”Hungary has a fabulous tradition of filmmaking, so you have great film crews there and really interesting locations.” Helen Mirren

Shooting in Hungary

Film Industry in Budapest

Through the Eyes of the Biggest Filmmakers

Hungary’s film industry has a century old history. It has given us world famous filmmakers like Adolph Zukor, the founder of Paramount Pictures and Michael Curtiz, the director of Casablanca. Since 2004, when the government approved 25 percent rebate for film productions, every year more and more international films are shot in Hungary, mainly in Budapest.


Progressive would like to show you not just the stone cold facts about the country’s film industry as well as a few personal opinions of filmmakers who have filmed here.

Hungary’s film industry has a century old history. It has given us world famous filmmakers like Adolph Zukor, the founder of Paramount Pictures and Michael Curtiz, the director of Casablanca. Since 2004, when the government approved 25 percent rebate for film productions, every year more and more international films are shot in Hungary, mainly in Budapest.


Progressive would like to show you not just the stone cold facts about the country’s film industry as well as a few personal opinions of filmmakers who have filmed here.

James Flynn, Executive Producer

There’s a great tradition of filmmaking here”

- says James Flynn, executive producer of The Borgias. “It [the shooting] had to be in Europe because it’s a European-Canadian co-production and because the period is done so well here. Hungary was the best creative location and it competed with the others in terms of tax breaks.” Flynn also mentioned that language barriers are rare, because “with a few exceptions, the whole crew speaks English.”

Youtube conversations on The Borgias


Jeremy Irons, the leading actor of the show said to a Hungarian newspaper that he always loves to be in Budapest because it is an amazingly friendly and efficient city when it comes to making a movie. „The studios are fantastic, they have amazing technicians and I have always received a warm and friendly welcome from everyone” – said the Oscar winning actor.


The tax incentive is not the only reason why filmmakers favour our country: they are also very pleased with the country’s locations. The historic Andrássy boulevard played the Paris and Rome of the 70s in Steven Spielberg’s 2005 film Munich, which was nominated for 5 Oscars.

Rick Carter, Production Designer

The production designer of Munich, Rick Carter was really pleased with Budapest: "This one street in Budapest - Andrassy boulevard, across from the Opera House - was the best Paris-looking location that we could find. What was interesting is that literally half a block away was the best Rome!”

Youtube making of munich

Carter also emphasized the fact that the city offers a window back to the past: "The story takes place in the '70s, which was still the post-WWII era, when there was a lot more grime and grit on the streets of Paris and London. Budapest is in its post-communist state right now, so it shares some similarities with a Western Europe still coming back from the war in the early '70s. In Budapest, we were able to find the look of 30 years ago.”

Larry Garrison, Press Agent

Budapest’s talent lies not only in playing great Western European cities like Paris and Rome. After the fifth installment of the popular Die Hard series was shot in Budapest in 2012, the press agent of the production, Larry Garrison, said that Budapest has several locations that makes it suitable to play Moscow. There are proper studios, experienced crews, excellent sound studios, local film production companies, a cooperative government and a very compelling tax program.


All these qualities make Budapest a highly popular shooting location.

Youtube Trailer for A Good Day to Die Hard

Terry Blyther, the Supervising Location Manager of the production, even spent more than a week in Moscow, searching for the right locations as they were considering shooting in the Russian capital for real. In the end they decided that doing the production in Moscow wasn’t practical, so instead Budapest was chosen as it offered the right combination of a “Moscow feel, studio space and financial incentives”.

Aaron Ryder, Producer

This capital city is so versatile and flexible that it can also pose as an American location. In 2011 John Cusack came to Budapest to shoot his new mystery movie, The Raven. “When I think Baltimore 1849, I don’t automatically think, let’s go to Hungary,” said the producer, Aaron Ryder.

Youtube the trailer of the raven

“My initial plan was to shoot the movie in a city in North America that had an old-town section we could take advantage of, like New Orleans or Montreal. We quickly learned it would be cost-prohibitive. In addition, those sections of towns are relatively small. American cities have been so gentrified that it would be a real challenge to be able to find all of the exteriors we needed.” Budapest provided the film crew numerous vintage buildings, cobblestone streets and views that were free of cell-phone towers. “It’s a part of the world that has been preserved from gentrification to some degree,” said Ryder. “When James (McTeigue, director) and I came to scout locations, we toured all over. It became clear pretty quickly what the plan would be.”

Denise Di Novi, Co-Producer

Besides finding great locations, you can also work with excellent film crews in Hungary. Monte Carlo, a 2011 chick flick also set in Paris, starring Leighton Meester and Selena Gomez, was shot in Budapest in 2010.

Youtube Trailer for monte carlo

It is much cheaper to shoot here”Deniese Di Novi

A co-producer of “Monte Carlo, Denise Di Novi whose previous films include “Batman Returns” and “Edward Scissorhands” — said that the studio was saving millions of dollars by filming in Hungary, rather than in France: “Hungary has crews who have the same expertise as those in Hollywood, but it is much cheaper to shoot here”.

Helen Mirren, Actress

In 2010, scenes of the spy thriller The Debt with Jessica Chastain and Helen Mirren were shot in this great capital city. The Oscar Winning and absolutely amazing Helen Mirren also spoke highly about our country: „The East Germany stuff we shot in Hungary.” And ”Hungary has a fabulous tradition of filmmaking, so you have great film crews there and really interesting locations.

The fantastic and iconic actors, Brad Pitt and Robert Redford also came to Budapest in 2000. They filmed the legendary Tony Scott’s thriller, Spygame. According to Tony Scott himself they decided to shoot here because the city resembles more the Berlin of the ’70s than the German capital itself these days.: „It [Budapest] is a little rusty and worn out but still beautiful”.

Annette Bening, Actress

Everyone was quick, flexible and precise”Annette Bening

The 4 time oscar nominee Annette Bening also said a few nice words about the shooting of her movie called Being Julia in Budapest: „The Hungarian crew was excellent: everyone was quick, flexible and precise. They made the actors’ job a lot easier which is really important.”

Youtube trailer for being julia

Most actors who come to film in Budapest tend to grow fond of the city’s atmosphere and looks. Viggo Mortensen, everyone’s Aragon, was shooting his movie called Good in Budapest. He said in a press conference that Budapest is a place where it is great to walk around because it has gorgeous buildings, great cafés and museums. He said that he would really like to come back for a vacation.


His partner in the movie, Jason Isaacs said during the press conference that he had never before experienced this much interest from a film crew as he did from the Hungarian team members during the shooting of Good.

Paul Feig, Director

Budapest is so beautiful, why would I want to hide that, I want to take full advantage of this place.”

- says Paul Feig, the director and writer of the 2015 film, Spy originally wanted to use Budapest as Paris’s and Rome’s double, but he fell so much in love with the city, that he rewrote the script, so that Budapest could play itself as well. This how Budapest came to playing three different European capitals in one film. “Anywhere you point a camera in Budapest, you’ve got an amazing shot…” said the director in one of his behind the scenes interviews.

Melissa McCarty, the film’s female main actor in an interview spoke about how happy she is that she was able to shoot in Budapest:  “The architecture and the age of it and how pretty it is and the variety of locations we got. I think it would have been a very different movie without being in Budapest.”

Tomas Alfredson, Director

Originally the locations of the spy film nominated for three oscars called Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy would have England and Prague, since John Le Carré’s book was set in Prague, but the director Tomas Afredson wanted the shoot in Hungary by all means. The Origo, Hungary’s largest online news portal made an interview with the Swedish director in December of 2011. “Previously I had visited Budapest quite a few times, locked the city in my heart and I already knew the Párizsi udvar, which is a fantastic location. It was wonderful to work there, everyone was very professional and very kind. We spent two very pleasant weeks in Budapest.”

Matt Damon, Actor

I’ve been here [in Budapest] for a month, and I adore it. I think this is one of the world’s biggest walking cities, and people are very nice.”

- says Matt Damon, who was in Budapest when shooting Ridley Scott’s superproduction. He liked the city so much, he said he would even move here. This is what he stated to Shobiz & TV: “I was just on the phone with one of my American friends yesterday, and when he asked me about Budapest I told him that if this city had been in America, I would have definitely moved there”.

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