Aaand ... Action! Austria is not only one of the world’s most beautiful holiday destinations for those seeking relaxation and nature – it’s also hugely popular amongst filmmakers. In this week’s blog, we’ll be letting you in on some of the best locations in Austria used by famous films and TV series over the years.
#VIENNA STATE OPERA: MISSION IMPOSSIBLE
In the fifth part of the secret agent film series Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt, who's also hunting down criminals in Vienna. ThesSpectacular action scenes in Austria take place primarily at the State Opera. As Puccini’s opera Turandot is being performed on stage, Tom Cruise sneaks through the corridors then abseils down from the roof of the Opera House. The secret agent and his colleague try to save the Austrian Chancellor but to no avail.
#SALZBURG & UPPER AUSTRIA: THE SOUND OF MUSIC
Admittedly, practically nobody in Austria knows the five times Oscar-winning musical The Sound of Music, which starred Julie Andrews. Although the film originally appeared in 1965 in the United States, it was not broadcast on Austrian national TV (ORF) for the first time until 35 years later. Many of the film locations from The Sound of Music can actually be found in Salzburg and Upper Austria. One of the best-known scenes, in which novice Maria and the children dance in a park and sing the song Do-Re-Mi, was filmed in the Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg.
When the children ask for Maria, they come to the Nonnberg Abbey. The imposing Felsenreitschule, which now serves as a venue for the Salzburg Festival, also had a place in the film: this is where the von Trapp family took part in a singing competition, introducing audiences to such old favourites as Do-Re-Mi, Edelweiss and So Long, Farewell. The scenes in Upper Austria were filmed on location beside the Mondsee lake and on Schafberg mountain.
#VIENNA & SURROUNDING AREA: INSPECTOR REX
The ever-popular crime series featuring everybody’s favourite four-legged Inspector Rex – full name Reginald von Ravenhorst – was produced in Austria from 1994 to 2004. Over 18 seasons and a total of 214 episodes, the Alsatian hunts down criminals and uses his highly refined sense of smell to help keep his two-legged colleagues on the trail of the bad guys. The best-known film locations have included the Natural History Museum, Vienna’s City Park, UN City, the Favoriten Water Tower, the Secession and the Haas House. Many other scenes were also recorded in the region surrounding Austrias' capita. Like the vineyards to the south of the city and the Bisamberg hills to the north-east.
Inspector Rex is not just a popular television series at home in Austria, it is known and loved worldwide. The intelligent police dog has conquered the hearts of his fans in more than 107 countries – often reaching over ten million viewers per episode – and has received several awards.
#VORARLBERG & TYROL: JAMES BOND
Bond. James Bond. The secret agent to beat all secret agents has also had his fair shares of relentless pursuits of criminals in Austria on many occasions. In Quantum of Solace, for example, Daniel Craig, the sixth actor to play James Bond, pursues his adversaries during a production on the floating lake stage in Bregenz. The James Bond crew visited Vorarlberg for just under two weeks in spring 2008 to record seven-and-a-half minutes of the film. Daniel Craig returned to Austria a few years later to get in front of the camera for the 24th film in the iconic secret agent film series. Action-packed scenes were filmed for Spectre in the town of Sölden in Tyrol’s Ötztal, beside Altausse lake and in Obertilliach.
Also in on the action was the native of Vienna Christoph Waltz, playing Bond’s arch-enemy Ernst Stavro Blofeld. The actor will even be playing the bad guy in the latest James Bond movie that's coming up. We’re excited to see what he will be up to this time!
Dive into the brave and dangerous world of James Bond and visit the Experience World 007 Elements in Sölden. The vast majority of the installation is centred around the scenes from Spectre filmed in Sölden.
#VOTIVKIRCHE VIENNA: THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH
The mediaeval bestseller The Pillars of the Earth by Welsh author, Ken Follett about the construction of a magnificent cathedral, was filmed as part of an international collaboration including Austria and other countries. Vienna’s Votivkirche was selected for the crowning scene, even though in the book the ceremony actually took place in London’s Westminster Abbey. The two churches are highly similar in their architecture, and for specific reasons, the choice fell on the Votivkirche during filming work. The director allowed elements of the church, which were different in the world of the 12th century to be mastered digitally at a later date.
#EAST TYROL & CARINTHIA: SEVEN YEARS IN TIBET
Large parts of Seven Years in Tibet, the film of the life of Heinrich Harrer, may have been made in Argentina, but some scenes were also shot in Austria. The Austrian mountaineer, who took part in the first German expeditions to the Himalayas in 1929 and 1931, is embodied by the young Brad Pitt. He was later taken into British custody and fled to Tibet, where he also got to know the Dalai Lama and reported to him on the world outside. At the end of the film, we get to see the mountain climbing scenes that were filmed in Austria, specifically in Lienz in East Tyrol, and in the Upper Mölltal valley.
Due to the problematic relationship between Tibet and the People’s Republic of China, several actors, including Brad Pitt and director Jean-Jacques Annaud, were subsequently banned from entering China to take part in filming work. This entry ban has since been lifted again for some of them.
#FROM SALZBURG TO LOWER AUSTRIA: Season of the Witch
Beautiful Lower Austria was also the stage for a Hollywood movie: in the starring roles of the creepy mediaeval film Season of the Witch, Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman accompany the alleged witch Anne, played by Claire Foy. Along their journey, they fight their way through swamps, moor landscapes and mysterious forests. These scenes were partly filmed at the Seewaldsee nature reserve in Salzburg, in the Totes Gebirge mountains in Styria, and on the Traunsee in Upper Austria. Kreuzenstein Castle, near Klosterneuburg in Lower Austria, is also featured in the fairytale action film.
Feeling inspired to follow in the footsteps of renowned Hollywood actors and discover Austria? You can reach all these locations and many, many more within a few hours from Vienna. To book flights directly to Vienna, just click here: