With historic sights, characterful architecture and stunning cityscapes, Prague is a favourite filming location of directors, who often cast the Czech capital to play the part of cities like Moscow, Venice or Paris. Visit Prague and find yourself in the filming locations of action blockbusters such as Mission: Impossible and Hellboy, classic pictures like Amadeus and adaptations including Les Misérables. As the city gears up to celebrate Febiofest, the 24th annual Prague International Film Festival (23rd – 31st March 2017), we take a closer look at some of the most memorable movies filmed in Prague.
Spy movie Mission: Impossible starring Tom Cruise was one of the first major action thrillers to be set and filmed (in part) in Prague. Throughout the 1996 film, viewers can spot sights such as Charles Bridge, Old Town Square and the National Museum, as fugitive spy Ethan Hunt attempts to track down a suspect in Prague before fleeing to London. Over a decade after the hugely successful film premiered, crews returned to the capital to film parts of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. For the 2011 edition, Prague doubled as Moscow, with Prague Castle standing in for the Kremlin, and a ‘Moscow prison’ just outside of the city opening the movie with a dramatic escape scene.
In Daniel Craig’s memorable debut as James Bond in Casino Royale, Prague plays a starring role. Several scenes of the 2006 movie were filmed in the Czech capital, including the opening scene in which 007 kills two men to win his license to kill, which was shot at Danube House. Eagle-eyed viewers will also notice that the stairs of the hotel in Venice are, in reality, the stairs of the National Museum of Prague, while the Strahov Monastery, Prague Airport and the nearby spa town of Karlovy Vary also make an appearance.
While the 2012 remake of Les Misérables was shot in England, the original 1998 adaptation starring Liam Neeson and Uma Thurman was filmed mostly in the Czech Republic. While much of the filming took place in villages outside of the capital, Prague’s Troja Palace stands in for the court in the poignant scene where the protagonist finally admits that his true identity is Jean Valjean. In addition, Valjean’s Paris house is not in France but is a manor in Prague – the same house that plays the part of Mozart’s residence in Amadeus.
One of the first major international movies to be filmed in Prague was 1984 American period drama Amadeus. The Oscar-winning film, which was awarded eight gongs at the 57th Academy Awards, was directed by Czech director Miloš Forman, who chose Prague as a stand-in for Vienna. Walk in the footsteps of the cast by exploring the streets of Prague Old Town and Lesser Town at the foot of Prague Castle, visiting Strahov Monastery – a recurrent favourite of film directors – or taking in a show at the historic Estates Theatre.
Despite being set in America and Russia, 2004 action fantasy flick Hellboy was filmed predominantly in Prague. Explore the Czech capital to discover many familiar scenes from the comic film adaptation. The most distinctive is the protagonist’s house, the National Monument on top of Vítkov hill. Other places that Hellboy fans will recognise are Olšany Cemetery, Strahov Monastery, Holešovice and Smíchov, among others, while many studio scenes were shot in Prague’s Barrandov Studios. During the movie, you’ll even see a famous Czech face or two, such as Karel Roden, who played Grigori Rasputin.