I have decided to share with you this week some of my more favored movies to show while touring around Europe by bus. I precede this by claiming I really do not watch a lot of films. We don’t own a TV, the nearest cinema is ten miles away and my brother is such a film buff that I feel he has watched enough for both of us. So, why am I doing this? Well, if nothing else it allows me to share the glamorous news that a friend of mine featured in the recent Harry Potter movie (he is a Death Eater). Sadly, I haven’t seen the film but I hear it is popular.
Anyway, here are some films that should complement your upcoming trip to Europe.
The Italian Job – the original. Great when driving the alpine route between Italy and Switzerland. Michael Caine getting to utter immortal lines such as “you’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off” and red, white and blue minis careering around Turin. Great fun and a truly fascinating ending that required help from the Royal Society of Chemistry to resolve. (Spoiler warning – don’t hit that last link if you don’t know how the film ends, watch it first).
The Great Escape – Heading to Germany? This really is one of the great movies and features a superb Anglo-American cast. Based on a true story, it depicts what happens when Nazi high command decided to place all re-captured escapees from various prison camps in one, impenetrable camp. Worth watching for Steve McQueen on a motorbike and the excellent theme tune if nothing else. (On a lesser note, a mention for Escape to Victory – utter nonsense but I am a soccer fan).
Sophie Scholl – The Final Days – On the ground in front of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich is a striking monument. At first glance it can appear to be paper that has been dropped, but made from tiles are leaflets that commemorate the actions of the anti-Nazi group the White Rose. The film concentrates on the last six days, from arrest to execution, of one of the White Rose’s most renowned members.
Vatel – Maybe not the greatest film, but if you have visited Versailles (or are about to) this one makes as much sense as watching Marie Antoinette. A good look at the social hierarchies at play in the French court of the late 17th century and also at how the kings of France would use politics to preserve their power. It also has Tim Roth in it, he used to be really good!
Chariots of Fire – With a great opening sequence filmed on the beach and golf course at St. Andrews in Scotland this film is a great look at the 1924 Paris Olympics and some of the personal stories surrounding it. In addition, the film touches on themes such as anti-Semitism and the social changes in England after World War I. An inspiring (Oscar winning) theme tune and all round good entertainment. Get off the bus at St Andrews and start running!
Hopefully there is something there to get you started. I will get back with another five films in a few years when I have watched some more.