Venice is a wonderfully scenic city, rich with dramatic architecture and a unique culture, a favorite of famous artists and writers, and a place that is unbelievably picturesque and photogenic. For this reason, since the advent of cinema many production companies have chosen the city as a stunning backdrop for a variety of films, and audiences worldwide are able to enjoy the beauty of Venice unfolding alongside dynamic story lines from the comfort of their homes.
Ranging from Hollywood blockbusters such as The Tourist, to cinematic renditions of literary classics such as the Merchant Of Venice, there is no shortage of Venetian-themed movies for you to enjoy. For your convenience, we have compiled a thorough selection of great movies, that beautifully depict Venice and take full advantage of its diverse setting. If you have not seen them all, we highly recommend that you watch them soon.
‘The Tourist’ is a thrilling movie, a mix of romance, suspense, and thriller, starring both Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. The film revolves around an American tourist wonderfully portrayed by Johnny Depp, who meets gorgeous Elise played by Angelina Jolie, on a trip to Venice. Frank is heartbroken, and his misery starkly contrasts the beauty of Venice. Meanwhile, Elise deliberately crosses paths with Frank in a mysterious turn of events, that plays out across the narrow alleyways and dark corners of this unique city that is romantic and hauntingly dramatic at once.
The Tourist takes full advantage of all that Venice has to offer. Audiences will grab onto their seats during high-energy boat chases across the canals, delight in the gorgeous actors playing characters crisscrossing the streets of the small city, and enjoy the rare inside looks the interior of Venetian palaces that shine in all their former glory. The movie is set in modern times, but the elegant complexity of the storyline pays tribute to an opulent Venice of the past. This is a must see for movie fans, lovers of Venice and those who value beautiful backdrops to excellent stories.
Death in Venice
Those looking to explore Venice through the eyes of an acclaimed, 1970s Italian director Luchino Visconti will be captivated by the drama and intensity of ‘Death In Venice’. This Italian-French film stars Dirk Bogarde, and explores the deep corners of a human soul by picturing inner struggles of a man on a visit to Venice who becomes infatuated with a Polish teenager, although he doesn’t intend to involve himself with the young man in any way.
The movie takes a historical look at Venice, and portrays a seemingly romantic city hiding a dark secret of cholera epidemic. As the main character is a musician in this movie, audiences are not only treated to the hauntingly beautiful scenes of Venice, but also to great music by Gustav Mahler that accentuates the flow of the plot and the emotional upheavals of the main character. This is drama at its best that offers a taste of Italy, and an insightful look at the difficult emotional dilemmas that come from human emotions and experiences.
Bread and Tulips
Released in the year 2000, this wonderful Italian movie depicts Venice in all its romantic beauty. The film centers around Licia Maglietta’s character Rosalba, a small-town housewife who goes on a long-awaited tour of Italy with her family, only to be forgotten at a highway rest stop while the tour bus departs with her family on board. Rosalba subsequently decides to live her dream and pursue a new life in Venice.
Rosalba finds love and happiness in Venice, and the director Silvio Soldini does an excellent job of portraying how romantic the city of Venice can truly be. The film was a big hit with Italian and international audiences alike upon its release and earned 9 David di Donatello awards in 2000. Without a doubt, this life-affirming movie will encourage many viewers to visit the city for a romantic occasion if possible. At the very least it will allow you to live vicariously through the characters as they embark on their own romantic journeys that lead to self-discovery and an opportunity to experience long-dormant genuine feelings.
Starring a stunning duo of Robert Downey Jr. and Marisa Tomei, ‘Only You’ is a Hollywood charmer with a Venetian backdrop. This movie, however, packs a number of gorgeous Italian locales as it takes viewers on a trip throughout Italy- which allows audiences to get a glimpse of all the glamour Italy has to offer from famous hotel Danieli in Venice to gorgeous playground of the rich hotel La Sirenuse in Positano. It also features scenes shot in Rome and the countryside for an unforgettable and romantic look at Italian ‘La Dolce Vita’.
The movie centers around Faith (Marisa Tomei) who at a young age is foretold that she will marry a man named Damon Bradley. Just before marrying another man, she discovers that a ‘Damon Bradley’ is currently vacationing in Italy. Convinced that her fate lies with this Damon Bradley, Faith drops everything and travels to Venice to pursue her fate. The movie beautifully combines serendipity, a little mystery and a lot of romance into one entertaining package.
Merchant of Venice
This 2004 interpretation of the Shakespearean classic is, of course, set in Venice. The movie provides historical accuracy, and a wonderfully retrospective look at 16th century Venice that is a rich quilt of traditions and customs of Catholic, Jewish, and uniquely Venetian origin.
The Merchant of Venice tackles the complexities of human relationships, honor, business, and romance, as well as unique cultural and historic aspects of Jewish ghetto life in Venice. This is a beautiful rendition of a timeless play, and one that was welcomed by film critics at its release, and remains current to this day. The scenes of Venice are stunning, and audiences will enjoy a glimpse into historical buildings and palatial spaces.
Lovers of drama, and of Italy, fans of Shakespeare and history buffs alike will delight in this feature film that stars Hollywood heavyweights such as Al Pacino and Ralph Fiennes.
Venice – A Perfect Movie Set
Venice is a beautiful, readymade set for filmmakers; and a playground for creative directors with an eye for historical originality. There are many movies that take place in Venice and the surrounding islands- all of which are sure to delight those with an appreciation for Italy and Venice. Aside from the wonderful movies mentioned above, many other films were set in Italy, including the critically acclaimed films such as “Under The Tuscan Sun”, “Beautiful Life”, ‘Summertime’ and ‘Don’t Look Now’, as were a number of films from the early 20th century.
Watching films prior to a visit is a great way for tourists to get acquainted with this intriguing Italian city and scout places to visit, although we actively encourage you to watch these wonderful movies, regardless of whether you plan to visit the city in the near future or not. While, of course, Venice is best seen in person- any movie that features a Venetian backdrop is certain to give you great visual pleasure.