We totally understand that going out for some sweaty sightseeing isn’t the most appealing thought for those amongst us who love hibernating with some quality films, no matter the weather. However, maybe going on a tour of the locations where films have used Vienna as a backdrop will get you out of your binging-cave.
Also, we’re not responsible if any sudden delusions of grandeur make you actually attempt to do the things these superheroes and secret agents go about doing in the films when at these locations – that’s on you. But please, do send pictures.
Check out the tour below of locations in Vienna that have made it on the big screen:
1. Stop at the Opera to do some abseiling like they do in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
If you have no idea about when a huge movie franchise decided to shoot at one of the most iconic locations in our city, the Opera house, you either don’t care for Vienna, or for movies. In that case, what are ya’ doing here reading this article?!
We’re sure you’ve seen the Opera house millions of times already, but to truly experience it the way Mr. tough-guy secret agent protagonist, Ethan Hunt, does in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, you’d have to get dressed up, go see an Opera performance, brawl with a dude who attempted to assassinate the fake Austrian chancellor, sneak out onto it’s rooftop and abseil down the face of the building with a lady you just met. Easy peasy, right?
2. Wade through Vienna’s underground sewers like they do in The Third Man
The Third Man is a classic thriller movie from 1949 that takes place in a post WWII-Vienna. Since you could basically do a tour of Vienna based on this film alone, we’ve decided to select the filthiest location to tell you about. And no, this is not about a park bench where someone did the naughty things.
At some point, one of the characters decides to use Vienna’s underground sewer system as an escape route. Most of this sequence was actually shot ‘down under’ below the Karlsplatz in the sewer’s overflow chamber (which you can actually go see with the Dritte Mann Tour).
The other tunnels featured are technically not part of the sewer system, but the underground course of the Wienfluss. If you now wanna see what the hell this movie is about, check the Burgkino’s program, they actually have a screening of it every week!
3. Hang out at the Stadtpark and disappear in the Wienfluss’ underground tunnels like they do in Freud
One of the most recently released series in this list (and the only series we decided to sneak in here) is the Netflix series, Freud, featuring ya’ fave Austrian shrink, Sigmund Freud… well, his young and hotter version.
One chill-inducing event in the plot is presumed to have taken place somewhere in the underground canal system of the Wienfluss, and the two very Viennese policemen working the case follow an anonymous tip right into the tunnel’s entrance at Stadtpark.
To find out what actually happened in there, you’re gonna’ have to watch this whole shabang for yourself, but we’ll tell you one thing: The Wienfluss has seen some stuff.
4. Go to Michaelerplatz and try open a bank account in a coffeehouse like they do in Red Sparrow
In this film, Jennifer Lawrence plays the role of a Russian prima ballerina turned deadly secret agent (trained with absolutely dubious methods), who is on a mission to hunt down a CIA agent.
At some point, she randomly travels to Vienna to open up a bank account at the (very fake) ‘Bank Graf Vienna’ on Michaelerplatz, right by the famous Hofburg. No, they did not use the actual bank that’s coincidentally right across the street from their fake, and quite frankly, way cooler looking one. They used the currently vacant traditional coffeehouse, Café Griensteidl.
5. Get into the UNO City and sign some important legal documents like they do in Captain America: Civil War
We’ll be honest, to see Vienna exactly the way it was shown in this movie, you’d need to rent a helicopter, fly over the UNO City and then find that exact building they used as the set.
Yeah, you read that right, in the Captain America: Civil War film they actually chose to only use the part of Vienna that has skyscrapers. Okay, okay, we get it, nothing else would have made sense in the plot, but still, the other parts of Vienna are way more cooler-looking! Why choose the one place that looks like any generic big city?? We’re a bit sore about this whole thing if you hadn’t already guessed.
But still. A huge and popular superhero universe mentioned Vienna and its United Nations Office (in multiple movies, we might add), which is an accomplishment in, and of, itself.
6. Take an unnecessarily long ‘taxi’ ride like they do in James Bond: The Living Daylights
The Living Daylights is the 15th instalment of the Bond movie franchise that’s all about that oh-so notorious, and always hunky, secret agent with serious commitment issues – James Percival Stanislaus Bond. Ok, those middle names were added by us for emphasis, but you know who we’re talking about.
When the protagonist and the movie’s lady of choice meet in Vienna, he calls out for a taxi to bring them to their hotel, the Palais Schwarzenberg. Of course, naturally, in Vienna, every taxi must be a horse carriage – even in 1987.
On their seemingly 2-hour long ‘taxi’ ride to the hotel, starting from the Prater, they pass the Maria-Theresien-Platz, as well as the Schloss Schönbrunn, until they finally arrive at their destination. That Fiaker-driver sure knew how to trick the tourists into spending a hefty amount of money by making a huge, but at least beautiful, detour.
7. Jump on the ferris wheel in the Prater and have a make-out sesh’ like they do in Before Sunrise
This 1995 romance about an American dude and a French girl meeting on a train and spontaneously hopping off in Vienna to spend 24 hours getting to know each other, and falling in love.
While most of this movie follows the couple conversing and walking around places in Vienna, there is one gut-wrenchingly romantic first kiss scene happening in one of the old carriages of the Ferris Wheel in the Prater… at sunset, of course.
You know, this one is actually pretty easy for you to reenact IRL. Well, not the whole meeting the love of your life on a train ride thing, but at least making out in the Ferris Wheel with a special someone is achievable.
8. Munch on a slice of Sachertorte at Café Sperl like they do in A Dangerous Method
A Dangerous Method is another story about our old pal, Sigi’ Freud, the Swiss psychiatrist, C.G. Jung, and the birth of psychoanalysis, and a special patient suffering from what was then called hysteria. Heavy stuff right there.
To feel like you’re Freud and Jung in Vienna, all you really have to do is go walk around Belvederegarten for a bit and have a light-hearted talk about the functions and mysteries of the human consciousness. So pretty much some typical Sunday walk small talk, huh?
In the film, we also learn that Freud and Jung actually (at least in this portrayal) had sweet cravings for a delicious slice of Sachertorte. They went on to have exactly that in the iconic coffeehouse, Café Sperl, which looks like it hasn’t changed since they opened.
9. Become mesmerised by some art in the Belvedere like they do in Woman in Gold
The Woman in Gold is loosely based on the real story of Maria Altmann, a Jewish woman who actually took the Austrian government to court claiming they should return Gustav Klimt’s iconic painting of her aunt Adele Bloch-Bauer to her and her family. It was stolen from her relatives in Vienna by the Nazis, just before WWII and hung in the Belvedere.
They shot this movie in various places around Vienna, including staging the days in history where the Nazis invaded Austria in Vienna, with hundreds of actors and extras around the Rathaus etc.
Anyways, since this movie is about Klimt’s famous painting, they spend a lot of time in the film walking around the Belvedere. There’s also the pivotal moment when Maria’s jaw drops as she sees the painting in person for the first time since she was a young woman. If you wanna’ experience that, you’re gonna’ have to be happy with Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’, since the portrait of Maria’s aunt eventually went on to be sold to a gallery in New York (by her, we might add – yep, she kicked the Austrian government’s ass).
10. Royally float on a boat on the Danube like they do in Sissi
Last on this list, but not least, we practically HAD to mention the movie, Sissi, from 1955 – the biographical film about the angsty teenage years of Austria’s favourite Empress, Elisabeth of Austria.
Although this movie mostly takes place in Bad Ischl, where Sissi, her mother and sister Helene attend an engagement party, there are some scenes happening in various locations in Vienna.
But, our honourable mention this time goes to the steamboat, Johann Strauß, which the royal family takes to travel back to Vienna along the Danube. Now here comes the kicker: You’ve probably all walked past this very same steamboat before. Yes, it’s that shabby ship covered with graffiti that used to be docked at the Danube canal, right by Schwedenplatz, until they removed it in 2017. Never judge a book by it’s cover, right?