Hollywood in Hungary: Celebrating the Capital’s Rise as a Filming Hotspot - 30 Top Productions Listed

  • 8 Jan 2024 2:01 PM
Hollywood in Hungary: Celebrating the Capital’s Rise as a Filming Hotspot - 30 Top Productions Listed
Over the years, Hungary has emerged as a world class location for filmmaking, attracting numerous Hollywood productions to its picturesque landscapes, historic architecture, and talented workforce.

With its special blend of old-world charm and modern infrastructure, the country has become a go-to destination for filmmakers looking for diverse backdrops and cost-effective production options.

In this article which lists top Hollywood films made in Hungary, we also delve into the factors that have contributed to Hungary's rise as a filming hotspot and explore some of the reasons why both film directors and A-list stars love Budapest as a filming location.

Captivating Canvas of Special Locations in Hungary

One of the primary reasons behind Hungary's popularity as a filming hotspot is its diverse range of scenic locations. The country boasts a wide array of landscapes, from rolling plains to dense forests, majestic hillsides, and historic castles. This makes it an ideal setting for a variety of film genres, from fantasy and historical dramas to action-packed thrillers and romantic comedies.

The capital city stands out as a particularly favored location due to its stunning architecture, which spans centuries and includes Baroque, Gothic, and Art Nouveau styles. The city's top landmarks, such as the Hungarian Parliament Building, Buda Castle, and the Chain Bridge, have graced the screen in numerous top productions. These iconic structures add an air of authenticity to period films, offering filmmakers an opportunity to recreate scenes from various historical eras, right up to the modern day.

Furthermore, Hungary's geographic location provides a versatile range of weather conditions. The snowy landscapes in winter, vibrant colors of autumn, and lush greenery of spring and summer allow filmmakers to capture the essence of different seasons without having to travel far. This convenience is particularly appealing to filmmakers with tight schedules and budgets, however many of the films covered below were big ticket affairs.

Cost-Effective Hungarian Talent

Hungary's filmmaking industry is home to a pool of highly skilled and experienced professionals, including directors, producers, set-builders, technicians, stuntmen and make-up artists. The local talent has received international recognition for their work, contributing to the country's reputation as a credible destination for high-quality film production.

Moreover, Hungary offers a cost-effective option for filmmakers, providing them with attractive tax incentives and competitive production costs. The Hungarian Film Fund, established in 2011, provides financial support and co-production opportunities for both local and international filmmakers, further bolstering the country's appeal as a filming destination.

Hungarian Government Support and Cutting-Edge Infrastructure

A critical factor that has contributed to Hungary's rise as a filming hotspot is the government's support and commitment to the filmmaking industry. In addition to the financial incentives, the Hungarian government has streamlined the permit process, making it easier for filmmakers to secure the necessary approvals for daring movie projects.

The country's well-developed infrastructure is also a major draw for filmmakers. Budapest, in particular, offers state-of-the-art studios and production facilities equipped with the latest technology. These facilities can cater to large-scale productions, accommodating everything from set construction to post-production needs. The presence of these resources has played a significant role in attracting big-budget Hollywood movies to Hungary.

Notable Hollywood Productions and TV Series Filmed in Hungary

Hungary's allure as a filming hotspot has attracted a plethora of Hollywood productions over the years. Many filmmakers have opted to shoot major scenes or even entire movies in the country, harnessing its unique atmosphere to add depth and authenticity to their stories.

1. "Blade Runner 2049" (2017) - The futuristic and visually stunning sequel to Ridley Scott's iconic "Blade Runner" was partially filmed in Budapest. The city's distinct blend of historical and modern architecture provided the perfect backdrop for the movie's dystopian setting.

2. "The Martian" (2015) - Ridley Scott's sci-fi blockbuster starring Matt Damon utilized Hungary's otherworldly landscapes, particularly the vast salt flats of the Little Hungarian Plain, to depict the desolate Martian surface.

3. "Red Sparrow" (2018) - This spy thriller starring Jennifer Lawrence made use of Budapest's historic landmarks and charming streets to recreate various European locations, adding an air of intrigue and espionage to the film.

4. "Dune" (2021) - Denis Villeneuve's epic sci-fi film, based on Frank Herbert's novel, chose Hungary's vast landscapes to create the desert planet of Arrakis. The sandy dunes and barren terrain of Hungary's Böda Sand Dunes in Fertőrákos provided a stunning backdrop for the fictional world of the interstellar empire.

5. "Inferno" (2016) - Ron Howard's adaptation of Dan Brown's novel, starring Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, made extensive use of Budapest's iconic landmarks. The city's historic buildings, bridges, and hidden alleyways played a significant role in the film's thrilling chase sequences and mysterious ambiance.

6. "Evita" (1996) - This musical drama starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas showcased Hungary's rich architectural heritage. Budapest's ornate buildings, particularly the Hungarian State Opera House and the Dohány Street Synagogue, doubled as Buenos Aires landmarks, bringing the story of Eva Perón to life.

7. "The Borgias" (2011-2013) - This historical drama TV series followed the notorious Borgia family during the Italian Renaissance. Hungary's grand castles and palaces, such as Eger Castle and Keszthely Castle, served as ideal locations to depict the opulent settings of the Vatican and other European cities.

8. "Spy" (2015) - Paul Feig's action-comedy film, starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Statham, utilized Budapest's charm and versatility for its various European locations. The city's elegant boulevards and vibrant neighborhoods added flair to the film's spy capers and undercover missions.

9. "With Sunshine" (1999) - The film follows a Jewish family living in Hungary through three generations, rising from humble beginnings to positions of wealth and power in the crumbling Austro-Hungarian Empire. The patriarch becomes a prominent judge but is torn when his government sanctions anti-Jewish persecutions. His son converts to Christianity to advance his career as a champion fencer and Olympic hero, but is caught up in the Holocaust. Finally, the grandson, after surviving war, revolution, loss, and betrayal, realizes that his ultimate allegiance must be to himself and his heritage.

10. "Hellboy" (2019) - This superhero film, based on Mike Mignola's comic book character, filmed many of its key sequences in Hungary. Budapest's atmospheric streets and historic buildings were utilized to create the eerie and gothic setting of the movie.

11. "World War Z" (2013) - Marc Forster's zombie apocalypse thriller, starring Brad Pitt, found its European locations in Hungary. The picturesque streets of Budapest and the nearby countryside were used to depict various scenes set in different cities around the continent.

12. "A Good Day to Die Hard" (2013) - The fifth installment in the "Die Hard" franchise brought the action to Budapest. The city's urban landscape and iconic landmarks were featured prominently in this high-octane action film, adding to the excitement of the chase sequences.

13. "Atomic Blonde" (2017) - Charlize Theron's stylish spy thriller was also shot in Hungary, using Budapest's historic and Soviet-era architecture to recreate the atmosphere of 1980s Berlin. The city's gritty streets and distinctive buildings complemented the film's espionage plot.

14. "Spy Game" (2001) - Tony Scott's espionage thriller, starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt, utilized Budapest as a stand-in for various international locations. The city's architecture and bustling streets allowed the film to seamlessly switch between different settings, adding to the movie's intense spy atmosphere.

15. "The Witcher" (2019 - Present) - Based on Andrzej Sapkowski's book series, this Netflix fantasy series starring Henry Cavill filmed extensively in Hungary. Budapest's iconic Castle District and the picturesque countryside served as the backdrop for the adventures of Geralt of Rivia, making it a perfect setting for the show's medieval-inspired world.

16. "Hercules" (2014) - This action-adventure film, starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, chose Hungary as its filming location due to the country's vast landscapes and medieval architecture. The production used several Hungarian castles and scenic locations to bring the mythical world of Hercules to life.

17. "Robin Hood" (2010) - Ridley Scott's reimagining of the classic tale, starring Russell Crowe, took advantage of Hungary's historic sites and dense forests to create the medieval world of Nottingham. Various locations around Budapest and the Danube Bend were used to depict the film's epic battles and stunning landscapes.

18. "Belgravia" (2020) - This historical drama miniseries, based on Julian Fellowes' novel, filmed extensively in Hungary to recreate 19th-century London and Brussels. Budapest's elegant architecture and cobbled streets were used to portray the opulence and grandeur of the period drama.

19. "Munich" (2005) - Steven Spielberg's gripping historical drama, based on the events surrounding the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, found much of its European settings in Hungary. Budapest's elegant boulevards and historic locations served as a backdrop for the film's intense and politically charged narrative.

20. "A Good Woman" (2004) - Set in the 1930s on the Amalfi Coast, this romantic drama starring Scarlett Johansson and Helen Hunt was primarily shot in Hungary. Budapest's art nouveau buildings and charming streets stood in for the Italian coastal town, enhancing the film's period elegance.

21. "The Alienist" (2018-2020) - This crime thriller TV series, based on Caleb Carr's novel, used Hungary extensively to recreate 19th-century New York City. Budapest's Old Town, with its well-preserved architecture and cobblestone streets, provided a convincing backdrop for the show's dark and atmospheric scenes.

22. "Hanna" (2011) - Joe Wright's action thriller, starring Saoirse Ronan, filmed in Hungary to depict various locations across Europe. The country's diverse landscapes and well-preserved historic sites were used to create the film's dynamic and suspenseful setting.

23. "Dracula Untold" (2014) - This dark fantasy film starring Luke Evans explored the origin of the iconic vampire Dracula. Hungary's historic castles and dramatic landscapes, particularly those in the region of Transylvania, were used to create the eerie and Gothic atmosphere of the film.

24. "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" (2011) - This spy thriller, based on John le Carré's novel, used Budapest as a filming location to represent 1970s-era London and other European cities. The city's architecture and period details allowed the film to authentically recreate the Cold War setting.

25. "Strike Back" (2010-2020) - This action-packed TV series, based on Chris Ryan's novel, filmed multiple seasons in Hungary. The country's diverse landscapes and adaptable locations allowed the show to depict various countries and settings across the globe.

26. "Jupiter's Legacy" (2021) - This superhero TV series, based on Mark Millar's comic book, also utilized Hungary for its filming needs. Budapest's cityscape and countryside doubled as American and other international locations, adding depth and variety to the show's fictional world.

27. "The Rhythm Section" (2020) - Directed by Reed Morano, this action thriller stars Blake Lively, Jude Law, and Sterling K. Brown. Budapest served as a prominent filming location, providing a gritty and atmospheric backdrop for the film's intense action sequences and spy intrigue.

28. "Season of the Witch" (2011) - Directed by Dominic Sena, this fantasy adventure film stars Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman. Hungary's medieval castles and scenic landscapes added to the film's dark and mystical ambiance, transporting audiences to a world of witchcraft and supernatural battles.

29. "The Spy Who Dumped Me" (2018) - Directed by Susanna Fogel, this action-comedy stars Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon. Hungary's capital, Budapest, became a central setting for the film's spy capers and comedic antics, blending action and humor in equal measure.

30. Cyrano de Bergerac (1990) - This French period comedy-drama film directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau is based on the 1897 play of the same name by Edmond Rostand. It stars Gérard Depardieu, Anne Brochet and Vincent Perez, and was a co-production between companies in France and Hungary.

Related links

10 Top Hollywood Movies Featuring Actors Speaking Hungarian

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