Published: July 25 2023
Ah, Budapest, the glamorous city that wears its history on its sleeve, with every curve on the Danube exposing a fascinating tale. Whether you are planning a trip or enjoy travel via the silver screen, this list of movies set in Budapest offers a cinematic foray into this captivating city.
Red Sparrow (2018)
American spy thriller, Red Sparrow navigates the inscrutable alleys of intrigue and espionage, much of which unfolds in Budapest's intricate landscapes. Entailing sequences shot at the New York Cafe, the film adeptly intertwines the city's timeless elegance with the grinding suspense characteristic of spy thrillers.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Wes Anderson's multi-layered narrative, The Grand Budapest Hotel, may not be shot in actual Budapest; however, the city's distinctive appeal forms the crux of the film's charismatic setting. This film captures the charm of an old-world, fictional Eastern European city, reminiscent of Budapest, offering a whimsical ride through a world impregnated with Anderson's distinctive style.
Gloomy Sunday (1999)
The German-Hungarian film Gloomy Sunday – Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod, set in 1930s Budapest, immerses viewers in the city's history. The film uses stunning original locations, enveloping viewers in the charm of Budapest's past and providing context to the city's historic Jewish quarter, making it a must-watch for history buffs.
In typical Mission Impossible fashion, Ghost Protocol masters the art of thrusting its characters – and audience – into meticulously filmed locations across the globe, including Budapest. Tom Cruise's daredevil leap from the top of the Hungarian Parliament building leaves one awestruck not just by his audacity, but by the breathtaking panorama of this spectacular city.
Steven Spielberg’s Munich uses Budapest as a stand-in for multiple European cities. Bearing a historic landscape that's a testament to a versatile past, Budapest seamlessly becomes Rome, Paris, Athens, and other cities in this film.
The Underworld franchise's unique blend of horror and action, set against visually stunning backdrops, has captivated audiences for over a decade. The first installment in the series, shot primarily in Budapest, successfully exploits the city's Gothic architecture and surreal urban environs to create a haunting cinematic landscape.
István Szabó's poignant, multi-generational saga Sunshine, taps into Budapest's rich history, threading elements from the city's tempestuous past into an engrossing narrative. Shot almost entirely in the city, the film celebrates the narrow lanes, elegant edifices, and iconic architectural marvels of Budapest.
Budapest's charm is enduring and enigmatic, inviting intrigue and exploration. By way of these films, get more than just a glimpse of the city's magnificence; experience Budapest in all its historic grandeur and contemporary beauty.