Film Locations in London.
We all know about how many amazing sights there are to see in The Big Smoke… or at least we think that we do. You see, the truth is that there is far more to see in London than most of will actually realise. Sure, tens of thousands of visitors will flock to Britain’s capital every single year, but this will normally be to visit the same old things – Buckingham Palace, The London Eye, Downing Street, Madame Tussauds, Harrods, Fortnum and Mason, Tower Bridge…. And what these people do not realise is that they are missing out on something else very big indeed!
You see, London has long been recognised as a cool place to make a movie and it has been used by numerous directors over the years. Countless films (from just about every genre you care to mention) have been shot in our Capital in a variety of different locations. But, the best news of all is that movie buffs can do their own tour of the big city! In fact, they can spend an entire weekend (or a whole lot longer!) visiting locales where many of their favourite films were actually made.
There are lots of websites on the Net that will give you detailed information about London based movies. Here are a few of my personal favourites that were filmed in the big city -
‘An American Werewolf in London'(John Landis 1981)
Back in the early eighties, this really was a landmark Horror movie. Not only was it great fun to watch, but it had plenty of eye-popping special effects too!
A great deal of this movie was shot in London and there are many places you will recognise straight away (Piccadilly Circus in particular!). And if you have ever watched, ‘An American Werewolf in London'you will never look at the Underground in quite the same way again… Or if you do, it will be through very nervous eyes!
‘Alfie'(Lewis Gilbert 1966)
This movie managed to be so many different things; it was cool, funny and also extremely poignant. And filming it in the Capital was the automatic (and perfect) choice in the middle of the ‘swinging sixties’.
Of course, if Lewis Gilbert had opted to shoot it in Blackpool hotels with a pool then it would still have retained its ‘Britishness’… but it just wouldn’t have been the same. You see, even though Blackpool was/is one of our ‘cultural hotspots’, it doesn’t have the same ‘hipness'about itself.
‘The Elephant Man'(David Lynch 1980)
Mr Lynch made a damn fine job of documenting the painful life of John Merrick. He captured all of the hurt, frustration and injustice of this man and then successfully translated it to the big screen.
Of course, the story of ‘The Elephant Man'was set in ‘Victorian times’, but this did not stop Lynch from making full use of locations around London. Besides, there are still hundreds of buildings in The Big Smoke that date back to this wonderfully decorative age!
‘The Omen'(Richard Donner 1976)
We all remember that music, don’t we? ‘The Omen'was a superior Horror flick in its day and it was remade again in 2006 (this was actually a reasonably good reworking – quite a rarity in modern cinema…). There are quite a lot of scenes in this movie that were shot in and around our Capital.
But one word of warning: If you are planning on visiting any of these locales with a friend, be sure to check for hidden numbers on his/her scalp before setting off…
‘Villain'(Michael Tuchner 1971)
Richard Burton was absolutely chilling in his role of Vic Dakin, a sadistic East End gangster… so this movie simply had to be made in our Capitol. Well, this may sound like common sense, but some directors would have filmed it somewhere else that ‘looked a bit like London’.
Film makers have employed this tactic many times over the years and it will often be a cheap and cheerful way of doing things. Thank goodness this did not happen with ‘Villain’!!!
‘A Hard Day’s Night'(Richard Lester 1964)
As well as being a really bloody funny film, ‘A Hard Day’s Night'also managed to encapsulate all of that hip Britishness of the 1960s. And much of this was down to it being shot in London.
The Fab Four Our Capitol = Damn Fine Movie. Even Einstein would have told you that!
‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels'(Guy Ritchie 1998)
London is still a great location to use when you are making a gangster movie. And Guy Ritchie proved this many times over with his excellent, ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’!
All of the necessary ‘grittiness'is out there on the streets of the Capital… as long as you know how to make use of it. That is why London was also the obvious choice for tough (at the time) TV dramas such as ‘The Sweeney'or ‘Minder’.
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