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20 Enchanting American Movies Set in Europe to Watch This Summer

As the summer breeze whispers promises of adventures, what better way to indulge your wanderlust from the comfort of your home than journeying through Europe via the silver screen? In this guide, we look at 20 best American Movies Set in Europe.

Each of these 20 films offers a window into the diverse cultures, picturesque landscapes, and complex emotions that Europe has to inspire. From the romantic alleys of Paris to the sun-drenched hills of Tuscany, these movies are not just about the places; they’re about the experiences, the people, and the memories waiting to be made.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a dreamer with a bucket list of destinations, these films will transport you across the Atlantic, weaving stories of love, discovery, and adventure.

Let’s embark on this cinematic tour that promises to touch your heart and tickle your wanderlust. Grab your popcorn—and maybe a map of Europe!

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1. Before Trilogy (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight)

Before Sunrise Best American Movies Set in Europe

Genre: Romance/Drama
Release Years: 1995, 2004, 2013
Locations: Vienna, Paris, Greece

If talking to a stranger on a train seems like a recipe for disaster, perhaps all you need is a European backdrop to turn it into a romance for the ages. Who knew?

Imagine stumbling upon a conversation that stretches into a lifetime of love. This is the enchanting journey of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) in Richard Linklater’s “Before Trilogy.” Each film, set in a different phase of their lives and in stunning European locations, captures the essence of fleeting youth, enduring love, and the poignant moments that punctuate life’s quietest corners.

  • Before Sunrise (1995) takes us through Vienna’s quaint streets and cozy cafes, as two strangers become intimate friends over the course of a night. Their conversation, as winding and engaging as the city’s alleyways, makes you yearn to eavesdrop on every word.
  • Before Sunset (2004) reunites the lovers in Paris, nine years later, their connection as immediate and profound as ever. As they meander through the City of Light, the Left Bank’s bookstores and Montmartre’s steps become silent witnesses to their rekindling romance.
  • Before Midnight (2013) shows the couple grappling with the complexities of long-term commitment in the rustic, idyllic setting of Greece’s Peloponnese peninsula. It’s a raw, unvarnished look at love in its mature stage, set against ancient ruins and serene waves.

2. Midnight in Paris (2011)

Midnight in Paris 2011 American Movies Set in Europe

Genre: Fantasy/Comedy-Drama
Release Year: 2011
Location: Paris

What if you could escape to another era just by wandering through the streets of Paris at midnight?

“Midnight in Paris” invites viewers into the whimsical journey of Gil Pender (Owen Wilson), a nostalgic screenwriter who magically travels back to the 1920s each night. This enchanting film blends the allure of Paris’s past with the charm of its present, creating a love letter to the arts, literature, and architecture that define the city.

  • Scene Highlights: As Gil strolls through Paris, he encounters legendary figures like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein, discussing life and art in cafes and at lavish Jazz Age parties. Paris’s historical and cultural richness serves as both a backdrop and a character in these encounters.

The film’s light-hearted tone and magical realism wonderfully capture the spirit of Paris, turning a simple vacation into a profound, time-traveling adventure. Would you walk down those Parisian streets if it meant stepping into a bygone era?

3. Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Call Me by Your Name 2017 Best American Movies Set in Europe

Genre: Romance/Drama
Release Year: 2017
Location: Lombardy, Italy

Have you ever spent a summer so enchanting that the mere memory of it seems suffused with sunlight?

“Call Me by Your Name,” set against the lush backdrop of Northern Italy’s Lombardy region, invites viewers into the sun-drenched, poignant summer romance of Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer). This film is a tender exploration of first love and the intense emotions it stirs, portrayed with heartbreaking authenticity and sensitivity.

  • Scene Highlights: From cycling through picturesque Italian villages to exploring ancient ruins and swimming in crystal-clear waters, the setting plays an integral part in unfolding Elio and Oliver’s relationship. The Italian countryside is not just a backdrop but a catalyst for their burgeoning connection, full of places that breathe life into their journey.

The warmth of the Italian summer, the taste of fresh peaches, and the sound of soft music create a sensory experience that enhances the story’s emotional depth. How many of us have found ourselves longing for just one more day of that perfect summer?

4. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) – Best American Movies Set in Euorope

pelicula vicky cristina barcelona best movies set in europe

Genre: Romance/Drama
Release Year: 2008
Location: Barcelona, Spain

Ever imagined a summer where the ordinary turns extraordinary with a hint of Spanish charm?

“Vicky Cristina Barcelona” explores the complex romantic entanglements of Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) during their summer in Barcelona. Directed by Woody Allen, this film delves into the unpredictable nature of love, portrayed against the vibrant and seductive backdrop of one of Spain’s most iconic cities.

  • Scene Highlights: The architecture of Gaudí, the sultry Spanish guitar, and the bustling streets of Barcelona enrich the narrative as the characters navigate their desires and conflicts. Whether it’s a passionate flamenco night or a reflective moment in the shadow of La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona is as much a character in the story as the individuals themselves.

The film’s exploration of love, with all its complications and beauty, is heightened by the lively, artistic spirit of Barcelona. Could the city’s romantic allure coax you into reconsidering what you want from love?

5. A Room with a View (1985)

A Room with a View Best Movies Set in Europe

Genre: Romance/Drama
Release Year: 1985
Location: Florence, Italy

Ever dreamt of a romance that could change your views on life and love?

“A Room with a View,” based on E.M. Forster’s novel, captures the transformative journey of Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) in the lush landscapes of Florence, Italy. This film intertwines the struggle between societal expectations and personal desires, set against the backdrop of Florence’s Renaissance art and architecture.

  • Scene Highlights: From the open windows of Pensione Bertolini, offering a breathtaking view of the Arno, to the intimate encounters in sunlit Tuscan fields, Florence serves not only as a setting but as a catalyst for Lucy’s emotional and romantic awakenings. The film beautifully captures the contrast between the strict English manners of the time and the liberating influence of Italy’s beauty and passion.

The allure of Florence, with its artistic heritage and romantic scenery, plays a pivotal role in Lucy’s choices and growth. How many of us have longed for a view that might just inspire us to take a leap of faith in our own lives?

6. Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)

Under the Tuscan Sun Best US Movies Set in Europe

Genre: Romance/Comedy-Drama
Release Year: 2003
Location: Tuscany, Italy

Ever thought of buying a villa in Italy on a whim? Well, Frances Mayes did just that.

“Under the Tuscan Sun” follows Frances (Diane Lane), an American writer who impulsively buys a rundown villa in Tuscany, hoping to start over after her divorce. This film is a delightful exploration of self-discovery, personal and architectural renovation, and the joys and trials of starting anew in a foreign land.

  • Scene Highlights: Frances’s journey is punctuated with lush vineyards, the rolling hills of the Italian countryside, and the rustic charm of her villa, Bramasole. As she navigates local customs and renovations, the vibrant community and stunning landscapes of Tuscany help her rediscover joy and life’s possibilities.

The sunny vistas and flavorful scenes of Italian life are a backdrop to a story of transformation and second chances. Who hasn’t fantasized about a fresh start in a place as enchanting as Tuscany?

7. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

The Talented Mr. Ripley Best American Movies set in Europe scaled

Genre: Thriller/Drama
Release Year: 1999
Location: Various locations in Italy

Have you ever been seduced by the dangerous allure of living someone else’s life?

“The Talented Mr. Ripley,” starring Matt Damon as Tom Ripley, weaves a tale of deceit, identity theft, and the high stakes of the Italian high society in the 1950s. This intense psychological thriller explores the dark side of envy and charisma, set against the sun-drenched backdrop of Italy’s coastal towns and opulent interiors.

  • Scene Highlights: From the jazz-filled nights in Naples to the luxurious beaches of Mongibello, each location perfectly encapsulates Ripley’s world’s glamor and underlying tension. The stunning Italian landscapes and elegant settings intensify the psychological manipulation and suspense as Tom Ripley ingratiates himself into a life of luxury that isn’t his own.

Italy’s seductive beauty contrasts sharply with Ripley’s chilling actions, creating a mesmerizing visual and emotional dichotomy. Could the intoxicating beauty of Italy make us overlook the shadows lurking beneath its surface?

8. Lost in Translation (2003)

Lost in Translation 2023 Best American Movies Set in Europe

Genre: Drama/Comedy
Release Year: 2003
Location: Tokyo, Japan (not Europe, but captures a similar introspective vibe)

Ever felt profoundly connected yet utterly isolated in a foreign land?

While “Lost in Translation” is set in Tokyo, not Europe, it captures a similar spirit of introspection and cultural dislocation as seen in films set in European locales. This film follows Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) as they form an unlikely bond in the bustling yet alienating city of Tokyo. Their friendship offers a profound exploration of loneliness and the search for meaning amidst an unfamiliar culture.

  • Scene Highlights: Tokyo’s neon-lit streets, quiet hotel bars, and serene temples serve as the backdrop for Bob and Charlotte’s evolving relationship. The city’s vibrant yet isolating atmosphere enhances the emotional depth of their connection, making their journey a poignant reflection on finding personal connections in the most unexpected places.

Though not set in Europe, the themes of “Lost in Translation” resonate with anyone who has ever felt adrift in a new place, seeking understanding and companionship. How often do we find ourselves seeking solace in the company of strangers when away from home?

9. Roman Holiday (1953)

Roman Holiday Audrey Hepburn Best American Movies Set in Europe

Genre: Romance/Comedy
Release Year: 1953
Location: Rome, Italy

Ever dreamed of a spontaneous adventure in the heart of Rome that changes your life forever?

“Roman Holiday” stars Audrey Hepburn in her breakout role as Princess Ann, who escapes her royal duties for a day of freedom in Rome. Alongside Gregory Peck as a journalist, Joe Bradley, she discovers the joys and surprises of life outside palace walls. This timeless film not only showcases the enchanting streets and historic landmarks of Rome but also captures the thrill of unexpected encounters that turn into lifelong memories.

  • Scene Highlights: From scooter rides through bustling markets to dancing by the Tiber River, every scene is a postcard of Rome’s eternal charm. The iconic moments at the Mouth of Truth and the Spanish Steps are emblematic of the city’s romantic allure, perfectly complementing the sweet, fairy-tale narrative of the film.

“Roman Holiday” is a delightful journey through Rome that combines romance, adventure, and the discovery of personal freedom. Who wouldn’t want to find themselves or perhaps lose themselves in the winding streets of Rome?

10. The Spanish Apartment (2002)

Best American Movies Set in Europe The Spanish Apartment

Genre: Comedy/Drama
Release Year: 2002
Location: Barcelona, Spain

Ever wondered what it’s like to live in a melting pot of European cultures during your youth?

“The Spanish Apartment” (originally titled “L’Auberge Espagnole”), showcases the life of Xavier, a French postgraduate student who moves to Barcelona to learn Spanish. This film vividly captures the chaotic, exhilarating, and transformative experience of living in a shared apartment with students from across Europe. It’s a humorous and insightful look at the challenges and joys of understanding different cultures and finding one’s identity.

  • Scene Highlights: The film is filled with vibrant scenes of Barcelona’s lively streets, colorful festivals, and the bustling energy of La Rambla. The interactions among the diverse group of roommates highlight the cultural clashes and bonds that form when different worlds collide in a single city.

“The Spanish Apartment” is more than just a comedy about student life; it’s a journey through the complexities of adapting to a new life while embracing the rich tapestry of European cultures. Isn’t that what studying abroad is all about?

11. Paris, je t’aime (2006)

Paris je t aime best american movies set in europe

Genre: Romance/Drama
Release Year: 2006
Location: Paris, France

Ever imagined a film that captures the heart and soul of Paris through a kaleidoscope of love stories?

“Paris, je t’aime” is a unique anthology of 18 short films, each set in a different arrondissement of Paris, directed by an ensemble of internationally acclaimed directors. This cinematic mosaic explores various dimensions of love—romantic, familial, unrequited, and everything in between—set against the rich tapestry of one of the world’s most romantic cities.

  • Scene Highlights: From Montmartre’s cobblestone streets to the Marais’s bustling avenues, each story offers a glimpse into a specific Parisian neighborhood, highlighting its unique character and charm. The film allows viewers to traverse the emotional and geographical landscape of Paris, experiencing the city’s diverse cultural and architectural heritage.

“Paris, je t’aime” offers an intimate portrayal of Paris through the lens of love, inviting viewers to fall in love with the city over and over again. Who wouldn’t want to lose themselves in the myriad stories and streets of Paris?

12. In Bruges (2008)

In Bruges Best American Movies set in Europe

Genre: Dark Comedy/Crime
Release Year: 2008
Location: Bruges, Belgium

Ever thought a medieval city could be the backdrop for a darkly comedic existential crisis?

“In Bruges” stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as hitmen laying low in Bruges, Belgium, after a job goes wrong. This film masterfully blends dark humor with deep moral questions, set against the picturesque, almost fairy-tale setting of Bruges. The contrast between the city’s serene beauty and the characters’ inner turmoil creates a compelling, often hilariously bleak narrative.

  • Scene Highlights: The film showcases Bruges’ Gothic architecture, tranquil canals, and historic squares, which starkly contrast with the hitmen’s grim conversations about life and death. Scenes such as a surreal encounter on a movie set and reflective moments in front of Bruges’ famous artworks deepen the juxtaposition of beauty and despair.

“In Bruges” provides a unique look at how a city renowned for its history and beauty can become a purgatory for those haunted by their past actions. Could the quiet corners of Bruges offer you a moment of redemption, or would they echo back your regrets?

13. Amélie (2001)

Amelie Best American Movies Set in Europe

Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Year: 2001
Location: Paris, France

Ever wondered how small, everyday actions can transform lives in magical ways?

“Amélie,” starring Audrey Tautou as the quirky and endearing Amélie Poulain, is a heartwarming tale that captures the whimsy and romance of Paris through the eyes of a young woman determined to change the lives of those around her. Set in the picturesque neighborhood of Montmartre, this film is a visual and emotional ode to the joy of small kindnesses and the beauty of noticing the little things in life.

  • Scene Highlights: The film features iconic Parisian cafes, particularly the Café des 2 Moulins, where Amélie works and schemes her charming interventions. The narrow, winding streets of Montmartre serve as the perfect backdrop for her adventures, filled with colorful characters and vibrant everyday scenes that highlight the film’s fairy-tale quality.

“Amélie” is not just a love story; it’s an invitation to look differently at our surroundings and find magic in the mundane. Who hasn’t dreamed of finding a hidden treasure in their apartment or crossing paths with a mysterious stranger who could use a little push towards happiness?

14. The English Patient (1996) – Best American Movies Set in Europe

The English Patient The English Patient

Genre: Romance/Drama
Release Year: 1996
Location: Tuscany, Italy, and Cairo, Egypt

Ever found yourself swept up in a love story so intense it seems to transcend the very fabric of time and place?

“The English Patient,” based on the novel by Michael Ondaatje, is set against the backdrop of World War II and explores the complex relationships among four disparate characters. The film is renowned for its beautiful, sweeping landscapes and the intricate, heart-wrenching personal histories that unfold in a war-torn world.

  • Scene Highlights: The narrative weaves through the serene Tuscan landscape and the vast deserts of North Africa, contrasting the brutality of war with the enduring beauty of these locales. Key scenes set in a dilapidated Italian monastery serve as the focal point where the characters’ lives intersect, laden with the emotional and physical scars of war.

“The English Patient” delves into themes of love, betrayal, loss, and the enduring human spirit. Its dramatic and visually stunning settings not only underscore the narrative’s emotional intensity but also frame the historical context that shapes these characters’ destinies. How many of us can say our lives have been so dramatically framed by history and heartache?

15. Chocolat (2000)

Chocolat best American Movies set in Europe

Genre: Romance/Drama
Release Year: 2000
Location: Rural France

Ever thought that chocolate could change a community?

“Chocolat” stars Juliette Binoche as Vianne Rocher, a mysterious and free-spirited chocolatier who arrives in a tranquil, conservative French village and opens a chocolaterie during Lent. Her exotic confections quickly stir up not just the townspeople’s appetites but their hidden desires and conflicts, leading to dramatic and heartwarming changes in the community.

  • Scene Highlights: The film is set against the rustic charm of a fictional French village, where every cobblestone and façade seems to hold secrets and stories. Vianne’s shop, with its sumptuous displays of chocolates, becomes a central symbol of change and indulgence. Her interactions with the villagers, from a repressed housewife to a misunderstood old man, beautifully illustrate the transformative power of food and kindness.

“Chocolat” is a celebration of the senses and the liberating power of indulgence in a community bound by tradition. Who wouldn’t be tempted to taste a piece of chocolate that promises to unlock your deepest yearnings?

16. La La Land (2016)

La la land Best american movies set in Europe

Genre: Musical/Romance
Release Year: 2016
Location: Primarily Los Angeles, USA; brief segment in Paris, France

Ever wondered if following your dreams could lead you to dance under the stars in Paris?

While “La La Land” is predominantly set in Los Angeles, it includes a dream-like sequence that beautifully captures the allure of Paris. The film follows the intense romance and creative aspirations of Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), two artists struggling to make their dreams come true in the cutthroat entertainment industry.

  • Scene Highlights: The brief Parisian segment imagines a life that could have been, with scenes set against iconic backdrops like the Seine and the Eiffel Tower, enhancing the film’s theme of love and lost opportunities.

“La La Land” weaves together jazz, dance, and the pursuit of dreams, with a poignant touch of what Paris represents in the realm of romance and aspiration. How many of us have dreamed of a perfect moment in Paris, only to find reality waiting around the corner?

17. EuroTrip (2004)

Eurotrip 2004 Best American Movies Set in Europe

Genre: Comedy
Release Year: 2004
Location: Various locations across Europe, including London, Paris, Amsterdam, Bratislava, Berlin, and Rome

Ever embarked on a journey that turned every expectation on its head?

“EuroTrip” is a raucous adventure that follows a group of American teenagers traveling across Europe, encountering wildly unexpected situations and cultural misunderstandings. It’s a comedic look at the backpacking culture of young adults, filled with stereotypes and slapstick.

  • Scene Highlights: From a riotous soccer hooligan event in London to an accidental stay in a grim Eastern European hostel, each location is played up for laughs, showing the sometimes absurd clash of American and European cultures.

“EuroTrip” provides a light-hearted and exaggerated portrayal of the backpacker’s experience in Europe. Who hasn’t had a travel mishap that later turned into a favorite story?

18. Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)

Florence Foster Jenkins Best American Movies Set in Europe

Genre: Biography/Drama/Comedy
Release Year: 2016
Location: New York, USA; brief references to Paris, France

Ever pursued a passion despite everyone doubting your ability?

“Florence Foster Jenkins” features Meryl Streep as Florence, a New York heiress and socialite who dreams of becoming an opera singer despite having a poor singing voice. The film, while primarily set in New York, makes references to Florence’s earlier days in Paris, where she aspired to study music.

  • Scene Highlights: The film captures the glamorous yet delusional world of its protagonist with humor and poignancy, showing how her dreams and reality collide.

“Florence Foster Jenkins” is a testament to the human spirit’s resilience and the pursuit of dreams, no matter the odds. How often do we dare to chase dreams that seem just out of reach?

19. The Trip to Italy (2014)

The Trip to Italy 2014 Best american Movies set in europe

Genre: Comedy/Drama
Release Year: 2014
Location: Various locations across Italy

Ever felt like a scenic drive through Italy could be the perfect setting for soul-searching and laughter?

“The Trip to Italy” stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as semi-fictionalized versions of themselves on a gourmet road trip across Italy. The film is a sequel to “The Trip,” continuing the duo’s explorations of culinary delights, personal dilemmas, and witty repartee.

  • Scene Highlights: From the sparkling waters of the Amalfi Coast to the historic grandeur of Rome, the journey offers breathtaking views and mouth-watering Italian cuisine, providing a backdrop for the characters’ hilarious impersonations and reflective conversations.

“The Trip to Italy” combines stunning scenery with sharp humor and a touch of melancholy, exploring themes of friendship, aging, and ambition. Isn’t life just a journey to savor one meal at a time?

20. Eat Pray Love (2010)

eat pray love best american movies set in Europe

Genre: Drama/Romance
Release Year: 2010
Location: Italy, India, and Indonesia; Italy segment focuses on Rome and Naples

Ever considered that a journey around the world might lead you back to your inner self?

“Eat Pray Love,” based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling memoir, chronicles her quest for self-discovery following a painful divorce. The Italy segment of her journey is filled with lessons about pleasure, food, and the Italian concept of “dolce far niente” – the sweetness of doing nothing.

  • Scene Highlights: Elizabeth’s indulgence in Rome’s culinary delights and her learning to appreciate the slower pace of life in Naples encapsulate her journey towards healing and self-acceptance.

“Eat Pray Love” invites viewers to question their own paths and encourages them to seek fulfillment in the simple joys of life. It’s a vivid reminder of how travel can be transformative, not just through the places we visit but through the new ways of seeing ourselves and our lives.

This completes the set of 20 films that capture various facets of Europe through the lens of American cinema, each offering a unique blend of scenery, culture, and personal discovery. These films not only entertain but also invite viewers to explore deeper themes of love, adventure, and self-reflection. Whether it’s through laughter, romance, or the pursuit of dreams, these movies show how journeys can reshape our understanding of the world and ourselves.

Wrapping up Our List on 20 of the Best American Movies Set in Europe

As we draw the curtains on our cinematic journey across Europe, we hope these films inspire you to explore new destinations, whether through the enchanting streets of Paris, the rolling hills of Tuscany, or the intimate cafes of Vienna. Each movie on our list offers more than just a story; they provide a passport to experience the beauty, complexity, and spirit of Europe from the comfort of your living room.

This summer, let these 20 enchanting films whisk you away on a journey of discovery, romance, and adventure. Embrace the wanderlust, indulge in the cultures, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll find a piece of yourself along the way. Happy viewing!

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