New York, and the Manhattan Bridge in particular, is home to many great and memorable scenes from many great movies. However, there is no frame in a movie that is more recognizable, and no location more breath-taking for a cinema lover than the Manhattan Bridge in the early morning, when the sun is coming up, and the city is still and motionless. As depicted by Woody Allen in his romantic comedy Manhattan, this bridge represents everything great about the city of New York in a slightly less obvious way than the Empire State or the World Trade Center.
When most people think about Paris they think about the bakeries, the cafes, the small cars, the stylish people, and, of course, the Eiffel Tower. However, a true movie lover is not just “most people”. Their first destination after getting out of the airport will be the Pont de Bir-Hakeim, which after the giant success of Christopher Nolan’s dreamy blockbuster is more commonly referred to as The Inception Bridge. The bridge is as captivating and beautiful in real life as it is in Nolan’s movie, and even without the changing laws of matter and gravity, the feeling of deja vu will make you question whether you’re awake or not.
Home Alone Building
You’ve probably seen this house at least once every year on TV when Christmas comes around. You’ve followed Macauley Culkin from his home to the supermarket and back, watched him protect his house from two evil burglars, but have you ever considered that this house isn’t just a cardboard cut-out on a large set in Hollywood? In fact, it’s just a regular house in Winnetka, Illinois. In fact, if you had a spare $1M in your bank account you could potentially even buy it. Although the house has gone through many owners over the years, and the interior has been redecorated to look nothing like your favorite childhood home, the outer facade of the house looks just how you would remember it from the movies.
The Real Simpsons Springfield
The United States has 34 different towns and cities named Springfield, but only one of them is the one and only, true Springfield, as we know it from the world-famous TV show/cartoon The Simpsons. Every one of the 34 Springfields probably has suburban houses, and one of them will be pink, and have a yellow door. Every one of the 34 will have a bar called “Moe’s”, or something close enough. Every one of them will have a school, where some kid is going to have to write the same thing over and over on a chalkboard. However, the show’s creator, Matt Groeing, revealed that the town in The Simpsons is actually named after Springfield, Oregon. That is the one and only, true Simpsons Springfield.
Save for the first few minutes at Disneyland or the aforementioned Inception Bridge, few places will make you feel like you’ve been taken from the real world and thrown into a movie like Hobbiton in New Zealand. Unlike most movie sets, which are either temporarily constructed in studio spaces or rented out for short periods of time while the movie is being produced, Hobbiton was built specially for filming the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, and then preserved as a tourist destination. The town includes the famous “holes in the ground” that hobbits lived in, as well as the Green Dragon Inn.
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is a true New York landmark. A monument to the booming economy of the 20’s (coincidentally, it’s opening coincided with the Great Depression) and the limitless possibilities of life in New York city. The Empire State Building is a monument to the American Dream, in all of its forms and ideals. However, ask any movie-lover and they will tell you that a large majority of this building’s cultural significance comes from the building’s role in King Kong. Both the original movie and several of its later remake dedicate a large amount of time to the scene where King Kong kidnaps Ann and is shot down from the top of the Empire State, toppling to his death. But we all know that the planes didn’t kill King Kong. The Beauty killed the Beast.
Dupont State Forest
At first glance this seems like a regular national park, a forest like any other. However, upon closer inspection (or with the help of google), you may find that this is, in fact, the forest in which the Hunger Games took place. Some of the film’s most thrilling sequences were filmed here, including the intense scene where the film’s characters are being pummeled with fire balls. Some of the movie’s more memorable “camouflage” scenes have also been filmed in this forest, as well as the infamous dog chase. This destination isn’t for everyone, but it will entertain and thrill Hunger Games fans and those who like nice, long walks, but also like to be ready for action 24/7. Depending on your imagination, you can make a simple trip to the Dupont State Forest a life-or-death adventure.
St. Peter’s Square (Vatican)
Not only is this a place that is rich with cultural, architectural, and religious significance, it is also the place where a famous scene from Angels and Demons (a movie based on the bestselling book by Dan Brown) took place. One of the most interesting facts about that movie, and this particular location depicted in that movie, is that the Vatican never actually gave the film crew permission to film there. Instead, the film’s crew posed as tourists and took thousands of photos of St. Peter’s Square, which was later recreated in the movie with the help of practical and digital visual effects.
Lavanderia Coin Laundry
This place isn’t for everyone. I’m sure most people who go to this laundromat don’t even know how significant it was for a whole generation of people whose life was defined by seeing the movie Fight Club. However, this laundromat, located at 4371 Melrose Avenue, is the exact laundromat in which the unnamed narrator of Fight Club went with Marla, who then stole some clothes from one of the machines. The laundromat has changed its name from LaundryLand to Lavanderia, but on the inside it looks pretty much identical to the way it was when Fincher and company used the location for their movie.
King’s Cross Station
No top-10 list of places would be complete without at least one location from the record breaking, world famous, beloved Harry Potter franchise. King’s Cross station is at once the place where Harry Potter’s story begins, and where it ends. You will be able to visit Platform 9 ¾ and imagine you are walking around the white-washed limbo between life and death, where Voldemort is (supposedly) stuck forever, as his own, personal form of purgatory. If I were to give you one tip, though, it would be to not go there on September 1st. All the wizards and witches will be on their merry way to Hogwarts, and your tourism would just get in their way.