SkyscraperCity banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Strange that nobody posted about this EE cultural institution before, definately one of the most important out there.


Barrandov Studios are a famous set of film studios in Prague, Czech Republic. It is the largest film studio in the country and one of the largest in Central Europe.

Several of movies filmed there were awarded with Academy Awards. At present the studios are often called the "European Hollywood" or "Hollywood of the East" due to increasing interest of western productions (such as the movies Mission Impossible, Blade II, and others).

Czech film history is closely connected with that of Prague’s entrepreneurial Havel family, and especially with the activities of the brothers Miloš Havel (1899-1968) and Václav Havel (1897-1979) (Václav was the father of the Czech President of the same name). This family cooperated with the Austrian occupation regime for their own opportunistic benefit. A history which would late repeat itself during the Nazi occupation.

In 1921 Miloš Havel created the A-B Joint Stock Company by merging his American Film distribution company with the Biografia film distributors.

At the beginning of 1930s his brother Václav planned to build a luxurious residential complex on a hill five kilometers outside Prague. Miloš Havel had suggested that he include a modern film studio in the development. The area was to be called Barrandov after Joachim Barrande, the French geologist who had excavated the site in the 19th century.

Construction of the Studio, based on designs by Max Urban, began on 28 November 1931. Fourteen months later, Barrandov’s first Czech film, ‘Murder on Ostrovni Street’, was shot. The volume of films shot at the Studio increased rapidly. Barrandov had three hundred permanent employees, was making up to eighty films a year and had begun to attract foreign producers.

During the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Nazi Germany during World War II major additions were made to the Studio’s facilities. Seeking to make Barrandov an equal to the major film studios in Berlin and Munich, the Nazis drew up plans for three large interconnecting stages. Construction work started in 1941 but the final stage was not completed until early 1945. These three huge stages (with more than 37,000 square feet of shooting space) still form the main attraction of the Studios to film-makers throughout the world. The Havel family openly cooperated with the Nazis and in exchange for the enlargement of the studio, agreed to shoot Nazi propaganda films, including films which tried to put a positive spin on concentration camps.

Shortly after the War, Barrandov and its smaller sister studio facility at Hostivař were nationalized and remained under State ownership until the beginning of the 1990s. During this time, Barrandov’s impressive Film Laboratories were constructed, as was a special effects stage with a back projection tunnel and a water tank equipped for under-water shooting.

The Havel family however was not pleased with nationalization, Miloš attempted to blow the studio up, however he did not succeed but managed to kill some 30 workers. He was never tried however, due to their anti-Communist feelings, the Havel family received political assylum in West Germany to which they escaped along with their wartime profits.

New Wave
The Prague Spring of the mid-1960s was accompanied by a New Wave of Czech feature films which attracted worldwide attention. Czech film directors working at Barrandov at this time included Miloš Forman, Jiří Menzel, Vojtěch Jasný, Pavel Juráček, Věra Chytilová, Jan Neměc, Ivan Passer, Elmar Klos and Jan Kadár. Closely Observed Trains (Menzel) and The Shop on the High Street (Klos and Kadár) each won the American Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and Forman’s The Firemen's Ball and Loves of a Blonde achieved Oscar nominations.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Barrandov continued to produce high quality feature films, particularly comedies and Czech fairy tales, turning out an average of seventy pictures a year. In the 1980s foreign film-makers started to return to Prague in order to avail themselves of the Studio’s quality facilities and the country’s wonderful variety of film locations. Major productions included Barbra Streisand’s Yentl and Miloš Forman’s U.S. production of Amadeus (winner of several American Academy Awards, including the Oscar for Best Picture).

Recent situation
Shortly after the Velvet Revolution (1989) Barrandov was privatized and the state no longer provided total funding for Czech film production. Due to the failure of free market reform, the studio almost closed down in 2000. The Studio, however, found the consequent decrease in local films compensated by a dramatic increase in foreign productions, particularly feature films made by U.S. producers. Czech television stations and producers of commercials for television also made extensive use of the facility. Barrandov Studios now provide complete production services for visiting feature film producers and for the increasing volume of local audio-visual production.

Notable films

Lemonade Joe (1964)
The Shop on Main Street (1965)
Closely Watched Trains (1966)

Amadeus (1984)

Mission: Impossible (1996)
Les Misérables (1997)

A Knight's Tale (2001)
From Hell (2001)
The Bourne Identity (2002)
Hart's War (2002)
XXX (2002)
Blade II (2002)
Bad Company (2002)
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2002)
Alien vs. Predator (2002)
Hitler: The Rise of Evil (2003)
Shanghai Knights (2003)
Hellboy (2004)
The Illusionist (2005)
Doom (2005)
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) (River scene)
Oliver Twist (filmed 2004, released 2005)
Hostel (filmed 2005, released 2005/2006)
Het Woeden der Gehele Wereld (filmed 2005, released 2006)
Casino Royale (filmed 2006, to be released Nov 2006)



Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & The Wardrobe

Oliver Twist



Brothers Grimm

Alien vs. Predator

Shanghai Knights

Blade II


A Knights Tale

Joan of Arc

Les Miserables

344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Many of Czech-Slovak classics were made here as well...including one of my recent favorites, Dark Blue World

Serbian 1995 Palme d'Or winner "Underground" was also filmed in Barrandov:yes:

There are no two film schools in Eastern Europe more compatible for co-operation than Czech & Serbian...hopefully, we see more of such partnership in the future:yes:

2,980 Posts
and my addition from :

"Prague will have the largest sound stage in Europe. Barrandov Studios shareholders decided at the end of January that construction of Europe's largest sound stage will start this March. The cost of the project is expected to exceed 100 million Czech crowns. The complex of three soundproof stages is designed so that they can all be interconnected in order to form one large sound stage, measuring 4,000 square meters in area and 12 meters in height."


"Casino Royale is currently being filmed at Barrandov Studios. This is the twenty-first in the series of James Bond Agent 007 adventures. Shooting is expected to last for six months. The world premiere is already planned for this November, with the Czech premiere scheduled for January 2007. Daniel Craig plays the lead under the direction of Martin Campbell, who shot the highly-praised first Pierce Brosnan Bond film GoldenEye."

1 - 5 of 5 Posts