Around the World in 15 Films


If you're looking for a change of scenery, let these movies show you the way.

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Talented Mr. Ripley

Where You're Headed: Mongibello, Italy

Why You'll Want to Go: Though this film takes place in a fictional town invented by Patricia Highsmith, the author of the novel on which it's based, it was actually shot in Ischia, a small island in the Tyrrhenian Sea. The aesthetic perfection of Dickie (Jude Law) and Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow) traipsing about against a backdrop of blue ocean water and white houses will have you feeling Tom Ripley's (Matt Damon) third-wheel pain in no time, but never fear—that angst results in one of the best thrillers of all time.

Contempt

Where You're Headed: The isle of Capri, in Italy's Campania region

Why You'll Want to Go: Because if you have to watch someone get their heart broken, it might as well be at the hands of Brigitte Bardot on one of the most beautiful islands in the world.

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Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Where You're Headed: Spain—first Barcelona, then Oviedo

Why You'll Want to Go: This is a very good-looking bunch with whom to ruminate over the nature of love, sex, and relationships. It doesn't hurt that their story unfolds between one of Europe's most beautiful cities and a quaint, picturesque town on Spain's northern coast.

Lost in Translation

Where You're Headed: Tokyo

Why You'll Want to Go: We'd follow Bill Murray anywhere, but it turns out that he is at his most charming, touching, and hilarious in Tokyo, where he sticks out like a sore thumb and wears his existential woes on his sleeve.

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The Beach

Where You're Headed: Koh Phi Phi, one of the Phi Phi Islands off the western coast of Thailand

Why You Want to Go: Even if it seems too good to be true, it's nice to live vicariously through Leonardo DiCaprio and Virginie Ledoyen as they spend their days living on a hidden beach, gallivanting around to the sweet sounds of Moby.

The Two Faces of January

Where You're Headed: Greece—first to Athens, and then off to the island of Crete

Why You'll Want to Go: The Two Faces of January proves that Greece is a wonderful place to be on the lam—because you can always abscond to the beautiful island of Crete, off its southern shores.

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A Bigger Splash

Where You're Headed: The Italian island of Pantelleria

Why You'll Want to Go: When a rock star played by Tilda Swinton decides to vacation with her photographer boyfriend on a volcanic island off the western coast of Sicily, you'll want to tag along—especially since it turns out that Ralph Fiennes will be crashing the party, too.

The Motorcycle Diaries

Where You're Headed: A road trip from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Caracas, Venezuela

Why You'll Want to Go: This film about Che Guevara's 5,000-mile journey down the South American coast with his old friend Alberto Granado is based on the book Guevara wrote about the experience. If you're in the mood for some soul-searching set against a gorgeous backdrop, this is the trip for you.

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The Trip to Italy

Where You're Headed: A road trip from Piedmont to Capri

Why You'll Want to Go: Over the course of the film, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon duke it out as all good road trip buddies do—most memorably in the form of celebrity impression battles. And when they're not too busy bickering, they're stopping at one jaw-droppingly beautiful restaurant on the Italian seaside after another.

Before Sunrise

Where You're Headed: Paris

Why You'll Want to Go: Because everyone should have the experience of falling in love over the course of a night-long stroll around the City of Light. Wide-eyed, unrealistic, optimistic, and foolish—director Richard Linklater does a lovely job of portraying the bundle of contradictions that is young love. (And if you like this one, the good news is that it's part one of a trilogy, and is followed by Before Sunset and Before Midnight.)

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