Best Movies Set in Venice

rialto_1Ever been to Venice? Ever get a hankering to be there, like, right now? Sometimes that happens to me. Today it happened to one of my daughters.

Last night I saw the new Star Trek movie. Not to ruin the plot or anything, but you find out (sort of) how the transporter technology was devised by Scotty. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to just beam yourself to a nostalgic place for a day? “Southern California too boring for you? How about Venice? Beam me up, Scotty!”

Unfortunately, there isn’t an iPhone application for that. I checked. (Apple, are you listening?) But there is another option, another way to “take you there,” and that is to select a movie that is set in Venice.

200px-ItalianjobSo tonight we’ll be watching The Italian Job. It’ll bring back pleasant memories of our leisurely time strolling the Piazza San Marco, shopping the Rialto Bridge, and taking in the half-believable vista of the Grand Canal.

Or not.

“The Italian Job is hardly a film to slow your heartbeat.” Agreed. So our recollection of Venice will be accompanied by a high level of manufactured adrenalin. Anything wrong with that?

The 1969 version of The Italian Job, starring Michael Caine and Noël Coward, is different in interesting ways. (This was Noël Cowards last movie.) In fact, it’s different in so many ways that seeing the 2003 film, with Mark Wahlberg and Charliz Theron, does nothing to make the 1969 film predictable. Fortunately, there is one great similarity, and that is the role cast for the Mini Coopers used in the heist. The two movies begin and end very differently.

Other options for movies set in Venice include Casino Royale (for it’s ending), A Death in Venice (not a happy film), Everyone Says I Love You (a Woody Allen musical), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (more action and adventure in Venice), Just Married (a romantic comedy), The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (yep, the one with Sean Connery as Allan Quartermain), A Little Romance, (a comedy in which a 13-year-old American girl enjoys reading Heidegger!), The Merchant of Venice (Venice in 1596), Moonraker (James Bond movie #11, featuring Venice and a gondola/hovercraft contraption), Othello (take your pick: 1952 with Orson Welles, 1965 with Laurence Olivier, or 1995 with Laurence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh), Pokémon Heroes (the fictional location “Johto” is supposed to be based on Venice), Sharks in Venice (for those who like implausible great white shark movies), Summertime (with Katherine Hepburn and probably the best cinematic exploitation  of Venice), The Thief Lord (co-written by children’s adventure novelist Cornelia Funke), The Venetian Affair (spy thriller starring Robert Vaughn and Elke Sommer, vintage 1967, and hard to find), The Wings of the Dove (“Venice has never been portrayed so beautifully, or romantically,” says Leonard Maltin’s 2007 Movie Guide).

Myself, I’ve seen exactly four of the movies on this list. Wanna’ guess which ones? I’ll send an Amazon gift card for $5 to the first person who gets it right, within 24 hours of this post. I’ll announce the winner—if there is one—at the end of 24 hours. (Setting my mobile phone timer . . . now.)

Good luck!

Oh, and by the way, you also have to explain why you picked the four you did AND tell me your favorite movie with a Venetian setting.

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About Doug Geivett
University Professor; PhD in philosophy; author; conference speaker. Hobbies include motorcycling, travel, kayaking.

11 Responses to Best Movies Set in Venice

  1. Doug Geivett says:

    Hi, Paige. You sound like me. When I’m getting ready to travel overseas, I like to read fiction and nonfiction related to my destination, and I enjoy finding the best movies that provide a connection. Glad you found my post! Did you land here after doing a Google search?

    Thanks for the movie tip. I’ve added it to my viewing list.

    Let me know how you liked Venice when you get back!

    -Doug

  2. Paige Holden says:

    I am traveling to Venice in October and ordering some movies to get excited about the trip – thanks so much for these suggestions! You left out a major one though – have you seen Dangerous Beauty? Amazing.

  3. Doug Geivett says:

    Hi Sheila,

    Yes. By all means, Bread and Tulips should be added to the list. Directed by Silvio Soldini; released2000.

    Thanks for the fabulous suggestion.

    -Doug

  4. Sheila says:

    What about Bread and Tulips?

  5. Alex says:

    Doug,

    Thank you for the card.
    You’d love the JB version of SH (LOL)
    (j/k about ‘lol’)

    hope you’re well,
    Al

  6. Doug Geivett says:

    Alex, close enough for the gift card, though! Congratulations.

    I don’t know the Jeremy Brett version of SH.

  7. Alex says:

    The rationale…
    follow the evidence… what it is that seems to indicate the truth…
    It got me close, but no cigar.

    Speaking of evidence and sleuthing, what do you think of the Jeremy Brett version of Sherlock Holmes?

  8. Doug Geivett says:

    Alex, that’s a pretty good rationale for your choices. Here are the four: Casino Royale, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Moonraker.

    Since writing the post, I’ve seen the movie A Little Romance. I’m planning to use a clip from it at the fall faculty retreat in August, and probably in some of my classes.

    I want to see Summertime. It sounds like you’re familiar with it. Unfortunately, it’s not yet available at Amazon’s Video on Demand.

  9. Alex says:

    Doug!

    I had a hard time choosing number 3 and 4. I wasn’t sure about Moonraker and Summertime. If I had to guess the 4th I’d replace Summertime with Othello.

    I came up with the four as follows:
    (I assume you weren’t including Star Trek and the Italian Job, since I thought “this list” didn’t include those two…)

    Casino Royale… I think we might have talked about this one
    Indiana Jones… anybody who loves adventure and rides a motorcycle, like you, would watch this, plus it has Connery.

    The fact of Connery made me think you might have watched The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen…

    I passed up Merchant of Venice, though thought you’d have liked that, I think.

    Moonraker… well, again, Jame Bond and action go with your adventurous side so I figured, ya, that’s gotta be one (but I’m not sure).

    I picked Summertime because of the star power.

  10. Doug Geivett says:

    The bell tolls and only one reader has stepped up. Alex, you’re right on three out of four! How did you come up with those four? For a chance at the $5 gift card, guess which one of your four I haven’t seen? And don’t forget to pick your own favorite.

    BTW, not thirty minutes ago I was thinking of calling you, but I was on my motorcycle.

  11. Alex says:

    Casino Royale, Indiana Jones, Moonraker, Summertime in Venice

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