Share Your Favorite On-Screen Walking Scenes

Loralei Gilmore walking in Stars Hollow on Gilmore Girls

Loralei Gilmore walking in Stars Hollow on Gilmore Girls

As the mercury dips, my appetite for screen time increases. With the recent release of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life on Netflix, I decided to go back in time to watch the original series. The first 30 seconds of “Pilot” is the lead character, Loralei Gilmore walking along the Main Street of the fictional town, Stars Hollow. On this street she is joined by dog walkers, a family with a stroller, a skateboarder and cyclist, people sitting on benches, and yes, even a few cars.

Instead of binge watching the next seven seasons of Gilmore Girls, it made me want to hop off the couch and go for a stroll to my local coffee shop. It made me wonder what other walking scenes have caught streets.mn readers’ attention.

Join me in the comments with details of your favorite on-screen walking scenes. If you need some inspiration, check out Bill Lindeke’s classic sidewalks of the silver screen category on his blog Twin Cities Sidewalks. What do you like about them? What lessons can from these scenes can we apply to land-use and transportation issues?

Related: Walk This Way! – a montage of the “follow shot” often used in movies.


Streets.mn is a non-profit and is volunteer run. We rely on your support to keep the servers running. If you value what you read, please consider becoming a member.

, , ,

24 Responses to Share Your Favorite On-Screen Walking Scenes

  1. Dana DeMaster
    DanaD December 5, 2016 at 10:36 am #

    I love all the walking and biking scenes of East London in “Call the Midwife.” The midwives all ride bikes to their appointments. As a lover of retro fashion I adore their capes and the way they move as the nurses weave through sidewalk peddlers, cars, children playing, and all the other London street life. Even if the show weren’t great in itself, I would watch it just for the clothing and bikes.

  2. Bill Lindeke
    Bill Lindeke December 5, 2016 at 10:45 am #

    Yeah, thanks for the shoutout. Many/most of the scenes I linked to in the videos have been removed for copyright infringement, but they were working when I posted them. The classic is probably the “I’m walkin’ here” thing from Midnight Cowboy, but that’s just the tip of a very large iceberg that includes the intro credits Saturday Night Fever, a handful of Woody Allen films, and a billion other great bits.

  3. Bill Lindeke
    Bill Lindeke December 5, 2016 at 11:04 am #

    Here’s a sidewalk film scene from 1895, one of the first films ever made: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HI63PUXnVMw

  4. Matt Steele December 5, 2016 at 11:05 am #

    Wife and I watched Mighty Ducks last night (yeah, yeah)

    It was cool to see some local filming locations from a quarter century ago, including Peavey Park, Elliot Park neighborhood (spotted the Band Box) and some other areas.

    • Matt Steele December 5, 2016 at 11:06 am #

      And it’s not really a “walking scene” in the movie, but when they were rollerblading through the skyways I was thinking “This is so Minneapolis, and I’m not sure I like it.”

  5. Sam Newberg
    Sam Newberg December 5, 2016 at 11:26 am #

    A scene that sticks with me is in the movie Venus – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_(film) – starring Peter O’Toole. An early scene shows his character and friend walking the streets of their London neighborhood and doing little shopping. It is a fleeting walking scene, but stuck with me as a great life for senior citizens. How nice to be able to walk to a nearby cafe to meet a friend, then walk to shopping, etc.?

  6. Sam Newberg
    Sam Newberg December 5, 2016 at 11:28 am #

    The Truman Show? A few walking scenes, if I recall, but more importantly, filmed in Seaside, a prominent new urbanist community.

  7. Mike Hicks December 5, 2016 at 12:18 pm #

    Oh man, I’ve had a crush on Lauren Graham since about 1996, so I got sucked into watching Gilmore Girls a couple years ago. Overall it’s a fun show, and I liked many of their sidewalk scenes. However, it sometimes felt like the show had no concept of travel time by car, which was one of its many oddities.

    The Back to the Future series sticks out as having some of the most memorable street scenes for me, even though they didn’t necessarily occur on the sidewalk. The skateboard/hoverboard chases run all through the center of Hill Valley, and the series did a relatively good job of showing how car culture and urban decay overran the what was a clean and walkable downtown in the ’50s and replaced it with a much dingier place by the ’80s. Even the central park had been replaced by a parking lot.

    That highlights another of my bigger issues with Gilmore Girls — the town of Stars Hollow often seemed way too airbrushed to feel real, much like that polished idea of Hill Valley from the ’50s. But that often happens on TV and in the movies. Sprawl is not camera-friendly, so urban and more traditional small-town layouts are often what you see when filmmakers try to depict street scenes.

    • Janelle Nivens
      Janelle Nivens December 5, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

      I thought the pacing of the walkers in the 30 seconds I mentioned was comically staged. With the exception of an old-timey truck making a delivery by pulling up to the front door (blocking the sidewalk) there are no cars parked on the street.

  8. Jason Wittenberg
    Jason Wittenberg December 5, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

    There are a number of cool Mpls walking (and biking) scenes in Stuck Between Stations. Some of them are briefly captured here: https://youtu.be/18sF2Ysi-6U

    • Janelle Nivens
      Janelle Nivens December 5, 2016 at 4:35 pm #

      I’ve never seen this film. Thanks for sharing the interview!

  9. Jeff McMenimen December 5, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

    One of my favorite walking scenes in a film is in Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunset”, filmed in Paris. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oI3UuneLcyU&t=39s

    The film picks up the story in “Before Sunrise” of a young American man (Ethan Hawke) and French woman (Julie Delpy) who spent a passionate night together in Vienna. Their paths intersect nine years later in Paris, and the film takes place in real time as they spend an afternoon together. Most of the film records the two walking and talking in Paris. Beautiful street scenes and cafes provide the backdrop for their conversation.

    • Bill Lindeke
      Bill Lindeke December 5, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

      All of the Before Sunrise films are amazing for walking and urbanism.

      • Heidi Schallberg
        Heidi Schallberg December 5, 2016 at 5:29 pm #

        I third these.

  10. James Warden
    James Warden December 5, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

    Great topic! Longtime Gilmore Girls fan here (albeit one slightly disappointed by Year in the Life). Not only did I love watching Lorelei and Rory walking, I loved seeing the extras in the background cross the street willy-nilly without regard for crosswalks.

    Speaking of fantasy, sci-fi does an awesome job showing human-scaled placemaking. Virtually every place in Firefly is built around foot traffic, both the grittier trading posts and the aristocratic urban areas. Star Wars, outside of Coruscent, typically imagines its places around markets and small shops with heavy foot traffic. Battlestar Galactica mostly took place in space. But when it did come to down to the ground, the cities were always walkable places. I think this fits with Mike Hicks’ comment that we normally don’t think of sprawl when we imagine cities — even when imagining cities of the future (or “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”).

    Streetscapes don’t always get love, though. A little over a year ago, I wrote a piece here about how Judd Apatow’s portrayal of cars vs. bike/ped changed abruptly with his Amy Schumer film Trainwreck:

    https://streets.mn/2015/08/23/how-amy-schumer-taught-judd-apatow-to-love-cities/

    Partly that’s because Trainwreck takes place in New York. But even taking that into account, it’s still impossible to ignore that Apatow used a bike as a symbol for sexual immaturity (40-Year-Old Virgin) and cars as a sign of maturity (Virgin and Knocked Up).

    • James Warden
      James Warden December 5, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

      Should’ve also added Grantchester. It’s not strictly walking since the main character is known for his bike, not walking. But the intimate sense of scale and community is the same.

  11. Walker Angell
    Walker Angell December 5, 2016 at 2:40 pm #

    Agree with Midwives (and you can’t help but love Fred for all of his efforts in numerous transportation endeavors). Grantchester as well and Case Histories too.

    Also some good walking scenes in Notting Hill including a great scene of Hugh Grant walking through a year or two of various seasons. One Day deserves a mention as well.

    Yes, I read Sam’s post on drinking his way through England so have a bit of Britain on the brain.

  12. Bill Lindeke
    Bill Lindeke December 5, 2016 at 3:00 pm #

    French Connection Santa Claus chase: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENT4SAK_Suc

    almost all of Do the Right Thing, but especially the Air Jordan incident: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7UZ9g8wvFI

  13. Jake Krohn December 5, 2016 at 8:56 pm #

    The music video for The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” is pretty great. Richard Ashcroft pounds some North London pavement and is an ass to everyone he walks past. He’s like a pedestrian SUV.

    https://youtu.be/1lyu1KKwC74

  14. Daniel Choma
    Dan Choma December 7, 2016 at 11:15 am #

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKiwYoNvXrk

    Pharcyde’s “Drop”! music video by Spike Jonze!
    produced by JDilla may his spirit live forever!

    Aside for being a celebration of pedestrians, I would also describe this as “dope.”

    Shit is-shit is ill, my flow still will spill
    Toxic slick to shock you sick like electrocute
    When I execute, acutely over the rhythm
    On those that pollute, extra dosages is what I gotta give em
    Got em mad and trembling
    Cause I been up in my lad assembling
    Missiles, to bomb the enemy
    Because they envy me, and the making of my mad currency
    Currently I think we’re in a state of an emergency
    Cause niggas done sold their souls, and now their souls is hollow
    And I think they can’t follow
    They can’t swallow, the truth because it hurts
    This is how I put it down, this is my earth, my turf
    The worth of my birth is a billion, and you know what time it is
    I’m going to make a million

    I MEANCOMEONBRUH HOW DOPE IS THAT LAST LINE: it’s just a celebration of being human.

    Real talk though: My favorite part about walking is having the ability to rap/sing to oneself. I really makes your life way better.