Filming in Hungary

Budapest the Film Location Double

Hollywood Movies, where Budapest has Faked Cities like Paris, Berlin or Moscow

For the past two decades, Budapest’s film industry has been blooming, and every year more and more international productions come to Budapest and to Progressive Productions. It is not a coincidence that creators from all over the world choose Budapest as a filming location for their productions.


Budapest has features that allow some parts of the city to be made to look like any other European city: Berlin, Paris, Rome, Moscow, Vienna, Saint Petersburg, Buenos Aires. Budapest has already played these great cities in several films.

For the past two decades, Budapest’s film industry has been blooming, and every year more and more international productions come to Budapest and to Progressive Productions. It is not a coincidence that creators from all over the world choose Budapest as a filming location for their productions.


Budapest has features that allow some parts of the city to be made to look like any other European city: Berlin, Paris, Rome, Moscow, Vienna, Saint Petersburg, Buenos Aires. Budapest has already played these great cities in several films.

The city’s nostalgic atmosphere makes it possible for it to double as almost any European city with the smallest and fewest alterations possible.

Some Serious Action in Moscow

Several scenes from the fifth installment of the Die Hard series were filmed in Hungary’s capital. Bruce Willis was getting into some dangerous stuff on the streets of Budapest, for instance in the alleys of Andrássy Avenue, Szabadság Square and Heroes’ Square.


He beat up a few Russians and even got into a car chase on Baross street. He also blew some things up behind our great Opera House. As the plot of the movie took place in Moscow, these streets posed as the Russian capital. The atmosphere of Budapest is very similar to Moscow’s and Russia’s, which could be easily explained by a few similarities in our histories.

I've visited Hungary many times, because I love Hungary. The Austrian-Hungarian Empire... I've always thought, that they should join them back together again. That would be fantastic! Budapest is a beautiful town! What a historic town, and we did the movie Red Heat there, part of the movie was shot also in Budapest. So I love Hungary!”

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Budapest also played Moscow in the 1988 movie called Red Heat starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Belushi. At the stairs of Buda Castle Schwarzenegger was searching for some drug dealer mafia members while in Lukács bath he was beating up some bad guys as usual.


Progressive Productions shot two episodes of Covert Affairs, USA network’s popular summer show, where Budapest also played the great Moscow.

Action, History and Romance in Paris

In Steven Spielberg's’ Munich, which was nominated for five Oscars in 2005, the historical Andrássy boulevard played the Paris and Rome of the 70s. The production designer of Munich, Rick Carter said that Budapest was the best Paris look alike city the team has ever seen. Furthermore, the Marriott Hotel of Budapest was used as a London setting and also our football stadium, called Puskás Stadion, was featured as Munich in the 40’s.

Rick Carter was even laughing at the fact that the next street from the Paris set was used as a setting for Rome.


As strange as it sounds, Robert Pattinson used to seduce ladies on these same streets. The movie Bel Ami, a period romantic drama, where Pattinson played a charming writer who seduced ladies like Uma Thurman, was shot on these streets which posed as 19th century Paris.


Playing Paris is probably Budapest’s greatest and most popular talent, with its romantic, old-school buildings and nostalgic atmosphere it really looks like 19th and 20th century Paris. In the chick flick called Monte Carlo, Budapest also played the French capital, this time doubling as modern day Paris.

Singing in Buenos Aires

One of the first American feature films shot in Budapest is the 1996 cult classic Evita, directed by Alan Parker. While playing the famous actress and First Lady of Argentina, Evita Duarte, Madonna sang many songs of the musical in several locations of Budapest like Andrássy Avenue, the main glass hall of Keleti Train Station and the grandiose marble hall of Palace of Justice.

Youtube trailer for evita

As the film’s plot is set in Buenos Aires, these locations of Budapest all played Argentina. This movie is a good example of the wide range of types of locations in Budapest.

Wars and Spies in Berlin

In 2001 Brad Pitt alongside the legendary Robert Redford came to Budapest to shoot Tony Scott’s clever thriller about a CIA agent. As you might have guessed this film is Spy Game!


The image of the banks of the river Danube in the center of Budapest comes up many times in this movie. There is a famous scene where Pitt and Redford are having a discussion on a rooftop. From that rooftop you can see our beautiful Synagogue and the surroundings of Astoria square. Alongside Budapest’s famous party center Gozsdu udvar, these locations played 1970s Berlin in this intriguing thriller.


The cast of Good also took advantage of the city’s nostalgic and warlike atmosphere.

Youtube trailer for good

In this film with Viggo Mortensen in the leading role, Keleti Railway Station was used as Berlin’s main station from the ‘40s and was decorated with swastika flags in the scene where the nazis caught the film’s hero.


Surprisingly there was some more spying going on in a Budapest playing Berlin: Jessica Chastain, a spy according to the movie’s plot, was searching for a supposedly dead Mossad agent in Keleti Railway Station in the 2011 thriller called The Debt.

Budapest can also play 20th century Berlin very well. Both cities were under the influence of communism during the last decades of the 20th century so the design of the buildings are quite similar, for example there were many panel flats in both cities. The only difference is that Berlin by now has been almost completely renovated and redesigned, while Budapest mostly reserves its look from the 20th century.

Love in the Time of War in Bosnia

Angelina Jolie made her directorial debut in 2011 with a film almost completely shot in Hungary. In the Land of Blood and Honey is a love story set during the Bosnian war.


Such locations were used as settings for this touching movie as Roses’ Square, Városliget lake, Szent Erzsébet church and many other places which doubled as Bosnian locations. Jolie chose Budapest because the crumbling walls of the city’s certain block of flats were really authentic as the location of the Bosnian war.

Exorcism in Rome

In 2010 another great Oscar Winning actor was shooting in Budapest. Anthony Hopkins was filming his new horror flick called The Rite, which was set in Rome. Naturally Budapest’s locations played the great Italian capital.

Important scenes of the movie were filmed in the Buda Castle (the Royal Castle in Budapest) and at Basilica Square (a cobblestone square in the heart of Budapest). The filmmakers used one of the most fabulous halls that Budapest offers: some scenes of the movie were taken at the grandiose and luxurious hall of the Palace of Justice.

Great Laughs in Saint Petersburg

Woody Allen used to be known for almost only shooting movies in New York, but he made an exception in 1974 and chose Budapest for shooting several scenes of his comedy Love and Death starring Diane Keaton.


The movie was set in Saint Petersburg during the Napoleonic invasion of Russia. The war comedy’s outdoors scenes were shot in the old, medieval streets of the Buda Castle District. Our historic Opera House also posed as the Saint Petersburg opera house from the 19th century.

A Serial Killer on the Loose in Baltimore

Budapest can double any city in the world not just the great European ones.

While John Cusack was playing Edgar Allan Poe in James McTeigue fiction film called The Raven, Budapest was playing 19th century Baltimore just as authentically. The ball scene was captured at the Palace of Justice, while in another scene Cusack was searching for the movie’s serial killer at the secluded Szobi street with century old architecture. In order to create the atmosphere and the looks of 19th century Baltimore, the film crew covered the ground with sand and brought horse carriages to the street.

Not many cities are capable of playing so many roles as Budapest. Budapest is not a character actor, it is just as authentic as Berlin, Paris or any other great city in the world. But besides Budapest being a great illusionist, as people see more of Budapest and get to know this gorgeous city better, they realize its beauty and potential, which results in Budapest playing itself (like in Royal Pains) at more and more occasions nowadays.

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