Top 10……Films Set Around Christmas!

It’s Christmas time and holiday cheer is very much on the horizon which often involves people watching classic festive films like ‘Scrooge‘, ‘A Christmas Carol‘, ‘Santa Clause: The Movie‘, erm ‘Jingle All The Way‘ or many of the special TV episodes filmed for this time of the year.

Others like ‘Home Alone‘ (1990), ‘Die Hard‘ (1988), ‘Gremlins‘ (1984) and ‘Lethal Weapon‘ (1987) which are just set during the Christmas season are also popular choices so I have delved into the archives to find some movies (of course ones that I have been to some filming locations of!) with seasonal connections whether it be a major one or a really tenuous link!

So here then, in no particular order, is the TF top 10……

1. In Bruges (2008) – Certainly not the first one that comes to mind when you think of films taking place at Christmas! Two Irish hit-men hide out in Belgium during the holiday season not that it’s at all important to the storyline. The woman at the Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce Hotel, where they stay, is doing something with the Christmas tree in one scene and their angry boss, Ralph Fiennes, shouts at his wife in front of their tree and kids in another.

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2. Ghostbuster II (1989) – The sequel is set in New York City during the Christmas period and culminates on New Years Eve as a crowd of locals sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’. A Christmas tree is visible during at least one scene and I guess one other festive link this has is that it was made (according to some critics!) to sell toys at Christmas time!

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3. Eyes Wide Shut (1999) – This Stanley Kubrick-directed erotic thriller is not your traditional Christmas film in any way! It opens at a big Christmas party before  Tom Cruise’s jealous character goes on a sexual odyssey so that he can feel equal to his “cheating” wife. However, not all is straight forward as he soon witnesses a secret sex society and people begin dying. It’s lacking in festive tunes and the common joviality shown by many at that time of the year. Christmas trees can be seen throughout as London doubles up for New York in holiday season.

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4. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) – In his one and only appearance as James Bond, George Lazenby takes the reins of the double agent in the sixth 007 movie. Part of the film takes place at Grindelwald in Switzerland during the Christmas season snow is all around. Festive connections include a Christmas tree at the Piz Gloria clinic, presents for the ladies and there’s even a Christmas song called “Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown.”

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5. Love Actually (2003) – By far the most festive film in this list as a large group of inter-related people are followed for the five weeks leading up to Christmas, exploring their various love-states. An all-star cast take part in this feel-good film.

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6. About A Boy (2002) – Bachelor Will (Hugh Grant) has no job and doesn’t need to have one as he can just live off the royalties of “Santa’s Super Sleigh”; a Christmas song his father composed in the past. Towards the end of the film we see Will hosting a Christmas gathering at his place with his new extended support system.

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7. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) – Thirty-something singleton Bridget is introduced to Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) at her parents’ Christmas party and is not impressed. He’s snooty and wears Christmas jumpers but as we know that eventually changes over time among several pivotal holiday-themed/snow scenes.

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8. The English Patient (1996) – A Hungarian cartographer choosing to maintain the assumption by others that he is an Englishman is badly burned in a plane crash during World War II and relays parts of his past via flashbacks and one of these includes a Christmas party scene where amidst a chorus of Silent Night, Katharine (Kristin Scott Thomas) is seduced by Almásy (Ralph Fiennes).

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9. When Harry Met Sally (1989) – Several Christmas and New Year’s-related scenes take place in this romantic comedy which spans over 15 years.

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10. I am Legend (2007) – A viral outbreak occurs on Christmas Eve 2009 in Manhattan, and quickly spreads across the world. The epidemic seemingly begins in the lead up to the Christmas season and festive decorations can be seen throughout the early parts of this Will Smith movie.

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Bonus: The Bourne Identity (2002) – Remember when Bourne and Marie seeked refuge in the French countryside? Well, they go to stay at her stepbrother’s place where Bourne notices the Christmas lights are still on. That sign of recent occupancy tells him that they have to leave before the owners return. It is also snowing throughout most of the film which is usually a good indication that it’s the holiday season.

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Top 10……Most Romantic* Filming Locations

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner what better way to celebrate the most romantic date (or what we’re told should be the romantic date!) on the calendar than taking a look at some places which have provided the backdrop for some scenes of affection being shown between lovers. Of course these images are helped on the silver screen with clever editing, added studio footage, CGI and musical scores which all add to the occasion. Basically, what we’re saying is that what you saw happen on screen may not transfer itself to your visit! This list features a mix of the good, the obvious, the bizarre and the plain wrong! So here without further ado is our Top 10……Most Romantic* Filming Locations…

(* The Beyond The Movies definition of romance!)

1. Villa Del Balbianello, Como (Italy): ‘Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones‘ (2002) & ‘Casino Royale‘ (2006) – A double dose of romantic action to get us started. Anakin and Padmé got secretly married here in the former and Bond recovers from his beating and then declares his love for Vesper in the latter. More details here and here.

 

2. Royal Exchange Building, London (UK): ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary‘ (2000) – Bridget catches up with Darcy here and is relieved to see him present her with a new diary so that they can make a new start together as one. More details here.

 

3. St. Mark’s Anglican Church Darling Point, Sydney (Australia): ‘Muriel’s Wedding‘ (1994) – There’s surely got to be a church somewhere in this list and so its this one! Muriel finally realises her dream here…or does she?! More details here.

 

4. Bocca Della Verita, Rome (Italy): ‘Roman Holiday‘ (1954) – Providing the films most famous scene where Joe pulls his hand out of the ‘mouth of truth’ with his hand up his sleeve astonishing Ann. More details here.

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5. Maya Bay, Phuket (Thailand): ‘The Beach‘ (2000) – Leo not only stole the heart of the beautiful Francoise here but he stole her from “French boy” too! Don’t expect to have this place to yourselves is all I’m saying! More details here.

 

6. Katz’s Deli, New York (USA): ‘When Harry Met Sally‘ (1989) – “I’ll have what she’s having!” is the classic line delivered at this sandwich shop following Sally’s fake climax in response to Harry’s boast that none of his one night stands had faked an orgasm. More details here.

 

7.  Tiffany’s, New York (USA): ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’ (1966) – The image of Audrey Hepburn in her black evening gown and sunglasses with a pearl necklace around her neck and a coffee and croissant in her hand is an iconic one. She gets out of a yellow cab as the morning light breaks and gazes up at the famous jewellery store sign. All girls love Tiffany’s and who would’ve thought that 18 months after visiting this place with my girlfriend I’d be presenting her with a Tiffany’s engagement ring! More details here.

 

8.  Whittier High School, Los Angeles (USA): ‘Back To The Future‘ (1984) – Marty went back to the past to change his future by getting his parents together in the first place at the ‘Enchantment Under The Sea’ dance at this school. More details here.

 

9. Imperial Palace, Las Vegas (USA): ‘Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery‘ (1997) – Alotta Fagina’s penthouse suite where Austin shagged her rotten to use his exact words! More details here.

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10. Tiki Motel, Los Angeles (USA): ‘The Terminator‘ (1984) – John Connor was conceived here in what is perhaps the most pivotal point in the whole Terminator franchise. You could stay in the same room where Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese did the deed! More details here.