Things To Do In Edinburgh For Film Lovers

It’s easy to see why Edinburgh has such a strong connection to the film industry. Not only is it home to one of the most important Film Festivals in the world, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, but also the city has featured in many famous movies. Edinburgh has many eclectic venues where film buffs can indulge themselves and numerous film locations to visit.

Here are my favourite things to do in Edinburgh for film lovers;

Edinburgh International Film Festival

The film festival started in the same year as the Edinburgh International Festival in 1947. It is the world’s longest running film festival, and has helped to define film festival events across the globe. There is no need to travel to Cannes or Venice to see the stars, watch ground-breaking new films and see emerging talent, it all happens right here.

The 70th edition of the Edinburgh International Film Festival will run from 15th to 26th June 2016.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival

Luna Cinema

The Luna Cinema is the country’s leading producer of open air cinema events. Classic films shown on a big screen in a beautiful or prestigious setting. What could be more magical on a summer evening than taking the family for a picnic under the stars and enjoying a favourite movie? The Luna Cinema comes to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh every summer.

Arboretum Place, Edinburgh EH3 5NZ

The Luna Cinema

Edinburgh Film

Dominion Cinema

The Dominion Cinema is a distinctive building designed in the 1930s, the interior has a mix of modern and traditional décor. The cinema shows most of the new releases and is one of the venues for the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Why go to a bland multiplex when you can relax and enjoy a film with wine and snacks, reclining chairs and sofas to cuddle up on.

18 Newbattle Terrace, Edinburgh EH10 4RT

The Dominion Cinema

Filmhouse Cinema

Filmhouse is a three-screen independent cinema showing a wide range of films from the latest Hollywood blockbusters to arty films, restored classics, and themed seasons and festivals. It is housed in a former church at 88 Lothian Road. All three cinemas are fully accessible, and films are regularly screened with audio description and hard-of-hearing subtitles

As well as three screens, the cinema has a café bar. Drinks can be taken into the cinemas – just ask for a plastic glass!

The Filmhouse


Famous films set in Edinburgh

Trainspotting (1996)

Danny Boyle’s famous film is a gritty portrayal of Edinburgh life and features many scenes in and around the capital. The most recognisable is when the main character Renton (portrayed by a young Ewan McGregor) is seen racing along Princes Street to the sound of Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life, pursued by security guards from the nearby shops. In another scene Renton and Spud slither down Waterloo Place, right by the station; no film has done more to put Edinburgh on the map in the modern era.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969)

The film is based on Muriel Spark’s celebrated 1961 book and is inspired largely by Spark’s own time at Gillespie’s school. Maggie Smith won the best actress award in 1969. 1960s Edinburgh portrays 1930s Edinburgh seamlessly. The Marcia Blaine school is sited in the Edinburgh Academy building in Henderson Row, and you can stand in the same spot as Maggie Smith on the Grassmarket and shout: “Observe, little girls, the castle!”, shortly before heading off to Greyfriars Kirkyard.

Chariots of Fire (1981)

Chariots of Fire was inspired by the real life events of the 1924 Olympics and features many scenes in Edinburgh. The most spectacular shot is the sweeping shot of the city’s rooftops from Arthur’s Seat.

There is also a scene when one of the main characters, Eric Liddell, tips his cap to the statue of John Knox, located in the courtyard of the Church of Scotland Assembly Hall, just off the Mound.

Burke and Hare (2010)

Historical Edinburgh became famous for corpse-stealing due to the notorious Burke and Hare murders in 1827 and 1828 which have resulted in a string of movies. The most recent one stars Andy Serkis and Simon Pegg. The Greyfriars Kirkyard scene transports the audience back to Victorian times with chilling scenes of the pair sneaking into Greyfriars at night to dig up recently buried corpses to sell to the medical students at the university, before they decide this is too much like hard work and start murdering people. Although it is filmed on a set you feel as if you are there.

One Day (2011)

Any modern movie tour of Edinburgh could not miss out the adaptation of David Nicholls’ bestselling romantic novel. In the opening scenes graduating Edinburgh university students Dexter and Emma are seen in what looks like the quadrangle of Old College. The pair (played by Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway) then kiss in the street in Stockbridge. In the final scene, which is a flashback to the pair’s ‘morning after the night before’ moment from the opening scene, we cut to the iconic view across the city from Arthur’s Seat to end this romantic tearjerker.

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