When you consider Barcelona's undeniably camera-friendly looks and irresistible charisma, it comes as quite a surprise to find that so few good films have been set here. But the city isn't a complete stranger to the cinematic spotlight, as the following memorable movie moments attest.
A Gun in Each Hand, 2012
Catalan director Cesc Gay’s latest offering is a tragi-comic look at the lives of eight men in their forties and features a cast of some of the finest Spanish-speaking actors in the business. Set in Barcelona, it was mostly filmed in the district of La Ribera.
Director of films such as Babel and Birdman, Alejandro González Iñárritu set his bleak tale of the struggling, terminally ill Uxbal (played by Javier Bardem) in some of the less lovely neighbourhoods of Barcelona.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona, 2008
Barcelona was all agog in 2007 as Woody Allen, Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem wandered around creating Allen’s vision of Barcelona. Bardem, a painter, gets Cruz and Johansson all hot and sweaty in this light romantic romp.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, 2006
Starring Ben Whishaw as the psychopathic Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, Tom Tykwer's adaptation of Patrick Süsskind's extraordinary novel is partly shot on locations across Barcelona and around Catalonia.
El Taxista Ful, 2005
Taxi driver José R lives on the edge, because the cabs he drives around Barcelona are stolen. Making a living isn’t easy in the big city. This Jo Sol-directed flick is loosely based on a true story.
El Gran Gato, 2003
A kind of musical directed by Ventura Pons, dedicated to the singer-songwriter Javier Patricio ‘Gato’ Pérez.
L’Auberge Espagnole (The Spanish Apartment), 2002
In this movie directed by Cédric Klapisch, a young Parisian from the suburbs, Xavier, goes to Barcelona to learn Spanish for business. It ain’t easy when university classes are given half the time in Catalan, but Xavier has no yen to return to Paris.
Gaudí Afternoon, 2001
A film from the woman who gave the world Desperately Seeking Susan, Susan Seidelman. This one stars Judy Davis as a translator living in Barcelona who is asked by an American woman, Frankie, to help her search for her husband, who has run away with their daughter and his lover.
Todo Sobre Mi Madre (All About My Mother), 1999
One of Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar's most polished films, mostly set in Barcelona. A quirky and colourful commentary that ties together the lives of the most improbable collection of women (including a couple of transsexuals).
Two American cousins get tangled up in Barcelona, where love, politics and a little terrorism are the ingredients of this so-so film by Whit Stillman, with some striking views of the city.
This article was first published in July 2009 and updated in February 2015.
Additional research by Sally Davies in February 2015.