Visit the locations of the Green Book movie in the USA and discover, besides a very beautiful movie – deservedly winner of the Oscar 2019 for Best Picture – and an intense story, touching and funny and hilarious at the same time, an itinerary through even 11 states which you can take cue from for your next on the road in the States – and a good part of the real locations (almost all in New Orleans) where the most important and significant scenes have been shot.
Find down here any info to relieve personally the paths and the locations of the movie, cues and tips included, and know better the historic period where it is set.
The beginning of the ‘60s between the New York of the immigrants and the suburbs – Little Italy and Bronx – and the elegant and privileged Carnegie Hall one, and a US South at the height of its racial segregation policies.
“You in the Deep South…there’s going to be problems!”
(Tony Lip, Viggo Mortensen)
Green Book is a 2018 movie directed by Peter Farrelly inspired by the true story of the friendship born in the America of the ‘60s between the Italian-American bouncer Tony Lip (known as Frank Anthony Vallelonga) and the African-American pianist Don Shirley, played respectively by the very good actors Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali.
In 1962, the Italian-American Tony Vallelonga – known as Tony Lip – is looking for a new job in order to sustain his own family after the closure of the Copacabana, one of the most exclusive night clubs in New York where he worked as bouncer.
He is hired by the African-American pianist Don Shirley as driver and bodyguard to drive him in a tour through the Southern US where Don – even if he is heartily welcomed as an artist – suffers a series of violence and discriminations as an African-American person.
Tony will have to follow the indications of a particular guidebook for “Blacks” – The Green Book which the movie was named after – driving Don to hotels, clubs and restaurants where his presence is allowed, protecting him and often taking him out of troubles. Don will return his own way by helping Tony – a simple and uncouth sort of person without any culture – improving his way to express himself and writing love letters to his wife, remained in Bronx with their two children.
Despite the initial difficulties and the notable social and cultural differences between them, the problems and difficult situations faced during the journey will help Don Shirley getting close to Tony Lip, turning their relationship into a deep and sincere friendship. They will remain friends in real life until their death in 2013, occurred few months far from each other.
“You never win with violence. You only win when you maintain your dignity”
(Don Shirley, Mahershala Ali)
The Green Book – published with the title “The Negro Motorist Green-Book” or “The Negro Travelers’ Green Book” – was a travel guidebook for Black people, published by the New Yorker postal employee Victor Hugo Green and updated every year (except for the years of the Second World War) from 1936 to 1966: it aimed to allow the “non-white people” to be able to move safely from New York State as far as US South staying and eating in facilities used by the African-Americans.
The idea was born by the need of no longer use the means of transport due to the racial segregation, the need of moving very often looking for a job and by the willing of not creating any record that could cause some problems with the Whites. Problems that very often resulted in extremely dangerous situations for the White people.
The publication of the Green Book ceased with the conquest of the civil rights for the African-Americans, kept on by the Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King and fed by heroic figures like Medgar Evers and Rosa Parks.
Today, 4 editions have been re-printed – 1940, 1947, 1954, 1963 – and they have been collected in a unique Green Book which serves as historic memory, study and development of dissertations about the subject.
The itinerary that Tony and Don follow in the movie is quite complex (as not to say twisted) and articulated. A tour through 11 states, had in two months in the movie fiction.
An impossible path to re-propose inside an only on the road in its whole, but rich in interesting cues to use when planning a journey involving several Southern States: maybe leaving right from New York, touching the locations where Jazz, Blues, Rock, Country were born and developed, and the paths dedicated to the US Civil Right Trail.
Find down here the complete itinerary and the stages/locations touched in the movie.
The Green Book is a classic road movie set in a variety of locations even if actually the cast didn’t do any shooting travelling.
The director Peter Farrelly in an interview said that “everything was shot in Louisiana but a day and a half. We shot only a half day driving – when Viggo Mortensen drives back to get the wallet – and a day in New York City for the exterior scenes of the Carnegie Hall.”
Practically all the locations used in the movie, Little Italy in Bronx included are between New Orleans and its neighborhoods and almost all are easily reachable and can be visited.
As the producer Charles B. Wessler stated “We were everywhere: houses, plantations, hotels, accommodations and at least fifty clubs which could work as seats of Dr. Shirley concerts. And at the end we found almost all what we needed between New Orleans and the neighbored countries.”
Find down here a detailed list of the real locations used to shoot the most important and significant scenes of the movie, to keep and use during your next journey to New Orleans.
One of the first scenes in the movie and the only authentic location for the exterior – the wonderful Carnegie Hall in New York.
One of the most important and exclusive complexes of concerts hall for classic music in the world. And seat – in the movie – of the private apartments of the African-American pianist Don Shirley.
It is located near Central Park, at the crossroads between 57th Street and 7th Ave. You can look the official website up for the events and shows calendar, buy tickets or book a guided tour.
For the shooting of the famous Copacabana Club in New York where Tony Lip worked as bouncer, two historic icons of New Orleans were used: the International House Hotel for the outsides and the Carver Theater for some inside scenes.
The very funny hotdogs challenge Tony subjects himself at the beginning of the movie in order to win the bet and gain $50 which takes place in Little Italy in Bronx, actually was shot at The Clover Grill in French Quarter. Instead, the scene set in pawnshop in New York was shot just around the corner at Sigle’s Antiques in Royal Street, always in New Orleans.
The scene in front of Tony Lip’s home when he greets his wife – set in Little Italy in Bronx – was actually shot in Downtown Hammond, in Louisiana, in the block of the ‘60s styles buildings that are still located in Cypress Street.
The private dwelling in Pittsburgh where Don Shirley held one of the first concerts of the tour is actually a Romanic-Renaissance style vintage dwelling in New Orleans – the W.P. Brown House. It is located at 4717, St. Charles Ave in Garden District, built in 1904 for a cotton baron.
The scene of the piano – when Tony asks for a Steinway piano obligatory – prior to the show in Hoover, in Indiana was shot entirely at McAlister Auditorium in the campus of the Tulane University, Garden District, New Orleans.
The Hotel used in the scenes in Memphis, Tennessee – and free inspired by the Peabody Hotel – is actually the Roosevelt Hotel, little far from Canal Street, in New Orleans.
Abandoned the Christmas concert in Birmingham, Alabama, Tony and Don find refuge in a club for Blacks only – the Orange Bird – where Don plays a live session with the local musicians. This scene was entirely shot at Ruby’s Roadhouse in Lamarque Street in Mandeville, Louisiana.
The private residence used for the night show in Raleigh, North Carolina, is actually the wonderful Houmas House Plantation in River Road, near New Orleans.
The motel for Blacks only in Carver Court where Don is forced to stay in Indiana is actually the Aloha Motel, a motel in all respects located in Metairie, Louisiana, in Airline Drive.
While Tony and Don Shirley are travelling, they stop and have a quick meal at Stucky’s Restaurant, having dinner outside at a picnic table in a parking. This scene was shot at Miss Ann’s Fast Foods, in the small town of Amite, in Louisiana.
Always between Hammond and Amite – thanks to a sudden and unexpected snowfall at the end of January – the scene (that in origin had to be shot in Minnesota) of the return to New York and the snowstorm in Maryland along the road was shot.