7 iconic Budapest locations that appear in famous films
From Evita to The Martian, the streets, buildings, squares, and bridges of Budapest have been popular locations for various international film shoots for a long time. Szeretlekmagyarorszag.hu has collected some of the most famous shooting locations in Budapest.
- Castle Hill Tunnel
The 2002 spy comedy I Spy, starring Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson, deserves a place on this list because, unlike many films shot in Budapest where the city stands in for Berlin, Florence or some other place, I Spy is actually set in the Hungarian capital, and features many famous sights besides the Castle Hill Tunnel.
- Andrássy Avenue and Oktogon
The most famous film featuring the Oktogon is the musical drama Evita. The film didn’t get permissions to shoot in Buenos Aires, the original setting for the life story of Eva Perón, and most scenes were shot in Budapest. In the Hungarian capital, the film was not allowed to enter the St Stephen’s Basilica, so some of the filming took place in the square in front of the basilica.
Another film featuring Andrássy Avenue is the 2012 film Bel Ami. In the film, Budapest appears as 19th century Paris.
The famous roof scene of Spy Game was shot on the roof of the former Georgia tenement house. The building was constructed in 1939 by uniting two adjoined houses according to the plans of Dezső Hültl, Endre Novák, and Béla Barát. The building on the corner of Astoria is still an impressive, memorable part of the city.
The striking, futuristic Bálna on the bank of the Danube appears as the headquarters of NASA in the sci-fi survival film The Martian. In some of the indoor scenes of the film, the Danube can be seen through the glass walls of the building. The Bálna gets its name from its appearance: the structure evokes the image of a stranded whale that sits on top of two 19th century warehouses.
Müpa, or the Palace of Arts also appeared in The Martian. The art and concert hall was used as the building of the Chinese National Space Administration. The Martian has other Hungarian ties too, since the scenes on Mars were filmed on the sound stages of Korda Studios.
- Gozsdu Udvar
One of the centres of the party district, Gozsdu Udvar is a tourist favourite, packed with party-goers every night. It was also used in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1988 film Red Heat where Budapest stood in for Moscow, and some scenes were shot in Gozsdu Udvar. Another film that uses this location is the previously mentioned Spy Game.
- Opera House
The 1998 Phantom of the Opera, set in Paris, used the Hungarian State Opera House as a location. In Woody Allen’s Love and Death, the building stands in for the Saint Petersburg Opera because of its beautiful stairs, and the Opera also appears in the film Munich.
Cover photo: YouTube