, the production team was able to create a highly detailed and atmospheric setting that perfectly matched the tone of the film. This level of control over the environment ensured that every shot captured the desired mood and enhanced the overall storytelling.

The use of sound stages also provided practical benefits, such as easier access for the crew and the ability to manipulate lighting and sound effects. These factors contributed to the seamless integration of the sets into the film, enhancing the overall viewing experience for the audience.

For more information on the filming locations of “The Lighthouse,” you can visit IMDb, the internet movie database that provides comprehensive details about the filming process.

The Island Setting

The island setting of the film “The Lighthouse” plays a crucial role in creating the atmospheric and haunting tone of the story. The filmmakers wanted to transport viewers back to the late 19th century and give them a sense of isolation and desolation.

To achieve this, they carefully selected the filming locations and utilized CGI and VFX to enhance the overall look and feel of the island.

How Cape Forchu was made to look like a late 19th century island

One of the main filming locations for “The Lighthouse” was Cape Forchu in Nova Scotia, Canada. This picturesque location provided the perfect backdrop for the film’s eerie and mysterious atmosphere. To make Cape Forchu look like a late 19th century island, the production team made several modifications to the existing structures and landscape.

They added vintage props, such as old fishing nets and weathered furniture, to create an authentic period setting. Additionally, the filmmakers used clever camera angles and lighting techniques to capture the bleakness and harshness of the island.

During the filming process, the crew also had to contend with the unpredictable weather conditions that are characteristic of Cape Forchu. Storms, fog, and high winds added to the authenticity of the film’s setting, but also posed challenges for the cast and crew.

Despite these obstacles, the team’s efforts paid off, as Cape Forchu truly became a character in its own right in “The Lighthouse.”

CGI and VFX used to enhance the location’s isolation and eeriness

In addition to the physical modifications made to Cape Forchu, CGI (computer-generated imagery) and VFX (visual effects) were also used to enhance the isolation and eeriness of the location. These techniques allowed the filmmakers to heighten the sense of desolation and create a more atmospheric and haunting atmosphere.

For example, CGI was used to extend the size of the island, making it appear even more remote and isolated. This added to the feeling of being trapped and cut off from the rest of the world. VFX was utilized to create the illusion of stormy weather and turbulent seas, further emphasizing the harsh and unforgiving nature of the island.

By combining practical set modifications, such as vintage props and clever camera techniques, with CGI and VFX, the filmmakers were able to create a visually stunning and immersive island setting for “The Lighthouse.”

For more information about “The Lighthouse” and its filming locations, you can visit IMDb.

Impact on Local Community

Reactions from Yarmouth residents to The Lighthouse filming

The filming of The Lighthouse in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, had a significant impact on the local community. Residents were both excited and curious about having a major motion picture being filmed in their small town.

Many were thrilled to see their community showcased on the big screen and took pride in the fact that Yarmouth was chosen as a filming location.

The presence of the film crew and cast members created a buzz around town, with locals eagerly anticipating the release of the movie. Some residents even had the opportunity to be extras in certain scenes, adding to the excitement and sense of community involvement.

Overall, the reaction from Yarmouth residents was overwhelmingly positive, with many expressing their gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of such a unique experience.

Economic benefits of hosting the production

The filming of The Lighthouse not only brought excitement to the community but also had a positive impact on the local economy. Hosting a major film production can provide a significant boost to a small town’s economy, generating revenue and creating job opportunities.

During the filming process, the production crew hired local businesses for various services, such as catering, transportation, and accommodations. This influx of business helped support the local economy and provided a much-needed boost to businesses in the area.

Furthermore, the presence of the film crew and cast members attracted tourists and visitors to Yarmouth. Many film enthusiasts and fans of the actors involved in the movie traveled to the town to catch a glimpse of the filming process or explore the filming locations.

This increase in tourism brought additional revenue to local businesses, such as hotels, restaurants, and shops.


The Lighthouse required an evocative, moody coastal location to depict its 19th century tale of madness and isolation. It found the perfect backdrop in Cape Forchu, Nova Scotia. With sweeping cliffs, dramatic seascapes, and a still-operational lighthouse, Cape Forchu allowed the film to authentically transport audiences to its period setting.

The use of studio facilities in Halifax complemented the on-location work. Robert Eggers’ vision may have been fictional, but the vivid, foreboding world depicted in The Lighthouse sprang to life thanks to the craggy shores of rural Nova Scotia.

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