Seeing the streets of “my old hood” London again in Kingsman: The Secret Service inspired me to create a list of my 5 favourite films shot on location in London:
5. James Bond: Skyfall (2012)
Over the years, there have been so many of course. I remember seeing Skyfall in 2012 and being amazed to see James Bond (Daniel Craig) “doing his business” in the National Gallery. After all, the gallery is one of my personally most visited places in London. I’ve spent ages there looking at ages of beautiful art. There are two good reasons for every Londoner to visit the National Gallery: a) because it so centrally located and b) because it’s free.
4. Notting Hill (1999)
A true classic! Julia Roberts playing a world-famous actress meets a small independent bookshop owner (Hugh Grant), who seems to be the only one in the world who doesn’t know that she is world-famous. The film about this posh part of London most likely gave the tourism industry a big boost. Rightfully so. Those white Victorian houses (and small antique book shops) are very beautiful indeed. Portobello Market and Notting Hill Carnival are great, too! So it’s definitely worth a visit.
3. Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
The biggest dream of Jess (Parminder Nagra), the main character of the film, is to play in a girls’ football team. She befriends Jules (Keira Knightly) and they both fancy their football coach with the sexy Irish accent (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Jess’ traditional Indian parents are of course totally against all this.
A lot of the filming took place in Hounslow in West London. It’s an area close to Heathrow Airport with a large community of British citizens with Indian roots. The girls’ football team also embarks on a trip to Hamburg, so there is a German connection to it, too. I think all that multiculturalism captures London’s spirit really well… even if this film jewel is almost “antique” in today’s term.
2. Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)
Another classic! Whenever I it had been raining and there were some big puddles and I was near one of those red double-decker buses, I thought of Bridget. Naturally. And about the fact I didn’t want to end up totally soaked like her. But then she stumbled into Mr. Darcy’s (Colin Firth) arms of course, so maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad after all? In any case, Bridget Jones is a London institution! Even though the actress is actually American…
1. Notes on a Scandal (2006)
This is one of my favourites of all time with the marvellous Dame Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett as teachers and a cheeky 15-year-old working class pupil with another sexy (North) Irish accent… and there the drama unfolds. But that’s another story.
The film itself shows a different side of London as well. The glittering posh parts like Notting Hill are not on display (except for the grand house that Blanchett’s character lives in as she is pretty posh by birth). Instead it shows us a lot of council estate, a run-down state schools and North London’s biggest park Hampstead Heath! I found the exact bench that Dench and Blanchett sat on and enjoyed the view over London’s City when they needed a break from teaching. Splendid indeed!