Story: Nick M

Photos: Fox, Universal, Lionsgate

Mamma Mia

Abba in the Mediterranean

Released in 2008, the widely acclaimed musical romance Mamma Mia not only brought back ABBA’s classics of yesteryear but also drew viewers to the dreamy islands of Greece.

Mamma Mia is based on the most popular hits by the Swedish quartet, such as “Dancing Queen,” “Our Last Summer” and “Super Trouper.” The songs can be heard echoing across a vibrant Greek landscape of white walls, blue doors, beautiful flora  and the sunlit ocean. After the  film’s premiere, the number of visitors to Skopelos and Skiathos, the two islands on which the film was set, rose by 40%. More specifically, many young women want to come here for their bachelorette parties and be the “Dancing Queen” as the ABBA hit (performed by Meryl Streep and others in the film) suggests.

Moulin Rouge!

Nightlife in Montmartre

Moulin Rouge, French for “Red Mill,” is a legendary Parisian cabaret built in the red-light district near Montmartre. For more than 100 years, the Moulin Rouge has been known for its iconic red windmill set atop the club and talented dancers doing the famous can-can. The 2001 musical film Moulin Rouge! (directed by Baz Luhrmann) won two Oscars and was nominated for Best Picture.

Moulin Rouge! recreates the vibrant nightlife of fin de siècle Paris through the love story between a poet and a cabaret performer. The two leads, played by Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, perform songs inspired by the surroundings of Montmartre such as “One Day I’ll Fly Away” and “Come What May.”

The sound of music

Timeless beauty in Austria

Based on the Broadway musical of the same title, The Sound of Music won the 1965 Academy Award for Best Picture and is one of the most well-known musicals of all time. The film tells the story of a free-spirited nun who leaves her monastery to become governess for the children of a wealthy officer. Filming was mostly done in Salzburg, Austria. The famous opening scene features the breathtaking Alps with Julie Andrews singing the title song while standing on top of the world with her arms wide open.

Even decades after its creation, The Sound of Music and the charming landscape of Salzburg are still captivating generations of viewers.


Street music in Dublin

With a tiny budget of $150,000, the independent musical film Once was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $20 million worldwide. The film was set in Dublin, Ireland where two buskers meet and create beautiful music together.

Musicians Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová wrote and performed all original songs featured in the film. The song “Falling Slowly” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. The city of Dublin as pictured in Once is a character on its own, with its historic charm and vibrant street life filled with beautiful music.