Since the first James Bond novel was published in 1953, Fleming’s Casino Royale has been adapted for the screen three times, the latest, widely considered to be the best version. In it, Bond flits from Madagascar to the Bahamas, Montenegro, and then Italy, on his blood-soaked quest to save the world; yet, Daniel Craig never actually sets foot in Madagascar or Montenegro, with the Madagascar scenes all shot across parts of the main Bahamian island, New Providence, and the entirety of his time in Montenegro actually being shot across the Czech Republic, as well as doubling for parts of Miami and Italy. Most of the end of the film does take place in Italy, featuring Venice’s Canal Grande and Piazza San Marco, and lastly the shores of Lake Como.
Don’t be fooled by the black and white tones of French director Patrice Leconte’s slightly surreal, certainly anachronistic Girl on the Bridge. It’s hard to make a staid, or even halfway conventional romance when your protagonists are a knife-thrower and his beautiful, depressive assistant, fated to canter around the French and Italian Rivera before riding the high seas to Turkey. Adele (Vanessa Paradis) is two months shy of 22, a luckless drifter, suicidal by the Seine. Gabor (Daniel Auteuil) is an older carnival performer, who nurtures a steady flirtation with danger. Cosmic mysticism, erotic music, and Felliniesque milieus of cruise ships, casinos and clown parades gives momentum to their romance with life, death, and each other. So when luck plays Russian roulette with the odd pair against shifting backdrops of Paris, Athens, Monaco, and Istanbul, even the grouchiest realist cannot bear to look away.
—Sohini Das Gupta
Rush is the kind of movie that will put you behind the wheel and steer you into the world of ’70s Formula One racing. The Ron Howard-directed sports drama is a big-screen depiction of the personal lives and the ruthless rivalry between the-then world champions James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl). The former—a charming Englishman, the latter—an Austrian perfectionist, the two titans cut corners and clash at the Grand Prix race tracks in Brazil, South Africa, Spain, Belgium, Monaco, Germany, and Italy (although the shots were largely filmed in the U.K.). A rain-washed Japan is set as the backdrop for the historic 1976 season finale and Hans Zimmer’s grappling orchestral score plays in accompaniment. It is also perhaps where the last lap of the film delivers a nail-biting ending, keeping the audience (and the actors) on the edge of their seats. So, fasten your seatbelts and gear up for two hours of an adrenaline-fuelled ride.
This blast from the past sex comedy follows the journey of American teenager Scott “Scotty” Thomas, who embarks on a Eurotrip with buddy Cooper Harris and (mid route onwards) twin siblings Jenny and Jamie in search of his gorgeous German pen pal, Mieke. As the hilarious and mismatched group of four set out under Scotty’s lead to travel from London to Paris to Amsterdam to Bratislava to Berlin, and finally to Rome (Vatican city, where they accidentally signal the bells that indicate the Pope has died!)—what unravels is a cringe worthy but heartwarming story of friendship and adventure.
Director George Roy Hill’s rendition of the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid saga employs remarkarble film locales. When the real Butch Cassidy started commiting train and bank heists towards the end of the 19th century, he did so all across the West, from Wyoming to Utah. In the film, despite some ‘town scenes’ in Hollywood studios, the majority of it is shot over vast swathes of Utah’s Snow Canyon and Zion National Parks, from Grafton, an abandoned Mormon town off the Virgin River, to the imposing Cave Valley. All the epic railway robberies, however, take place on a desolate and beautiful section of Colorado’s Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway. The movie’s final scenes in South America were actually shot in Mexico, in or around the dusty towns of Taxco, Cuernavaca, and Tlayacapan.
If it’s one thing that Karan Johar has mastered, it is dramatising heartbreak and unrequited love, and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is a prime example. The 2016 film stars Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Fawad Khan, and follows their character journeys as they navigate through love and friendship, reciting poetry in Vienna and dancing on breakup songs in London’s nightclubs, and with a marriage in Lucknow thrown in. Accompanied by Pritam’s ear wormy soundtrack, the film also has Shah Rukh Khan doing a cameo. Watch it for beautiful people in beautiful places, KJo-style.
With a star cast of Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis—the Todd Phillips road film sells by itself. Polished businessman Peter Highman (Downey Jr.) gets hauled off a plane due to the suspicious antics of Ethan Tremblay (Galifianakis), a struggling actor, and is forced to take a roadtrip with him to Los Angeles to make it in time for his wife to give birth. Shot in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Atlanta, Georgia, and Alabama, we cruise with the worst-mix duo as they make their way through the majesty of the Grand Canyon, the excitement of the Mexico–United States border and finally the golden climes of California.
Another Karan Johar addition to this list, K3G showcases the jet-setting life of the Raichands, the crème de la crème of high-society Delhi. Family traditions include boarding school education, attending university in London, and marrying with family-approval… until Shah Rukh Khan’s character breaks the barriers and marries a girl from Chandni Chowk, or the wrong side of Delhi for this family. The second half of the movie is shot (and set) entirely in London, and there’s even a dream romantic sequence outside the Pyramids of Giza. Replete with helicopters and Lamborghini’s, and Karva Chauth in London, the film at its core is about ‘family.’ A true Bollywood classic.