Oh yeah, baby, lemme see that colonnade
January 2, 2016 6:46 PM   Subscribe

I enjoy looking at grand architecture. What movies can I watch that contain lots of architecture porn?

I'm interested in both exteriors and interiors. The architecture can be any style or period, real or imaginary (but not too fantastical). Wood-paneled Victorian mansions, Art Deco skyscrapers, monasteries / temples / mosques, imposing state buildings, grand theaters / museums / palaces, grim Brutalist monoliths, anything. I just want to see lots of dramatic, stylized, man-made spaces, full of sexy proportions and detailing and atmosphere, beautifully shot.

Bonus points if it's a good, or at least watchable movie.
posted by escape from the potato planet to Media & Arts (43 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Russian Ark
posted by matildaben at 6:53 PM on January 2, 2016 [5 favorites]

Scent of a Woman immediately comes to mind as a movie with many scenes set in interesting interiors.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:59 PM on January 2, 2016

Grey Gardens.
posted by Melismata at 7:01 PM on January 2, 2016

The Fall (2006)
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:03 PM on January 2, 2016 [4 favorites]

Il Posto, North by Northwest. If you will accept TV, Downton Abbey looooves scrumptious, detailed interior shots.

The Blues Brothers isn't so much your soaring shots but has a lot of love for iconic Chicago buildings. Ferris Bueller has some great epic shots of Chicago, Wrigley, and Cameron's family's house. (Which also reminds me that Adventures in Babysitting has some great scenes of the Crane Communications skyscraper near the end but the rest of the movie isn't very architecture-y.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:04 PM on January 2, 2016

Roman Holiday?
posted by Andrhia at 7:09 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Amadeus was filmed in Prague and almost every scene was in a classic building from that era.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:11 PM on January 2, 2016 [7 favorites]

A Room With A View - several scenes in Florence, Italy.
posted by Mallenroh at 7:15 PM on January 2, 2016 [4 favorites]

You might love the interior porn shots (and exteriors are nice too) of the original Rosemary's Baby, filmed inside and outside The Dakota, where John Lennon lived (and died). Also to love - the buildings along 5th Avenue, and the pretty interiors in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Grand Budapest Hotel is also pretty swoonworthy.
posted by the webmistress at 7:17 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

I initially came here to mention Russian Ark, but since someone beat me to it I'll go with I Am Love, which features some really stunning locations (especially the remarkable Villa Necchi Campiglio).
posted by bcwinters at 7:22 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Malik's Knight of Cups has a bunch of LA Modern spaces. It really is on the extreme end of shelter porn wankery in the lingering shots of well lit architectural volumes. I didn't even care about the asshole in the centre of the narrative, and the best outcome of my movie $ was that Malik seems to want to position him around or in all of his favourite So-Cal Mod buildings.

The 1964 rom-com with Audrey Hepburn. Paris When It Sizzles has AH-mazing hotel interiors and furniture. The camera loves the baroque styling and all the loveliest parts of Hepburn's character depicted in such a place.

Tom Ford's background study in architecture informs his use of the Lautner House in A Single Man and his loving roam with camera over planes of glass, joinery and scale. It's realllly porn-y. Like, you want to watch it alone with the curtains drawn porn-y.

Only Lovers Left Alive uses a lot of sensuous interiors that seems to be filmed for almost masturbatory delight of New Romantics everywhere.

The Big Lebowski has some fab interiors - Lautner again, but I love Maude's place too.
posted by honey-barbara at 7:28 PM on January 2, 2016 [4 favorites]

posted by BlahLaLa at 7:32 PM on January 2, 2016

posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:33 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Blade Runner
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:33 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

A Single Man is a must.
posted by shesbenevolent at 7:36 PM on January 2, 2016

It's been some years since I watched it, but Gaudi Afternoon does what it says on the tin iirc.
posted by clavicle at 7:38 PM on January 2, 2016

The Long Goodbye has some neat Los Angeles stuff. Actually come to think of it, I'll bet you'd like the documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself which has many extended discussions of how LA's architecure gets used in movies. I believe it's on Netflix.

The Magnificent Ambersons is another good one.
posted by equalpants at 7:39 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

...Or Scarface. Lots of amazing, stupidly opulent 1980s interiors there. And some great Miami Beach exteriors too.
posted by equalpants at 7:45 PM on January 2, 2016

The Great Beauty, Mon Oncle, Last Year at Marienbad, Body Double, Ex Machina, In Bruges, Contempt
posted by modesty.blaise at 7:52 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

A lot of 1994's Wolf was filmed at the restored Bradbury Building in L.A. (Try 3:30 of this clip for a low-definition indication.)
posted by bertran at 7:54 PM on January 2, 2016

For interiors, you can't beat Auntie Mame
posted by Mchelly at 8:01 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

I am Love has some great views of Milan.
posted by octothorpe at 8:01 PM on January 2, 2016

The Fountainhead
posted by Rash at 8:21 PM on January 2, 2016

Los Angeles Plays Itself
posted by nickggully at 8:24 PM on January 2, 2016

Age of Innocence [warning: Youtube link]
posted by invisible ink at 8:27 PM on January 2, 2016

The Rules of the Game (1939)
Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
The Innocents (1961)
The Haunting (1963)
posted by mdrew at 8:41 PM on January 2, 2016

My Architect? Maybe not as high in production value as some of these features but it's an extended tour of Louis Kahn's most ambitious buildings and a very moving story about his son's discoveries of his life secrets too
posted by sestaaak at 8:48 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Manhattan by Woody Allen for some good New York architecture.
posted by incolorinred at 8:57 PM on January 2, 2016

Barry Lyndon for sumptuous georgian mansions. Alphaville for futuristic brutalism. The Grand Budapest Hotel has a fun juxtaposition of the hotel in its pre-WWI heyday, and its decaying cold-war makeover, plus the european countess' mansion.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 8:59 PM on January 2, 2016

La Sapienza. It's somewhat about Borromini, the Italian architect. It is filmed to highlight the architecture, and it is beautiful.
posted by cushie at 9:01 PM on January 2, 2016

The Conformist
posted by Jahaza at 9:25 PM on January 2, 2016

Playtime by Jacques Tati (1973) is beautifully shot and all about human relations within Modern architecture systems. You'll love it.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 10:25 PM on January 2, 2016 [3 favorites]

My memory is that the first half of "Chariots of Fire" is pretty spectacular for architecture, because it was filmed at Cambridge University.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:44 PM on January 2, 2016

You've asked for movies, so this doesn't exactly qualify, but you might like Kevin McLoud's Grand Tour. It's a four part doco and he follows in the footsteps of renowned architect Inigo Jones as he went on the Grand Tour so beloved of dissolute 18th century aristocrats.

McLoud's background is in architecture, so there is PLENTY of architecture porn here. The first episode is up on YouTube if you want to try a taste.
posted by ninazer0 at 11:47 PM on January 2, 2016 [4 favorites]

Belly of an Architect
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:38 AM on January 3, 2016

Going with just good (YMMV) movies:

Lost in Translation (Japan)
Marie Antoinette (a lot of it was filmed in Versailles)
Barcelona (well, it's Barcelona)
The Before movies (particularly Sunrise for Vienna and Sunset for Paris)
Barry Lyndon (the movie is, at times, a moving picture)
In Bruges (lots of chasing around in fecking Bruges)
posted by lmfsilva at 3:23 AM on January 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

After I watched the 2009 film Chloe, I remember thinking I wanted to track down more movies set in fancy ultra-modern homes. I never followed through on that, but I can recommend Chloe as a movie featuring interesting architecture.
posted by crLLC at 6:07 AM on January 3, 2016

Clockwork Orange. I heard somewhere that Kubrick chose many of the locations by flipping through architecture magazines. I don't know if that's true, but it's very believable based on what he puts on the screen.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:36 AM on January 3, 2016

"The Garden of the Finzi-Continis"
posted by mmiddle at 11:28 AM on January 3, 2016

posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 10:14 AM on January 4, 2016

Titus - Julie Taymor's production of the Shakespeare play. It is set in an out-of-time pastiche of Roman to 20th century buildings (and costumes, and artifacts.) Here is the trailer.
├ćon Flux was not popular with critics or the box office, but I recommend it because it shows a lot of Berlin architecture. The DVD has a making-of documentary that talks about some of the locations, and how the production team chose them. (Frederick the Great had a lot of cavalry, so he needed to train a lot of horse veterinarians, so he built a horse veterinarian teaching theatre. Who knew?) Here is the trailer.
Batman, the 1989 release with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. Trailer
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 8:04 PM on July 22, 2016

Metropolis is available in full on YouTube.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 8:21 PM on July 22, 2016

The Limits of Control
posted by yticmic at 10:58 PM on December 13, 2016

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