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Movies about Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest

My wife are planning a nearly 3 week trek to Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest later in the year. We are interested in good movies about these cities, with a focus on those made by local directors or focusing on significant moments in local history. Recommendations? Thanks in advance!

Posted by
5017 posts

Amadeus! Perhaps not 100% historically accurate, but a hoot, and it'll put you in the mood.

Posted by
2080 posts

Vienna--well, that would have to be my most favorite movie of all time, The Third Man. I visited Vienna in 2014 for the sole purpose of standing in the Harry Lime doorway, and visiting the wonderful museum devoted to the movie (and life in postwar Vienna, fascinating), and other things like riding the Riesenrad in the Prater. I probably watch it at least 5 times a year, it's quite a fabulous movie--not just the story, but the cinematography won an Oscar and then there's that crazy zither soundtrack.

I don't know of any documentaries about Budapest, but I do seek out Hungarian films, especially ones set in Budapest:

An American Rhapsody--directed by Eva Gardos and it's basically her life story (a young Scarlet Johansson plays her as a teen) and is about the effect of the 1956 Revolution on her family. At least half is shot on location in Hungary.

Budapest Noir--also directed by Gardos, a murder mystery set in Budapest in the late 30s, an interesting mix of detective movie and social commentary, very entertaining.

Sunshine - stars Ralph Fiennes & Rachel Weisz, about 3 generations of a Jewish family living in Hungary, starting in 1899 and ending with the end of the Communist regime in 1989.

Son of Saul--WWII story set in Auschwitz about one day in the life of a Hungarian prisoner.

Posted by
6535 posts

I don't know about movies, but I read about every place we're going to visit on Wikipedia.
Some essays are long and some are short, but they all give you all the history, etc. about the towns.
We've been to both Budapest and Vienna numerous times and once to Bratislava in recent years. We love them all. Although Bratislava is just 39 miles from Vienna, it's a totally different world.

Posted by
2919 posts

This film , based on a story by Stefan Zweig , is a classic tale of Old Vienna , set in 1900 . " Letter from an Unknown Woman " ( 1948 ) It stars Joan Fontaine and Louis Jourdan , and was directed by Max Ophuls . Have plenty of tissue handy , this story will break your heart , but it is more than worth it . You can watch it here - https://youtu.be/S0R2STZUUNQ

Posted by
11676 posts

Definitely The Third Man! We watched it three times with our Amazon Prime while we were in Vienna, and went to the museum ( the tour was fully booked).

Posted by
8889 posts

Vienna: The Third Man
Many other films. Just seen a very dumb new action film set in Vienna. Not on my list of best films ever: The Spy Who Dumped Me

Posted by
2080 posts

The other Bob--you sound like a kindred spirit--my mouse pad is a Third Man poster, and in my bathroom at home I have a framed copy of the piano sheet music for the Harry Lime theme that my mom had as a teenager...just found an unplayed LP of the soundtrack for $1 at a rummage sale with a gorgeous red sleeve. I loved seeing all the posters and ephemera at the museum, wanted to bring it all home with me!

Posted by
2080 posts

I actually have another big favorite, and while it's set in Budapest of course it was filmed on a soundstage--The Shop Around the Corner. One of the characters, Pepi Katona (the sarcastic errand boy) shares my mom's family's last name, so that makes me happy, too. Sprinkled with little bits of Hungarian things, very charming story. At the beginning of the movie it says the shop is on Balta St, just around the corner from Andrassy--but of course I got out my map of Budapest and Balta is on the Buda side, not Pest where Andrassy is...doesn't matter, I love this movie to pieces.

Posted by
2852 posts

The Lady in Gold. It’s the story of the Klimt portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, looted by the Nazis and of how her niece was able to reclaim it. Great depiction of turn-of-the-century Vienna.

Posted by
2919 posts

Christa , the source material for " Shop Around the Corner " is the 1936 play by Miklos Laszlo , " Parfumerie " . Two other films utilize it - " In the Good Old Summertime " , and " You've Got Mail " . As well , best of all , the 1963 Broadway musical " She Loves Me " takes it to the zenith with the Bock and Harnick score . This somewhat abridged BBC presentation from 1978 is a real charmer - https://youtu.be/db_HreIe5pY

Posted by
2919 posts

Emily , I am intrigued by " Before Sunrise " . The back story seems fascinating , just returned from the Library and picked up all three films that comprise the trilogy . Looking forward to them over the coming weekend .

Posted by
2080 posts

I just saw Sunset (the title refers to the ending of the Austro-Hungarian empire), directed by Laszlo Nemes (Son of Saul)--set in Budapest in 1913, filmed there and in a small village nearby, interesting mystery about a young woman who returns to town and wants to be employed at the millinery shop owned by her late parents, but some ominous things have happened and it seems she is in danger at every turn--literally everyone she meets tells her to go--add to that a deranged brother who is plotting a massacre and the shop owner indulging in a bit of white slavery, with beautiful cinematography and opulent sets inside a villa and the hat shop plus scenes of life in a small village. At over 2 hrs I was never bored, no telling what might happen next to the heroine--the final scene was especially compelling.