The city of London is comprised of several different neighborhoods, and is extremely photogenic. Many of the magnificent buildings here have been well preserved, which makes London the perfect setting for a wide range of popular movies and TV programs. There is nowhere in the world quite like London, which really helps to set the scene.
The River Thames is one of the most instantly recognizable features of London. The River Thames has been in a whole host of different productions to help set the scene. People who identify the River Thames on the big or small screen are sure to know right away that they have been transported to London.
The popular movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince used the River Thames in a very memorable and dramatic way. The opening sequences of this movie are very stormy and dramatic, as movie goers learn that Lord Voldemort and his supporters have returned to get their revenge on the world. The Millennium Bridge had just been completed and starred in the movie to stirring effect.
The River Thames has been used to invoke strong feeling in a number of other films as well. A good example of this is the opening scene of Sweeney Todd. In this scene the main character is returning to the city by boat. As he travels along the River Thames the whole of London is spread before him and his strong feelings are clearly shown.
Some directors use this to good effect when they contrast different parts of London. One film that does this well is the classic dramatization of Oliver! Here, the poor characters live in the East End, while the richer characters have large houses in the West End. Showing panoramic images of the streets clearly tells us a lot about the lives of the characters without having to go into a long and complicated back story narration.