Spielberg in Budapest during the filming of Munich

Apr 4, 2019

For those who haven’t seen it, it’s quite a misunderstanding that Spielberg’s Munich is telling the events of the Munich massacre. It’s actually based on the book Vengeance (1984), which tells the story of the Israeli operation to kill the terrorists responsible for the 1972 Munich massacre. The operation had many stages in many different countries. The book by the way was written by a Hungarian born Canadian author, George Jonas.

Also little know that the film – from start of shooting to release – was completed in only six months. This efficiency was possible because of the careful selection of locations and the precise timing. The movie was shot on two main locations:

  • Malta for the Middle East and Mediterranean scenes
  • Budapest, Hungary for the supplying European cities as Munich, Paris, Rome, London and more.

Let’s take a look at the exact locations and what they were portraying.

Puskás Ferenc Stadium standed for the Munich Olympic stadium. It was demolished not long after the movie was finished, and it is still being renovated.

‘Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base’, where the attempted rescue took place, was shot at Tököl Airport (20 km from Budapest city center), which was a military airfield back in the day. The location can also be seen in Tony Scott’s Spy Game, as a Chinese prison.

Andrássy boulevard was playing the streets of Rome, even the illustrious St Stephen’s Cathedral can be seen.

There is a scene in Paris, where the team plants a bomb in the victim’s phone. It was shot around the corner of Aulich and Báthory street. Pretty funny, that just a couple of meters away of the killing in Rome scene.

“This one street in Budapest – Andrassy Boulevard, across from the Opera House – was the best Paris-looking location that we could find. What was interesting is that literally half a block away was the best Rome!” said Rick Carter production designer who was also really enthusiastic about how architecturally rich Budapest was.

The London scenes were also shot in Hungary, for example a bar scene was shot in Marriott Hotel Budapest.

Budapest proved – once again – that it’s a chameleon, it can fit to many needs, even to Steven Spielberg’s. It can transform to basically any major European city from London to Moscow. The local crew also helped to keep up the tight production schedule, so the movie could be completed in an extremely short period of time.