London On Screen: Five Films

Films set in London

Lately, I’ve been really getting back into watching films on a regular basis. And a lot of the time, it’s on an actual TV, which is something pretty unusual for me. I’ve always tended to watch things on my laptop rather than a telly screen, except for the DVD box sets I already owned that I put on in the background. But since actually buying one that’s semi-decent, my appreciation for losing myself in a movie or show (particularly one with epic visuals). And at the moment, we’ve been checking out even more new tech in the TV world with a view to upgrade – a Panasonic 4K TV is top of the list, btw. 

Being on a plane for two 10 hour journeys recently also gave me the chance to catch up with all the recent releases I’d missed. I tend to go through phases of movie-watching, and I’m quite particular about what I choose to watch. And one particular ‘type’ of movie I always have fun watching, are the ones that are set in London. Because I’m all like ‘OH HEY, I know that place!’ (see also: The Apprentice, and the time they filmed The Big Reunion where I used to work).

If you’re a Londoner or you visit occasionally, here are five movies I like a lot that feature plenty of sights and streets you’ll recognise…

28 Days Later

I actually took a stroll through the city from St Paul’s to Liverpool Street today and it was so quiet, I felt like I’d accidentally fallen into the zombie-stricken city from this movie. Seriously, NO ONE goes there at the weekend. Which is actually kinda cool if you want the street shots for your Instagram without the hordes of people photobombing. 28 Days Later itself is one of the ultimate ‘must-watches’ of the modern zombie genre – setting a standard for many films to follow.

Bridget Jones’ Baby

After catching up with Bridget’s latest baby adventures on my flight, I remembered how awesome and generation-defining Bridget Jones as a character is. ICYMI, the latest instalment is set years later, seeing Bridget in her forties and suddenly finding herself pregnant – is the father the handsome, perfect-on-paper American she met at a festival, or former love of her life Mark Darcy? One thing that’s truly great about this film, is Bridget’s no longer a hapless neurotic ‘singleton’ – instead, she’s bossing a high-profile TV role and living her single life to the fullest. The fact that the character has changed with the times is a pretty cool thing.

London Has Fallen

My ultimate guilty pleasure films are Olympus Has Fallen and it’s London-set sequel. Don’t judge me – it’s Gerard Butler being angry and fabulous. That’s all you need sometimes.

Kidulthood

The setting of Kidulthood showcases a very different side of London to the pretty facades of the romcoms and skyscrapers of action flicks. Set in the Ladbroke Grove and Latimer Road area, it follows the lives of a group of teenagers experiencing the darker side of the city – including violence and crime that’s all too commonplace in the lives of many young people in London. Comedy, tragedy and powerful drama are used to demonstrate a part of the city that’s rarely seen on the big screen.

My Beautiful Laundrette

Another film that shows more than just the screen-friendly version of London, I first watched My Beautiful Laundrette when I was at college studying film, after it was recommended to me by a friend. Omar is a young Pakistani man, Johnny is a street punk – an unlikely romantic pairing, but they come together to take on a laundrette business from Omar’s uncle. Released in 1985, it deals with issues of social and political standing as well as at-the-time controversial conversations around race and sexuality, in a film that’s both comical and thought provoking. 

What are your favourite films featuring your city/town?

*Post written in collaboration with Panasonic.

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  • Thank you for this list! Sometimes when I miss London so much, I will go for a London-themed movie. Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Love Actually and some other ones but not any on this list. 😀

  • Great list, I love seeing London in films. Even better is visiting and spotting spots from films x

  • Stunning photograph! I didn’t realise so many films were actually filmed there, I just assumed they were filmed off location, crazy to think they can get a film crew in London, I can’t imagine them shutting roads off etc (unless it’s one of the quite days like you found).

    You’re totally right about 28 days later, it really is a must watch!

  • May

    Love this post! It reminds me that I need to read the Bridget Jones Diary book. Love all the suggestion and need to add ‘My Beautiful Laundrette’ to my to-watch list. Mental note taken. x

    https://queensandkinks.com/

  • cool selection! Basically I’m a sucker for Richard Curtis’ movies and London features heavily in most of those movies:) and James Bond movies:))