Without a doubt, films have the ability to transport us to many places. With just the usual sit-back-and-relax mode, moviegoers and film fanatics are able to travel the world – be it Times Square in New York City, in the middle of the Sahara desert in Morocco, the romantic atmosphere of Rome and its ancient structures, or deep in the jungles of the Amazon. It cannot be denied that movies also somewhat function like a travelogue, and more!
This list presents the top 10 movies that also feature scenic, exotic, and romantic holiday destinations. Set in various places around the world, one cannot help but long for a good vacation after seeing these movies. How many of these films have you “been to?”
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10. Vicky Cristina Barcelona – Destination: Barcelona, Spain
The first film in the list takes its viewer to the Iberian Peninsula – to the province of Catalonia in Spain. Directed by Woody Allen, the film stars Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz, in her Academy Award winning performance, as two best friends who go on a holiday in Barcelona where they meet a dashing painter. A comedy of manners, both women fall in love with the painter – not realizing that his foul-mouthed wife is about to enter the picture.
9. Midnight in Paris – Destination: Paris, France
The film, also an opus by screenwriter/director Woody Allen, stars Owen Wilson as a screenwriter who is reflecting on her broken relationship with her materialistic fiancee and their incompatible goals. He is able to travel back in time at the struck of midnight, which further exaggerates his feelings of nostalgia and ambivalence. The lovely city of Paris is generously featured in this film – complementing the film’s thesis on modernism and nostalgia.
8. Grease- Destination: Malibu Beach, California, United States
One of the most iconic films of the late 70’s, the film stars John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in the roles that made them very famous movie stars. In the summer, two groups meet on Malibu Beach and the characters of Travolta and Newton-John fall in love with one another while both groups are on vacation. Featuring popular musical numbers, the film’s soundtrack also scored a big hit – finishing second place in the list of best-selling albums of 1978.
7. A Room With A View – Destination: London, England
This film, directed by James Ivory, is set in the restrictive era of Edwardian England. Based on a beautiful turn of the century novel by writer Ismail Merchant, this romantic film is about a repressed young woman who falls madly in love with a free-spirited man. Viewers of this film do not get to only explore Edwardian-era England. There is a side trip in beautiful Italy, too!
6. Honeymoon in Vegas – Destination: Las Vegas, Nevada
This romantic comedy film which came out in 1992 starred Sarah Jessica Parker, Nicholas Cage, and James Caan. The character of Cage proposes to his girlfriend Betsy, played by Parker. This romance is quickly tangled by Tommy Korman, a wealthy widower who notices Betsy’s striking resemblance to his deceased wife. The film then goes to a lengthy romantic musical chairs which ends in a funny and weird way.
5. Before Sunrise – Destination: Venice, Italy
The film’s main triumphs were its stellar screenplay, the magnificent acting by lead stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, and the picturesque cinematography that lovingly captures the Italian city of Venice in film. The movie has had 2 sequels that were as artistically praised and lauded as the original.
4. Roman Holiday – Destination: Rome, Italy
The Italian capital was the site of this 50’s film which starred Hollywood legends Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, and directed by ace filmmaker William Wyler. A hit with the audience and with the Academy – eventually winning the top plum of Best Picture, the film continues to inspire and romance its viewers to this day. Thanks to Rome, of course.
3. Eat, Pray Love – Destination: Bali, Indonesia
THis travelogue of a film follows the character of Elizabeth Gilbert, played by Julia Roberts, as she sets out in a journey to find peace, happiness, and herself. Sure, you also get to see Italy and India in the film. But it was Gilbert’s sojourn in Bali, Indonesia that the viewer gets to see generous views of Bali’s rice paddies and superior culture.
2. Indochine- Destination: Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
This 1992 film introduced Vietnam to much of Europe and the western world. Starring French superstar Catherine Deneuve, this movie was shot at the majestic Ha Long Bay in the northern part of Vietnam. A historical film that captured the French colonization of Vietnam, it was perhaps the very first film that showcased the tranquil waters and majestic cliffs of Ha Long Bay.
1. The English Patient – Destination: Egypt and Libya
This Academy-Award winning film by Anthony Minghella became the very first film to lovingly capture the beauty and culture of North Africa and its environs – the Sahara desert, and the rich culture of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Morocco. A tragic love story, it also features a side trip to postwar Italy.