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Destinations

Ten cities made famous in movies

These cities are stars in themselves. See them glitter first in these 10 movies, then up close in person.

by Briana Seftel

Couldn’t make it to the Tribeca Film Festival? Fret not, because we have 10 iconic films and their respective cities to inspire major travel lust.

New York City: Manhattan (1979)

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New York City

Want an indelible image of New York City in the late 1970s? Watch a Woody Allen film. Few directors managed to capture the essence of the city better than Mr. Allen himself, who in the span of two years, made two films (the other being Annie Hall) that would iconize the city.

Honorable mentions: Taxi Driver, Dog Day Afternoon

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Manhattan 

Rome: La Dolce Vita (1960)

Rome

Rome

Federico Fellini’s classic 1960 film is forever associated with the eternal city. The film, which follows restless reporter Marcello Rubini as he drifts through life in Rome, was filmed at Cinecittà Studios and on location (including the infamous scene involving the Trevi fountain).

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La Dolce Vita 

Paris: Amélie (2001)

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Paris

We’d like to think of Paris, particularly Montmartre, as ‘before Amélie’ and ‘after Amélie.’ Few other films had such an effect on tourism and the image of Paris. Some decry the loss of authenticity of Montmartre, while others rejoice in its signature quirks. 

Honorable mention: Midnight in Paris

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Amélie

Los Angeles: L.A. Confidential (1997)

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Los Angeles

A throwback to noir films of the 1940s, L.A. Confidential is the ultimate retro L.A. movie. Its plot, loosely based on the 1990 James Ellroy novel of the same name, centers on L.A.P.D. officers and the rabid police corruption of the 1950s. The neighborhoods of Silverlake and Echo Park served as the backdrop for old-school L.A. glamour.

Honorable mention: Pulp Fiction

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L.A. Confidential

Boston: The Departed (2006)

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Boston

Martin Scorsese may be a New Yorker born and bred, but he gave Boston one of its most iconic films to date with The Departed. Inspired by the story of mobster Whitey Bulger, Scorsese’s film is an ode to hard scrabble South Boston and its questionable denizens. It was largely filmed on location in Boston, including the Brutalist-style City Hall.

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The Departed

London: Blowup (1966)

London

London

Inspired by the life of fashion photographer David Bailey, Blowup epitomized Swinging London in the 1960s. With real-life model Veruschka as muse, director Michelangelo Antonioni employed icons of the era in addition to well-known locations like Maryon Park and Charlton.

Honorable mentions: An Education, Notting Hill

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Blowup 

San Francisco: Vertigo (1958)

San Francisco

San Francisco

Alfred Hitchcock’s most memorable film, surprisingly, wasn’t shot in his native England but rather in the hilly cityscape of San Francisco. With its steep hills and tall, arching bridges, the Bay Area became the ideal set for the psychological thriller starring Jimmy Stewart as a retired detective suffering from a case of extreme acrophobia.

Honorable mentions: Point Blank, Bullitt

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Vertigo

Tokyo: Lost in Translation (2003)

Tokyo

Tokyo

Sofia Coppola’s dramedy starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson as unlikely comrades put Tokyo into a whole new light. The frenetic city looked positively romantic and the drop-dead gorgeous views from the Park Hyatt didn’t hurt, either.

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Lost in Translation

Stockholm: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

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Stockholm

The 2011 version of the Swedish thriller might get all the credit, but we think the 2009 film starring Noomi Rapace gives a more vivid realization of the city. Plenty of Stockholm locations pop up in the film, including the Stockholm Hilton, Stockholm Central Station, Arlanda Airport, and many, many others.

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Chicago: The Untouchables (1987)

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Chicago

This Brian De Palma flick embodied Chicago’s notorious mob history. Even though a lot of gangster films have been based in Chicago (e.g. Road to Perdition, Public Enemies), a lot of the scenes in The Untouchables were filmed in actual historic buildings around town, including the opulent Chicago Theatre and Union Station. 

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The Untouchables

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