8 blockbusters that were filmed in Switzerland
Whether it be on a cold winter night or a cosy day on holiday, a blockbuster movie is an excellent way to unwind. Many of the most popular movies worldwide have scenes shot in Switzerland, taking advantage of the stunning landscapes the alpine nation provides.
Some of Hollywood's top movies filmed in Switzerland
The first-ever Swiss feature-length film was made in 1917, with Eduard Bienz’s Der Bergführer. Since then, many international filmmakers have been drawn to Switzerland, alongside local directors and producers. The great Charlie Chaplin is perhaps the most famous actor and director to call Switzerland home, but a number of actors and musicians have found refuge in Swiss cities and towns over the years.
As a film destination, Switzerland has a lot to offer. If your film requires stunning lakes, next to a vast mountain with an imposing castle or lair on top, Switzerland is the place for you. Here are some of the most famous films that were shot or set (in part) in Switzerland:
James Bond: Goldfinger
In an iconic scene in the Bond films, 007 chases his enemy Goldfinger in his Aston Martin DB5 across a mountain road. In fact, this dramatic scene took place in the Furka pass, not too far from the Swiss capital city of Bern.
To this day, avid Bond fans make the pilgrimage to the now derelict Hotel Belvédère on the pass to recreate their hero's action-packed drive. Petrolheads are free to drive the pass themselves, although few will have the same souped-up engine and gadgets as the British super-sleuth.
Goldfinger is not the only Bond film to find itself in Switzerland. Goldeneye, The Spy Who Loved Me and On Her Majesty's Secret Service all have scenes shot in the alpine nation.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Coming out in 2011, the film adaptation of the famous Stieg Larsson novel has many scenes filmed in Switzerland’s largest city, Zurich. The film utilises the city's reputation for banking, showing Lisbeth Salander carrying out several multi-million dollar transactions.
In addition to the heart of Bahnhofstrasse, the film also had the character stay in the Masina suite in the famous Dolder Grand Hotel. The hotel is a castle on a hill in Zurich, and the 170-square-metre room is an excellent way to display a character's wealth.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Switzerland makes a brief appearance at the end of the last of “prequel” trilogy of Star Wars films. Grindelwald, in Canton Bern, was transformed from a standard ski resort to the surface of Alderaan, Princess Leia’s home planet, which was sadly destroyed in the fourth episode.
The mountains appear in one of the last scenes in the movie. According to IMDB, Revenge of the Sith cost 113 million US dollars to make, using CGI to create the galaxy far far away. For significantly less than that, you can sample the stunning alpine view yourself, as Grindelwald is only one and a half hours away from Bern.
Point Break (2015 version)
The reboot of the 1990s classic, Point Break is an adrenaline-fuelled thrill ride about an FBI agent trying to infiltrate a gang. The low-level wingsuit scene in the movie has no CGI and was described by Good Morning America as one of the most dangerous stunts put to film.
For the wingsuit-flying stunt, the directors used the Walensee, one of the most stunning Swiss lakes, as the backdrop.
While the mountains are typically used for adrenaline-fuelled action shots, they can also be a backdrop for more understated productions. Case in point, Paolo Sorrentino's Youth - a critically acclaimed film starring Michael Caine and Rachel Weisz that takes a sombre look at the passing of time.
The film uses several locations throughout Switzerland, particularly in the mountains. Several luxury hotels also make an appearance, including the Waldhaus in Flims and the famous Hotel Schatzalp in Davos.
Matt Damon and George Clooney star in this political thriller about corruption and high-stakes drama in the oil-rich Middle East. The character played by Matt Damon is an energy analyst in the Swiss city of Geneva, and several of the city's landmarks are used in the film.
From the Jardin Anglais to the Hotel President Wilson, the film uses Geneva regularly in Damon's part of the story. We even see the Royal Penthouse Suite in the hotel, which is one of the most expensive hotel rooms in the world at 80.000 Swiss francs a night!
The Bourne Identity
Matt Damon returns to Switzerland in this classic action and espionage film, the first of the Bourne franchise. Trying to piece together who he is after losing his memory, Bourne arrives in Zurich to open a safety deposit box at a Swiss bank. Although the actual location where these scenes were shot is actually Prague in Czechia.
It is not long before he is confronted on a park bench by Swiss police, when he discovers that he can actually speak German. As a hub for finance and the elite, Zurich provides the ideal setting for a high-stakes action film.
Angels & Demons
In this sequel to the highly acclaimed Da Vinci Code, Tom Hanks reprises his role as Robert Langdon and comes to the CERN Large Hadron Collider in Geneva after the Illuminati steals "antimatter" from a secret laboratory in the facility.
Although mostly based in the supernatural, at the time of its release CERN said in a statement that they were happy the film chose their facility, as the movie was an “opportunity to show how exciting the reality of antimatter research is.”
Switzerland provides the ideal backdrop for movies
Whether it be a romance, comedy or action film, Switzerland can provide the ideal setting as the landscape is both tranquil and intense. Switzerland has a long history with film that will continue for many years to come.