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10 Idyllic Movies to Inspire Your Iceland Trip

Oswald Plant
September 1, 2023
Iceland

Iceland is truly breathtakingly beautiful, boasting breathtaking landscapes around every turn and providing the backdrop for many movies. No wonder then that Iceland has become such a sought-after location!

 

 

1. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Ben Stiller brings James Thurber's 1939 short story "Walter Mitty and His Fantastic Voyage" to life through this modern adaptation, following Walter Mitty as an introverted photo editor who finds solace in dreaming up adventure photos that fill his work environment. Soon enough he travels through Greenland, Iceland and Afghanistan encountering everything from sharks to snow leopards on his travels.

This movie will entertain and motivate anyone who believes anything is possible with hard work, while travel professionals will especially find inspiration from its imagery of Iceland - particularly Snaefellsnes Peninsula and Skogafoss waterfall - serving as Mitty's stage for her daring adventures.

And if you watch the movie on a big screen, make sure to visit Hofn, used as an alternate Greenland airport in the movie. This picturesque harbor town lies just minutes from Iceland's most celebrated glacial lagoon: Jokulsarlon.

2. Midnight in Paris

Finding restful rest under the midnight sun can be challenging, particularly for people battling jet lag. Many Icelandic residents manage to get their rest by staying active throughout their long days and adhering to an effective bed-time routine that includes reading, turning off screens early in the evening, and sipping non-caffeinated herbal teas before sleeping.

Owen Wilson stars as Gil Bender, an unbridled romantic screenwriter traveling to Paris with his reckless fiancee and her parents who refuse to accept their relationship. Once there, Gil becomes embroiled in his nostalgia for older art and historic artifacts as well as 1920s culture inspired by his idols Ernest Hemingway, Salvador Dali, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein.

Midnight in Paris is an enjoyable film that captures the beauty of European cities without falling back on cliched and predictable plot points. With its picturesque settings and timeless themes, Midnight in Paris makes an excellent viewing experience.

finds himself on an extraordinary adventure!

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filmmakers paradise!
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3. The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro's adult fairy tale, Crimson Peak is an astonishing visual masterpiece. The film follows Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins), an unassuming custodian at a top secret research facility who forms an unlikely bond with an aquatic humanoid creature.

Set against the backdrop of Cold-Era Baltimore, The Shape of Water presents anotherworldly tale which showcases many of its director's passions - monster movies, classic cinema, musicals - through this film's tale-within-a-film format: monster flicks, classic cinema, musicals. He has seamlessly combined all these genres here into an exciting fusion that pays homage to City Lights and Creature from the Black Lagoon with touches of Splash and Beauty and the Beast thrown in for good measure.

Repeat viewing will deepen its impact, with its quiet side stories becoming clearer with time. Furthermore, this film explores the value of inclusion and kindness against bigotry and oppression; del Toro took an enormous risk with this endeavor which ultimately paid off.

4. The Hunt for Red October

John McTiernan keeps The Hunt for Red October moving with an engaging sense of pace, while sidestepping trivial details. His meticulous direction also creates immersive submarine sets which feel both cramped and atmospheric.

Red October is a modern Soviet submarine sailing toward US shores under its commander, Admiral Marko Ramius. While many in government believe Ramius to be planning an attack, CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) suspects otherwise. Jack Ryan realizes Ramius wants to defect and attempts to persuade him into turning himself in for justice.

5. The Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a charming tribute to New Zealand's nature and bush, depicting two men with vastly differing perspectives overcoming their differences and finding peace together. Starring Hector (Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords), Ricky (Jullian Arahanga).

Based on Barry Crump's book of the same name, Hunt for the Wilderpeople captures New Zealander Barry Crump's quirky sense of humor and deep appreciation for nature - with even some Wes Anderson influence evident both visually (rapid zoom-ins) and thematically (Moonrise Kingdom).

Waititi also uses his film to show another side of New Zealand culture, depicting its "wilderness" as both beautiful and dangerous places where traditional values may be at risk of disappearing - creating a funny yet poignant movie that will inspire your next journey.

6. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is an engaging film that follows a daydreamer on an enchanting journey to find himself and discover himself. Its captivating cinematography and powerful message will inspire viewers to embark on their own exciting adventures.

James Thurber's iconic short story comes to life in this film starring Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig. Walter Mitty leads an active fantasy life; however, real-life adventures often prove more fulfilling.

Iceland was an integral part of this blockbuster film by production team, who shot at multiple locations across Iceland - Greenland, Afghanistan and Himalayas among them. Einar Hansen Tomasson from Film In Iceland says its popularity as a filming location has only increased with financial incentives available now.

Some of the film's iconic scenes include Mitty running through an erupting volcano, skating across a glacial lagoon and playing soccer with sherpas - Iceland is an ideal backdrop to this motivating tale! With its breathtaking vistas and spectacular nature.

7. The Lost City of Z

The Lost City of Z is an intriguing non-fiction account about one man's obsession with discovering an ancient city deep within the Amazon jungle, chronicled through James Gray's filming scenes in Belfast and Colombia for this true tale about British explorer Percy Fawcett and his search for Z, believed by some to be synonymous with El Dorado.

Baldvin Zophoniasson's Icelandic road movie about an elderly couple reclaiming their dignity features restrained performances with whimsical vignettes. While its serious subject matter may put some viewers off, its visual beauty and intelligent dialogue make the experience worthwhile; so too do its picturesque landscapes, which look just as magical as those inhabiting them.

8. The Shape of Water

Del Toro's visionary Labyrinth returns with this otherworldly fairytale about an isolated janitor (Sally Hawkins) falling for a creature housed within an undercover government laboratory. At its best, del Toro expertly blends dreaminess, nightmare and realism.

His film is part code-scrambled fairy tale, part Cold War-era camp and an update of 1951 classic Creature From the Black Lagoon; yet its greatest success may lie in its refusal to fuel prejudice.

The movie shows us that kindness, rather than bigotry, makes the world a better place. Additionally, it reminds us that children don't inherit bias but learn it through watching adults treat others unfairly. Additionally, its vibrant beauty offers welcome respite from our harsh daily lives; each viewing brings new stories out.

9. The Hunt for Red October

Iceland is an unforgettable travel experience, boasting its epic lava rock formations, geothermal hot springs, and majestic waterfalls reminiscent of Game of Thrones. Come during autumn for an eye-opening natural show of vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges!

Director John McTiernan kept explosions and gunfire to a minimum with this Tom Clancy adaptation starring Alec Baldwin and Sean Connery, known as Jack Ryan: One of the Best Thrillers Ever Made. This classic remains one of the greatest thrillers ever created.

Before heading off on your flight to Iceland, take some time out for a relaxing soak at the Blue Lagoon. Even though this sulphur and silica-rich pool may be packed with selfie-taking tourists, its restorative waters make the wait worthwhile. With luck Mother Nature may reward your patience with an impressive northern lights display; to increase your odds of seeing them opt for a Super Jeep tour through remote areas free of light pollution.

10. The Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Watching movies featuring Iceland's breathtaking landscapes can help give an idea of its breathtaking majesty, so watching director Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Thor: Ragnarok)'s New Zealand film about an orphan and her guardian as they flee through its wilderness is an effective way to familiarise yourself with this extraordinary island nation. In his award-winning flick he follows two characters through their adventure as they flee through its forests together.

Though the film takes place across Greenland, Iceland and Himalayas, most of it was shot on Snaefellsnes peninsula which boasts charming towns with charming old houses. Furthermore, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon (look out for our Iceland Adventure Tour to witness this unbelievable sight for yourself!), is another incredible location where battle scenes from Batman movies were shot (check out our Iceland Adventure Tour and come experience Jokulsarlon for yourself!) There were also shots at Thingvellir National Park; making Iceland truly a filmmakers paradise!

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Watching movies featuring Iceland's breathtaking landscapes can help give an idea of its breathtaking majesty.
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