[L]ondon has always been a producers dream when looking for locations for their latest project. If it wasn’t for the weather, which of course is why Hollywood was originally chosen, many more cinematographic delights would be shot here in London.
So today I give you CabbieBlog’s top 10 films shot on location in London.
John Wayne as Jim Brannigan who is sent to London to bring back an American mobster being held for extradition, but when he arrives, the prisoner has been kidnapped.
I think the producers of this film were the London Tourist Board, for every time Brannigan steps out of his flat in Prince of Wales Drive, Battersea we are treated to views of London. The speed of the cars is remarkable, one minute we are crossing Chelsea Bridge and seconds later Tower Bridge has miraculously appeared ahead of us. I wish driving in London was that easy, but there again I’m not “The Duke”.
Notting Hill (1999)
A tousled haired tosser living the life of a simple bookshop owner has his life changed when he meets the most famous film star in the world, he’s in love but will she fall for him?
Richard Curtis wrote this script around his own neighbourhood and in the process substantially increased the value of his own house and focussed attention on what is one of the most overrated districts of London. In the film Hugh Grant lived at 280 Westbourne Park Road, sadly, the blue door has now been replaced.
The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)
Filmed at a time when Clapham was not regarded as South Chelsea, it was then just a working class area with chirpy London crooks. Looking at it now you realise just how grim London looked after the war.
Alec Guinness plays a bank transfer agent who has overseen the taking delivery of gold bullion for the past 20 years. One day he befriends Pendlebury (Stanley Holloway), a maker of souvenirs and together they plan to forge the stolen gold into harmless-looking toy Eiffel Towers and smuggle it out England into France.
Ealing Studios while planning the bank-robbery film, asked the Bank of England to devise a way in which a million pounds could be stolen from the bank. A special committee was created to come up with an idea, and their plan is the one used in the film.
10 Rillington Place (1971)
Based on the true story of British mass-murderer John Reginald Christie, (played brilliantly by Richard Attenborough), who drugged, raped, and strangled eight women (one of whom was his wife) between 1940 and 1953, hiding their bodies in the garden as well as in a large cupboard, which he then covered up with wallpaper inside his home.
A place of such great infamy that following the John Christie murders (and Sir Ludovic Kennedy’s book) the road was renamed Rushton Close before being pulled down completely. Today part of Bartle Road occupies the site.
With the Sixties in full swing and London the centre of the Universe, Michael Caine shot to stardom as a callous Cockney womaniser.
Filmed around King’s Cross with the famous Victorian gasometers much in evidence in the background the gasometers are now being reinstated behind the station. Alfie’s seedy bedsite at 29 St Stephen’s Gardens hasn’t really changed at all, apart from the inevitable gentrification Notting Hill.
My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)
Writer Hanif Kureishi deliberately spelt launderette incorrectly but we can forgive him with this feel good film set within the Asian community in South London during the Thatcher years. Displaying those values expounded at the time of money, hard work and “anybody can make it”. The young Asian entrepreneur employs his school friend Daniel Day Lewis (before he became a Mohican) to help run his business.
Set around Wandsworth it depicts this area of south London area perfectly in the 1980s and of Londoners attitude towards the growing Asian population.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Hold on, a British comedy that’s smart, not by Richard Curtis and funny? Based on the simplest of premises: In a city packed with blank-eyed wage slaves and whacked-out club heads, how long would it take us to notice the arrival of George A. Romero’s lumbering, flesh-chomping undead? Filmed around north London with extras looking like some of my passengers on a Saturday night.
Mona Lisa (1986)
With Bob Hoskins and Michael Caine in a film of London gangsters how could I leave it out of my top ten? A sad and sensitive portrayal of a small-time crook trying to fit into a world that simultaneously rejects and baffles him following his belated release from prison. He takes the only job he can get to ferry high-class hooker Simone (Cathy Tyson) between assignations in a melancholically sleazy London. Avert your eyes in the torture scenes.
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
This is multi-Oscar winner one of my favourite films of all time. Young aspiring playwright William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) struggles to write Romeo and Ethel, The Pirate’s Daughter and aristocrat Viola de Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow) defies the convention by wanting to act. Although the drama takes place in London the “Rose Theatre” is a set built for the movie. The real Rose, where Shakespeare’s earlier plays were first performed, was actually uncovered during building work in Southwark in the late Eighties, and a massive campaign was launched to preserve it. The property developers eventually agreed to preserve the theatre in the basement of the new building. The Rose Theatre site is now operated by the Exhibitions Department of Shakespeare’s Globe who offer tours of the site with their guides.
Elephant Man (1980)
Based on the true story of Joseph Merrick, played by John Hurt (once a passenger of mine), a 19th-century Englishman afflicted with a disfiguring congenital disease. The film captures our idea of Victorian East London; monochrome, foggy and extreme poverty. Filmed at the old Eastern Hospital on Homerton Row, Lower Clapton which has now been replaced by the spanking new hospital. The Eastern stood in for the “London Hospital” on Whitechapel Road where Merrick ended his days.
Other films with London places in their title:
Balham Gateway to the South (1971)
Les Bicyclettes de Belsize (1968)
A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (1979)
The Bermondsey Kid (1933)
Imelda Marcos of Bethnal Green (2004)
The Britannia Billingsgate (1933)
The Blackheath Poisonings (1992)
Tilly of Bloomsbury (1921)
Bond Street (1948)
84 Charing Cross Road (1987)
Chelsea Girls with Andy Warhol (1976)
Joe Brown at Clapham (1965)
The Courtneys of Curzon Street (1947)
Deptford Graffiti (1991)
The Girl from Downing Street (1918)
Duchess of Duke Street (1976)
East End Hustle (1976)
Greek Street (1930)
Greenwich Mean Time (1999)
The Lonely Lady from Grosvenor Square (1922)
Half Moon Street (1986)
The Foxes of Harrow (1945)
The Monster of Highgate Ponds (1961)
Hyde Park Corner (1935)
No. 5 John Street (1922)
The Kensington Mystery (1924)
The Lambeth Walk (1939)
It Happened in Leicester Square (1949)
A Murder in Limehouse (1919)
East of Ludgate Hill (1937)
Murder in Mayfair (1942)
A Park Lane Scandal (1915)
Die Ballade von Peckham Rye (1966)
Piccadilly Playtime (1936)
Passport to Pimlico (1949)
Fly a Flag for Poplar (1974)
Horace of Putney (1923)
The Duchess of Seven Dials (1920)
Siege of Sidney Street (1960)
Emmanuelle in Soho (1981)
Soap Opera in Stockwell (1973)
The Stratford Adventure (1954)
Waterloo Road (1945)
Mr Palfrey of Westminster (1984)
The Black Sheep of Whitehall (1941)
The Wimbledon Poisoner (1994)
Barretts of Wimpole Street (1956)
Though these images may subject to copyright, the author of CabbieBlog believes they may be used on this post because: they’re a low resolution copy of a film poster; it doesn’t limit the copyright owner’s rights to sell the film in any way, in fact, it may encourage sales; because of the low resolution, copies could not be used to make illegal copies of the image; the image itself could be a subject of discussion in the article; and the image is significant because it was used to promoted a notable film. For further clarification click this link.