Seven Movies for Seven Cities

by | Aug 8, 2022 | Discount Travel, Travel Checklists | 0 comments

So, you want to visit a certain city. You conjure the image in your mind… Paris in the rain, Tokyo at night, Sao Paulo in the summer, Los Angeles whenever (the weather is pretty much always the same). You’re ready to pack your bags, you look up hotels and you’re hit with the harsh reality of your pocket book.

Yea, I don’t need to tell you, travel can be expensive. Well for one, before you give up check out this neat website HelloVacay because they’ll probably make it a lot more affordable to take that trip. Okay okay plug over.

What’s the next best thing? Well maybe in a decade you’ll pop on a VR headset and you’ll be standing at the Metaversal Taj Mahal but until then I’d argue cinema is still king. I know I’ve seen movies that depict a city in such a way that I feel I’ve already lived there. Maybe this is naive but sometimes we need a little movie magic to help fulfill our fantasy… at least while we save up for that big trip.

So, here are seven great movies that capture the essence of seven great cities. Warning: this may cause you to envision a totally unrealistic and romantic version of yourself living in said city after viewing. Maybe that’s just a me thing…

Lost in Translation—Tokyo

Director: Sofia Coppola
Release: 2003
Rating: R

This will be the second time I mention Tokyo at night in this article, but it is executed perfectly here. A story of isolation and connection, follow aging Hollywood actor Bob and young abandoned girlfriend Charlotte as they connect against the backdrop of karaoke rooms and neon lights.

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  • In the Mood for Love—Hong Kong
  • Yi Yi—Taipei

La La Land—Los Angeles

Director: Damien Chazelle
Release: 2016
Rating: PG-13

I’m not usually a fan of musicals, but La La Land won me over early. It’s extremely charming and also provides an excellent depiction of the City of Angels. An aspiring musician and an aspiring actor fall in love… an LA story I’ve ever heard one.

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  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off—Chicago
  • Nashville—Nashville

La Dolce Vita—Rome

Director: Federico Fellini
Release: 1961
Rating: R

This is the oldest film on this list, but in my opinion it’s also the best. Follow Marcello, an entertainment journalist in the 1960s as he traipses around a vintage Rome with famous actresses, hangs out with some old royalty in an Italian castle and covers sightings of the Virgin Mary.

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  • Wings of Desire—Berlin
  • Down by Law—New Orleans

Before Sunrise—Vienna

Director: Richard Linklater
Release: 1995
Rating: R

This may be the most romantic film of all time. A young American boy named Jesse and French girl named Celine meet while riding the Eurorail and decide on a whim to explore the city for a night. This intimate and charming film is totally elevated by the breathtaking architecture and amorous energy of Vienna.

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  • Before Sunset—Paris
  • Midnight in Paris—Paris

Manhattan—New York City

Director: Woody Allen
Release: 1979
Rating: R

Just watch the opening sequence of this film (linked below) and you’ll see late 1970’s Manhattan in all its glory. While the film may be a bit risqué given its foreshadowing of Woody’s later life, it is still definitely a perfect time capsule for the Big Apple.

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  • All About my Mother—Barcelona
  • The Birdcage—Miami

City of God—Rio de Janeiro

Director: Katia Lund and Fernando Meirelles
Release: 2002
Rating: R

Warning, this is a crime drama that doesn’t hold back on the violence—you have been warned. Tour the highs and lows of this holy city as you sit on beautiful beaches and watch favelas (slums) rise over two decades with the main protagonist Buscape.

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If you like this, watch this next…

  • Casino—Las Vegas
  • In Bruges—Belgium

Slumdog Millionaire—Mumbai

Director: Danny Boyle Release: 2008 Rating: R

Similar to the last entry, this film is gritty but redeeming. Watch Jamal recount his life story after a life changing win on the classic game show ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’. It’s a good fusion of Hollywood and Bollywood, with a few Indian staples (like that iconic dance number at the end). Watch a preview of this film

If you like this, watch this next…

  • Ten—Tehran
  • The Big City—Calcutta

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King—Minas Tirith

Director: Peter Jackson
Release: 2003
Rating: PG-13

Nahhh, just kidding. That’s all folks.


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About The Author

Bradley Beachum

Bradley Beachum

Bradley Beachum is a content marketer, entrepreneur and artist whose interests range from blockchain technologies to filmmaking. His passion for emerging technologies and media, and the way these forces will shape our day to day lives in the near future, bleed through in all his work.

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