Shooting in Hungary

Stunts in Hungary

Local Stuntmen and Their Internationally Acclaimed Work

Hungary has an exceptionally high amount of trained and experienced stuntmen. In the last few decades, Hungarian stuntmen have pursued remarkable international carriers. Due to the training focused on stunt coordinators, the constant reinforcement of stuntmen is ensured and thanks to countless international productions shot in Hungary, their expertise is kept constantly up to date.

Hungary has an exceptionally high amount of trained and experienced stuntmen. In the last few decades, Hungarian stuntmen have pursued remarkable international carriers. Due to the training focused on stunt coordinators, the constant reinforcement of stuntmen is ensured and thanks to countless international productions shot in Hungary, their expertise is kept constantly up to date.

The Success Stories of Stuntmen

To name a few of abilities, Hungarian stuntmen are equally able to fence, fight, deep dive and do close combat. They excel in multiple sports, enabling one stuntman to actually fulfil the task of multiple people, so producers do not have to employ various stuntmen for different types of action scenes. Furthermore, they are also known for their inventive and creative executions of tasks, providing advantages in such unplanned situations, that would otherwise be an obstacle for the successful closure of a shoot.

Gábor Piroch is considered the pioneer of Hungarian stuntmen since he was the first to reach international success in the field. He got his first stunt job at the age of 16, in Ferenc Kósa’s 1970 film Judgment. Produced by the Andrew Vajna, the Hollywood producer of Hungarian origins, Total Recall, premiered in 1990, provided him with an entrance into the international scene. During the film shoot, Piroch developed a deep friendship with Arnold Schwarzenegger, with whom he went on to collaborate with in other productions. “Back then with the Iron Curtain, it was an even greater experience for me to be part of one of the world’s best stunt teams in one of the largest productions in the world. I would have never had thought that my star could fly so high.” - recalls Piroch in an interview.

Up until now Piroch has been in more than 300 films, some of which had worldwide success, such as Evita (1996, directed by Alan Parker), War of the Worlds (2005, directed by Steven Spielberg), Troy (2004, directed by Wolfgang Petersen), Kingdom of Heaven (2005, directed by Ridley Scott) and The Mummy (1999, directed by Stephen Sommers). Still, he says that is favourite memory is starring in James Cameron’s Titanic (1997), during which he spent 6 months in Mexico and took part in most of the film’s stunt scenes. By today he has retired from doing stunts, but he is still part of the industry as a stunt coordinator and action director. Furthermore, he founded the stunt school called Stunt Training, which provides opportunities for potential stuntmen to join the profession. In 2007, he was nominated for the most renown stunt award, the World Stunt Awards, in the category of foreign films for his stunt coordination work in the Hungarian film Children of Glory.


When talking about outstandingly talented Hungarian stuntmen, we must also mention Zoltán Gulyás-Kiss. He was given his industry nickname “crazy Hungarian” during the shooting of the 1996 Dragonheart, when he was the only one among the other stuntmen who had arrived from all around the world to take on a life-threatening jump. In the scene he had to jump off a 30 meters tall castle wall, arriving in such a narrow courtyard that had just about enough room for one safety airbag and was made even more dangerous by an 80 meters deep hole behind the courtyard, so the jump had to be done extremely precisely. Throughout his carrier, Gulyás has worked with actors such as Antonio Banderas, Madonna and Eddy Murphy. He currently works as a stunt coordinator and is a founder and professional leader of the Hungarian Stunt Academy.

Currently, Domokos Párdányi is one of Hungary’s most employed stunt coordinators, who started his career as a student of Gábor Piroch, becoming the most outstanding stuntman of the next generation. Among the countless international productions he starred in, the most notable is Troy (2004) directed by Wolfgang Petersen, where he worked as Brad Pitt’s double. In 2013, Párdányi and the Hungarian stunt team he coordinated won the Screen Actor Guild Awards’ award in the category for Best Television Stunt Team. Their recognition was given for their performance in Game of Thrones, in which they participated in countless scenes needing individual choreography, as well as in large battle scenes. The team has been working together for years and has worked together on many international productions, such as Kingdom of Heaven  (2005, directed by Ridley Scott), The Eagle (2011, directed by Kevin Macdonald), 47 Ronin (2013, directed by Carl Rinsch), Die Hard 5 (2013, directed by John Moore), Hellboy 2 (2008, directed by Guillermo del Toro), as well as Skyfall (2013, directed by Sam Mendes) and Star Wars 7 (2015, directed by J.J. Abrams).

Youtube A battle scene from the Game of Thrones with the participation of Hungarians

Naturally, the stunt coordinators mentioned above constitute only a small part of what Hungary has to offer. Next to them being able to execute their given task with ease, the majority of stuntmen are also specialized in one of the profession’s branches, such as stunt doubles, parkour stunts, stunt drivers, creature work, stunt actors, thumps (like stair falls, car hits or ratchets), fire stunts, bike stunts, wirework, air ram stunts, stunt fighters and stunt coordinators in which they are able to give immaculate performances. Due to this, it is worth choosing the stunt coordinator based on the nature of the task.

Stuntmen in Movies Shot in Hungary

During the last years, many international productions that are rich in complex action scenes have relied on Budapest’s locations and film infrastructure. Among these we would like to highlight just a few of the large scale Hollywood movies: Atomic Blonde (2017, directed by David Leitch), Red Sparrow (2018, directed by Francis Lawrence), The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018, directed by Susanna Fogel), Inferno (2016, directed by Ron Howard), Spy (2015, directed by Paul Feig), Robin Hood (2018, Otto Bathurst). In the listed films, Hungarians stunts have taken a large and essential part of the crew and production.

The 2014 movie Hercules starring Dwayne Johnson was also shot in Hungary. The film has numerous large scale battle scenes, made with the collaboration of hundreds of Hungarian stuntmen and extras. Domonkos Párdányi was one of the Hungarian stunt coordinators. Each of the film’s battle scenes would be shot sometimes up to weeks, with often 12-14 hour-long working days. In preparation, they organised month-long training camps, where the coordinators taught the ancient Thracian people’s movement with their large shields, long, heavy spears and swords, their combat formations, as well as various group and individual warfare. This is how Hungarian stuntmen came to form the core of soldiers fighting alongside the title character. Furthermore, hundreds of extras were chosen based on their stamina and also had to go through long preparations in which they were trained as background fighters by an ex-Hungarian army captain and an English arm instructor.

Youtube Hercules (2014) Traps full fight scene

After Hercules, it would be important to mention another large scale international production shot in Hungary, which is A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) directed by John Moore and starring Bruce Willis. The fifth instalment of the action-packed series did not shortfall the previous movies: from downtown car chases and the use of army vehicles to exploding buildings, all sorts happened during the months-long shoot. Among the action scenes shot in Hungary, they mainly utilized the professional knowledge of Hungarian stunt riggers for precise and safe recording of impacts, fallings, landings and jumps. In addition, the car chases required a lot of attention from the stuntmen, since the army vehicles featured in film often did not behave as they wished, regardless of precise planning.

It is worth mentioning, that Budapest being able to provide a sufficient location to execute such a project is proof of its sufficient professional knowledge and services. In the case of Die Hard, for shooting the car chases, small parts of the city were closed down and an MI-26 army helicopter was flying above the city, while Budapest was doubling as Moscow in the movie.


At the same time, Die Hard’s crew is not the only one that has experienced Budapest’s filmmaker friendly mentality. The lead actor of the German TV series Cobra 11 Erdogan Atalay also gave voice to his similar experience. For the episode of the popular series which was set in Hungary, they shot in Budapest’s Alkotmány street, which is in the vicinity of the Hungarian parliament. Atalay appreciated what an advantage it is to be able to shoot such a large scale action scene with shooting and expositions so close to the parliament in Budapest.

By today, Hungary can cater for a wide range of conditions and desires needed for shooting a successful action scene, let that be a car chase, an explosion in the city centre, combat fighting or even infantry or cavalry battles with hundreds of stuntmen. Those wishing to shoot in Hungary can be confident that Hungarian stuntmen can easily execute any type of task that the script or creative concept could require. Thanks to the constant line of large productions, their experience is continuously developing, enabling us to state that they are able to service all types of requirements a production could have.

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