With the long dark evenings now upon us it’s time to catch up on some movie-watching…and why not satisfy some wanderlust and add to that travel list at the same time. My list of movies here will hopefully get you curling up on the couch, as well as thinking about some future travel plans. So grab some popcorn and get comfortable.
Let’s start with some James Bond movies…nobody does epic city and country filming locations like 007! From Europe to the Caribbean to Asia, Bond has done it all. We have been swept away by rooftop pursuits in Italy, car chases in France, and downhill skiing in Austria. He takes us diving in the Bahamas, gambling in Macau, and to the Sugar Loaf cable car in Brazil. From the Scottish Highlands to the San Francisco area to James Bond Island in Thailand, every 007 movie guarantees not only non-stop adventure, but numerous settings that will captivate the viewer…and with 25 movies to date there are definitely plenty to choose from!
Next up…a classic for the whole family to enjoy…The Sound of Music. This movie is one that I remember seeing when I was fairly young and those Austrian Alps are still calling to me. The opening scene was actually filmed in the German Alps near the Austrian border, but that backdrop is one of the most recognizable scenes in any movie. The majority of this movie was filmed in and around Salzburg with locations such as Residenzplatz in Old Town, Hellbrunner Allee and Hellbrunn Castle, and the Salzburg Cathedral. Other areas close to Salzburg that were used include the town of Werfen where the picnic shot was filmed, and Nonnberg Abbey which became the wedding location. An interesting fact is that the Villa Trapp was never used for filming as it was being used by missionaries at the time and therefore not available. Watching this movie will have you both singing along and planning your Austrian trip.
Now who doesn’t have Africa on their bucket-list? and what better way to satisfy the longing to travel to Kenya than to watch the movie Out of Africa. Not only a classic love story, but a movie that provides the viewer with sweeping panoramas of the stunning landscape of Africa. This story, based on the life of Karen Blixen, was shot in and around the Ngong Hills just outside of the city of Nairobi, as well as in the Masai Mara where safari scenes were filmed. Located close to the city of Nairobi is the Karen Blixen Museum where visitors can look at artifacts from her life, as well as enjoy the scenic Ngong Hills which she loved to gaze upon. The book that this filmed was based on, along with this movie, are both a couple of my favourites.
So this next group of movies may be filled with Middle Earth fiction, but there’s no denying the fact that watching the landscapes in The Lord of the Rings trilogy will have you yearning for the mountains and valleys of New Zealand. Sir Peter Jackson, the director of the Lord of the Rings as well as the Hobbit, used New Zealand for all the location shots. Both the North Island and the South Island are featured in the movies with famous landmarks and places such as Matamata, Wellington, Tongariro National Park, Canterbury, and the Southern Lakes and Fjord areas. Many road trip itineraries through New Zealand highlight these and other filming sites of this popular series.
My final movie for this list…Gandhi…is an epic film starring Ben Kingsley. The film portraying the life of this incredible man, and the scenery of India, are both highlighted in this movie. Although some of the film was made in England, most of the movie was shot entirely in India. Many of the scenes were filmed where the actual events took place including the location of Gandhi’s assassination in New Delhi, as well as his funeral procession which started at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the former Viceroy’s Palace which is now the residence of the President of India. Other cities that appear in the movie include Pormander, the birthplace of Gandhi…Mumbai which was used for the salt work protests and the ‘Calcutta’ riots…and Udaipur where some of the train scenes were filmed. India would certainly be an amazing country to visit and this film definitely adds to the yearning to travel there..
This list is of course a small number of the wonderful films out there that bring cities and countries alive on the big screen. New York, Paris, Hong Kong, and London take some of the top spots for movie city scenes, while Italy, the United States, and the United Kingdom are big draws for country filming locations. So the next time you are thinking about a movie to fill a long winter’s night check out one that takes you to a place you’d like to see…even if for now it’s only on your TV screen.
Do you have any favourite movies featuring beautiful destinations? Leave me a note in the comments so I can check them out!