From Rome to London to New York, Musement takes a look at nine of the most famous filming locations in nine different films.
The art of film is a magical medium that offers us an escape–a chance for us to put our worries aside as we’re temporarily transported to another world. Yet, a visit to the cinema can be even more exciting when it takes us to our favorite cities or those that are on our bucket lists. In no particular order, here’s a look at nine iconic shooting locations in nine iconic films.
1. “La Dolce Vita”, Federico Fellini, 1960 – The Trevi Fountain
Perhaps the most iconic Italian films of all time filmed in one of the most iconic cities of all time (Rome!) featuring the most iconic scene of all time—and with a true icon of Italian cinema in the starring role to boot. Of course, it can be none other than Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, with the scene in which Anita Ekberg, siren-like, splashes around in the Trevi Fountain and urges Marcello Mastroianni to join her.
2. “A bout de souffle”, Jean-Luc Godard, 1960 – Champs Elysées
Jean Seberg, selling papers, is shouting “New York Herald Tribune” as Jean-Paul Belmondo runs up to ask her to go to Rome with him, in an epic scene that has left a distinct mark on cinema history. It’s all set against the backdrop of the Champs Elyseés in Paris, which looks quite different from how we know it today. Fun fact: Godard hid his camera in a truck and filmed this scene without the knowledge of passers-by.
3. “Good Bye, Lenin!”, Wolfgang Becker, 2003 – Alexanderplatz
“Good Bye, Lenin!” tells a story about the turmoil in Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall from the perspective Christiane, a woman who falls into a coma after a heart attack and wakes up seven months after the wall came down. After coming out of her coma, Christiane runs away from the hospital and finds herself in a city that is completely different from the one she remembers: the cars are new, the billboards advertise Western products, and the statue of Lenin flies high, carried off by a helicopter above the TV Tower in Alexanderplatz, as if waving a last goodbye. Berlin, Germany itself, and the whole world had changed—but Christiane’s son Alex, trying to protect her from a shock that could be fatal to her, tries to make her believe everything is still the same, in creative ways that often lead to hilarious scenarios.
4. “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”, David Yates, 2009, Millennium Bridge
The literary and cinematic adventures of the young wizard have been enchanting both children and adults around the world. From the magical shops in Diagon Alley to the spires of Hogwarts, numerous scenes and places have become indelibly etched into the filmgoers’ memories, but one of the most iconic moments of the whole series is also one of the darkest and most frightening: the Death Eaters are flying above London, leaving disturbing black streaks in the sky, and, destroy the Millennium Bridge, the steel suspension bridge over the Thames built in 2000 that links the Tate Modern gallery to St Paul’s Cathedral.
5. “Manhattan” by Woody Allen (1979) – Queensboro Bridge
A love letter to New York set to the soundtrack of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”. Woody Allen and Diane Keaton outdo themselves in one of the wittiest, most sparkling dialogues in film history, typical of Allen’s best films, and which ends with the duo on a bench in the shadow of the Queensboro Bridge. The black and white shapes of the two protagonists, Diane Keaton’s little dog, and the bridge give rise to a highly evocative image, offering a nostalgic glimpse into a New York of times past.
6. “Baaria”, Giuseppe Tornatore, 2009, – Bagheria Cathedral
The tale of two star-crossed young lovers is also the story of an age, a culture and a city all in one: Palermo. In this scene, Beppe (Francesco Scianna) looks around the city one last time before departing. The beautiful Bagheria Cathedral and a group of neighborhood elders, representing the city’s past, are there to see him off.
7. “A Room with a View”, James Ivory,1986 – Piazza della Signoria
This film with an all-star cast (Daniel Day-Lewis, Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham Carter, Judy Dench—to mention just a few) won three technical Oscars in 1987. The film adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novel “A Room with a View” tells the story of Lucy, a young Englishwoman traveling through Italy with her cousin. Thanks to the room without a view in which she stays in Florence, she gets to know Mr. Emerson, a meeting which will end up changing her life forever. In one scene, the exquisite Piazza della Signoria acts as the backdrop to the conversation between Lucy and Emerson.
8.”Marie-Antoinette”, Sofia Coppola, 2006 – The Palace of Versailles
A film that has provoked much debate: between the captivating soundtrack and the prominent pop culture elements, this unusual portrayal of Queen Marie Antoinette by Sofia Coppola has sparked strong reactions both for and against the film. There’s one thing everyone can agree on though: the majestic Palace of Versailles is the undisputed protagonist.
9. “Totò e Peppino a Milano”, Camillo Mastrocinque, 1959 – Piazza del Duomo, Milan
We end with our beloved Milan, seen through the eyes of Italy’s most famous comedian nicknamed the “Prince of Laughter”, Antonio De Curtis, in Totò e Peppino a Milano. It features a memorable comedic scene set in Piazza Duomo in which different dialects, comic misunderstandings, and old prejudices all come into play.