Barcelona is an amazing city. In its streets, parks, facades, monuments or squares you will find something unique that draws you in and invites you to return. Many national and international filmmakers and producers are aware of this and that is why they have chosen the Catalan capital as the location to produce their films.
In this article we will view a few of Barcelona’s locations which have starred in hit movies in recent years.
El Poble Espanyol, a unique cultural space
Created in 1929, Poble Espanyol captures the soul of Spain in a unique enclosure. In its streets and squares you can walk through a portrayal of the best historical architecture of the country and feel the great diversity of its culture, as well as traditions, crafts and contemporary art.
Although many of the charming alleys located in the old town of Barcelona were part of the shooting of “Perfume: Story of a Murderer” (Tom Tykwer, 2006), it was in Poble Espanyol where many of the major scenes of the adaptation of the famous German novel were shot, especially the Plaza Mayor. In this plaza, they shot the scene that opens the movie, in which the murderer, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, is taken to the balcony of the town hall to be shown to the town of Grasse. The plaza also hosted what is probably one of the most spectacular scenes, the foiled execution of Grenouille.
Güell Park, a magical and special place
Inspired by nature, Antoni Gaudí created this park with impressive ornamental work in which there is no rigidity or classicism. Park Güell is covered by undulating shapes, columns that look like trees, animals and geometric figures. The twists and colorful forms have an important symbolism and most of the surfaces are decorated with mosaics made with pieces of colored ceramic.
In “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (Woody Allen, 2008) the magic of Güell Park emerges, among other Barcelona monuments, to show us a peculiar love triangle formed by Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Scarlett Johansson as protagonists, in a film showing us the Mediterranean lifestyle. One of his most important scenes was shot in front of the famous sculpture of a salamander, between the main steps of the park. The emblematic work of Antoni Gaudí also appears in the crazy and fun life of Erasmus students in the successful comedy “Pot Luck” (Cédric Klapisch, 2002).
The magical mountain of Tibidabo
The silhouette of Tibidabo Mountain and its amusement park form part of Barcelona’s picture perfect landscape. The park, which opened in 1901, is one of the most magical components of the mountain with its mythical attractions, shows, animations, restaurants, picnic areas and, above all, an incredible panoramic view of Barcelona city.
“The Machinist” (Brad Anderson, 2004), the movie that made Christian Bale lose almost 66lbs, had among its outdoor locations the amusement park and its privileged view of the city. In one of his scenes, the protagonist, the insomniac Trevor Reznik, visits the park with his friend Maria and her son, who ends up suffering an epileptic fit after Trevor takes him on one of the rides.
Laberint d'Horta, the oldest garden in the city
In the park of Laberint d’Horta you will find the famous labyrinth of Barcelona. The location is full of ponds, waterfalls, water fountains and sculptures that seem to take us back in time.
The most romantic park of the Catalan capital, it was born as a neoclassical garden with an Italian touch. It has been the set for a few films such as “Nocturne 29” (Pere Portabella, 1968) or the adaptations of Eduardo Mendoza’s novels “The truth about the Savolta case” and “The City of Marvels,” but surely, where the park of Laberint d’Horta is best recognized is in “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer”, where it appears in a few scenes.
Ciutadella Park, an urban park near the sea.
Located in the heart of the city, the Ciutadella Park was built during the 19th century. This green area has charming paths through vegetation that lead you to a central lake. Here you can enjoy a boat ride and see several islets, accompanied by birds such as ducks and swans.
The park’s waterfall has been chosen for some scenes of films shot in Barcelona, such as the film “Three Steps Over Heaven” (MM, 2000), where the protagonist and her best friend are seen exercising. It is also the place that Vicky and Cristina choose in “Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona” to take pictures of themselves – right in front of the famous waterfall.
The cemetery of Montjuïc, a balcony over the sea
Set on the mountain facing the sea, the necropolis of Barcelona preserves works of funeral architecture and the only collection of funeral carriages in Europe.
Pedro Almodovar’s award winning film “All About My Mother” tells the story of Manuela, played by actress Cecilia Roth, who travels to Barcelona. Undoubtedly, one of the most remembered scenes is in the cemetery of Montjuïc, where the characters of the Almodóvar film gather around a white tomb with the Mediterranean Sea in the background.
Arc de Triomphe, one of the most outstanding monuments of the city
Located in Passeig de Lluís Companys, this classical monument is one of the sights that attracts the most visitors every year. The Arc de Triomphe is made of red brick in the “Neomudéjar” style. This style uses ornamentation and eclecticism, characteristic of Catalan modernism, which was booming in the years that the Arc was built.
Even though most of the film is set underground, in the movie “The Last Days” (Àlex Pastor and David Pastor, 2013), we see a very different Barcelona from what we can see in other films. Some parts of the city appear devastated and burned, one of them, is the famous Arc de Triomphe.