Movie List

Ok... I have tons of great suggestions from this Helpline for European movies, but as I am making a Travel Journal for a store that sells my images,I have to remember not everyone goes to Europe :( So... what I need is a list of iconic American Films that one would suggest for people to watch before traveling in the US to 'get them in the mood.' Edit to Clarify... I was thinking a bit along the lines of movies with beautiful scenery that would make people want to visit a particular area...such as movies about NYC, or Washington DC or the Rockies, etc., but I suppose I should not ignore movies that include more history. At the back of the journal I am adding packing list, music suggestions and movie list etc...so I guess movies that showcase a particular area... I just watched Breakfast at Tiffany's and wished I'd had the grandkids watch it before I took them to NYC just for the heck of it.

Posted by steven
white plains, ny, usa
649 posts

Terry Kathryn , Hi ! What genres of film are you looking for ? Lots of great stuff , but some is not very uplifting ,for instance " On the Waterfront " . Somewhat brighter in outlook might be , say , " Mystic Pizza " . Could you focus this a bit more ? I really love this kind of thing ,Steve .

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2852 posts

This is trickier than it first sounds, since what Americans respond to about their own country and what foreigners would find interesting or relevatory are two different things. For instance, I'm not sure Field of Dreams or It's A Wonderful Life would have the same impact on Europeans as they do for USers. Then there's the issue of regions. There are many great films about New York City (almost anything by Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Sidney Lumet, etc), and these have a lot to say about "America," but they would not do much for someone looking to learn about rural areas of the country. OK, after all that hedging, I did come up with a few. In addition to some of the New York films by the directors above (if I had to pick just one, I'd say Annie Hall), there's Sideways and LA Confidential for California (again, among hundreds of other good ones), Field of Dreams, Thelma and Louise (for the open road aspect so important to American mythology), Little Miss Sunshine (both for the road and another aspect of American mythology, that "everyone can be a winner")and, just for geographic variety, Limbo (for Alaska) and The Descendants (for Hawaii).

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2608 posts

I knew this wonderful array of posters would have something for me in no time. See above Edit... @Harold... the journal will be sold in the US, so I am not expecting for it to be a list that would appeal to Europeans, rather a list that would be fun for Americans who are seeing their own country. @Steven Hi... see Edit on post

Posted by Gretchen
Andover, MA, USA
289 posts

Hi Terry Kathryn, I was trying to think up a few ways to do this: for example, show movies that take place in different regions of the country; movies that represent the character of America, etc. So... here's a few I've come up with so far, but I will come back and add to this: The Christmas Story – good old' fashioned middle America and nostalgia To Kill a Mockingbird – deep South, history and race in America, and amazing book and Gregory Peck! What more could you ask for?!?!? The Godfather Movies – NYC grittiness Ferris Bueller's Day Off – downtown Chicago and just plain fun Jaws – Steven Speilberg, thriller, and the New England Coast Sideways - Napa Valley Or, in the character' vein: Rudy - amazing perseverance, and rooting for the underdog Shawshank Redemption - ultimate hope in the face of pure adversity I will definitely come back and add more! This is a fun questions!
:)

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
1970 posts

Let's get to the heartland, "Breaking Away" for small college town America, a Big Ten school, and the greatest college bicycle race.
"Hoosiers" a true small-town story.

Posted by Gretchen
Andover, MA, USA
289 posts

oh, oh ... here's some more too: North by Northwest (Cary Grant...need I say more? Okay - Mt. Rushmore) Good Will Hunting (Boston) Holiday Inn and/or White Christmas (New England and 'classic American nostalgia') When Harry Met Sally (NYC) (* PLUS the Fall Season) Mystic Pizza (New England and Julia Roberts) Field of Dreams (baseball and middle America) Glory (Civil War - true story) A few movies my friends' suggested: The Rocky Movies (Philadelphia and the ultimate underdog) Forrest Gump (the whole country) Dirty Dancing (the Catskills) The Breakfast Club (the typical teenager experience) Okay, I'll keep adding as I go.!

Posted by Leslie
Atlanta, Georgia
370 posts

From my neck of the woods...'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil'. Actually know some of the 'cast' and yes it's not so non-fiction! Edit: Don't forget 'American Graffiti'. Terribly popular with those I know outside the US. Total Americana.

Posted by Gretchen
Andover, MA, USA
289 posts

Okay, having read your edit... On Golden Pond Brokeback Mountain (*Anything by Ang Lee is going to have AMAZING cinematography) The Proposal (Sandra Bullock) supposedly in Alaska, but filmed in Rockport, MA The Cider House Rules Fried Green Tomatoes A River Runs Through It (although I hated that movie) Dances With Wolves Close Encounters of the Third Kind All Right, I guess that's enough for now. :)

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2608 posts

These are great... I know I could have googled this, but you guys are so much more fun and plus I trust you more!

Posted by steven
white plains, ny, usa
649 posts

The edit and everyone's posts so far helped a great deal : Two wonderful comedies set in NYC : "Sunday in New York " 1963 ; Jane Fonda and Rod Taylor become "attached " on a NYC bus with unintended consequences . " Bell , Book , and Candle " 1958 ; Kim Novak is a witch and sets her sights on James Stewart . She could cast a spell on anyone . " Giant " 1956 ; Edna Ferber's tale of Texas , with Elizabeth Taylor , Rock Hudson ,and James Dean . " Gentlemen's Agreement " 1947 ; Gregory Peck plays a writer who sets out to expose anti semitism in the 1940's ."Auntie Mame " 1958 ; Patrick Dennis' story of being raised in 1920's NYC by his eccentric aunt , played by Rosalind Russell . and last , for now , " Midnight Cowboy " 1969 ; Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight as a pair of down and out losers in Times Square who find each other , and try to survive in a cold and lonely world. This film is what most people would consider difficult to watch , and although it is not a feel good film , it is very powerful and a true work of cinematic art .

Posted by steven
white plains, ny, usa
649 posts

Sorry , last but not least " Animal House " 1978 ; Time for a Toga Party!!!!

Posted by Karen
Fort Wayne, IN, USA
1520 posts

My two favorites that are set in Chicago-"The Fugitive" and "Blues Brothers." Post WWII movie- "The Best Years of Their Lives." Scary American wilderness and natives- "Deliverance." And I know it's a song, but the one that best captures the road, renewal, and redemption is from a Michigan native. Bob Seger's "Roll Me Away."

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
3582 posts

The Grapes of Wrath, A Streetcar Named Desire (yes, this and many other 'location picture' are actually filmed mostly in some soundstage; whatcha gonna do? We don't need to launch into how much of Sound of Music was from Hollywood...) Movies like Oklahoma don't necessarily show 'Oklahoma', nor a particular landmark, but they evoke a sense of place. Any western shows the Southwest and/or CA, NV, etc. Then you have Hitchcock - Vertigo, North By Northwest, The Birds, The Trouble With Harry, Rear Window; some are evocative of a place and/or time or a particular subset of the population, while others actually go to the place. These are mostly mentioned to get others' creative juices flowing ;-) Blazing Saddles! No? You sure? Makes me want to visit Rockridge...Napoleon Dynamite? Kramer vs Kramer shows off NYC. Deliverance. Coal Miner's Daughter. Ferris Beuler's Day Off, A River Runs Through It, Giant, Brokeback Mountain, Cold Mountain, Rain Man, Harry and Tonto, Blue Crush, South Pacific (for Hawaii), Forest Gump, American Graffiti, Dances With Wolves...Tons of movies in New Orleans/LA, my typing finger is cramping LOL! I'll chime in if I think of more movies that actually answer your request ;-) And The Best Movie Ever - A Christmas Story! Not so much natural scenery, but... EDIT: My post sat for awhile before I could hit 'send'; there are many duplicates on my list that were added in the meantime!

Posted by Lee
Dallas
898 posts

This is a fun thread. Here are some that come to mind. Play Misty For Me - Clint Eastwood - Monterey Peninsula, CA The Searchers - John Wayne - Monument Valley, AZ The Last Picture Show - Peter Bogdonovich, director - small town West Texas Friday Night Lights - Billy Bob Thorton - Texas high school football

Posted by Gretchen
Andover, MA, USA
289 posts

National Lampoon's Vacation City Slickers Fargo I can't stop answering this question! ;)

Posted by Penny
Tulsa, OK
276 posts

Albert Brooks' Lost In America about yuppies giving up the rat race to live like Easy Rider...in a Winnebago :D Shows Las Vega, Hoover Dam, and parts of Arizona. Contact with Jodie Foster, set at the Very Large Array (very impressive!)in New Mexico and the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The two 90's films about the gunfight at the OK Corral ( Tombstone and Wyatt Earp)both of which made good use of the beautiful New Mexico landscape.
BTW, I know that the O.K. Corral was in Tombstone, Arizona, but these films were filmed primarily in NM. I was living there at the time and remember all the buzz. But Oklahoma! was filmed in Arizona, so I guess it evens out in the end. :)

Posted by Gretchen
Andover, MA, USA
289 posts

@Steven- I had thought about that, but I didn't wanna crowd the board with a whole slew of Boston movies: The Departed Mystic River The Town The Fighter The Social Network
Fever Pitch (Of course, these aren't all 'classics!'). ;)

Posted by Toni
Charlotte, NC, USA
2846 posts

For NC moutains (and some of Charlotte, too), Jodi Foster in "Nell".

Posted by steven
white plains, ny, usa
649 posts

For anyone here who wants to laugh themselves into a state of delerium , from 1965 ,based on Evelyn Waugh's book , " The Loved One " . This film is not well known but it is a fabulous film . Stars Robert Morse , Sir John Gielgud , Jonathan Winters , Rod Steiger ,and many other great actors , it was billed as " a film with something to offend everyone " . This is a send up of the the funeral industry set in LA and only a thinly veiled reference to Forest Lawn . Brilliant and Inspired are the only terms to describe it . One classic scene is Liberace playing a casket salesman . I think it's posted on YOUTUBE . Don't hesitate , SEE IT NOW !! EDIT : the film also includes an actor named Robert Easton as a cowboy named Dusty Acres . GOOGLE him and read his career story , it's fascinating !!

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
2276 posts

Boston: Friends of Eddie Coyle, Robert Mitchum and Peter Boyle Pittsburgh: Flash Dance, Michael Nouri and Jennifer Beals. note Jennifer Beals' dance double was Marine Jahan from Versailles France. American West: Jeremiah Johnson, Robert Redford

Posted by Pamela
New York City, NY, USA
3313 posts

Movies with beautiful scenery--Last of the Mohicans. And I would think about including a musical or two. Oklahoma comes to mind first door me. For Chicago I would add Risky Business and possibly The Untouchables. Pam

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
969 posts

Message in a Bottle - Carolina coast Sleepless in Seattle - Seattle While You Were Sleeping - Chicago You've got Mail and Crossing Delancy - neighborhood New York Cape Fear - Carolina coast Thelma & Louise - I know it's been mentioned before but can't say enough about the canyon country scenery - the best! edit: thought of another one - Cross Creek - rural Florida

Posted by Penny
Tulsa, OK
276 posts

A good film showcasing San Francisco is What's Up Doc with Barbara Streisand and Ryan O'Neal. It's throwback to the old screwball comedies and shows off San Francisco to wonderful effect.

Posted by Ceidleh
Boston, MA, United States
1176 posts

Try to not repeat any from above - but completely agree with Dances with Wolves as having some amazing scenery captured on film: The Big Easy, Steel Magnolias, Angel Heart, Treme - tv series (New Orleans and Louisiana); Philadelphia, The Sixth Sense, Silver Linings Playbook, Signs, Witness (Philadelphia and Surrounds); Pursuit of Happyness, What's Up Doc (San Francisco); Thunderheart (Badlands and Wounded Knee, South Dakota); Message in a Bottle, Nights in Rodanthe (Outer Banks, NC); The Untouchables, Risky Business, While You Were Sleeping (Chicago); Moonstruck, Working Girl, Sex & The City - the tv series, not the movies (New York City); Little Women (1990s version), Glory, Gone Baby Gone (Massachusetts/Boston); Wendy and Lucy, Singles (Pacific Northwest); Into the Wild (Alaska); The Station Agent (New Jersey). Almost any Ken Burns PBS special - not watchable in 2 hours or less, but great scenery and history rolled into one.

Posted by Cynthia
Gig Harbor, Washington, USA
1202 posts

Two "up-lifting" ones about Appalachia that I used to show students: Where the Lilies Bloom and October Sky.

Posted by Karen
Fort Wayne, IN, USA
1520 posts

Ooh-ooh, one more. Someone said "Breakfast Club" and that's a great one. Another John Hughes with scenery (maybe not good scenery) and about an American holiday- "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles."

Posted by Keith
United Kingdom
683 posts

Since I'm not American, I don't meet your criteria for choosing, but for what it is worth my iconic US film would be "Some Like It Hot" (Chicago and Miami, I think?). My favourite US films is, I'm rather ashamed to admit, "Dude, Where's My Car?". I don't think that refers to any particular place, but it does say "modern America" to me somehow (or it did when it came out).

Posted by Charlene
Centennial, CO, US
915 posts

I love the scenery in Cannery Row (a wonderful Steinbeck adaptation).

Posted by Karen
Fort Wayne, IN, USA
1520 posts

"The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman" "Roots" "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7209 posts

I'm trying to think of movies that not only show scenery but also reflect on our background as a nation that makes us who we are. The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (I'm being serious, both the deserts in the West/Mexico and the Civil War). The Grapes of Wrath To Kill a Mockingbird. Blazing Saddles (a funny take on Westward expansion) Dances with Wolves or Little Big Man

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
969 posts

@Brad - um, I think "The Good The Bad and The Ugly" was filmed in Italy and Spain, not in the US Southwest.

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
616 posts

"LA Story" (Steve Martin, Jessica Parker, etc) - fantastic spoof on Los Angeles - LOVE this movie (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yv-jU7gNEEU) Any movie by Woody Allen set in New York - "Annie Hall", etc "Taxi Driver" (De Niro, Cybil Shephard, Jodi Foster, etc) - NYC "Moon Struck" (Cher, Nicholas Cage)- Brooklyn "Brokeback Mountain" - probably the most gorgeous scenery ever "No Reservations" by Anthony Bourdain (various cities) "Deer Hunter" (De Niro, etc) - old Pennsylvania steel towns "Wonder Boys (Michael Douglas, etc.) - Pittsburgh * The below are definitely not promotional material, but would foster understanding nonetheless... Any movie with Wall Street in the title - ughhhhh, to remind everyone of our sordid financial system and its global effect "Super Size Me" - unfortunately this is how Americans are identified by others (wish it wasn't so but...) "King Corn" - same as above

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
2276 posts

I loved the "The Deer Hunter", especially when they go hunting in the snow capped mountains of Pennsylvania?????? And the deer he shoots is actually an elk. There's a $500 fine waiting to happen.

Posted by Linda
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
281 posts

Here's some shot in and around SF... Bullitt, Mrs. Doubtfire, Escape from Alcatraz, The Rock, Sister Act, The Joy Luck Club, High Anxiety, Vertigo, Dark Passage, The Birds, and I Remember Mama.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
2696 posts

On Italy..."Cinema Paradiso" On France..."La Nuit de Varennes" Both have plots with a historical background.

Posted by Linda
Seattle, WA, USA
432 posts

Steele Magnolias Forrest Gump When Harry Met Sally
Sleepless In Seattle

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2155 posts

Django Unchained Great story. Great soundtrack includes music by John Legend, Rick Ross, James Brown, 2Pac, and even Jim Croce and Johnny Cash. Great scenery includes "The West" (mountains, buffalo, elk, snow, streams, and pine trees) and "The Deep South" (hills, timber, and plantations). It's fairly violent and there are lots of trashy hillbilly types, but it's so good it should have won Best Picture. BTW, this film should be required viewing for white people. I almost forgot to mention that there's even a German guy as one of the main characters, so everyone over on that RodT thread should love this movie.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3509 posts

I just watched The Horse Whisperer an hour ago. The whole time I kept thinking "Wow, I'd forgotten how beautiful Montana is." The Sting is cool before going to Chicago, because the area around the El downtown still looks the same. Hitchcock filmed a lot in the San Francisco Bay Area - Vertigo and The Birds, but most (all?) the outdoor scenes in Rebecca were shot there too. (courtesy of footsteps in the fog)

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
969 posts

A few more I thought of: Feeling Minnesota, That Was Then This Is Now, Crossing the Bridge, Untamed Heart - Minneapolis/St Paul and surrounding area.