When visiting a capital city, especially one like London, you want to learn as much about the city as possible. Sometimes, you may even want to do that before you arrive. Other times, you may want to intersperse it with your trip, enjoying a film about the exterior to your comfortable bedroom in The Devonshire Hotel. So, for all you frequent travellers out there who hop from Special Offers at London Hotels to different cities around the world, whether for business or for pleasure, here are the best films about capital cities to give you some extra scope for your next trip.
There are a number of films set in and around the theatre district of London, which in large part is made up of Shaftesbury Avenue. Yet, when staying in Shaftesbury London and making the most of Central London Hotel Deals, you can sometimes forget what an iconic, cinematographic part of the world you are living in and exploring, just like so many spies, lovers and fictional heros before you. So, next time you are heading to Greenwich, remember Thor on the tube asking for directions and you will feel instantly cooler, or when you find yourself by Paddington Station, try envision a confused bear with a suitcase of marmalade bustling by. Alternatively, you can keep things suitably romantic and picture the Notting Hill, Love Actually and Bridget Jones scenes that will melt any heart.
New York, New York – so good they named it twice. They also set a lot of films there, to the extent that even people who have never visited the city feel like they know it. Whether you watched Night At The Museum with Ben Stiller, or Home Alone 2 when little Kevin McAllistair ends up lost in the Big Apple with his dad’s credit card, or can picture King Kong swinging from the Empire State Building, this capital city is certainly one that has flickered to life on many a TV screen around the world. Then of course there are television series, like the much-loved Gossip Girl, where hierarchy on the Met Steps was critical, as well as the absolute television staple of Friends, where Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, Joey, Rachel and Ross stole all of our hearts at home.
Beijing is the sprawling capital of China, but is arguably somewhat underrepresented in cinema. But don’t worry, we have the recommendation for you if you are looking to get a feel for this bustling capital before you pay it a visit. The Last Emperor is particularly special, because it was the first foreign film to be granted official permission to shoot in the Forbidden City.
Paris, the city of lights, lights up many television sets around the world. For the kids, we are talking Ratatouille, Madeline, The Aristocats, Rugrats in Paris… a seemingly never ending list of often pretty adorable French animals and children ruling the roost in this wonderful, cultural city. Then, for the romantic adults out there, there is the iconic rom-com Midnight in Paris, directed by international director-superstar Woody Allen. For the more action-orientated, there is of course Liam Nieson’s Taken, which may make you a little anxious about the city but don’t forget – you can watch it from the comfort of your soft linen sheets at Shaftesbury Hyde Park International… it’s all about entertainment value, after all. As if the list wasn’t already quite sprawling, you catch yourself remembering more and more: The Hunchback of Notre Dam, Moulin Rouge… the list continues!
Singapore is technically a sovereign island city-state, but pretty much identifies as a capital city when it comes to television. A huge, smash-hit movie of recent years, set in Singapore, is Crazy Rich Asians, the blockbuster American romantic comedy film directed by Jon M. Chu. It gives a wonderfully rich and exciting perception of the city, making you want more than anything to see the Singapore Gardens by the Bay Light Show in the flesh.
It depends on the kind of film-watcher you are, but almost everyone has seen at least one film set in Rome. Whether it is the Italian section of Julia Roberts’ Eat, Pray, Love, or watching the sinking house in Venice in James Bond, Casino Royale, or the great decoding scenes in Dan Brown’s books’ film adaptations, Angels and Demons, the sequel to The Da Vinci Code. Then of course you have the obvious few: To Rome With Love and of course, Gladiator (are you not entertained?)
Tokyo, Japan’s capital, is ever-bustling, with a plethora of filmic displays of the city. 2003’s Lost in Translation, starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johanson, is a crowd-pleaser of note, there is no denying that! Then there is Godzilla, King of Monsters, who charges through the streets of Tokyo, reeking havoc in its wake. Not to mention, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift – yeah, we thought as much: you didn’t realise quite how many of these you had seen!
Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, is not easy to forget in terms of the big screen either – unless, of course, you have the kind of hangover that the boys in The Hangover II have when they visit the city. There is The Railway Man, starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, as well as Bangkok Dangerous with Nicholas Cage. There are scenes from James Bond, The Man With The Golden Gun and Tomorrow Never Dies, and it is one of the big-city base-points before time on the remote, mysterious island in Di Caprio’s The Beach.
There you have it – plenty of film examples to prove that you can travel the world and get a feel for the capital cities of the world from the comfort of your living room (or streaming from the comfort of your London hotel room, of course). The world has never been so cinematographically accessible, and there is nothing quite like the excitement of visiting a city which seems vaguely familiar, even if you have never been. That said, nobody wants to live from behind a screen, so use these reminders of experience as motivation to get you on the plane and walking through North London’s Primrose Hill just like the 101 Dalmations.