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Filming in Hungary: Blog

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Filmed in Budapest: Spy Game

zita kisgergely

Every once and a while it is important to remind ourselves just how good Budapest appears on the screen. It looks especially good when we are talking about its use in Cold War and post Cold War spy films. For example, the photogenic rooftops of the downtown 7th District are made excellent use of here in Spy Game, one of the more prominent Hollywood movies shot in the city, back in 2000 before Budapest became a go-to location for so many international shoots. The dizzying establishing shot gives us a peek at the wonderful pair of onion domes atop the Dohány Street Synagogue, in all its Byzantine, Romantic, and Gothic glory, before focusing on the film's stars.

Directed by now-departed Tony Scott, the film was one of the larger box office successes to be shot here, grossing nearly 150 million dollar worldwide. Scott’s brother, Ridley Scott, would also spend time in Budapest a decade and a half later when he shot the much lauded and award-winning film The Martian here. But the big coupe in 2000 was that we got both Robert Redford and Brad Pitt in town for weeks on end. Pitt would return to Budapest and Hungary with his then wife, not just to shoot the zombie film World War Z, but to spend summer vacation with his family on the picturesque Lake Balaton peninsula of Tihány.

Spy Game wouldn’t be the only spy-themed film to use Budapest as a backdrop. The wonderfully executed Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy made use of the Párizsi Arcade for one of its pivotal scenes, and the delightfully retro video for Selena Gomez’s song “Round and Round” also casts the city as its shaddowy backdrop. Oh, and of course there is the movie Spy, the comedy starring Melissa McCarthy that was shot here several years ago. And while A Good Day to Die Hard isn’t exactly a spy movie, it does utilize the same gritty Soviet atmosphere some of the city’s neighborhoods conjure up. And who can forget I Spy and Mission Impossible: the Ghost Protocol. There is no huge reveal here: Budapest looks good cast with a cloak and dagger, whether it is in disguise or not.

Have a look at the rooftop sequence from Spy Game here:

Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.