Venice is one of the world’s great movie locations and the city has played starring and cameo roles in a string of films of varying artistic merit.
It’s the atmosphere, both voluptuous and sinister, that shines in Nicholas Roeg’s 1973 adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s Don’t Look Now, while David Lean’s 1955 Summertime starring Katherine Hepburn, captures the romance of Venice, and Visconti’s Death in Venice has an air of nostalgia.
But above all, Venice sparkles in costume dramas, whether it’s The Wings of the Dove, with Helena Bonham Carter making yet another corseted appearance, the decadent Comfort of Strangers, directed by Paul Schrader, or Casanova (2005), the tale of the great lover, with Venice wonderfully restored to its 18th century appearance and Heath Ledger, Sienna Miller and Jeremy Irons providing the star quality.
Venice has served as the backdrop to countless films, including Fellini’s Casanova (1976), and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, when San Barnaba church masqueraded as a library where Harrison Ford encountered most of the rat population of Venice.
From Russia with Love (1963) saw the James Bond 007 adventure begin in Venice. More than a decade later Moonraker, another James Bond adventure (1979) was shot in Venice on the canals. James Bond 007 and Venice continued their affair in the 2006 James Bond movie, Casino Royale, a major blockbuster shown around the world.
In 1996, The English Patient took the film industry by storm capturing nine Oscars; it was filmed in several locations in Italy, including Venice. Another acclaimed film, The Talented Mr. Ripley, nominated for five Oscars, was filmed in the Veneto.
The Merchant of Venice, with Hollywood heavyweights Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons, features 16th century Venice as one of the main characters. Released in 2004, The Merchant of Venice accurately portrays both life in the Jewish Ghetto and the rule of law.