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Arts + Culture

Our 2016 Travel Oscars

The Oscar noms are out, and in honor of the occasion, we've compiled our list of best films to inspire travel from the past 40 years. So along with catching the real contenders this year, make time to see the flicks that changed the way we see the world. And the winners are...

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The Apartment

Billy Wilder’s Manhattan is one in which libidinous passion and corporate greed plays out against a bleak backdrop of featureless skyscrapers, identical wood-paneled offices and dark, empty streets. A cynical look at corporate America’s post-war beginnings, The Apartment tells the story of C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon), a junior executive at a big Midtown insurance agency, who ingratiates himself to his company managers by permitting them to carry out their extramarital affairs at his apartment. A noir that is by equal turns racy and nightmarish, this is New York at its sexiest, most brooding self.

Lost In Translation

For a film with such a profound sense of place, the presiding mood of Sofia Coppola’s breakout Lost in Translation is that of being lost. Shot in the soaring Park Hyatt Hotel high above Tokyo’s go-go streets, the movie puts in soft focus the city’s flashing lights and garish video billboards. It’s up nearly 50 story’s above ground that the unlikely, melancholy-tinged friendship between an aging American movie star (Bill Murray) and a young, neglected wife (Scarlett Johansson) finds its footing.

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Never before has the experience of being a passenger-seat driver been more thrilling than it is in Alfred’s Hitchcock’s Vertigo. The 1958 film stars James Stewart as John "Scottie" Ferguson, a retired police detective is hired to follow a powerful businessman’s wife (Kim Novak) around the vertiginous streets of San Francisco and down along the California coast. Featuring such instantly recognizable locales as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Sequoia Redwood Forest, the obsessive love story famously culminates high atop the red-tiled roof of Mission San Juan Bautista.


Perhaps the only thing more iconic than its lines ("… Here’s looking at you, kid"; "Round up the usual suspects") is Casablanca‘s "French" Morocco: its stucco walls, Hispano-Moorish bell towers, bustling souks and palm-lined boulevards. And while the film was shot almost exclusively on Hollywood backlots, few movies hold as much dreamy fascination as this romantic wartime drama. Since sweeping the 16th Academy Awards in 1944, where it won 3 awards (including Best Picture and Best Director), the movie continues to capture the imagination of today’s moviegoing audience despite its distinctive period setting.

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Midnight in Paris

In Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen journeys into the past in order to capture the La Ville-Lumiere in all its twinkling, postcard-perfect splendor. Reuniting the city with its most beloved Jazz-age and Belle Époque idols, Midnight in Paris follows Hollywood screenwriter Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) as he travels back in time to party with the likes of Salvador Dalí, Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. With scenes shot at Monet’s Garden, the banks of the Seine and beyond to Chateau de Versailles, the film is the next best thing to actually being there.

I Am Love

A rich, deeply textured film about the ties of family and tradition, Tilda Swinton captivates as the Russian-born wife of an Italian aristocratic in filmmaker Luca Guadagnino’s melodrama, I Am Love. Set in Milan, San Remo and the bucolic village of Castel Vittorio, the film’s resplendent cinematography, exultant score and commanding performances have helped it to achieve international critical acclaim.

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