Movies can show completely different sides of a city, capture the particular vibrations of certain neighborhoods, and present places visitors usually can’t access. Hollywood loves colorful locations, and no city combines so many utterly different settings like Berlin.
As a filming location, Berlin is one of the most sought-after cities in recent decades. As the stage for numerous wars and groundbreaking events, with history on every corner, Berlin as a location is peerless. It’s no wonder, then, that the city has been so often chosen as a primary location for movies. The following films capture Berlin through the lens of Hollywood productions, often showing a different angle of the city — discover the interior of the famous luxury hotel Adlon, get a feeling for the atmosphere when the city was still divided by the Wall, or dig into military headquarters used by the Nazis.
One, Two, Three
During the Cold War, James Bond (Roger Moore) drives with M through the divided city, crossing Checkpoint Charlie. Today Checkpoint Charlie is a widely famous border crossing between East and West Berlin with a rebuilt control house; it is a reminder of the Wall as a buzzy tourist spot. Not so for Mr. Bond and M in Octopussy.
The Bourne Film Series
Once a trilogy, but now looking increasingly like the US version of the Bond films, several Bourne movies have scenes shot in Berlin. This is particularly true of The Bourne Supremacy (the second installment), which took place mainly in Germany’s capital. In it, Jason Bourne chases the CIA through the city. According to several newspapers, Matt Damon is currently shooting the new Bourne movie in Berlin-Kreuzberg, which will be released in 2016.
The most impressive location in this World War Two film is the Bendlerblock, which was the military headquarters during the National Socialist regime and also the place where the officers were shot after the failed assassination attempt on Hitler.
Liam Neeson loses his memory after a car crash in Berlin and has to find the way back to his memory through the city. Marvelous shots from the inside of the luxury hotel Adlon, normally only accessible to guests, make the movie worth seeing, even if Liam Neeson running around a city isn’t your thing.
Hannes Stöhr could not have found a better title for a movie which digs into the darkness of Berlin’s electro-music party scene. Several of the city’s most famous clubs are shown, and the close relationship between music and drugs and the dangerous mental decline that can accompany the party scene are played out uncompromisingly in this indie classic.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay
Berliners have been delighted at the latest offering from the Hunger Games series, as several of the film’s key scenes feature important local landmarks. Among the settings in the capital are the Berlin Messedamm, the Airport Berlin Tempelhof, and an old chemical plant.
While following Landa (Christoph Waltz) on his dreadful journey through the Second World War, viewers will notice several scenes that are clearly set in Berlin. The Apfelstrudel scene, which is supposed to take place in France, was actually shot in the Café Einstein Stammhaus in Kurfürstenstraße. The strudel at this place is definitely worth trying for those that like their Kaffee und Kuchen with a side of film history.
Unsurprisingly, most of Hollywood’s movies about Germany and Berlin have something to do with World War Two. Monuments Men is another one of these films, shot in Berlin and other parts of Germany. Based on a true story, it tells the story of several art historians and curators who gather to save art pieces from destruction; it is a fun romp through town.
A girl named Hanna (Saoirse Úna Ronan) is chased across the world by the CIA and comes to Berlin, where her father (Eric Bana) ends up in a fight scene at the Messedamm. Other places used for Hanna are the Görlitzer Bahnhof and the Kottbusser Tor in Kreuzberg.
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