Movies about Vienna

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25th of May 2017

“Schlamperai” is a word that has an indulgent ring to it. Viennese use this word to describe a laid back trait, their most popular vice. Any visitor to the city will notice this attitude, and the people of Vienna are self-confessed about this. Their love for cinema is one evidence of this character. Here are some of the movies about Vienna or movies set in the city:

Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)

Adopted from Stefan Zweig’s novel of the same name, this film by Max Ophulsis tells the story of romantic delusion. Set before the World War I, it stars Joan Fontaine and Louis Jourdan in a melancholic waltz though Old Vienna.

The Third Man (1949)

This classic film by Carol Reed is the story of an American writer Holly Martins who searches for his old friend in post-war Vienna. The sardonic script written by Graham Greene, the excellent cast headed by the great Orson Welles, the and zither music make this film one to savor.

Bad Timing (1980)

Art Garfunkel takes the lead in this Nicholas Roeg’s twisted romance. Here, Vienna provides the milieu as Harvey Keitel’s detective character attempts to unravel the mystery of a girl’s fall from grace.

Amadeus (1984)

This Milos Forman masterpiece is an incredible retelling of the life of the music genius, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The story is told using flashback by the sly Antonio Salieri, now confined to a mental asylum. This film about Vienna and its famous son won 8 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director for Forman, Best Actor for F. Murray Abraham, and Best Screenplay for Peter Shaffer.

Before Sunrise (1995)

This intelligent romantic comedy by Robert Linklater is a lovely film starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. It tells the story of a chance encounter using Vienna as the beautiful backdrop.

The Illusionist (2006)

While certainly not a masterpiece, this Neil Burger has enough great ingredients to make for a delicious confection. It paints an intriguing picture of the imperial court, beautifully capturing the twilight of the Habsburg rule.

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