Let these 8 best movies set in Spain and France inspire you for your adventures abroad! Whatever movie you fancy, these international hits will transport you to another world, and with Renfe-SNCF en Cooperación, you can be transported between these countries in the same time it takes you to watch one of these films!
1. AMÉLIE // Paris
Le Fabuleux Destin d’AméliePoulain, or, directly translated “The Fabulous Destiny of AméliePoulain, is the heartwarming, brilliant and upbeat tale of a quirky and wonderful, although somewhat troubled girl, Amélie, who lives in Paris working as a waitress. The movie is essentially a whimsical tale of her life, as she makes a promise to herself to devote her life to making others happy
, and as she searches for happiness of her own. The romantic comedy was directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunetand is set in France, in the area of Montmarte. Released in 2001, the movie was a major success both in France and out, and takes us through the streets of Paris as we accompany Amélie’s fabulous life and destiny.
2. MIDNIGHT IN PARIS // Paris
Directed by the legendary Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris is the charming story of an aspiring novelist Gil, played by Owen Wilson, his fiancée Inez, played by Rachel McAdams, and her parents, who take to the lovely streets of modern-day luxurious Paris for their vacation
. While left to wander Paris one his own one night, he gets drunk and finds himself longing to be a part of the olden-day Paris of the 1920s. In a bizarre twist, he joins a group of people in a vehicle on their way to a party, travelling back in time to the twenties were he meets the renowned characters of Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald, amongst others. Every moment Gil spends with these weird but wonderful strangers makes him more dissatisfied with the present and his life. In his unique, quirky and sensational own style, Woody Allen manages to take us through not only a high-end extravagant Paris of the 21st century, but also the bohemian trendy Paris of the 1920s.
3. RATATOUILLE // Paris
This fun and playful 2004 Pixar animated film tells the endearing story of a rat named Remy, who aspires to be a famous chef, idolizing the recently deceased chef Gusteau. Luck has it that the new garbage boy, Linguini, hired at Gusteau’s restaurant, is the son of the recently deceased. Remy and Linguini form a friendship and Remy uses tricks such as pulling on Linguini’s hair while hiding under his toque blanche (chef hat) to teach him how to cook. The pair faces some obstacles, and in the end create a wonderful meal for a renowned food critic, preparing the most delicious Ratatouille
, and eventually open their own restaurant, where the chefs are the rats.
4. TAXI // Marseille
Filmed in 1998, Taxi tells the thrilling story of a pizza deliveryman, Daniel (played by Sam Naceri) turned taxi driver who helps to capture a gang of robbers, thanks to his impressive driving skills and modified car equipped with racing modifications that are hidden until he wants to drive faster
. He picks up Émilien, played by FrédéricDiefenthal, an undercover detective who fails miserably at driving, and in exchange for keeping his taxi license, Daniel is enlisted to capture a German gang of robbers who also drive race-modified cars. The story involves the subplots of both the girlfriend of Daniel, Lilly (Marion Cotillard) and the love interest of Émilien, fellow officer Camille, played by Emma Sjöberg. This film has three sequels, Taxi 2, Taxi 3, and Taxi 4, and even has a 2004 American remake starring Jimmy Fallon, Queen Latifah, and Gisele Bündchen.
5. VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA // Barcelona
Another Woody Allen classic, Vicky Christina Barcelona tells the tale of two young American girls who set off to spend the summer in Barcelona.
Vicky (played by Rebecca Hall) and Christina (played by Scarlett Johansson) have different objectives while there, but both become entranced in the romances of the artist Juan Antonio (played by Javier Bardem). He is separated, yet still enamored by, his mentally unstable ex-wife, María Elena (played by Penélope Cruz). Vicky keeps her romance with Juan Antonio a secret, while Christina ends up becoming the ‘missing’ link to stabilize the relationship of Juan Antonio and María Elena, and the three live together as lovers. The instability ensues, and eventually the two girls, Vicky and Christina, return back to the United States just as they came- full of wonder. This movie won the 2008 Golden Glove for Best Motion Picture- Musical or Comedy, and Penélope Cruz won Best Supporting Actress from many organizations including the Goya Awards and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
6. L’AUBERGE ESPAÑOL // Barcelona
This 2002 film is a French-Spanish co-production, featuring mainly French narrations with some English dialogue, a lot of Spanish, and some small amounts of Catalan, German, Italian, and Danish. This movie depicts the story of an economics graduate student Xavier (RomainDuris) who studies for a year in Barcelona on an exchange Erasmus program
. He lives in a house with other exchange students, and, essentially, this movie is a depiction of when cultures clash and shock. The students develop a unique friendship as they help each other overcome language barriers, through sticky situations, and create memories that last a lifetime.
7. EN LA CIUDAD // Barcelona
Filmed in 2003, the movie En La Ciudad (In the City) depicts what it is that we all want to know- what is it like inside the lives, homes, and apartments of people from another country? This film portrays the secrets, lies, frustrations, and daily lives of eight thirty-something year olds living in Barcelona.
This movie zeroes right in on the interiors of not just the tangible- apartments, studios, restaurants- but of the non-tangible friendships as well- thoughts, fears, loneliness- in addition to the social mores of Spain in that present day and age.
8. ABRE LOS OJOS // Madrid
Filmed in 1997, this movie later on became the 2001 American remake Vanilla Sky starring Tom Cruise. The original stars Eduardo Noriega as César and Penélope Cruz as Sofía, who later reprises her same role in the American remake. The story is told from the view of Eduardo, who recounts his life via flashbacks to a psychiatrist while in prison
. His ex-girlfriend Nuria had crashed the car with both of them in it because he takes home Sofía one night, living César horribly disfigured. After this crash, Sofía cannot bear the sight of him and leaves him. A bit afterward, however, his whole life seems to change- he is no longer disfigured and Sofía loves him. As the story goes on, it is revealed that Ceésar’s life isn’t what he believes it to be, and an entirely new complex then rules his life.