Favorite London Movies of the London Connection TeamApril 12, 2019
London is a popular place for filming because it is LONDON — the perfect backdrop for adventure, romance, comedy, history, and even fantasy! You can find modern buildings and bridges, or go around the corner and feel like you are in the 1800s.
It seems that more movies are being made in London than in the past. According to Marilyn Collis, our favorite Blue Badge Tourist Guide, the government has made provisions to encourage more films to be produced in London. The application process has been streamlined, and there are some tax incentives. Contact Marilyn if you would like to have a walking tour of London film locations.
As the U.S. team of London Connection, we compiled a list of our favorite “London Movies” and found that we enjoy quite a spectrum. Maybe you will find one or two that will suit your tastes.
Thomas, Sr., Sheila, Shannon, Tori, Kim, and Thomas, Jr. in our U.S. office
Thomas Moore III, Founder of London Connection
Thomas has many movies that he recommends. In fact, he is happy to talk about them; all you have to do is ask!
- Bohemian Rhapsody gives some insight into the life of Freddie Mercury, the band Queen, and their process of recording. Thomas enjoyed the familiar melodies, and liked Mercury’s honesty and creative nature. The 2 hour 14 minute movie is a musical and cultural experience that will have you tapping your feet, at least. You might still be singing for days afterwards — Thomas was, and all of us in the office heard YouTube videos of Freddie Mercury coming from his desk computer!
- Victoria and Abdul is likewise based on a true story but like other biographical movies, the writers took some license to expand some unknown details. Judi Dench is so believable as Queen Victoria, and it is delightful to witness the interaction she has with her servant from India. Thomas loves the history, the costuming, the drama, and he was hooked on the plot. Can you see this original image of the Queen and how well they recreated the characters for the reenactment?
- Red Joan: Thomas looks forward to the new movie starring Judi Dench that follows another true story of Joan Stanley who served her country as the longest-serving British undercover agent. You might also recognize Tom Hughes in the cast who also plays Prince Albert in the PBS series “Victoria” — another favorite of all the LC team.
Thomas Moore, Jr., Partner
Tom is more of a doer than a watcher. He would prefer to be outdoors riding his bike than viewing TV or movies. When he does take a rare moment to sit down, he chooses comedies.
- Rowan Atkinson, who created and portrays Mr. Bean, shares a quality of King George VI — he stutters. Atkinson was rejected from several television roles, due to his stammer. He found when pretending to be someone else that his speech impediment disappeared, so he carried on in his pursuit as an actor. Don’t you just smile thinking of the hilarious Mr. Bean and all of his antics in his TV series and movies? In 2015, “Mr. Bean” celebrated the 25th year of his character by visiting Buckingham Palace. There are still Mr. Bean look-alikes in London that will stand in with you for a photo in front of iconic landmarks.
- Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold in European Vacation finds it challenging to drive in London, and spends hours in the Lambeth Bridge roundabout. You will recognize Tower Bridge, Heathrow Airport, Buckingham Palace, Westminster, and of course Big Ben (actually known as Elizabeth Tower). The Griswolds also visit Stonehenge, and make a poor choice of hotels. Too bad they didn’t know about London Connection! After London, they go on to Paris, Germany, and Rome with disastrous results.
If you need to forget about your troubles and challenges, a good laugh may be just the ticket. Watch some comedy and enjoy London sites at the same time.
Shannon, Arrivals Details Coordinator
- Skyfall: This James Bond adventure starring Daniel Craig was filmed on location at the House of Parliament, Vauxhall Bridge, National Gallery and the underground. Judi Dench appears again as “M” — the member of British intelligence MI, to whom Bond reports. There are the exciting chase scenes involving motorcycles, moving trains, destruction, and bullets. Seeing the House of Parliament and other London iconic scenery that any visitor to London is familiar with is always fun, because you’ve been there. Much of Skyfall was also filmed in Scotland with scenery Shannon loves, since that is her heritage and she has also traveled there.
- Harry Potter Movies: Soak in scenes from King’s Cross Station, Piccadilly Circus, London Zoo, Millennium Bridge, Charing Cross Road, Shaftesbury Ave. Shannon remembers after working at LC and visiting London, she rewatched the “Deathly Hallows, Part 1” and heard the line ”we are on Shaftesbury Avenue” and how she was drawn in even more to the movie she already loved. Anyone who has stayed at Gloucester Terrace knows Shaftesbury very well. It is also fun while in London to find Cecil Court and Godwin Court — the tiny always off St Martin’s lane you recognize as possible film locations for Diagon Alley.
Tori, Executive Assistant
- I grew up loving Bedknobs and Broomsticks. It wasn’t until I started working at London Connection and heard Thomas Moore Sr. talk about going to Portobello Road that I realized this was in London! When I went to London for the first time, I walked down Portobello Road and couldn’t help but sing the song that Professor Brown sings as he walks down Portobello Road. It was so fun to experience the same thing I had watched so many times as a child!
- Dunkirk was a particularly stirring and a great historical drama. It helped me understand the reason for Churchill’s decision to ask the private citizens to take their boats across the English Channel while under fire. These courageous men safely evacuated 330,000 soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk. The Hans Zimmer musical score adds to the cinematography, and the scenes depicting Churchill’s “war room” made those moments leading to World War II come alive.
Kim, Accounts Manager
- When I was younger, Peter Pan was the ultimate movie of fantasy and make believe. I loved it from the mermaids and fairies to the pirates and lost boys; it makes London seem like such a magical place and I still think of the city like a story book. I can imagine the fairy dusted ship floating over the streets and up over Big Ben. It’s so fun to walk the streets now and see the Tower and pretend just for a minute that the magical world of Neverland isn’t far away.
- More recently, my 3-year-old son was watching Paddington and what drew me in was watching the characters run the streets of London. Paddington (the lovable and adventurous little bear) on the Tube, the Natural History Museum, Buckingham Palace and many more that when I see them remind me of a city that I love!
Sheila, Public Relations
Since traveling to London, I have recognized scenes in movies like never before. My poor children sitting next to me; I am pointing out: “that’s the dome of St Paul’s, look at the River Thames, oh it’s Seven Dials — I was standing right there last month!” The movies come alive when you recognize those areas from personal experience.
- Mary Poppins Returns is a love letter to London, according to Emily Blunt, who depicts Mary very believably. Unlike the original movie that was all filmed on a soundstage in California, this time as many scenes as possible were filmed on location in London. You feel you are really there riding a bike past Buckingham Palace or along the River Thames. It was a thrill to see the lamplighters and to learn afterwards that a small percentage of lamps are still lit that way in modern London!
- The men in About Time have a gift — they can travel back in time. It is my son’s favorite movie. It might be that as a married man and father, he also desires the chance to go back and do better. The strong message about family and the importance of treating each moment in one’s life as something very precious won me over, too. I also loved the montage showing their courtship going to and coming from various Tube stations in a myriad of outfits, as well as many London street scenes.
Other London movies and TV series we can recommend for the views of the beautiful city and the culture:
- The Darkest Hour
- The Bourne Ultimatum
- Mission Impossible
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Sliding Doors
- Notting Hill
- Love Actually
- The King’s Speech
- Hitchcock movies, such as The Man Who Knew Too Much, Dial M for Murder, and Frenzy
- The Crown
- Downton Abbey
Which of these films have you enjoyed? Do you have others we forgot to include? Please send your comments to SheilaF@LDNCXN.com. We love to hear from our guests, and learn from their experiences.
While you are in London, you might enjoy an evening relaxing in your vacation apartment. Get a take-out dinner and put your feet up — you may need it after a long day of walking. Tune into one of these shows and have the surreal experience of seeing London portrayed in film from the middle of the Royal City.