Like a good book, a good movie should put you in the scene, make you feel as if you are there along with the characters. Hollywood location scouts are paid good money to find places that fit the character of the film, and in the good ones, the setting itself can become a character. In these movies, the settings were as much a part of the story as the story. They inspired me to see the places where they were filmed. Perhaps some of these inspired you seasoned travellers as well.
5. In Bruges
Prior to 2009, I hadn’t been much of a traveller. As someone who had never read a travel blog, I wouldn’t know the difference between Chang Mai and Muy Thai. When I saw the film In Bruges, it became my first time hearing about the city of Bruges (or Brugge) in Belgium.
Aside from making me aware of the quaint Medieval town in Flanders, the film did an incredible job of highlighting the many sights and experiences in Bruges. It was almost like watching a two-hour tourism video mixed in with some action, sex and one of the funniest scenes involving a little person you’ll ever see.
Highlights included the climb up the Belfry, scenes taking place in the Marktt and of course the Belgian beers. Colin Farrell’s character may not have liked Bruges, uttering the line, “If I’d grown up on a farm and was retarded, Bruges might impress me. But I didn’t, so it doesn’t.”
Speak for yourself buddy. Bruges is a wonderful city that I discovered can be walked in a day, but more enjoyed over three. Immediately after seeing the movie, I made plans to take my first real European trip and Bruges was on the list of places to see. Thanks to a little movie called, In Bruges.
Click here for the trailer. Opens a new window in Youtube.
From birth, whether it’s an image of the Seine by Henri Cartier-Bresson or an Eiffel Tower snow globe, you know Paris. It doesn’t take much to inspire someone to see the City of Light. Yet, when I was planning my short Euro trip and bouncing around places to go, saying things like, “Paris is too touristy,” my friend told me to watch Amelie.
Amelie, set in the Parisian district of Montmartre, does a wonderful job of showing the day-to-day lives of Parisians in north Paris. I was inspired by those fictional characters; determined to visit Paris and live like a local for a few days.
Of course, like any good tourist and first-time visitor to Paris, I drowned myself in all things typical Paris; the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Pere Lachaise Cemetary, Arc du Triomphe, etc. In fact, despite how much the film inspired me, I completely missed out on visiting Montmartre and the Basilica of the Sacre Coeur. Yet, the film inspired me to see Paris on that trip and although I have not been back yet, I desire to see Paris as a Parisian.
View the trailer for Amelie here.
3. The Beach
By the time I had actually seen The Beach, I’d already visited Thailand twice. Yet, it was after seeing The Beach that I felt inspired to find my own private, picturesque paradise in Thailand.
The scenes of turquoise waters, lush green islands, incredible diving and the romance of discovery led me to research and find a place where I could have my own The Beach experience. It would be on a couple islands off the coast of Trang, Thailand that I’d find my own.
Of course I can’t tell you, you must find them yourself. Had it not been for me seeing this film though, I probably would have actually followed the throngs of tourists to Ko Phi Phi- where The Beach was filmed. How ironic.
Aside from the beach, the movie also does a good job of making you want to see the Bangkok backpackers paradise that is Khaosan Road.
Click here to see the trailer for The Beach.
One view and listen to this scene from Diana Ross’ Mahogany will inspire you to visit Rome. Although only a small portion of the movie is filmed in Rome, just the look on Ross’ face was enough to inspire me.
As she rides the taxi, you see her marvel at Rome’s iconic landmarks. She shows that same sense of awe and wanderlust that we travellers feel when we finally see a place that we read and dreamed so much about. In particular, the open-mouthed awe she has as she rides by Piazza del Popolo and the “twin” churches Santa Maria in Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli.
When I visited Rome in 2010, I set my sights on seeing the same iconic buildings, monuments and statues and I did. Some my credit Roman Holiday or Angels and Demons with inspiring them to see Rome, but Mahogany did it for me.
Do you know where you’re going to?
Click here to see the trailer for Mahogany.
1. Spy Movies
I couldn’t list just one here. But the Bond, Bourne and Mission Impossible franchises have been the most inspiring for me. In particular when it comes to Europe and the Caribbean.
As this article in BBC Travel noted, Bond’s films have allured many travellers “looking to drive, dive and parkour in the same spots as the internationally famous British spy.”
Casino Royale probably inspired more than any other Bond or spy movie for that matter. From Venice’s Grand Canal to the terraces of Lake Como and the enchantment of Paradise Island and Nassau in the Bahamas, that film led me to journey to all of those destinations within a two-year period.
Now with Taken 2 and Bond’s Skyfall, I find myself wanderlusting about Istanbul, Macau, Scotland and London. More places to feel like a spy in. And what better places to start than the spy capitals of the movie world- Prague and Vienna.
Click here to see the trailer for Casino Royale.
Has a movie inspired you to travel? If so, tell me about it.
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