Undefended: Five Movies, Five Cities

This week, a list of five movies wherein the setting is especially well presented, well used in the plot and theme. 

Thomas Banks


1. Blade Runner (futuristic Los Angeles)

2. Heat (Contemporary Los Angeles)

3. The Quiet Man (Rural Ireland)

4. Fargo (” “)

5. The Town (Boston)



Timothy Lawrence

1. Collateral (Los Angeles)


2. Drive (Los Angeles)

3. Taxi Driver (New York)

4. Bicycle Thieves (the quintessential postwar Italian city)

5. Fargo (Fargo)


James Banks

1. “Gran Torino”

2. “Collateral”


3. “25th Hour”

4. “The Town”

5. “Ratatouille” (The Rural South)


Joshua Gibbs

1. Singles/ Reality Bites (Seattle)


2. Vertigo (San Francisco)

3. Celebrity (New York)

4. Lost In Translation (Tokyo)

5. Jackie Brown (LA)


Elizabeth Stinnette

1. The Devil Wears Prada (New York, Paris less so) theoutoftowners1970_03

2. Gone with the Wind (Civil War Atlanta)

3. Fiddler on the Roof (rural Russia)

4. The Spitfire Grill (Gilead, Maine)

5. The Out-of-Towners (New York)


Brian Murnion

1. The Naked City (NYC) 1948

2. L’eclisse (Rome) 1962


3. La notte (Milan) 1961

4. Mulholland Drive (Los Angeles) 2001

5. Lost In Translation (Tokyo) 2003


Remy Wilkins


1. Attack the Block

2. The Terminal

3. Manhattan

4. Casino

5. Changing Lanes


Kanaan Trotter

1. Gangs of New York

2. The Untouchables

3. Casablanca (too enchanting not to be) Cloverfield-DoubeNegativeSpecial-5-1-

4. Cloverfield

5. Good Will Hunting


Joshua Stevenson

1. Somewhere (Los Angeles)

2. The Squid and the Whale (NYC) 16once600

3. Once (Dublin)

4. A Hard Day’s Night (London)

5. A Band of Outsiders (Paris)


Joseph Gross

1. City of God (Rio de Janeiro)

2. Car Wash (Los Angeles) tv-world

3. Do the Right Thing (New York)

4. District 9 (Johannesburg)

5. The Departed (Boston)


Sean Johnson


1. The Third Man (Vienna)

2. The Dark Knight (Chicago-as-Gotham)

3. Brideshead Revisited [1981] (Brideshead/Venice)

4. Ratatouille (Paris)

5. Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Wonka’s factory)

Joshua Gibbs

Joshua Gibbs teaches great books, collects records and jogs to work. He and his wife have two children, both of whom have seven names. He tweets at @joshgibbs and blogs for the CiRCE Institute.

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