The Dolomites are regularly touted as one of the most beautiful mountain landscapes on earth, so it should come as no surprise that they’ve been featured in many movies!!! Prominent Actors including Sylvester Stallone, Janine Turner, Roger Moore, and Peter Sellers have all filmed here, amidst our magnificent towering peaks and deep valleys.
Perhaps the first film set here was the visually stunning WWI action-adventure mountain film epic on skis, Berge in Flammen (Mountains on Fire, 1931) – the first feature film by Luis Trenker and Karl Hartl. Other movies dedicated to these mountains include Pian delle Stelle (Land of the Stars, 1946) by Giorgio Ferroni and Montagna di Cristallo (Glass Mountain, 1949) by Anton and Cass.
But soon the Dolomites also became a backdrop to propel stories, and not solely to portray the mountains themselves. In Orient Express (1954), an avalanche detains a train and its passengers at a small village in the Alps, and intrigue sets in as the locals and passengers are thrown together. In the original Pink Panther (1963), Peter Sellars and Claudia Cardinale create a hilarious comedy set in Cortina d’Ampezzo. The glamorous Faye Dunaway fell in love in Cortina in A Place for Lovers (1968) by Vittorio de Sica. And a Bolzano plum orchard serves as the setting for wedding flashbacks in Morte a Venezia (Death in Venice, 1971).
The Dolomites have also been used to represent other mountains and locales. For example, the Lagazuoi and Falzarego area became the Utah in the United States, in the Spaghetti Western Il Grande Silenzio (The Great Silence, 1968). Sylvester Stallone’s Cliffhanger (1993) uses Cortina’s famous Cristallo, Lagazuoi, and Tofane massifs as stunning backdrops to represent the United States’ Colorado Rocky Mountains. And The Legend of Tarzan (2016) starring Alexander Skarsgård takes it a step farther, using photos of the Dolomites as the mountainous backdrop of a village in Gabon on the African continent!
But there are still plenty of contemporary films where the Dolomites as a setting are a part of the movies’ storyline. Who can forget the famous ski chase in For Your Eyes Only (1981) where Roger Moore as James Bond 007 skis down Cortina’s Olympic Ski Jump and on the Olympic Bobsleigh Run while being chased by his arch enemies? The Silent Mountain (2013) returns us to the Dolomites in in 1915 during World War I, with a love story set in Cortina during the conflict between Italy and Austria-Hungary. While the most recent Hollywood production filmed in Dolomites is Point Break (2015), a remake of the 1991 theatrical success, which stretches the storyline from a surf-action crime drama to extreme sports, with stunning footage from the Ampezzo mountains surrounding Cortina.
What’s next? Stay tuned, and we’ll see you in the movies, and in the Dolomites of course!