An Oscars Tour of the World: The Destinations Featured in Academy Award Winning Films
With the Oscars season upon us, we decided to take a look at some of the magnificent locations around the world where Oscar winning movies have been set.
Awards season is well and truly here, and the countdown is on to arguably the biggest awards ceremony of all – The Oscars. This year marks the 90th year of the Academy Awards, which are one of the most iconic celebrations of the film industry.
One of the most incredible things about films is the way in which they can transport you around the world in an instant. So, in honour of Oscars seasons we’ve created illustrations showcasing the fabulous locations around the world where some of the most-loved Best Picture winners have been set. Have a look at our illustrations below, and maybe you will even be inspired to visit these movie locations in real life.
Casablanca – Casablanca, Morocco
It’s not hard to guess where the iconic movie Casablanca was set. The classic film starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman is a romantic drama set during World War II. The Casablanca portrayed in the movie is somewhat different from the modern day Casablanca – although you can visit Rick’s Café which is a replica of the famous bar from the movie.
Casablanca is a perfect choice for travellers who want to experience the authentic local lifestyle, and to enjoy the present day city while also discovering the fascinating history of the area. Casablanca is an architectural paradise with a myriad of impressive buildings ranging from art-deco styles to radically modern creations. Some of the most outstanding buildings in the city include the Hassan II Mosque, the Cinéma Rialto and the Église du Sacré-Couer.
Gigi – Paris, France
The romantic French capital is the setting for many popular movies, one of which is the 1959 Best Picture winner Gigi. Set in turn-of-the-20th century Paris, the musical romance tells the story of Parisian playboy Gaston as he falls in love with the charismatic Gigi.
The film showcases the wonder of Paris, and will leave any viewer eager to explore the magical city. Modern day Paris offers a multitude of exciting activities for travellers. Of course the city is a must for lovers who can stroll the city’s beautiful streets, take in the views from the top of the Eiffel Tower and cruise down the River Seine.
Grand Hotel – Berlin, Germany
Grand Hotel is a 1932 MGM drama based on the 1929 novel and 1930 play by the same name. The film focuses on the Grand Hotel and follows the intertwining lives of the hotel’s residents. The film has proven to be influential and the format of overlapping multiple characters and stories in modern movies is now often termed a ‘Grand Hotel theme’.
The Grand Hotel from the film is not a real-life venue you can visit, however there is so much more to explore in this fascinating city. Berlin offers a truly unique combination of old and new. Learn about the city’s tumultuous history by visiting the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie and the Jewish Museum, before heading to the city’s trendy area of Prenzlauer Berg for food, drinks and shopping.
Out of Africa – Nairobi, Africa
The Meryl Streep and Robert Redford epic drama tells the story of Karen Blixen, a wealthy Danish woman, as she recalls her life in Africa in the early 1900s. The film is loosely based on the autobiographical book Out of Africa, and received an impressive total of 28 movie awards, including 7 Oscars.
The film showcases life in rural Nairobi in the early 1900s, working on a farm. However, modern day Nairobi is far more urbanised than viewers of the film may realise. While the Kenyan capital still has many fantastic nature reserves and countryside where you can marvel at the wildlife and nature, including the Nairobi National Park, the modern city is also home to tall buildings, bustling streets and lively nightlife,
My Fair Lady – London, England
The Audrey Hepburn musical classic is an iconic depiction of cockney London. The movie follows flower seller Eliza Doolittle as she undertakes elocution lessons to learn how to become a ‘lady.’
In modern day London many historic cockney vibes are still present, including of course flower markets as well as a wide array of food and clothing markets. Modern London has also developed into a vibrant cultured city with interesting architecture, chic bars and restaurants and upmarket shopping streets. Of course the English capital is one of the most popular spots in the world for tourists, and if you’re visiting after watching My Fair Lady you might even want to catch a musical on the West End too.
The Last Emperor – Beijing, China
The Last Emperor is a biographical film depicting the life of Puyi, the last Emperor of China, during the first half of the 1900s. The life of Puyi was one of many twists and turns, from his ascent to the throne as a young child to his imprisonment and political rehabilitation by the Communist Party of China. The film was the first to be authorised to film in the Forbidden City in Beijing.
The movie showcases a historic Beijing and exploring this history is a key reason for choosing to visit Beijing. Must-visits include the Imperial Palace and Forbidden City where The Last Emperor was set. This is the most significant building in all of China and its roots can be traced back to the Yuan Dynasty of the 13th Century. In total the palace has been home to 24 emperors. The Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven are also incredible works of historic architecture.
Of course, Beijing also offers a multitude of modern attractions among its brightly lit streets including fabulous cocktail bars, theatre houses and dance clubs.
Gladiator – Rome, Italy
Gladiator is a critically acclaimed historical drama which sees Russell Crowe portray Hispano-Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius in ancient Rome. The film depicts iconic gladiator fighting scenes in Rome’s famous Colosseum and it’s not difficult to reflect back to this ancient era when visiting Rome and the Colosseum in real life.
As one of the world’s oldest cities the Eternal City of Rome is filled with fascinating ancient ruins and historic sights, and even in modern times a visit to Rome can feel like travelling back in time. With the many street entertainers dressed as gladiators too, you may even feel like you’ve stepped into the set of Gladiator.
While the ancient sights of Rome are one of the city’s greatest pulls, the charming streets and piazzas, sumptuous cuisine and lively neighbourhoods such as Campo di Fiori also offer many modern day attractions.
Braveheart – Stirling, Scotland
The legendary Braveheart tells the story of Scottish warrior William Wallace as he leads the First War of Scottish Independence against the English monarch. The film was nominated for 10 Oscars at the 1996 Academy Awards and won 5, including Best Picture.
The Scotland depicted in the historic movie is a far cry from the modern day city of Stirling. The city of Stirling was first established in 1130 and was granted city status in 2002. While the modern city of Stirling doesn’t look like the ancient land portrayed in Braveheart, the city is a wonderful choice for an historic Scottish break, and the perfect place to find out more about William Wallace. The Wallace Monument was built in the 1860s to commemorate William Wallace. The monument sits atop the Abbey Craig hilltop and the location also offers an outstanding view across the city’s picturesque greenery.
Other must-visits include the historic Stirling Castle as well as the scenic university campus which features its own loch.
Gandhi – Gujarat, India
The award-winning Gandhi is based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi, an Indian activist who successfully led the Indian Independence Movement utilising nonviolent civil disobedience. The film covers Gandhi’s life from 1893 when he was evacuated from a South African train for sitting in a ‘white only’ compartment, through to his assassination in 1948.
Gandhi spent a large part of his life in Gujarat, but visitors to the area will notice very different vibes from those portrayed in the film. Often overlooked by tourists to India, Gujarat is a wonderful off-the-beaten track destination. The capital of Ahmedabad offers outstanding architecture and exciting culinary experiences while the countryside is home to parks filled with unique wildlife, and across the coast you can find a spectacular array of golden beaches.
The Sound of Music – Salzburg, Austria
Potentially one of the most famous films of all time, The Sound of Music follows a young woman in Salzburg, as she takes on the role of governess to a widowed naval officer and his 7 children. Salzburg plays an important role in the movie, and to this day The Sound of Music plays an important role in Salzburg, with fans of the movie brining much tourism to the area. There are Sound of Music filming locations available in Salzburg where you can explore the hills being alive with the sound of music, and other iconic scenes from the movie.
Elsewhere in Salzburg, the old town is the image of a fairy-tale and a charming place to spend a relaxing day taking in the sights. The entirety of Salzburg is filled with a laidback vibe which is sure to make the city one of your favourite things.
Unforgiven – Wyoming, USA
Unforgiven is a highly-acclaimed western starring Clint Eastwood, who also wrote and produced the movie. The film follows an aging outlaw who takes one last job years after retiring. The movie is a visual spectacle of the old wild west, and as with any western it serves as inspiration for visiting the US frontier.
The movie is set in Wyoming which to this day remains one of the most visually spectacular parts of the world. While much of the state has modernised it is still home to vast plains, the Rocky Mountains and its famous Yellowstone National Park.
Yellowstone is located across Wyoming, Montana and Idaho and was the first national park in the US – and potentially the world. The park is known for its fantastical wildlife and geysers, particularly the popular Old Faithful geyser.
While this selection of Oscar winning movies all vary in many different ways, they have all been set in remarkable locations around the world that are sure to give you the travel bug.
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