I wrote a blog entry like this a few years back on my old blog (It's now deleted) and it ended up becoming very popular with millions of hits. The reason why I wrote the list in the first place was because I am obsessed with visually stunning movies. I think it only makes sense that as a photographer it is in me to "see" so when I am able to watch a movie that inspires me visually it is a pure joy. I still have a lot of movies that I want to see which I am sure will eventually be added to my list but for now if your looking for some visual inspiration these are the ones I suggest. I also want to mention that I didn't exactly enjoy every movie on this list's plot wise and only for my own picky reasons but I can't deny the visual beauty. So in no particular order here it is....
1. The Virgin Suicides
I'll start with a movie that completely had me in awe at the age of 11. My sister and I were obsessed with Josh Hartnett at the time and began to watch everything he was in. We were pleasantly surprised when we stumbled upon this teen angst and coming of age Sofia Coppela movie.
*Scenes to look out for: When the girls are in the field as the boys read the youngest sisters diary.
2. How I live now
Keeping with the "teen angst" movies I recently watched this movie on netflix and was seriously surprised. I loved the plot, the simplicity of it and especially the beauty in each scene.
*Scenes to look out for: Where the kids are dancing around the fire, when the ash cloud settles in from the bomb, the kissing scene in the rose garden.
3. The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the ring)
Switching gears here to my absolute favorite book to movie adaption. Peter Jackson's Lord of the rings. They could all pretty much make this list but I chose the fellowship because of the beautiful opening scene.
*Scenes to look out for: It's all amazing
4. The lord of the rings (Return of the king)
I guess I will get these out of my system (haha). Hands down my favourite of all three movies.
*Scenes to look out for: They are all pretty amazing, but I'll say when Arwen has her vision of her son, Elrond telling Arwen about her future, the entire battle scene.
5. The Hobbit (Battle of five armies)
I swear this will be the last of my Tolkien entries (for now). I know these had a little bit more CGI then lotr but I tend to try and accept the way that things are. We are in 2015 now and movies have obviously come a long way.
*Scenes to look out for: Galadriel walking the ruins of Dol Guldur, The witch king fight, everything with the elves.
6. Pride and Prejudice
Switching gears here to one of my absolute favorite movies. This movie is so ridiculously beautiful every frame is a master piece. All of the lush English landscape makes me want to move there immediately.
*Scenes to look out for: Again, all of them, but when Elizabeth is standing on the edge of a cliff and her dress is blowing in the wind, the scenes with the beautiful old tree and it's vines as Elizabeth sits and eats an apple, and when Darcy and Elizabeth embrace in the garden "Your hands are cold" scene, and the rain scene.
It's strange how I tend to like the same directors and their visions. Same director of Pride and Prejudice also graced us with the beauty that is atonement. Though I absolutely hate this move and it's mainly because of the sadness that comes along with it I must say ever since I saw it I admitted to myself that it was one of the most stunningly beautiful movies I ever laid my eyes upon.
*Scenes to look out for: Keira Knightly in the library with James Macavoy, The scene with the dead school girls (Still haunts me to this day)
8. Romeo & Juliet (1996)
While we are on the topic of tragedy I'd like to introduce my next pick. 1996's Romeo and Juliet. Yes the Leo Dicaprio one! How can this not be part of the list? I love the modern adaption of such an old story. My husband who is not one for these types of movies even praised it when I showed it to him last year.
*Scenes to look out for: Romeo at the church walking towards Juliet's coffin, Juliet on her balcony with her angel wings, and the fish tank scene we can't forget the fish tank scene.
Another one I just recently watched and fell in love. The plot and story are amazing, the actors are top notch and the scenes are filled with eerie beauty.
*Scenes to look out for: Clara emerging from the mountain of blood, Eleanor with Frank by the water.
10. The Orphanage (El Orfanato)
Taking it into the realm of horror is one of the best horror movies I have ever scene. Of course it's a Guillermo Del Toro one which means it is going to be filled with glorious visuals. (and it's spine shillingly scary)
*Scenes to look out for: When the main character is looking for the boy with the mask, Any scene with the ocean, Finding the secret door.
11. The Possession
To stay with the horror genre for a minute here is the surprisingly beautiful movie The Possession. I didn't expect this movie to have a visual appeal. I just thought "eh another horror movie" alas it proved me wrong in the visual department.
*Scenes to look out for: The moth scene in the bedroom, the moth scene outside by the light post.
12. The Chronicles of Narnia (The Lion the witch and the wardrobe)
This book to movie adaption in my opinion was beautiful and filled with fantastical and whimsical elements. A movie that I thought was for children and quickly realized just how much of an adult attraction it had.
*Scenes to look out for: When the kids enter the wardrobe and come out the other side into Narnia, The Ice Queen in her palace and so many more.
13. A Little Princess (90's version)
I first saw this movie as a child and I fell in love. We re-watched this movie over and over again at my house. It wasn't until later that I began to fall in love with the visual beauty and whimsical shots.
* Scenes to look out for: When Sarah's scarf blows away, The scenes in India, any scene where Sarah is telling her stories, The scene with the song "Kindle my heart" as Sarah's attic window flies open.
14. Return to Oz
Another movie I saw as a child was "Return to Oz" and it horrified me yet intrigued me. Very well done and not only visually creative but the story is creative as well. Especially for the 80's.
*Scenes to look out for: When Dorothy enters the castle, When the queen changes heads.
While we are trapped in the 80's who can forget a young Jennifer Connolly and David Bowie.
*Scenes to look out for: The ballroom dance scene, The hedge mazed labyrinth itself.
16. The Kings of Summer
I checked this one out this passed summer. My husband and I watched it together and we loved it. The visual frames with the music are just stunning. A beautiful coming of age movie.
*Scenes to look out for: The interchanging scenes with the boys after they build their house in the forest (they are wandering and enjoying being young)
17. Ever After
Another childhood favorite. The perfect blend of magic, lush landscape visuals and romance.
*Scenes to look out for: "Just breathe scene" when Drew enters the Ball, romantic kiss at the ruins.
18. Moonrise Kingdom
Quirky, fun and filled with visual delights. If you are a photographer and you haven't scene this movie yet you really need to. The colours are enticing, and the set up of every scene is absolute perfection. Even if you don't like the plot you can't deny the films beauty.
*Scenes to look out for: The entire movie and the beach scene.
19. The Grand Budapest Hotel
While we are on the Wes Anderson stream I just saw this one the other day and of course just as Moonrise it was quirky, enticing, and filled with visual delights.
*Scenes to look out for: Again the entire thing, and the scenes where the main characters fall into the bakery truck.
20. Bright Star
Probably one of my top five for visual stunningness. Bright Star touched the heart and the eyes.
*Scenes to look out for: The butterfly scene, Sitting in the blue belles, the forest kiss, When John lying in the tree.
21. Jane Eyre (2011)
Another one of those movies that make's you want to move to England immediately.
* Scenes to look out for: When she steps off the carriage, The kiss scene at the end.
22. Marie Antoinette
Has to be hands down my favorite and of course another Sofia movie. There are so many reasons why I love this movie. Just like Romeo and Juliet I love when directors can take classics and give them a very modern twist. This movie just brings me into that realm and mindset of being a teen. That is why I find it so fascinating it's a period piece yet some how I am reminded of my youth. Aside from those points the colors the perfectly put together scenes, the lighting, the costumes, the scenery is all to die for.
*Scenes to look out for: Every single frame! especially the garden scenes.
22. Picnic at hanging rock (70's)
Now this was a bizarre movie indeed. I randomly decided to watch this movie from seeing the thumbnail. I was pleasantly surprised as the movie is gorgeously shot.
*Scenes to look out for: The girls in the forest with their umbrella's, the four girls going to the rock.
23. Beautiful Creatures
I put this on my list because it is a very stunning movie. I know it's one of those "teenie bopper" films but I found it to be very different and interesting and especially loved the visuals.
*Scenes to look out for: The kiss in the snow, when Emmy Rossum's character turns evil at the train station.
23. Comptes Immoraux
Okay, so this is one of those really strange movies that I had no clue what to expect. When I started watching this french movie (with English subtitles) I was expecting something bizarre but not as bizarre as it ended up being. Once I started watching I just could not look away. This movie is 4 movies in one that all tell very sexual stories. There is a lot of nudity and I guess you could say it's semi erotic. However it is it's strangeness and beautiful visuals that make this movie creative and a piece of art. It isn't just some movie about sex. The stories are just plain strange. The third story is probably my favourite. It's something of a brothel or an all girls school ruled by a very creepy woman who bathes in blood. It's not for everyone and it is for sure rated RRRR (haha not for anyone under 18) but it is a visual masterpiece.
*Scenes to look out for: The entire 3rd story
24. Blue Beard
And last (for now as I am sure I will make a part 2 to this) is the very creepy fairytale movie also in french. It's just all kinds of uncomfortable but alas it is shot beautifully.
*Scenes to look out for: The dinner scene at the end