Budapest has been the scene or the set of dozens of movies. It seems almost every month streets are transformed with props such as tanks and rubble, plus bustling film crews, as well as extras in costume. Famous actors that have come to the Hungarian capital for filming include Bruce Willis, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson. Whether Budapest is playing itself or is cast to play Moscow, Munich or as far away as Buenos Aires it’s a fun game to spot parts of the city in a film. Flick through the image galleries below and read the captions for an explanation of where each scene was shot. We’ve also included images of some of the locations as they are normally so you can compare the sets to the real thing.
A Good Day to Die Hard
The filming of the 5th instalment of the Die Hard series closed down parts of Budapest 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!
Photo: Museum of Fine Arts at Heroes’ Square (screenshot: A Good Day to Die Hard) 24 pictures
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!
Photo: Budapest from above (screenshot: I Spy) 14 pictures
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.
Photo: Budapest skyline (screenshot: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) 6 pictures
Brad Pitt and Robert Redford come to Budapest for this movie where the Hungarian 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.
Photo: Liberty Bridge in Budapest playing West Germany (screenshot: Spy Game) 8 pictures
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.
Photo: Ikarus Művelődési Ház cultural centre (screenshot: In the Land of Blood and Honey) 6 pictures
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 recognize Budapest – look carefully for scenes shot at Anker Köz and in the streets around the Hungarian State Opera.
Photo: Eric Bana on Asbóth Street with Madách Square in the background (screenshot: Munich) 12 pictures
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.
Photo: Alkotmány Street transformed (screenshot: Evita) 6 pictures
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.
Photo: Inside Keleti Railway Station as trains depart (screenshot: An American Rhapsody) 6 pictures
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.
Photo: Rudas Baths (screenshot: Red Heat) 3 pictures
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.
Photo: Gellért Baths (screenshot: 8mm 2) 17 pictures
Other movies filmed in Budapest...
There are other movies that have been filmed in Budapest
including The Raven
where 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.