Remembering Notre Dame: 13 Movies Featuring The Paris Cathedral

Remembering Notre Dame: 13 Movies Featuring The Paris Cathedral


After the tragedy that set ablaze this morning, the Notre Dame Cathedral stands tall in these movies.

Notre Dame, a gothic cathedral in Paris, is a name that resounds to us in more ways than one. It’s mostly remembered from the famous Hunchback tale. Yet even with all these stories, the Notre Dame Cathedral stands on its own as the 850-year-old icon notable for its 13th century stained glass windows, dramatic spire, and stunning stone carvings. The picturesque aesthetic of the historic structure has also served as a backdrop for many Hollywood and European films.

As we remember how its beauty stood through the hundreds of years, surviving wars and revolutions, we look back on all the movies that will remind us of the beauty that it once was.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1939 & 1996

The 19th-century tale by Victor Hugo has been retold many times in TV and film. It’s a classic tale that tells a story of love and life. Quasimodo dreams of seeing the world beyond the bell tower. The 1939 film was controversial as it steers a bit away from the novel’s story while the 1996 Disney film was notable for its music, nominated for both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for the Original Score category. In January of this year, Disney announced their intent to recreate the movie as a live action film and expresses their desire to turn the story darker than the animation.

An American in Paris, 1951

Anyone who listens to “Our Love Is Here to Stay” will remember this classic movie. While most of the film was shot in a soundstage in Hollywood, it’s notable that Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron met up across the Seine from the cathedral, dancing to the said song.

Breathless, 1960

When French New Wave films started taking over, ‘Breathless’ was one of the earliest in the genre. The movie revolves around a criminal and his American girlfriend. In the movie, Jean Seberg’s character (the girlfriend) stays at a “hotel in the shadows of Notre Dame” where she meets the criminal played by Jean-Paul Belmondo.

Charade, 1963

Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant stars in this thriller and in one of the scenes, they stroll in the shadow of the landmark as they attempt to conclude who the murderer of her husband is. This film left a positive impact in the film industry and is called “the best Hitchcock movie that Hitchcock never made”.

The Aristocats, 1970

This feline movie tells the story of aristocratic cats who have been catnapped by a greedy butler. It’s simply defined at first as an animated movie about talking cats in France. In this movie, the Notre Dame Cathedral was seen as the butler Edgar Balthazar drives by it as he takes the cats to the countryside.

Beauty and the Beast, 1991 & 2017

The 2017 live-action adaptation of the film featuring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, the Notre Dame Cathedral appears to overlook the windmills at the outskirts of Paris. One of which was once home to Belle, Maurice, and his wife when her mother was dying of the plague. There are also theories that connect ‘Beauty and the Beast’ with ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’.

Bitter Moon, 1992

Not for the faint of hearts, this movie is an intense story of love, betrayal, violence, and everything in between. It can be remembered that Peter Coyote’s Oscar and Emmanuelle Singer’s Mimi sit on the benches near the cathedral in one of the scenes in this erotic-romantic thriller/drama directed by Roman Polanski.

Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, 2000

The film adaptation of the popular Nickelodeon series features the Notre Dame as Chuckie, the redheaded toddler, takes the others to the cathedral to crash his father’s wedding.

Amélie, 2001

Known for its whimsical presentation of life in Paris, Amélie is still the highest-grossing French-language film in the US. In the movie, Amélie is depicted as someone who visits the Notre Dame since childhood. It was also a place where her mother gets instantly killed after getting landed on by a tourist who jumped to his death at the cathedral.

Van Helsing, 2004

Love it or hate it, ‘Van Helsing’ is still one of the most iconic horror films and characters of all time. In a fighting sequence, monster-hunter Van Helsing slays Dr. Jekyll on top of the cathedral.

Before Sunset, 2004

MEGA | Remembering Notre Dame: 13 Movies Featuring The Paris Cathedral

Probably the most hard-hitting entry in the list, ‘Before Sunset’ is seen as Ethan Hawk’s Jesse and July Deply’s Celine are at the Seine River when they see the Cathedral. Jesse tells the story of a German soldier whose mission was to blow up the cathedral during World War II.

Ratatouille, 2007

With the movie set on Paris, it’s no surprise to find the landmark in several occasions in the film. One was when Alfredo Linguini, a clumsy sous chef, passes by it while riding his bike on his way to end Remy as per the head chef, Skinner. It was again seen as Linguini and Colette rollerskates past it.

The Three Musketeers, 2011

It seems as if the top of the Notre Dame Cathedral is popular for battle scenes. In the 2011 adaptation of the famous tale, D’Artagnan battles with Englishman Rochefort in a sword fight at the top of the famous landmark.

Midnight in Paris, 2011

Woody Allen fuses modernism and nostalgia in this iconic film about a time-traveling writer, Gil. At a scene, Gil sits outside the Notre Dame with his Paris tour guide, asking her to translate the contents of the diary of Picasso’s lover.

Cars 2, 2011

On the second installment of the hit movie about a world populated by anthropomorphic vehicles, the crew heads to head to Japan and Europe to compete in the World Grand Prix. During the scene in Paris, a street performer is seen busking outside the cathedral as Mater, Finn McMissile and Holley Shiftwell arrive in the city.

Photos from Imdb

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