The 25 Movies That Literally Moved Us
As you watched, you thought, 'Someday I'm going to go there'. Now you can
7. The Lord of the Rings, New Zealand , 2001, 2002, 2003
Each Christmastime, from 2001 to 2003, New Zealand's big gift was a three-hour ad touting its landscapes: the rolling farmlands of Matamata (Hobbiton), the volcanic crags of Whakapapa Ski Field (Mordor), the peaks of the Remarkables (the Misty Mountains). When the first film was released, the New Zealand tourism folks rerecorded their voice-mail message so that callers were greeted by, "G'day, and welcome to Middle-earth!" Your Turn: The New Zealand Tourism Web site has a huge section dedicated to the Rings, including driving itineraries and links to tour companies that run Tolkien-themed quests (purenz.com). Pick up The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook by Ian Brodie (HarperCollins, $25), which comes with GPS coordinates for pinpointing locations and websites for local tourism info and hotels. Exploring Middle-earth on your own is a snap, especially if you've got an RV. Rumble down New Zealand's back roads in a campervan, starting at $998 for a week, airfare from L.A. included, with Sunspots International (800/334-5623, sunspotsintl.com). Spend a bit extra but get more RV choices with Escapes Unlimited (800/243-7227, escapesltd.com).
Reel Life! My wife and I kept remarking about the beautiful scenery in Waking Ned Devine. While in London, we decided to spend a weekend on the Isle of Man, where it was filmed. It was a perfect ending to our trip. --Warren Machell, Liverpool, N.Y.
6. Out of Africa, Kenya, 1985
In the epic biopic of writer Karen Blixen (pen name Isak Dinesen), Meryl Streep charms all of British East Africa (now Kenya)-the colonial boys' club, wily locals, even Robert Redford. In one stroke, the fantasy of communing with Africa was no longer the province of macho hunter-gatherers like Ernest Hemingway. And the year after Out of Africa won the Best Picture Oscar, tourism supplanted agriculture as Kenya's top industry. Your Turn: Since it's illegal to handle wild animals in Kenya, director Sydney Pollack set up his camera in the bush and waited for herds to wander into view. That's pretty much what you do on safari. A good place for one is Masai Mara National Reserve, near the border of Tanzania, where the cast and crew lived in canvas tents during filming. Priced from $1,995, 2Afrika's nine-day Swinging Safari (866/462-2374, 2afrika.com) is one of the cheapest ways to get there. It includes air from New York to Nairobi; transportation, hotels, and meals throughout Kenya; and a three-night stay, with guided game drives, at Masai Mara. On your trip's last day, spend $65 for a tour that takes in a giraffe habitat as well as the Karen Blixen Museum, in her former home (336 Karen Rd., 011-254/20-882-779, museums.or.ke, $2.50).
5. Before Sunrise, Vienna, 1995
On his last night meandering around Europe, a 20-something American named Jesse (Ethan Hawke) convinces Celine, a French grad student (Julie Delpy), to explore Vienna with him. They open up to each other as only travelers can-especially travelers who may never meet again. Your Turn: Most of it was shot after dark, when Vienna's caf}s, parks, and cobblestone alleys take on an added romantic glow. To re-create the couple's first kiss, take the tram to the Prater amusement park and ride the 213-foot-high, 107-year-old Riesenrad Ferris wheel at sunset (prater.at, $9). Celine gets her palm read at Kleines Caf} (Franziskanerplatz 3, no phone), a coffeehouse near St. Stephen's Cathedral. On the left bank of the Danube, the Friedhof der Namenlosen ("cemetery of the nameless") is the scene of another poignant moment. But it wouldn't really be in the spirit of the film to follow others' footsteps; the movie is about the magic of getting off the train and exploring. That magic can happen anywhere-on the banks of the Seine in Paris, for example, where much of Before Sunset, the 2004 sequel to Before Sunrise, takes place.
Reel Life! I was 16 when I saw Black Orpheus, a movie set in Brazil. It was impossible not to be moved by the film's beauty while being rendered spellbound by its music. Many years later, I purchased the soundtrack, and shortly after, I boarded a plane to Rio de Janeiro, looking to recapture the sights and sounds of a place I first experienced on celluloid 30 years before. --Carolyn Holmes, New York, N.Y.
4. Amélie, Paris , 2001
A doe-eyed waitress, Amélie (Audrey Tautou), anonymously rights small wrongs. A man named Nino (Mathieu Kassovitz) looks under photo booths for answers. A garden gnome travels the world. Amélie is more than a misfits' romance, it's director Jean-Pierre Jeunet's love letter to his Parisian neighborhood, Montmartre. Your Turn: You may very well arrive in Paris via one of the two train stations--Gare de l'Est and Gare du Nord--where many of Amélie's scenes are set. These neighboring stations lie at the southeast corner of Montmartre. To get there, grab Métro line 12 to the Abbesses station-where Am}lie glimpses Nino for the first time-or to Lamarck-Caulaincourt, where Am}lie drops off the blind man after describing to him everything in the shop windows along rue Lepic. Amélie works in Café des Deux Moulins (15 rue Lepic, 011-33/1-42-54-90-50; Amélie's favorite, crème brulée, is $6.30), across the street from the director's own house. She lives above Le Marche de la Butte, an épicerie and fruit stand (56 rue des Trois Frères). The film also makes use of the area's major tourist attraction: Amélie leads Nino on a chase through the steep, stair-stepped park below Sacre Coeur. To get to Paris, consider Go-Today.com's air/hotel vacation packages-they often put you up in a modest Montmartre hotel starting at $399 for six nights.