Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, ranked first among the most booked places to visit between November 2021 and February 2022.
It is typically visited as a weekend destination, a great city break for those coming from England, or other English speaking countries, as many of the major tourist attractions in Budapest, and Hungary, accommodate English speakers. Of course, it is a beautiful city with great places to eat and sightsee. Budapest also hosts great shows and exhibitions; there’s always something to enjoy.
Often, inspiration for making a trip to Budapest comes not from word of mouth or travel sites but from seeing it in films and TV shows. It’s been the setting for many programs and films over the years, sometimes as Budapest, other times masquerading as a different city or location. For instance, did you know that the classic football film Escape to Victory was partially filmed in Budapest? Pele, Sylvester Stallone and half the Ipswich Town team played on the turf of the Hidegkuti Nándor Stadium? In the film, it was described as Paris, but it was actually in Budapest.
There have been a host of other films and TV shows filmed here, and below are three of the best.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers played the bloodthirsty vampire in the 2013 rendition of Dracula, and much of it was filmed in Budapest. It was shot on the sound stages of Stern Film Studio in Pomaz, but some scenes also strayed into our capital city, with its wonderful gothic architecture. Of course, Dracula is a hugely popular character from TV, film and video games, and often artistic license is used around his likeness, town or city and even his species! Who can forget the classic Count Duckula, a rather amusing take of Dracula that appeared on TV and 8-bit gaming machines? Visitors accessing the selection of games on Gala Bingo can find another interpretation of Dracula in the game Fat Drac. It is another cartoony take on the character but in a unique online slot setting. Vampyr, a classic console game, revisited the more human version of Dracula, the like of which we saw on the streets of Budapest almost a decade ago when this was filmed. With such loose interpretations of the character being used, it is easy to see how our great city could be used in one of the many backdrops we find Dracula.
Another character that has appeared in plenty of video games is the Terminator, but he’s rarely fat, or a duck for that matter. He, or she, is almost always a cyborg, from 1985 right through to the 2019 film with scenes set in Budapest. The Origo Film Studios played host to the cast, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, with the C-5 plane scene filmed here. They also visited the old Nokia factory in Komaron and the Mercedes-Benz Factory in Kecskemet. With all of the films, video games such as Terminator: Resistance and Terminator 3: The Redemption and even a TV show increasing the brand’s exposure, involvement in the film gave Hungary and Budapest a huge lift. It brings kudos to the studio, but it also increases interest in visiting the locations shown on screen. Sadly, despite being a big franchise, The Guardian outline how the film performed poorly and is likely to have ended the series.
The second series of the detective show Baptiste was largely filmed in Budapest, and unlike the other two on our list, there was plenty to give the game away. The story was set here, and scenes featured aerial shots and several key landmarks. The subject matter was tough at times, featuring terrorist gangs and missing people, but it brought the spotlight onto Budapest for a watching world, with the show streaming on Netflix to critical acclaim. Tcheky Karyo is excellent as troubled former detective Baptiste, and the series had a European flavour that appealed to viewers, unlike Terminator!