Budapest on the movie screen

Budapest on the movie screen

A city in a different skin

Budapest on the movie screen

Budapest has been one of the favourite destinations for Hollywood productions for quite some time, not only because they can rent huge studios here much more cheaply than anywhere else in the world, but also because, thanks to the capital's excellent features, it can be transformed into countless other cities – with some modifications. We have selected from those films in which Budapest is not Budapest.


1.     Los Angeles

Blade Runner 2049

One of the few sequels that was worth waiting over 30 years for. This time, the blade runner is a replicant (Ryan Gosling) who is confronted with shocking secrets. The location is Los Angeles, but among the wonderfully visual sci-fi images, we can recognise the old headquarters of Hungarian Television in Szabadság tér, but the apartment building on the corner of Szalay and Honvéd utca also stands out.

2.     Moscow and Budapest

Red Sparrow

Although Jennifer Lawrence's 2018 film shot in our country was not well received by the critics, there were no complaints about the sight of Budapest, and the city appeared in several "roles". Part of the story actually takes place in our capital, and Budapest also appears as Moscow. This is how the Ervin Szabó Library became the Kremlin, the Opera House became the Bolshoi, Café Ibolya became a Moscow café and Schöpf-Merei Hospital became a Russian hospital.


3.     Munich


During the filming of the Steven Spielberg film about the events of the 1972 terrorist attack in Munich, Andrássy Boulevard was closed, as they filmed around the Opera House, but they shot scenes at the Marriott Hotel and the Puskás Stadium, and even Margaret Bridge appears in a clip. In the historical thriller starring Eric Bana and Daniel Craig, the Hungarian capital is not itself this time, but rather Rome, Paris, London and Munich.


4.     Buenos Aires


The musical about Eva Perón was filmed in Budapest back in 1996, and our capital hosted some scenes from Buenos Aires. The choice is not accidental: the similarity between the Argentine capital and Budapest is said to be striking. In the film starring Madonna, Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Pryce, we can see the Eastern Railway Station, Szabadság Square and Andrássy Boulevard.


5.     Paris

Bel Ami

Based on Maupassant's book, the 2012 film takes us to the Paris of the 1890s, where our protagonist, Georges Duroy (Robert Pattinson), tries to rise up the ranks through seductions. In almost every street scene, the buildings of Budapest and Andrássy Boulevard are clearly recognisable, and it seems that this neighbourhood is the most "Parisian" part of the city.


6.     Istanbul and Florence


The third adventure of Professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) takes place in Florence and Istanbul, but a good part of the film was recorded at the Korda Filmstúdió in Etyek, and some of the exterior scenes were shot on the streets of Budapest. Andrássy Boulevard and Oktogon stand out this time, but Gutenberg Square, Eastern Railway Station and Terminal 1 of Liszt Ferenc Airport are also home to one or two exciting scenes.


7.     Yugoslavia

In the Land of Blood and Honey

The love story set during the South Slavic War was filmed entirely in Hungary, including Budapest, Esztergom and Fót, but the capital's locations are the most recognisable. The church in Rózsák Square, the ruined building on the corner of Kálmán Thaly and Tűzoltó streets, a bridge in the City Park and the Attila József housing estate in the 9th district also appear in Angelina Jolie's first film.


8.     Houston, China

The Martian

Although the story of the miraculous escape of Mark Watney (Matt Damon) stuck on Mars was largely recorded in the studio, there are some scenes in which we can recognise Budapest. For example, the NASA headquarters, where the director (Jeff Daniels) informs the press about the developments, was located in the Bálna building, but the much-redesigned Müpa building also appears in the film as the Chinese space research centre.


9.     East Berlin

Spy Game

Budapest and spy stories have become a really good match in recent years, and one of the forerunners was Tony Scott's 2001 film, in which Robert Redford, as a retired CIA agent, tries to get his former mentee, played by Brad Pitt, out of trouble. This time, Budapest was given the role of East Berlin, but the observant can easily recognise Astoria in one of the rooftop scenes, and Bem wharf in another scene.

10.  From Stockholm to Geneva

Hundraaringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann

The protagonist of the story, Allan Karlsson, is a Swedish pensioner who, instead of celebrating his 100th birthday, prefers to climb out of the window of his retirement home and head out into the world. During his latest adventure, we also recall his no less exciting past, in which Allan visited Stockholm, Moscow, St Petersburg, Geneva and Paris – and the scenes taking place here were all filmed in Budapest.

Credit:  InterCity Magazin/Anna Nóra Orcifalvi



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