Notre-Dame in the Movies: 9 Times Paris' Historical Cathedral Inspired Hollywood
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1939)
With several film versions based on the 1831 Victor Hugo novel, the 1939 installment was the first to feature sound. Starring Charles Laughton and Maureen O’Hara, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is front and center in this film that features changes from the novel, namely censoring the portrayal of the priest as a villain, as the filmmakers felt that it would violate the Hays Production Code.
An American in Paris (1951)
This enormously successful 1951 film, albeit shot in Los Angeles, features the Notre=Dame Cathedral in the background of an iconic scene. Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron share a romantic moment dancing to “Our Love is Here to Stay” on the Seine River, and the cathedral is in the distance. How’s that for a romantic setting?
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1956)
The 1956 version of the 19th Century novel was the first to be in color. It starred American actor Anthony Quinn, and like the previous versions, featured some differences from the novel, such as highlighting Quasamido’s more human side.
The Notre-Dame Cathedral is once again spotted in the background of the hotel that Patricia Franchini, played by Jean Seberg, is staying in. The landmark is best seen during her meet up with Jean-Paul Berlmondo’s Michael Poiccard, kicking off the complicated relationship between journalist and killer.
Also known as “the best Hitchcock movie that Hitchcock never made,” Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant’s meet up to decipher who murdered her late husband features the Notre-Dame Cathedral off in the distance.
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1996)
This animated remake is considered one of Disney’s darkest films ever. On the bright side, it features musical performances by Tom Hulce and Demi Moore, and it’s fun to see the iconic cathedral in animated form.
The Notre-Dame Cathedral plays a huge role in Amelie Poulain’s story. As a child, she would visit the cathedral every year. However, at age six, her sightseeing became tragedy when a tourist jumped off the rooftop and landed on her mother, killing her.
Van Helsing (2004)
In this horror film starring Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale, the cathedral is a focal point of an exciting battle between Jackman’s Gabriel Van Helsing and Dr. Jekyll. Definitely not a bad view to face off against an iconic villain.
The Three Musketeers (2011)
One third of the iconic trio, D’Artagan, engages in an epic battle atop the Paris landmark’s rooftop. His foe? Captain Rochefort, and the fight, very appropriately, features swords aplenty.