(First published on We Love Budapest, 24 October 2014)
A Good Day to Die Hard
The filming of the 5th instalment of the Die Hard series closed down parts ofBudapest over a period of months and brought Bruce Willis to town. In A Good Day to Die Hard, Budapest is easily recognisable even though it’s meant to be Moscow. Look out for Madách Square, Heroes’ Square, Kálvin Square and the Pest bank of the Danube during the car-chase scene where a handheld missile is even launched in the inner-city!
Set in Budapest there are more shots of the city in I Spy than we could count! Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson come to the city to track down an arms dealer who wants to sell an invisible fighter jet to the baddies. Murphy and Owen can be found everywhere including on the dome of the Buda Castle and on top of the Chain Bridge. While this film is cheesy to say the least, it has great shots of the city and we can hear Owen Wilson speaking Hungarian!
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
A complex espionage movie based on a novel by John le Carré there are a number of scenes in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy that are filmed in Budapest – especially a crucial scene in the Párisi udvar arcade.
Brad Pitt and Robert Redford come to Budapest for this movie where theHungarian capital plays Berlin. Spy Game is a classic spy action movie with the usual suspects: the CIA, a prison breakout and a mid-level case officer who saves the day. There's plenty of Budapest-spotting-fun to be had. Don't miss Brad Pitt on one of Hungary’s distinct blue MÁV trains as it arrives at Nyugati Railway Station.
In the Land of Blood and Honey
Angelina Jolie directs this film that’s about the Bosnian war of the 1990s. While it’s not easy to recognize parts of the film as Budapest, the below gallery will help. You can visit many of the places where scenes for In the Land of Blood and Honey were shot and stand exactly where Jolie herself would have been.
Directed by Steven Spielberg this film is about a secret Israeli operation to assassinate people allegedly involved in the murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. While it can be hard to recognise Budapest – look carefully for scenes shot at Anker Köz and in the streets around the Hungarian State Opera.
Budapest is transformed into the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires, for Evita. The film tells the story of Argentinian First Lady, Eva Perón, played by Madonna. In this Oscar winning and nominated film, the famous tango scene with Madonna and Antonio Banderas takes place in Budapest’s Museum of Ethnography.
An American Rhapsody
The first scene of An American Rhapsody shows the Chain Bridge and so it continues with plenty more of Budapest. This is to be expected, of course, because the film is set – in part – in Budapest. The story is of the challenges faced by a young girl (played by a young Scarlett Johansson) who is brought from Communist Hungary to live with her family in America.
Anyone who’s a fan of 1980s Arnold Schwarzenegger will probably enjoy this film - it has Arnie at his action-packed best. In Red Heat Budapest plays Moscow.
A somewhat trashy film but nonetheless it's a bit of entertainment for something that went straight to DVD. 8mm 2 explores the seedy underworld of prostitution and pornography and is set entirely in Budapest.
Other movies filmed in Budapest...
There are other movies that have been filmed in Budapest including The Ravenwhere the city was transformed to play Baltimore, Maryland for this fictionalised mystery thriller about the last days of Edgar Allan Poe's life. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol too has some early scenes in Budapest. And Brad Pitt came to town again for the filming of World War Z but it seems these scenes were taken out during post-production. Now that you’re on the trail of films shot in the Hungarian capital you might also want to watch these: Walking with the Enemy, Monte Carlo, Bel Ami, Being Julia, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Underworld, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Transporter 3, The Art of Steal, 47 Ronin and Sunshine.