Switzerland’s Film Locations

Courtesy of United Artists
The last two movies we saw (Sherlock Holmes 2 and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) both had scenes set in Switzerland.  It got me thinking about movies that were set in and/or filmed in Switzerland.
Courtesy of MGM Studios
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Although it is set in Sweden, this movie visits Switzerland. Without giving the plot away, banks are involved (get ready for a theme here).
Courtesy of Warner Brothers
Some movies are filmed in Switzerland and/or are set there because of its rugged, natural, almost unbelievable beauty.  Such movies include:
View from Grindelwald, not to be confused with Gimmelwald
Courtesy of Dor Film-West Produktionsgesellschaft
  • North Face – This German film is a suspenseful adventure based on the true story of the competition to climb the most dangerous rock face in the Alps, the north face of the Eiger.
The Eiger
Courtesy of New Line Cinema
The large number of international organizations here figure in some plots.  These movies include:
  • Angels and Demons – The movie starts at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, which is located on the outskirts of Geneva.
Tom Hanks, Rachel Weisz and Ron Howard in front of CERN, Courtesy of Atlas E-News
Warner Brothers
  • Syriana – Scenes from this political thriller were filmed at the iconic Geneva hotel, Hotel President Wilson.
Warner Brothers
This looks like the lake nearby.  The green benches are very Geneva.
Although Switzerland technically remained neutral during WWII, it was still greatly affected by the war. Several movies filmed in Switzerland depicting that era are:
HBO
  • The Miracle of Bern – Set at the 1954 World Cup in Bern, this portrait of post-WWII Germany tells the story of a young boy, his ex-POW father and the unexpected victory of the West German soccer team.
20th Century Fox
  • The Sound of Music – While the Sound of Music is rightfully associated with Salzburg, Austria the last shot of the movie is the Von Trapp’s climbing over the alps into Switzerland.
Courtesy of American Zoetrope
  • Youth Without Youth – This Francis Ford Coppola movie is set in pre-WWII Europe and features a professor.  It gets a bit crazy from there.

Several movies have characters visiting bankers here:

  • The Informant – The US Government goes after agribusiness price-fixing with their informant witness.  Guess who has to go visit some bankers in Zürich?  He’s walking past city hall on his way.
  • The Bourne Identity – Matt Damon (yep, he’s in Switzerland once again) as Jason Bourne goes to visit some Swiss Bankers in Zürich.
Courtesy of Fox Warner
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
  • X-Men First Class – A character goes to Switzerland to interrogate of the keepers of Nazi Gold.  Although I’m not sure smart is the right word to describe this movie, we’ll still file it under banks.
The James Bond Franchise loves filming in Switzerland. At least 5 James Bond movies have been filmed in Switzerland. They include:
  • Goldeneye -The opening sequence was filmed in the Italian part of Switzerland, near Lugano in Cugnasco and Gerdola.  In the movie, James Bond jumps from Contra Dam.
Courtesy of MGM
  • Goldfinger – Our favorite British spy chases Goldfinger’s Rolls Royce around the Swiss Alps through the Furka Pass (near Andermatt).
  • A View to a Kill – Yet another chase scene through the alps.  This one is at Vadretta di Scerscen Inferiore, in the Italian portion of Switzerland.

  • The Spy Who Loved Me – The opening ski sequence was filmed in Switzerland (Graubauden, St. Moritz).
Courtesy of MGM

Some famous people have lived in or hail from Switzerland  As a result, several movies about their lives and work have been filmed here.  They include:

  • Rowing with the Wind – Lord Byron, Percy and Mary Shelley came to Switzerland as romantics enamored of the dramatic scenery.  While living near Geneva, Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein.  This film is based on that period.

  • Charlie Chaplin was forced to leave the US during the McCarthy era and moved to Vevey, Switzerland.  His biopic starring Robert Downey Jr., Chaplin, filmed here.
Courtesy of Caroicao Pictures 
Courtesy H. R. Geiger Bar
  •  H.R. Giger’s Sanctuary – H.R. Geiger, the creator the Alien movies is from Gruyeres, Switzerland.  He has an amazing, visually intriguing cafe and museum in the town.  The movie features them.

A few books have been turned into movies set in Swtizerland.

  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being – This Milan Kundera novel was adapted for the big screen and was nominated for two Oscars.  It centers around the Prague Spring stars Daniel Day Lewis and Juliette Binoche.  A scene was filmed on the Mt. Blanc Bridge in Geneva.  We cross that bridge regularly.
Courtesy of MGM
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8 thoughts on “Switzerland’s Film Locations

  1. Pingback: Interlaken, Your Starting Point For Canyoning, Base Jumping, Skiing or Hiking in the Bernese Oberland | schwingeninswitzerland

  2. Many thanks for a grespat and interesting site.I am in Brienz at the moment and I seem to remember a film a few years back that was set in the Hotel Giesbach on Lake Brienz, a most impressive building and situation.If I am correct can you please name that film for me,it was about an English lady. My regards Alfred H .

  3. Hello,I have a very nice and particular event-room close to Lugano (old “Osteria”, 1920 style).
    My question is: how can I offer this place for a possible location for film?Thank You very much
    Sandro (Sorry for my english)

  4. Pingback: London Love Story 2: Syuting di Switzerland, Tempat Langganan Film Hollywood dan Bollywood - Indonesian Pageants

  5. The opening scene of OHMSS is on a beach in Italy, the skiing action scene in Switzerland is a long way into the second hour of the film.

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