Budapest has a certain magic to it that Europe’s other metropolises cannot offer.
The secret lies in Budapest’s diversity. In part this derives from the fact that the city unified from three very different towns in 1873.
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Hospitality, tourism and cultural objects harmonized with these stylistic advances. Therefore it is no wonder that Budapest frequently appears in films and television series, for medieval programmes are just as easy to produce as contemporary spy films
The first co-production was The Golden Head (1964), a family-oriented film in whitch the children of a British police offer holidaying in Hungary track down stolen treasure.
During the communist era, the Eastern Bloc provided western film-makers with exotic locations as well as cheap working conditions, while the influx of western currency made the arrangement desirable for the dictatorship.
It was for this reason that Bluebeard (1972) starring Richard Burton was filmed in Budapest.
In 1974 , Woody Allen’s Love and Death, used the Opera House and the streets of Buda’s Castle.
Another note of interest is two versions of The Phantom of the Opera that were produced in Budapest.
In 1996 The Hungarian State of Opera and the streets in the vicinity of Szabadsag Square were transformed into Buenos Aires for the musical Evita, starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas.
In Spy game (2001) , Robert Redford taught Brad Pitt about Cold War tactics at a table overlooking Astoria, while in Steven Spielberg’s Munich (2005) the streets of Budapest doubled for London Paris and Rome as the film’s Mossad agents led by Eric Bana and Daniel Craig pursued the 1972 Munich Olympics terrorists.
The modification of the Film Law in 2004 gave the local film industry a further boost with a 20% tax rebate.
The increasing competition for film productions in Central Europe since 1990s has seen Prague as the main competitor, but Bucharest, Belgrade and Sofia have also joined the competition in the past decade, which resulted in this rebate being raised to 25%in 2014.
Several new film studios have been built in the Budapest region in addition to state-owned Mafilm.
In recent decades, more than 200 productions have been shot in Hungary, in part on sets built in the studios, and in part in outdoor locations.
Budapest will return on the silver screen in 2016 as Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones and Omar Sy star in adaptation of the Dan Brown novel Inferno.
Budapest’s history of being a location for world-famous celebrities is not confined to feature film. In 1985, for one of the decade’s most famous music video clips, Money for Nothing, Dire straits filmed a few scenes with Elso Emelet while on tour in Budapest.
In 2010 Katy Perry lit fireworks at Astoria and the Royal Palace for her song Fireworks.