Glasgow Film Locations

The films set and/or located in Glasgow are of consistently high quality. Although, this fact is not really as widely known as it should be. The talents of Ken Loach, Peter Mullan and David Mackenzie have meant Glasgow’s film output has been fairly limited to the bleak, kitchen sink social realism that was also produced from the working class cities in England of Sheffield, Manchester and Birmingham but the quality hasn’t faltered. In recent years, Glasgow’s lack of hugely iconic buildings (though no less beautiful and diverse) has meant that Hollywood has come a-knocking for the city to stand in for places around America.

Here’s a list Glasgow film locations that are fairly recent (so the locations still exist!) that you can visit and imagine yourself living in a run down estate surrounded by domestic violence, gangs and sometimes even creatures from the beyond! And you may have to watch with subtitles depending on your familiarity with the Glaswegian Scottish dialect. Enjoy!

Glasgow Film Locations

My Name is Joe is one of the top films to come out of Scotland's second city, Glasgow
© Film Four

My Name Is Joe (1998)

Starring the gravelly Peter Mullan and directed by coveted British director Ken Loach, My Name is Joe is as gritty as they come. The title alludes to the cliched greeting used in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, of which Joe is one. The film was shot around council estates in Glasgow, using residents (some were former addicts themselves) as extras.

Young Adam is one of the top films to come out of Scotland's second city, Glasgow
© 2004 Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc.

Young Adam (2002)

Whilst Young Adam was filmed all over Scotland from West Lothian to West Dunbartonshire, it was set and partly filmed in Glasgow. Ewan McGregor plays the titular character who works on a barge from the River Clyde in Glasgow along the Forth & Clyde and Union canals to Edinburgh.

Sweet Sixteen is one of the top films to come out of Scotland's second city, Glasgow
© Icon Productions

Sweet Sixteen (2002)

When I first watched Sweet Sixteen, I had absolutely no idea what the characters were saying. The accents were that broad. Luckily, context and a lot of physicality meant it didn’t matter. Sweet Sixteen is another by Ken Loach and depicts the events in a teenage boy’s life up until his sixteenth birthday. With a rough and poor upbringing, the film was set in Inverclyde which is not technically part of Glasgow, but is considered ‘Greater Glasgow’ by some Glasweigans.

Neds is one of the top films to come out of Scotland's second city, Glasgow
© Wild Bunch

Neds (2010)

The term ‘Neds’ is a colloquial name for petty young criminals or hooligans. Basically, what the English might call ‘chavs.’ It’s set in the 1970s and follows the life of one young, bright boy, however his background and friendship group stunts his potential. Directed by Scottish actor Peter Mullan, he based the film on his own experiences and used his old neighbourhood Cardonald as the film’s primary location. He used the Lourdes Avenue area in particular which has parts that haven’t changed since the 1970s.

God Help the Girl is one of the top films to come out of Scotland's second city, Glasgow
© Courtesy of Sundance Institute

God Help The Girl (2013)

Moving away from narratives centred on the life of one troubled male, God Help The Girl was directed by Belle and Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch. On keeping with the musical theme, it even sports it’s own musical soundtrack. The film used Rio Cafe in Glasgow and vintage shop Mr Ben’s Retro Clothing for the scene where Eve and Anton play dress up and is a Glasgow institution among certain crowds.

World War Z is one of the top films to come out of Scotland's second city, Glasgow
© 2013 Paramount Pictures.

World War Z (2013)

Stepping in for Apocalyptic Philadelphia, Brad Pitt helmer World War Z used George Square to capture the vibe of the North Eastern US city without the expenses. Other filming locations around Glasgow include Cadogan Street and Bothwell Street.

Under The Skin is one of the top films to come out of Scotland's second city, Glasgow
© 2014 – StudioCanal

Under The Skin (2013)

Even more bizarre than the film’s alien-focused narrative is the fact that Scarlett Johansson could film around Glasgow with minimum recognition from any of the locals. However, that might have had something to do with the brunette wig. The film was shot all around Glasgow and the outskirts including the Buchanan Galleries, Celtic Park, George Street and George Square.

Other notable films that used Glasgow film locations: Shallow Grave (1994), Trainspotting (1995), Not Another Happy Ending (2013), Small Faces (1966), Doomsday (2008) and Donkeys (2010)

Have you watched any of these films set in Glasgow?

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Glasgow sports some of the most underrated films ever released, here are all the film locations you can go and visit!
© Courtesy of Sundance Institute


I'm the human and hair behind Almost Ginger. I'm a cinephile travel obsessive vegetarian currently residing in Manchester.

11 thoughts on “Glasgow Film Locations

  • 15/08/2016 at 4:44 pm

    This post brought back some memories. Since my sister lives in Glasgow I’ve seen a fair few of these, I remember seeing the set of World War Z when filming was going on and seeing one of the explosions filmed for it, pretty weird seeing signs for Glasgow landmarks shift into Philadelphia ones, although one of the things I remember is that there was a Greggs in shot and when the film came out I hoped that they forgot to edit it out. Also remember watching Cloud Atlas in Glasgow, about 10 minutes away from where the scenes in the 1970s San Francisco story were filmed. With Ken Loach films, there was a scene for The Angel’s Share that was filmed on the same street my sister lived on for a year, which surprised us when we first saw it.

    • 15/08/2016 at 5:13 pm

      Ahhhh I love little nuggets of info like that! I wish I’d paid more attention to the first Captain America film being shot in the Northern Quarter here in Manchester. Oooh I didn’t know they used Glasgow! I mentioned Cloud Atlas in my Edinburgh Film Locations post because they literally used the building I worked in for a month at the Edinburgh film which seemed so bizarre. That’s so funny! I love it when you have a personal connection to locations onscreen, the place seems sooo different.

      • 15/08/2016 at 7:48 pm

        Yeah, definitely understand you with the Captain America thing, few weeks ago the Kingsman sequel was filming here in Birmingham but I didn’t go to the set, mainly because it was at the same time as my final year uni exams and I couldn’t justify the night off. I seem to have more of a personal connection with directors rather than locations, I don’t think any film would be filmed in St Helens or Selly Oak, but the director of the last few Harry Potter films was from my hometown, which almost no one in St Helens recognises.

        • 15/08/2016 at 7:51 pm

          I guess because I don’t have any notable directors from Cumbria I don’t register that as much… David Yates is from St Helens?! That’s awesome, I didn’t know that!!

          • 15/08/2016 at 8:13 pm

            Well you do have a few notable faces from Cumbria, half of Laurel and Hardy and the creator of the Quatermass series are from Cumbria. And yeah, David Yates is from St Helens, him and Johnny Vegas are the only people from that shithole to do anything notable in the film industry so far (one of my friends is hoping to break into TV so here’s hoping he’s third). But yeah, our parts of the North don’t have enough faces in the industry. It’s got me thinking that we should highlight films and people from the North, us Northerners have to stick together

            • 16/08/2016 at 8:26 am

              We certainly do Tony!! 🙂

  • 16/08/2016 at 4:42 pm

    For some reason, all of this has really pushed the idea of doing something like a podcast about films and filmmakers related to the North with you into my mind

    • 16/08/2016 at 4:51 pm

      YES! I’d prefer a podcast, or maybe a blogathon…

      • 17/08/2016 at 4:45 pm

        Yeah, a podcast would be good, probably when I’m not busy with work for my Masters if we decide to do it

        • 18/08/2016 at 7:18 am

          Ohhh probably for the best! You’re about to get hella busy!

          • 18/08/2016 at 11:02 am

            Yeah, we should keep the idea in our minds though to do it when I’m less busy, it would be fun for us to do a podcast together


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