Friday Five: Best Bookstore Scenes in Movies


I watched Hannah and her Sisters for the first time yesterday (a lovely coincidence, as it was the Woodster's birthday). I'll explain more in a proper review, but I think it may be my favorite Woody Allen movie yet. At any rate, the brilliant bookshop scene inspired this post. Read on for more on that scene and 4 others.

Hannah and her Sisters

Well, since Hannah and her Sisters inspired this post, it's only fair that it gets pride of place. Everything about this scene is perfect. Michael Caine's furtive following of his lady love takes us on a tour of the real New York, a lived-in place that seems completely alien from the idealized Manhattan of his previous films. It culminates with what is, in this reviewer's opinion, the sexiest come on in film history (and I'm sure all you book nerds will agree). Let us all bow to the majesty of e.e. cummings.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

There are so many great bookstore scenes in this film that it was almost impossible to pick just one. But this scene affirms the lovely chemistry between Joel and Clementine, while still providing subtle hints as to the nature of this reality and this memory. It's safe to say that Joel remembers her little speech as utterly charming, but I don't he'd have been so happy when it was originally delivered.

The Big Sleep

The Big Sleep doesn't skimp on the overt sexuality, but this scene is so literal that it crosses the line into hilarity. Dorothy Malone is sexy as anyone, and dare I say she looks better in glasses?

Watch THE BIG SLEEP Bookstore Scene in Entertainment |  View More Free Videos Online at

Before Sunset

The opening scene of the brilliant follow-up to Before Sunrise is set at a book reading in Shakespeare & Co, a real-life bookstore in Paris (I highly recommend going there if you get the chance. It's ten times quirkier than it looks in the movie). In one of the most economical exposition scenes ever, we're introduced not only to what happened in the previous film, but what happened afterwards. The little flashes of young Celine set us up perfectly for the surprise appearance of her older self. I can only hope the recently announced threequel deals with the passing of time with such panache.

Before Sunset (Part 1) by fictionboy


I can't find a clip of the bookstore scene but just know that I love this movie like a stupid idiot. It's when they decide that their fate will be decided by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. For that reason, I forgive the coincidences and shall henceforth refer to this film as "magical realism."

Because I'm a child, you get a 6th scene for free, courtesy of the magic that is Short Circuit:

Righto! The usual rules apply. Tell me your favorites in the comments :)

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7 Responses to “ Friday Five: Best Bookstore Scenes in Movies ”

  1. Eternal Sunshine is such a good one and I would also add Beginners and Dan in Real Life. Beginners is one of my favourite films of the year and has several bookshop scenes that are important to the central relationships. 
    I have a massive soft for Dan and Real Life, particularly for Steve Carell and it almost makes Dane Cook bearable (but not quite) and the scene in the bookstore is really rather sweet. 
    Both these films make me want to go book shopping which wouldn't be a bad thing if my to read pile wasn't already epic. Lovely idea for a top 5.

  2. I haven't seen Beginners as yet, but it's definitely near the top of my list! I actually have been sent a screener for it, but haven't been able to set the time aside for it.

    Lol to bookshopping. I got a kindle as that was the only way to stop the book-buying madness.

  3. When we were in the US last year the amount of book shopping I did was ridiculous, so many lovely second hand and independent stores (I could live in the Strand). My hand luggage weighed a tonne. 
    Intrigued to see what you think of Beginners, it really is a lovely film and Ewan McGregor finally nails an American accent which made me very pleased. 

  4. It's pretty short, but Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles in the bookstore in 10 Things I Hate About You always sticks in my mind.

  5. That scene was actually on my shortlist! But the best of the action happens immediately after the bookstore when she rams into Joey's car.

  6. Great list! Loved the use of bookstores in Eternal Sunshine. But then I love that movie - it can do no wrong. Also props go out to Before Sunset.

    I will have to see Serendipity again because I do not recall that scene immediately. But that is another film I am a fan of.

  7. There's the seduction scene in Unfaithful where Martinez' character has Lane's character go to a shelf, pick a book, pick a page, and then read a poem that is a favorite of his.  (It's obviously something he's done with other women, and it works on her, too.)  Yes, technically he doesn't have his store open yet, but that is his intent with all these shelves of books he has bought.


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