EDINBURGH ON FILM
Where Hollywood meets Holyrood.
Edinburgh is known for its festivals. Most notably, the Fringe Festival. Every year millions of people come to the city throughout the month of August to experience the 70-year-old event. However, the fringe is not the only festival that draws a crowd to the city. Also taking place is the Book Festival and Military Tattoo in August, The Jazz and Blues Festival in July and the International Film Festival in June.
Edinburgh has always been a city that can captivate the tourists who walk down its cobbled streets or peer up at the century-old architecture. The city has a feeling of magic, an air that makes you wonder about the past and gets you curious about the future. So, it does not come as a surprise to know that Edinburgh has been the inspiration for many stories both on the page and on the screen.
To get you ready for the Edinburgh Internation Film Festival, here is a list of the films that use Edinburgh’s unique landscape, buildings and streets.
Trainspotting and T2
Perhaps the most famous film ‘series’ based and filmed in Edinburgh. The film holds a special place in the hearts of Edinburgh residents as an almost claim to fame. When watching the iconic original film and the recent sequel, look out for the following places; Arthurs Seat, Regent Bridge, Old Town, Scottish Parliment, Forth Bridge and St Stephens Stockbridge.
The DaVinci Code
Based on the best-selling novel by Dan Brown. Robert Howard directs Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou in this page-to-screen adaptions. The film does not heavily feature Edinburgh. However, it does feature the often overlooked Rosslyn Chapel. The Chapel has its mysteries outside of the movie. Beneath the floor of Rosslyn is a massive underground vault, of which was sealed in 1690 and has remained that way ever since. Of course, as you would expect, there has been a lot of speculation as to what, or who lies within the vault.
Tom Hanks returns to Edinburgh in this mind-bending sci-fi film. This film is an ambitious one in which the story spans five centuries. It is a complicated film to explain, even after viewing you will find yourself confused, yet satisfied. However, if you watch it for just one reason and one reason only. Make said reason Edinburgh. The city is used as a beautiful backdrop to the 19th century period where one of the characters climbs the Scott Monument daily to clear his mind.
(Old Waverley Hotel is the building on the left on the image above)
Sunshine on Leith
Known as ‘McMamma’ Mia, Sunshine on Leith is a musical comedy that uses the songs of The Proclaimers, of ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ fame. This film is perhaps the most Scottish on this list. Scottish actors, accents, music, setting, clothing and spirit. It is about the characters Davy and Ally, who must relearn how to live in Edinburgh after serving in Afghanistan. It is a ‘Feel-Fabulous Film’ to which Edinburgh is the perfect location.
Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess star in this love story about two people from different strokes of life. It is based on the famous novel of the same name, written by David Nicholls. Edinburgh provides a lovely backdrop for the film, and you could argue that it even acts as a supporting character to the characters of Hathaway and Sturgess.
The 39 Steps
A few adaptions of John Buchan’s novel have been made and set in Edinburgh. Most famously, however, is the film ‘The 39 Steps’ by the great Alfred Hitchcock. It is a universally praised film and has been named the 21st greatest British movie ever made, and in 2011 ranked it the second-best book-to-film adaptation of all time.
Chariots of Fire
This Oscar-winning historical drama about Scottish Olympic athlete, Eric Liddel. The film was released in 1981, but Edinburgh looks almost identical today as it does in the movie. The film follows Eric Liddel, a devout Christian who runs for God and thus refuses to compete on a Sunday and Harold Abrahams, an English Jew who runs to overcome prejudice.
The Railway Man
Colin Firth stars in this dramatic war film depicting the life of an Edinburgh-born Railway enthusiast turned POW. Edinburgh isn’t the movie’s main backdrop, no, that honour goes to Thailand, and it’s Burma Railway Line, also known as ‘Bridge of Death’. When Edinburgh is shown, you see the gorgeous views from Calton Hill (as pictured above) and of course, Waverley Railway Station.
Avengers: Infinity War
Anyone who was in Edinburgh throughout March/April 2017. You may have noticed Edinburgh become a huge film set. This was of course for the new film production of Marvel Studios billion dollar blockbuster film Avengers: Infinity War. Eagle-eyed fans may have spotted stars, Tom Holland (Spider-Man), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) and Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlett Witch) around the city.
One photo that seemed to catch the attention of a lot was that of Tom Hollands Spider-Man atop the Castle. Perhaps preparing for an epic web-sling over the historic Old Town.
Better yet, the film is not just being filmed in Edinburgh. It is going to be set there. The sets were littered with Scottish props and odes to Edinburgh. So, once the movie is released, it should see a huge boom in tourism to the city.
Harry Potter Franchise.
While JK Rowling’s globally recognised stories about the young wizard Harry Potter were no set in Edinburgh and the films were not shot in the city. You can see when walking through the city, where she got the inspiration for her Wizarding World.