Popular comic book character Ghost Rider was given the big screen treatment in early 2007 with Nicholas Cage cast as the flaming-skull-headed biker. Cage already had a tattoo of the anti-hero on his arm but had to cover it up for filming as it would be pretty weird to have a tattoo of yourself wouldn’t it!!
It would be natural to assume that it was filmed in the States (or Canada) but it was pretty much all shot in and around Melbourne. None of the locations featured here are easily noticeable as being in the Australian city. It’s rather apt that the first filming location is now known as the Marvel Stadium although at the time of filming it went by a different name. Since it opened in the Docklands area in 2000 it has been called Colonial Stadium, Telstra Dome and the Etihad Stadium.
On screen it’s called the SoBe Dome and it is where Cage’s character Johnny Blaze performs a death-defying stunt on 25 minutes over a line of helicopters with their blades rotating. The musical score ‘Ride Of The Valkyries‘ plays which is an ‘Apocalypse Now‘ (1979) reference as that film’s director Francis Ford Coppola is Cage’s uncle.
The worlds busiest multi-purpose stadium is where I took my nephew (or did he take me?!) to watch Melbourne Victory against Brisbane Roar when I was in Australia back in March. It was the perfect opportunity to see an A-League football match whilst getting a few match-up shots for this post. It’s more commonly used as an Aussie rules football ground but had to be remodelled slightly to look like an American football field.
On 40 minutes Little Collins Street and Russell Street is seen briefly as Blaze erm, blazes a trail through Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD).
Melbourne General Cemetery in Parkville appears on 49 minutes when a confused Johnny meets a man called the Caretaker, who knows about the Ghost Rider’s history. He assures Johnny that what happened regarding his soul was real and that he needs to be careful after dark when he is near an evil soul.
The cemetery in north Melbourne is absolutely huge and trying to locate the correct angles over two decades later was an impossible job really.
The St Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church (33 Howard Street at Victoria Street, West Melbourne) is seen on 70 minutes as Blackheart (son of the devil) looks for the Treaty. The whole church was under internal construction when I passed by but I took a quick look inside and could only snap a shot from this angle.
During a police chase later on in the movie, Johnny (a.k.a. Ghost Rider) rides up the arch of the Southbank Pedestrian Footbridge which links the Southbank area to Flinders Street Station. The bridge crosses the Yarra River and was built in 1989.
Bacchus Marsh, Melbourne Showgrounds and Newport Workshops are some other locations that were used in the state of Victoria. Cage would go on to make another movie in Melbourne a couple of years later.
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