5 Great Films That Feature Prague

Jessica Beil and Edward Norton take the lead in ‘The Illusionist’
Jessica Beil and Edward Norton take the lead in ‘The Illusionist’ | © Photo by Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock
Prague’s beautiful streets and historical monuments make it an ideal filming location, but chances are you’ve seen the Czech capital on screen without even realising it.

Prague is often used as a shooting location, even for films that don’t take place in the Czech capital. Directors head to the city due to the low production costs associated with filming there, as well as the fact that Prague’s architecture is similar to many other European cities. Here are five of the best movies filmed in Prague.

‘Mission Impossible’ (1996)

Scene from Mission Impossible shot in Platnéřská, Prague © Paramount Pictures

The first film in the Mission Impossible franchise, starring Tom Cruise, was filmed in a multitude of locations, including London, Scotland and the Czech capital. Many of the pivotal scenes were set in Prague, with some of the city’s locations actually standing in for others. For example, the National Museum doubled as an embassy in the opening scene. Shots were also filmed in Kampa Island and Wenceslas Square. The film features one of Prague’s most recognisable locations, Charles Bridge. However, it’s unlikely that any visitors to Prague will find the bridge as empty as it is in the film, as it’s a popular tourist destination for those looking for things to do in Prague.

‘Casino Royale’ (2006)

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In Daniel Craig’s first outing as suave spy James Bond, Prague plays stand-in for many other destinations. A chase scene, set in Miami Airport, was partially filmed in Prague’s international airport, Ruzyne. Another scene stars Judi Dench as M walking through Prague’s famous Strahov Monastery, which stands in for the British House of Commons. Perhaps most notably, the scene where Bond walks down the stairs in the grand Venetian hotel he’s staying in with Vesper was actually filmed inside Prague’s National Museum.

‘Underworld’ (2003–present)

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The Underworld series might not be one of the movies that take place in Prague, but a large number of scenes were filmed here. These include not only scenes filmed around and inside the magnificent Prague Castle but also street-chase scenes and indoor scenes shot on sets built from scratch inside Prague’s largest movie studio, Barrandov Studios. One of the most striking locations used for the film, however, can be found just outside Prague. The beautiful white castle that serves as headquarters for the Eastern Coven is Hluboká Castle, around two hours away from the Czech capital.

‘The Illusionist’ (2006)

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Prague stands in as a mesmerising substitute for 19th-century Vienna in this film, which features Edward Norton as the eponymous magician. It is a very successful replacement, as much of Prague’s enchanting architecture has remained untouched since that period. Prague Castle features prominently in the film, as does the Divadlo na Vinohradech, which is a beautiful theatre in the heart of Prague where Norton’s character performs. In addition, the film uses the town of Tábor and special locations in fairytale village Cesky Krumlov to showcase a mix of magnificent Czech scenery.

‘Amadeus’ (1984)

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One of the most acclaimed movies filmed in Prague, this Oscar-winning film about the life of Mozart uses the capital as a replacement for 18th-century Vienna. Two of the most notable sets used are the Old Town Square and the Estates Theatre, where all of Mozart’s performances are filmed. The scenes that are set in the Emperor’s Palace actually filmed at the Archbishop’s Palace on Hradcanske Square. The film stars many of the opulent palaces and magnificent buildings around Prague, from the Kromeriz Palace and its gardens to Maltese Square.