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Atomic Blonde filmed the Berlin Wall in Budapest

Atomic Blonde

Charlize Theron's action movie Atomic Blonde largely filmed Budapest as 1980s Germany and built a fake Berlin Wall in the city.

The movie is set in Berlin in 1989 - the year the Wall finally came down - and follows Charlize Theron’s MI5 spy as she clashes with hostile local forces on a mission.

Budapest’s more plentiful Cold War-era visuals made it a suitable double for Berlin and the city also stood in for London and Paris.

A lightweight 250-foot-long replica of the Berlin Wall was built in sections for the movie and was transported around Budapest to be set in the right places for scenes taking place within sight of the infamous Cold War monument. 

Hungarian production included a key car chase that took a week to shoot and involved sourcing around 500 vehicles dating back to the 1970s and 1980s to ensure period accuracy. 

The sequence was filmed using a specially-designed vehicle camera rig. Stunt drivers drove the vehicles from control pods that could be positioned in different places on the rig depending on where was off-screen for specific camera shots. 

Five crew members were needed to operate the rig, so several days of rehearsals ensured that the movements of the off-screen crew and stunt drivers and the on-screen actors were all in sync.

For more on filming in Hungary and for a list of local contacts see our production guide.

A week of location filming took place in Berlin to capture various iconic landmarks in the city, including Alexanderplatz and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. 

Budapest is a hugely popular Eastern European filming location with an appealing combination of experienced crews, well-developed studio infrastructure and generous incentive support.

Germany offers a grant of up to 20% on eligible spending for features shooting in the country. 

Marvel’s superhero sequel Captain America: Civil War filmed key action sequences at Leipzig Airport and Homeland filmed an entire season in Berlin two years ago. Since then, the US spy series Berlin Station has also shot in the capital and incorporated the city’s true geography into its story. 

Image: Jonathan Prime/Universal Pictures


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