Love film? Then plan your holidays around classic films set in beautiful places
Time Out Dubai staff
The USA is the obvious place to head for movie-themed holidays. Monument Valley is the location for classic Westerns, including John Ford’s Stagecoach (1939) and The Searchers (1956) and Sergio Leone’s masterpiece Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), making it the ultimate cowboy fantasy setting. You can stay at the boutique-style View (www.monumentvalleyview.com
), inside the park, or motel Goulding’s Lodge (www.gouldings.com ); both have jaw-dropping views of the buttes and spires of Monument Valley. Don’t, though, expect saloon fights; the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park (www.navajonationparks.org/htm/monumentva lley.htm), to give it its full name, is in the dry Navajo Nation autonomous region.
If Dances with Wolves (1990) was more your cup of baked beans, then head to Sage Creek in the evocatively named Badlands National Park (wwww.nps.gov/badl) in South Dakota. It’s great hiking, camping and backpacking territory, so you can get in the Costner mode. Out on the prairies, you may see bison, bighorn sheep and black-footed ferrets, but you’ll have to make do with prairie dogs and coyotes for the dancing.
Several of the flashback scenes for The Godfather Part II (1972) were filmed in the picturesque villages of Savoca and Forza d’Agro, near Taormina in eastern Sicily. The Bar Vitelli is still to be found in the former and pilgrims do stop by for a granita, while the surrounding countryside is still very charming. The actual town of Corleone is in western Sicily.
Dublin has also had its share of hardman films. Head here to imagine yourself in Michael Collins (1996) and In the Name of the Father (1993), which was shot in Kilmainham Gaol (www.kilmainham-gaol.com), a notorious former prison that was closed by the new Irish Free State government in 1924, where fascinating guided tours are organised.
France is, of course, full of film sets. Paris vies with New York for the prize of location par excellence – but if you want rural romance, head to Flavigny-sur-Ozerain and other villages in the Cote D’Or. where Lasse Hallström’s Chocolat (2000) was filmed. The village is famous for a different sort of sweet: L’Anis de Flavigny, made here since the ninth century and sold in keepsake tins decorated with beautiful old-fashioned pictures. Visit www.bringmeburgundy.co.uk for information on wine-and-food tours of the region.
South America is coming up as a directors’ favourite for ads as well as feature films. With its huge bay, gorgeous beaches and carnival buzz, Rio de Janeiro has long been a classic setting for movies. Some scenes in Cidade de Deus (City of God; 2002) were shot in the shanty town of that name; if you want to see a real favela up close, contact Favela Tour (www.favelatour.com.br). Alternatively, go for a walk round the cool but edgy Lapa neighbourhood and then go to Copacabana beach. Buy a yellow footie shirt, take off your shoes and kick a ball around to feel like a true brasileiro.
A far dreamier portrait of life in Latin America is that featured in The Motorcycle Diaries (2004), which sees Che Guevara and his best mate Alberto Granado biking through Argentina, Mexico, Chile and Peru – the latter’s UNESCO World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu is the set for a critical scene in the film. Latin America holiday specialist Journey Latin America can organise tailormade film-themed tours to many countries in the region.
Harrison Ford must feel like he knows Tunisia rather well. The Star Wars (1977) scenes of Luke Skywalker’s family home on the planet of Tatootine were filmed in Matmata, in the south, while Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) was filmed in Sousse, on the north-eastern coast, which is more than 3,000 years old and the site of a ninth-century mosque.
New Zealand has used the fact that the Lord of the Rings trilogy was shot there in all sorts of promotional campaigns. Kiwi Peter Jackson filmed all three movies in various locations around the country. To get a feel for Middle Earth go to hilly Matamata, which became Hobbiton. The setting for Mount Doom, meanwhile, was the volcanic region of Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand’s ‘adventure capital’ of Queenstown – also the setting for the Eregion Hills and the Pillars of Argonath. Visit www.tourism.net.nz/lord-of-therings.html for further details.
For a classic movie location, go to a once classic resort – now out of the way for Western Europeans. Battleship Potemkin was shot in Odessa, Ukraine on the Black Sea. You can visit the steps where the famous scene of the massacre was filmed. Don’t confuse fact and film, though – the actual 1905 massacre did not take place on the steps. You can combine a trip here with visits to Lviv and Kiev.