Zero Dark Thirty Filming Locations, The Hunt for Bin Laden

Zero Dark Thirty is a 2012 true crime thriller film based on the decade long international manhunt for Osama, the mastermind behind 9/11 terror attacks and the chief of Al-Qaeda.

This was another successful mission of American intelligence, and you can feel proud if you live inside the United States.

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by two times Academy award winner Mark Boal, the film received widespread critical acclaim for its acting, direction, as well as screenplay. It was a major box office success grossing over $132 Million worldwide.

The film has has been produced by co-produced by director Bigelow, writer Boal, and producer Megan Ellison under Columbia Pictures, First Light Productions, and Annapurna Pictures.

Where was Zero Dark Thirty filmed?

Zero Dark Thirty was filmed in India, Jordan, Poland, United Kingdom, and the United States of America. Principal photography began on 5 March 2012 and wrapped around June in the same year.

Where was Zero Dark Thirty filmed
via Netflix

The IMDb page of 2012 movie has also mentioned that the post production was completed in November 2012. It is important to note that the crew faced numerous challenges due to the film’s sensitive subject matter.

We will tell you more in the BTS section but before that we are going to give you all the information you need about the exact shooting places of Zero Dark movie.

Exploring Zero Dark Thirty Filming Locations

It’s time to unveil the mysterious locations of ZD30 movie.


To accurately depict the rugged and war-torn landscapes of Afghanistan, the filmmakers chose several locations of India including Punjab, Haryana, and Chandigarh.

The place where Osama was residing is located in Abbotabad, Pakistan but Indian Manimajra Fort of Chandigarh was utilized to mimic the place. Lahore shown in the movie is actually a part of Punjab.

Zero Dark Thirty filming locations
via Starz

PEC University of Technology was transformed into the agency offices and has been featured in the movie as US Embassy in Islamabad. Some market scenes were done in Patiala district of Punjab.

The place where Abu Faraj was arrested is located at Pinjore Gardens in Pinjore town of Haryana and the place where navy seals land to hunt Laden was also designed by the team within India.

Overall, Indian locations seamlessly blended with other filming sites and has contributed to the overall realism of the story.

Jordan, Middle East

The diverse landscapes, bustling city streets, and remote desert areas of Jordan were utilized to capture the beauty of Middle East.

United Kingdom

Filmmakers visited the UK to film those scenes that required portrayal of CIA operations and intelligence analysis. The scene shows the collaborative efforts of CIA and other international agencies, that are always there to help.

The British comedy drama series Rain Dogs was recently shot in the different UK locations. It’s not thrilling but full of surprises and lots of humor.

United States

It is a matter of such a big mission of America and not even a single scene has been shot in America, how can this happen? That’s why a significant portion of the movie was done in Washington DC, probably the starting scenes and the scenes featuring special fighter jets of the US army.

Behind the Scenes

Filming in different countries wasn’t easy as each country brought its own set of challenges like in India, people were protesting to portray Indian land as Pakistan’s Abbotabad, the residence of Al-Qaeda’s supreme commander.

But through meticulous planning and collaboration, the production team successfully captured the essence of each location. The result was a visually stunning and emotionally engaging film that resonated with audiences worldwide.

They carefully selected filming sites in the United Kingdom that conveyed the atmosphere and operations of the intelligence community while maintain security and confidentiality.

How long did it take to film “Zero Dark Thirty”?

The production spanned nine months, involving intricate planning and coordination across multiple countries.

Where can I watch “Zero Dark Thirty”?

The 2012 movie is available for streaming on Starz, and available to rent or purchase from digital VOD platforms.

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