Everyone once in a while, a film will come along that makes the audience incredibly jealous. These movies stem from a genre that I would call the “beautiful house I’ll never be able to own” movie. Essentially, the success of these movies depends upon whether or not the audience would give up their lives if only to inhabit these worlds for a few hours
With the help of set decorators and art directors, these films have the unique ability to transport the audience from their mundane, daily lives to luxurious locations they’ve never been before. For just $14.00, audiences are able to visit the villas of Italy, the french châteaus of France, and the mansions of Hollywood. There have been many movies that highlight exotic landscapes and extravagant houses, but as the years progress, only a few remain embedded within our minds. Below are 10 of the most extravagant movie houses in which we all dream to live.
10. Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
No one remembers what happens to Diane Lane‘s character in Under the Tuscan Sun because we’re too busy marveling at this beautiful villa in the Tuscan town of Cortona. It’s a gorgeous creation surrounded by nature and located in the heart of a lively Italian neighborhood not yet ravaged by tourists. Moviegoers are able to live vicariously through Lane’s character for a few hours, but the villa is owned by Frances Mayes in real life.
9. North by Northwest (1959)
This Alfred Hitchcock classic is perhaps most remembered for this stylish house located in the California hills. With its cool, modern design and a view that is to die for, it’s no wonder that the house isn’t real. In fact, during the film’s production, architect Frank Lloyd Wright was hired to build the set piece strictly for the film, proving that some dreams can only come true in the movies.
8. Scarface (1983)
Scarface is another film that’s more remembered for the beautiful things featured in it than the movie itself. This mansion, in particular, is a work of art. Situated conveniently by the water, it’s hard to imagine a better place to live. Contrary to popular belief, it’s located in Santa Barbara instead of Miami, and if you have the means, you can read it for $30,000 a month. Just remember not to ask the owner to say hello to your little friend.
7. Out of Africa (1985)
“I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills,” Meryl Streep‘s character narrates in the beginning of Out of Africa. Boy, was she being modest. This house is more than a farm–it’s a sanctuary. Based on the real-life farm author Isak Dinesen used to own, it’s now the Karen Blixen Museum (Dinesen’s pen name). In favor for preserving important cultural landmarks, but many people wish to have a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills.
6. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring (2003)
Don’t let the size of this soothing floating monastery in South Korea fool you. It would be a dream to live in this peaceful world depicted in the beautiful Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…Spring. The only problem is that the set was built on Jusan Pond specifically for the movie. The pond, too, is artificial, but it’s considered to be one of the most beautiful attractions is South Korea.
5. Melancholia (2011)
Not merely a house, this castle in Sweden adds to the grandeur and beauty of Melancholia, one of the best films in recent years. It’s know as the Tjoloholm Castle, and was built in the early 1900s in the province of Halland by architect Lars Israel Wahlmann. It may have made Kirsten Dunst‘s character depressed, but the rest of us would move there in a heartbeat.
4. Summer Hours (2008)
Summer Hours is a bittersweet French film about the memories that are made in a childhood home. Considering that this is the home in question, the memories must have been wonderful. This lovely French-style house is elevated by its serene surroundings. What a pleasure it must be to live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world completely immersed in nature.
3. Gosford Park (2001)
Before there was Downton Abbey, there was Gosford Park, Robert Altman’s brilliant comedy of manners. The film takes place in the fictional Gosford Park, an upscale English manor, where the servants live downstairs and the aristocrats live upstairs. In actuality, the residence is Wrotham Park, a neo-Palladian English country house that was designed by Isaac Ware in 1754 for Admiral Sir George Byng. The Byng family still lives there today.
2. Sleeper (1973)
This may be an easy choice, but what’s not to love about this futuristic looking pad from Woody Allen‘s science-fiction comedy Sleeper? This sculptured house was designed by Charles Deaton in 1963, and is currently a private residence in Golden, Colorado. It gets the award for coolest house we’re surprised even exists in real life.
1. Harry Potter (2001-2011)
As if there was any doubt, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is the most extravagant movie house of all time. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to go to wizard school, play quidditch, and have magical powers? The films that are based on J.K. Rowling‘s novels unlock our imagination, dare us to dream, and remind us of cinema’s potential to take us to places we’ve never been before. Hogwarts may be fictional, but it has become a fully formed reality in the collective dreams of audiences around the world.