Sully Movie Filming Locations You Can Actually Visit

How do you make a film like Sully look realistic on screen? A dramatic tale that includes cockpit scenes, an emergency water landing, and a lengthy rescue operation on the Hudson River. Obviously, the choice of filming locations is pivotal in creating authenticity, and director Clint Eastwood and his production team didn’t leave any stone unturned. The Sully movie was released on September 9, 2016, and got positive remarks for its visuals and lifelike depiction of events and filming locations.  

So how does Clint Eastwood get it right with Sully’s production and what are the actual filming locations? Let’s find out. 

What are the Key Sully Movie Filming Locations?

In the last 2 decades or so, filmmaking has transformed dramatically, thanks to the advancements of computer graphics. Now, directors don’t have to rely on real locations, and the majority of scenes are shot in studios and then seamlessly combined with real-life environments through the expertise of CGI engineers. 

Clint Eastwood, collaborating with his long-time production designer James J. Murakami and cinematographer Tom Stern took advantage of real locations as much as they could. Although a huge part of the film shows the indoor scenes, the outdoor ones have been shot at some of the prime locations in America. For example, it was crucial to get the airport scene, flight take off, water landing, and rescue operations right, even though it amounts to a total of 25 minutes of the movie. 

1. New York

The majority of outdoor scenes were shot in New York. Beginning with the opening sequence where Sully is seen walking to the plane before taking the ill-fated flight. The old US Airways terminal at LaGuardia Airport was used for this scene. For flight deck, cabin, and plane exterior scenes, the production team collaborated with US Airways and built the models which were later included in scenes using CGI. 

Pier 81, located near the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, which was used as a launching point for the New York Waterways rescue ferries during actual rescue, has been used in the film as well. 

The iconic George Washington Bridge was chosen for capturing reaction shots of rescue observers, with some scenes also filmed at the Time Warner Center building in New York.

The rest of the New York scenes you see in the film are CGI-generated. Since the shooting dates collided with the Pope’s visit, many locations where Clint Eastwood initially planned to film, were not accessible. 

2. Atlanta

Atlanta served as the prime Sully movie filming location for many crucial scenes. The JW Marriott Atlanta Buckhead was used as the Alex Hotel in New York, where Captain Sully and First Officer Jeff Skiles stayed during the NTSB inquiry. 

In Lawrenceville, Atlanta, Gwinnett Technical College provided the setting for the air traffic control room and a hearing room used in the National Transportation Safety Board investigation.

Furthermore, the Atlanta Center for Medical Research was utilized as St’ Luke’s Hospital in New York, where the injured passengers, along with Captain Sully got the initial treatment following the historic rescue operation after the water landing.

3. Los Angeles, California

Despite these fantastic real-life locations, the core filming occurred at Universal Studio and Warner Brothers Studio in Los Angeles (Hollywood). The breathtaking water landing sequence took place on the Falls Lake set at the Universal Studio. Eastwood also ordered the cinematographers to capture real-life shots of the Hudson and integrate them with the studio scenes. So, what you see on the screen is a combination of real locations and computer graphics. 

Stage 19 at Warner Brothers Studio was used to construct the entire 140-foot Airbus A320. Additionally, certain segments of the rescue scene were also filmed at Warner’s studio.


1. Where to watch Sully movie?

You can watch Sully on Netflix if it’s available at your location. Alternatively, you can rent or purchase the film on Amazon Prime Video, YouTube Movies, Microsoft Films, Google Play Store, DirecTV, Spectrum, and VuDu. 

2. Is Sully based on a true story?

Yes, Sully is based on a true incident from January 15, 2009, when Captain Sully made a decision to land United Flight 1549 on the Hudson after the aircraft suffered dual-engine failure due to a collision with birds. 

3. Did Captain Sully keep his job after Hudson’s landing?

Captain Sully decided to retire after the Hudson landing. He went on to establish a safety committee, contributing to the development of numerous new aviation safety protocols.

4. How did Sully earn at the Box office?

Sully earned $125 million at the US and Canada box office and $115 million at the global box office, taking its total earnings to $240 million. It was the second most successful film of Clint Eastwood. 

Final Word

Director Clint Eastwood, who has a fair bit of experience as an actor too, did a fantastic job in utilizing the real-life locations despite the complexity surrounding the filming schedule, difficult sequences, and the challenge of maintaining reality. While his experience in acting undoubtedly contributed to extracting the best from the cast and crew, the production team, especially Murakami, who shines in his job, whether it’s the exterior of the A320, the picture-perfect cockpit scenes, or the tensed water-landing sequence. 

As you see the majority of Sully movie filming locations are in New York and Atlanta, one can’t neglect the involvement of computer graphics, and stunning Hollywood studios provide directors with the capability to recreate almost any real-life setting with stunning detail.

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