Traveling Through Cinema: London

TravelingThruCinema_London It should not be a surprise that I’m an Anglophile, seeing how many British-related stuff I put on this blog 😀 Well, since my good friend Becky (aka Prairegirl) is visiting London in a few weeks, I thought I’d feature one of my all time favorite cities for my Traveling Through Cinema series. Yes, I kind of drop the ball with this series as my first one set in Bruges was back in January, but I’m going to try to do this once a month. OldTimesPlayOne of the reasons for Becky’s visit is to go see Harold Pinter’s theatrical play Old Times at the Harold Pinter Theater starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Rufus Sewell and Lia Williams. Yes I know, lucky girl!! I mean she’ll get to see Rufus LIVE in person on stage! I wish I could go along with her to London, but for now I’d have to live vicariously through her.

By the way, I’m excluding the London tube scenes as I’ve already made a post specifically on that in London Tube and the Movies post.

So with that in mind, here are some of my favorite London scenery from contemporary films (90s and beyond):

28 Days Later (2002)


I found a great blog post describing the scene above so perfectly…

The setting of the film is … 28 days after a devastating plague swept through England. Jim (Cillian Murphy) is a London courier who was previously struck by a car on his route and plunged into a deep coma before the world came crumbling down around him. The world he awakens to is vacant madness, as the hospital he finds himself in is trashed and abandoned. He cries out for anyone still around. He’s weak and disoriented and hasn’t eaten for quite a while. Some sugary sodas give him some strength as he leaves the hospital, only to find more emptiness. London has been abandoned completely, with not a soul in sight. His cries go unanswered as debris gives him a hint as to what has happened. Missing people. Vigils for those departed. Old newspapers telling of a mysterious infestation.

An Education (2009)

A coming-of-age tale set in 1960s London

Batman Begins (2005)


Alfred Pennyworth: Took quite a fall, didn’t we, Master Bruce? Thomas Wayne: And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.

Bridget Jones Diary (2001)


Bridget: I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean it. Well, I meant it, but I was so stupid that I didn’t mean what I meant… After all, it’s only a diary. Everyone knows diaries are just… full of crap. Mark Darcy: Yes, I know that. I was just buying you a new one. BridgetJonesDiaryKissFinale Bridget: Wait a minute… nice boys don’t kiss like that. Mark Darcy: Oh, yes, they f***ing do.

Children of Men (2006)


The explosion scene as the film’s protagonist Theo (Clive Owen) exits a cafe is one of the most harrowing and memorable opening sequence I’ve ever seen. I could even hear the ringing sound after the explosion happen on screen, which I heard is a deliberate effect the filmmaker did to give the effect of what a loud explosion may do to your ears.

Finding Neverland (2004)

Beautiful scenes of J.M. Barrie & Sylvia Llewelyn Davies’ family in Kensington Gardens

Harry Potter

There are too many great London scenes in this franchise that I have to break them down to several collages.

Harry through the years… at the train station


In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley and Harry fled a wedding after learning that the Death Eaters were coming for them, and ended up in Piccadilly Circus.

Death Eaters attack the Millennium Bridge

The police are continuing with the investigation into the cause of the Millennium Bridge disaster. River traffic has been halted as police search for survivors. The surrounding area remains closed. The Mayor has urged Londoners to remain calm…

— A Muggle radio broadcast

Love, Actually (2003)


Notting Hill (1999)


Nowhere Boy (2009)

Retro London – John Lennon’s early years from the mid 40s and 50s

John: Why couldn’t God make me Elvis? Julia: ‘Cause he was saving you for John Lennon!

Rocknrolla (2008)

A beautifully-shot, memorable scene in a fabulous London museum


Sherlock Holmes (2009)


I love the art direction of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes. The Oscar nomination for this category is absolutely well deserved. I love how the CGI somehow still look and feel organic, and it captured the gritty atmosphere of the time and place. The incomplete Tower Bridge looked spectacular in the finale battle between Holmes and his nemesis Lord Henry Blackwood. This article by says Ritchie brought a new, energetic perspective to the enduring adventures of Sherlock Holmes, “While our story is rooted in London of the 1890s, we have tried to make it as contemporary as we possibly can,” Ritchie said.

Skyfall (2012)

A reflective scene of Bond on a rooftop overlooking his beloved city

The King’s Speech (2010)


Lionel Logue: What was your earliest memory? King George VI: I’m not… -here to discuss… -personal matters. Lionel Logue: Why are you here then? King George VI: Because I bloody well stammer!


Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Zombies attacked London! Thank goodness for Shaun and co!

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

A frill-free spy thriller in 1960s London

Control: All I want from you is one codename: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier… George Smiley: …Spy.

X-Men First Class (2011)


Erik Lehnsherr: After tomorrow, they are gonna turn on us. But you are blinded because you believe they are all like Moira. Charles Xavier: And you believe they are all like Shaw. Listen to me very carefully, my friend: killing Shaw will not bring you peace. Erik Lehnsherr: Peace was never an option.

V for Vendetta (2005)

The Parliament goes ka-boom!

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November, the Gunpowder Treason and Plot. I know of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot… – Evey

The Young Victoria (2009)

Love rules all. Queen Victoria & Prince Albert.

Now, this movie has not been released yet but based on the trailer, looks like All Things To All Men would have a TON of great London scenes (and gorgeous Brits), especially the ones in the London Eye! I’m a bit obsessed with that Ferris Wheel, if I lived in London I probably would go on there every weekend, ahah.

Toby Stephens in a scene at the London Eye

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Well, hope you enjoy my favorite London scenery in the movies. Certainly it’s not a comprehensive list by any means, so please feel free to add YOUR own favorite in the comments.

67 thoughts on “Traveling Through Cinema: London

  1. PrairieGirl

    What an enticing post, Flixy! As if I wasn’t excited enough about my upcoming trip to London, these pix from such great films are pushing me over the top ;-P I will be certain to give you my report on All Things to All Men when I see it. Cheers!

    1. You should do a London movie tour, Becky! I didn’t get to do that last time I was there but I think that’d be fun! You sent me a link to my email, I think that’s a GREAT idea! Oh I wish I could be there with you. And yes, you better give me a report on ATTAM and also Old Times play!

  2. What? You love London? Get outta heeere! 😉

    Great post Ruth! Love this feature. Some really strong movies and some fantastic scenes chosen. Love it. So ummm, what city is next on the list? Ahem… How about… I dunno… Paris!?!? 🙂 Shall I make that in the form of a special request?

    1. You could make an incredible list for Paris. As I understand it (and I could be way off base), the neighborhood where The Fire Within was filmed was as vibrant as ever when it was made, then fell into disrepair, and has recently enjoyed a re-birth.

      1. One of my many favorite things about Paris was visiting and walking along the spots where so many great movie scenes have taken place! I adore the city!

      2. Hey you could be one of my advisors too, John, but I’m going to keep the list to contemporary films just to make it more manageable. I’ll be going to Paris in the Fall so I’m thinking of doing that Paris edition later in Summer.

    2. Ahah, it’s no surprise eh? I know I’ve featured London on this blog before, but I just love that city so much!

      I actually have another city in mind already, but I will feature Paris in the following one. Would you be willing to be my *advisor* Keith?

        1. Ahah, not lofty at all. Since you know so much about Paris, I’d love some suggestions! In fact, would you mind if we collaborate on this? It’ll be our first *project* together, what do you say my friend?

            1. Will do! Btw, are you still interested in the phenomenal 5 male classic beauties? I can work on that this weekend and email ’em to you.

  3. I love this kind of thing. I’ve never been to London, but I’d love to go. And these pics make me want to go so much more. GREAT choices, Ruth.

    I’m pretty sure the first thing I’d do in London is go visit all the filming locations for Shaun of the Dead and Spaced.

    1. Oh man, epic fail on my part for not including Shaun of the Dead!! LOVE that movie. I’m going to add that to the list, John, thanks for the suggestion!

  4. Skyfall made such AMAZING use of London. It brought a real smile to my face. One of my favourite uses of the city.

    Shaun of the Dead gets another shout out. Not the most famous of London locations, but that’s what’s so great about it.

    1. Yes indeed! I should go back and find more images for Skyfall, I just put the first one that come to mind which happens to be my fave. I’ll be adding *Shaun* too, I can’t believe I left that out!

  5. Ruth this is just brilliant! Love the choice of the city, I had one of the best times in my life in London, it’s just so gorgeous there and the people are so friendly. The movies you chose definitely capture the city well, Love Actually is a brilliant choice. That shot from Skyfall with Bond looking over the city is probably my favorite shot from the film.

    1. Thank you Sati! That means a lot coming from you, a visual genius! Out of a dozen or so European cities I’ve been to, London is one of my all time faves. I’d love to go back and spend more time there. I love Love, Actually and I could really make a post just on that movie alone. I noticed you have the Skyfall photo of Bond on the rooftop on your Visual Parallels post, great minds eh? 😉

    1. I adore Spooks! I just have one more episode left which is the finale. It’s too bad there’s no more but yeah, the London scenery are great there, though I think I pay more attention to Lucas North, ahah.

        1. I havent seen Luther but I’ve heard great things about it! Yeah, London is one of those cities one must visit a few times in a lifetime, there are just so much to see! 😀

  6. Hi, Ruth and company:

    You’re a Londonphile?…. Who knew?

    I’m glad to see ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ make the cut. It’s damp, slate gray buildings around London proper, Picadilly Circus and Bayswater add a dour, dreary touch to Le Carre’s re-reimagined work.

    Toby Jonjes still makes for a great Percy Alleline. Mark Strong was a decent Jim Prideaux, though Ian Bannen was better. Same with Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Jayston’s Peter Guillam. Tom Hardy was just a touch better than Hywel Bennett’s Rikki Tarr.

    1. I know, shocking right? 😉

      Thanks to Prairiegirl who reminded me of Tinker Tailor, I almost missed it! Yes, it’s got a very moody atmosphere, perfect for the film. I just love that shot of Smiley walking in his trench coat!

      I thought the highlights for me aside from Gary Oldman was the two younger actors Cumberbatch and Hardy, no wonder both are highly sought after in Hollywood now.

  7. Wow, very nice work again, Ruth! I have to echo the sentiments above — this really makes me want to go to London even more! I love that you used 28 Days Later as your first listing, too. That’s such an amazing shot.

    1. Thank you sir! Well this stems from my desire to go with my pal Becky, so I was extra um, motivated to work on the post. I had to stop myself from putting more pics here, ahah.

      I can’t possibly overlook 28 Days Later, that’s perhaps one of the most iconic London scene. I should watch the behind the scenes of that, I think Boyle filmed that early in the mornings to capture that ‘deserted’ look.

  8. Ruth…you have MANY of my favorites in here, what a fun post! I think you were thinking of ROCK N ROLLA? I like seeing SHERLOCK HOLMES on this list too, as you said, even though it’s CGI, it felt real. Also, like everyone else here, I need to go to London. The Millenium Bridge was nearly finished last time we were there…that’s waaaay too long ago. 🙂

    1. Hi Paula! A while ago you commented on one of my London posts that you love Bridget Jones Diary, so I included that in your honor. But hey, a plus that you love Rocknrolla too! 😀

      After seeing all these pics, I REALLY want to go back to London too! The Millennium Bridge is magnificent.

      1. Ah OK, that makes sense. Appreciate your thought 🙂 I know…when i realized how long it had been, i started looking at flights. I wish we could all somehow go together on a Magical Movie Tour with you as our guide

        1. Ahah, you’re actually looking at flights? 😀 Oh no, you don’t want me as a guide, I’ll get everyone lost, ahah. I’ll be too distracted looking at the gorgeous Brit boys 😉

  9. Ted S.

    Being a spy genre fanatic, I always believe London is pretty much the IT city to include in any spy film. I would love to go back and visit the city again someday, haven’t been back since I was little.

    I would include a little known spy film, The Fourth Protocol, it starred Michael Caine and Pierce Brosnan. Cained played a British agent hunting down Brosnan, who played a Russian spy trying to start WW3. Very good movie, it’s hard to find on DVD but it’s worth hunting it down if you’ve never seen it.

    1. You’re right Ted! Somehow the city’s somewhat mysterious atmosphere makes it perfect for spy thrillers.

      Oh that sounds like a good spy movie! I love Michael Caine, though Brosnan as a Russian spy?? Interesting casting there. I’ll see if it’s available on Netflix.

      1. I have to agree, FOURTH PROTOCOL is a really good movie. I completely forgot about it. Caine is excellent in it. I think we did get the DVD from Netflix

        1. Man, now I REALLY have to see it. I’m guessing it’s only available on the DVD subscription? I’ll double check if it’s available on the Streaming one as well.

      2. Ted S.

        Brosnan’s didn’t have a lot of dialogue in the film, in a way he was basically playing the evil version of Bond. He’s seduces women and so on. The film came out the same years as The Living Daylights which at you remember was supposed to star Brosnan.

  10. It must have taken so much effort to write such a comprehensive post Ruth! I would love to visit London and the UK someday, it’s really too bad I didn’t get to do so when I lived just across the Channel… It would have been much cheaper ahah

    1. Ahah yeah, it took me a few days to collect them all and also the quotes. I thought you had been to London a few times as you used to live so close to it, Castor! Well, it’s kind of like me w/ Australia. I wish I had taken the time to visit there when I was living in Jakarta, it’s only a 7-hour flight!

  11. great post, Ruth!!
    you know I have a big spot in my heart for England too 😉

    those are great picks….didn’t know Bruce’s castil is from London. I have nowhere boy ready to watch 😉 the quote you’ve chosen is fantastic as I think John is way better than Elvis (sorry Elvis fans)

    1. Yay, I know you do Nov! Oh yeah, it’s right outside London I think. I think it’s been used by other films too, not sure which ones. Nowhere Boy is great and I was mesmerized by Aaron Johnson’s big blue eyes in that movie. Did you know that he ended up marrying the director of that film who’s like 22 years older than him? They have a kid together now I think and he was only 20 years old then!

  12. Lovely post, Ruth! I enjoyed seeing London in movies, and many times I hope I’ll be there for real. I agree with most of the movies you mention, others I haven’t watch it. Bridget Jones, Skyfall, Harry Potter and An Education all really good on showing the beauty of London. I think especially Harry Potter. I didn’t participate but Shala from Life Between Films also hosted a blogathon about London here

    1. I hope you get to visit London one day Andina, it’s such an awesome city! Oh I didn’t see that blogathon, there are a few films I haven’t seen there, London is quite popular as a film location.

  13. Another great post Ruth! I love these picks. Some others I’d mention are Sweeney Todd, Oliver!, Naked, Breaking and Entering, and Match Point.

  14. Superb stuff Ruth! Looking at some of these stills, I do take the UK for granted. I don’t live in London but I absolutely love going there, it always feels special. Looking forward to more of these posts, they’re great!

    1. Thanks Chris! Are u in Birmingham or am I confusing you with someone else? Yeah i wish i lived close to London as i wouldnt mind going once a year! 😃

        1. That’s awesome! I wish I lived that close to such a great city. For me, the closest metropolitan city is Chicago and that’s 7 hrs away by car.

  15. Wow so many brilliant choices! Children of Men and 28 Days Later my faves here! One is the bleak reality of what London will likely become and the other is what London must be like before all the crowds wake up and starting rushing around like the Infected!

  16. Pingback: Checking Out the “Happy-Haps!” (3/13) | The Focused Filmographer

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