Films provide us with a sensory escape and have the power to move us. These six scenic movies are filled with cinematography, music and stories that call us to destinations all around the world. Get ready to get lost abroad without leaving your living room and be filled with inspiration for your next itinerary below.
Midnight In Paris (2011)
Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’ is as romantic as the city of lights itself. The story is about nostalgic Gil, who magically gets transported to his favourite time and place - Paris in the 20s. He struggles to convince his fiancé of his adventure and instead meets the model muse of Picasso and gets lost once again. Meanwhile the viewer is treated to sweeping shots of the cobbled streets of Montmarté, the stunning quai de la Tournelle by the Seine and an imaginary taste of Paris in its golden ages set to the tune of French swing and Jazz. The relaxed pace, scenery and music make you feel like you are strolling through the streets of Paris yourself.
Location Highlights: Must-see destinations such as Claude Monet’s Home in Giverny, the Palace of Versailles and the picturesque Shakespeare & Company storefront are all featured. It’s also a source of inspiration for lesser-known yet quintessentially Parisian sights such as the Musée des Arts Forains devoted to old fairground equipment, Paul Bert Sepette antique market and the glitzy Le Grande Véfour hotel restaurant.
'Chef’ is comedy-drama that seldom makes it onto travel film lists, but if you’re a foodie, this one is a must! Famous chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) cooks himself to meltdown in the restaurant industry. So, he embarks on a road trip from Miami to LA via the Southern states to get back to his cooking roots. Carl is the indie-foodie-travel guide of your dreams who will take you to hole-in-the-wall eateries and to Frenchman Street instead of Bourbon Street in New Orleans because there are fewer tourists. Food is at the forefront of Chef and each destination’s culinary specialties are presented in an array of mouthwatering shots that will make you want to book an airline ticket or order-in (or both).
Destination: LA, Miami, New Orleans, Austin
Location Highlights: Dive into Miami’s Latin community by dining in Versailles Cuban Restaurant in Little Havana, Miami; bite into a sugary beignet in New Orleans’ at Cafe Du Monde, and drool over the succulent offerings of Austin’s Franklin Barbecue.
Top End Wedding (2019)
We'd be amiss if we left an Australian film out of our round-up, and this one is an absolute gem. ‘Top End Wedding’ is a romantic comedy starring (produced and co-written by) Miranda Tapsell that features the best of what the Northern Territory has to offer. The plot centres around the engaged couple’s search for the bride’s missing mother - a storyline perfect for taking us to as many gorgeous top end destinations as possible in a two-hour film. We’re treated to Darwin, Katherine, Kakadu and the lesser-known Tiwi islands shot in a dreamy sunset orange that will make you want to plan your own trip around our sunburnt country in an instant.
Location Highlights: Marvel at Kakadu’s indigenous heritage rock art at the world-heritage Burrungkuy sandstone rocks; take a dip in the Gunlom Plunge pool or, visit the Nitmiluk region, which is on its way to being completely operated by its original landowners, the Jawoyn people.
Roman Holiday (1953)
Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn have been inspiring travellers through ‘Roman Holiday’ for decades. It was the first American film shot entirely in Italy, treating cinema-goers to real shots and backdrops instead of the usual 2D Hollywood sets. The plot is about a princess who escapes her duties for an adventurous day in Rome with a journalist who is going for the scoop of his career. There is so much charm to this movie: two Old-Hollywood greats (this was Hepburn’s first starring role); Rome in the 50s, and mid-century demure style. It’s enough to make you want to book a ticket and be romanced by the city of Rome for yourself.
Location Highlights: Imagine yourself at the base of the Spanish Steps looking up at the Trinità dei Monti church; zipping through Rome on a Vespa; or sauntering through the shops and galleries of Via Margutta, the small yet picturesque street where Peck lived in the film.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) is a mild-mannered homebody that has worked for ‘Life’ magazine for 16 years. In that time he makes up for a lack of actual travel by escaping into elaborate imaginary escapades. With his job on the line, he decides to finally escape in reality by embarking on a trip to Greenland in search of a front-cover picture for Life magazine’s final issue. The film is set in Greenland but is filmed mostly in neighbouring Iceland. Untouched green landscapes, glaciers, towering mountains and picturesque villages make for a gorgeous backdrop to Mitty’s adventures. The shots are worthy of a documentary and the story will make you want to hit the road and lose yourself in Iceland.
Location Highlights: Imagine yourself driving through Vatnajökull National Park; gazing up at the mountain of Kirkjufell; or discovering the picture-perfect towns of Garður and Stykkishólmurt.
Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is a treat. Viewers experience Singapore through the eyes of Rachel Chu, a Chinese-American professor who travels to Singapore to meet her fiancé's family. She discovers that his family is part of Singapore's old-money elite, so Rachel and the viewer are treated to unimaginable scenes of extravagant parties, tropical escapes, shopping, and touring the city's greatest hits such as the Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay Sands. It’s an easy watch filled with a kaleidoscope of colour, food and culture that makes up Singapore.
Location Highlights: Imagine yourself sampling an array of local fare at Newton Food Centre; escaping to the nearby Sentosa Island which features some of the best beaches in Singapore; or discovering the internationally acclaimed Changi Airport (yes an airport) that boasts among other things a tropical butterfly habitat, a nearly 20-foot-tall waterfall and a sunflower garden.
We hope these films can keep your wanderlust at bay a little longer, and provide you with some new places to consider travelling to in the future. Have you got a favourite location featured in a film? We'd love you to share in the comments below.