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Budapest, the movie star

Budapest - Spice of europe
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The Hungarian capital has been the setting for a wide variety of movies. Nowadays, hundreds of pictures and TV shows are shot in Budapest every year. While sometimes appearing as itself, the city can “play” almost any part of the world, whether its doubling for Moscow or medieval England, or Mars, thanks to the available excellent studio capacities near the city.

If you’re a film lover and struck with a sense of familiarity when you visit Budapest, it won’t be a coincidence. Madonna’s starring role in “Evita” and “Inferno” starring Tom Hanks are just two hits that instantly come to mind out of the many movies where Budapest plays a prominent role. Here are some of the city’s showreel highlights you may recognize from blockbuster movies.


“Spy” features the Gresham Palace. Melissa McCarthy's action-comedy presents the building’s splendid view of the Chain Bridge, not to mention the fact that the plot is also actually set in Budapest.


Steven Speilberg’s “Munich” has several exciting scenes filmed in, stars Eric Bana not to mention shots of Margaret Island (Margitsziget).


“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”, starring Gary Oldman, found a perfect setting in the Párizsi Udvar within the Brudern House, an eclectic residential and office building.


“Underworld” sees Kate Beckinsale looking out at the traffic over Ferenciek tere. This location normally has plenty of activity, though you kind of hope not from the vampires the film is about.


In “The Rite”, Budapest stands in for Rome in yet another display of its versatility when it comes to moviemaking. It features Anthony Hopkins and his affection for Budapest's bridges.

Budapest was widely used in the fourth installment of Tom Cruise’s “Mission Impossible” franchise, “Ghost Protocol”. It was accordingly subjected to plenty of (thankfully only) onscreen destruction.


Residents of the area around Városliget will likely long remember the armored vehicles parked around their homes back when Bruce Willis was shooting the fifth “Die Hard” film. Here, Budapest was once again portraying Moscow, one of its most recurring “roles”.


For the sake of diversity, Budapest transformed into Paris in “Bel Ami”, the 2012 adaptation of Guy de Maupassant's novel. Andrássy Avenue and the Hungarian State Opera are clearly recognizable, even from the trailer.


The comedy “I Spy” starring Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson was among the first major pictures to herald in Budapest’s current role in the industry. The film’s car chases basically serve as a visual tour of the city.


More recently, Jennifer Lawrence caused much joy when she popped up around Budapest while filming “Red Sparrow”. The capital provided many sets for close up sequences, but appears in plenty of overhead shots, clearly recognizable to those who know and love the city.