Görlitz is associated with film like hardly any other city. Famous Hollywood actors and filmmakers come to the film city of Görlitz. It is not for nothing that the city is also called “Görliwood”.
Producers are not drawn to the film city of Görlitz to large studio complexes; their film locations are in the city, in the middle of the street, so to speak. Thanks to its beautifully preserved architecture, the city offers authentic backdrops for a wide variety of films. Where else can you find almost 4,000 architectural monuments from 500 years and entire streets with well-preserved houses from one era?
The first film, “The Ox of Kulm”, was made in the city in the 1950s. In the meantime, more than 100 productions have been shot in Görlitz and even Oscar®-winning films have been made. Famous actors such as Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Jackie Chan, Brad Pitt, Daniel Brühl, Jan Josef Liefers …. have been to the city. And so it can happen during a visit to the city that you pass a film set or a well-known “film face” walks past you.
Discover Film City Görlitz
One can go in search of one or two filming locations in the city. There are flyers that list some of the locations. We discovered some of the locations listed there during our city walks. For example, we were at the filming location in the Landskron Brau-Manufaktur, in the interesting baroque house with the impressive library and in the old cemetery.
The “Walk of Görliwood” shows some shop windows that provide an insight into the film city. We took a look at some shop windows in Neißstraße, which are very interestingly designed.
A bus tour or a guided city tour, which are offered regularly, provide a super overview.
“Görliwood Discovery Tour”
We opted for the city tour “Görliwood Entdecker”. A double-decker takes you from Obermarkt through the city for an hour. On the way, you pass many film locations and learn a lot about the city.
The tour is packed with information and simply great for film fans. There are so many film locations from so many films in the film city of Görlitz that you almost have to be careful not to forget anything.
I would like to introduce some of the filming locations.
Even the starting point of the tour at Obermarkt is a popular film location. In 1980, for example, the DEFA fairytale film “Grim Reaper” was filmed here.
One of the most famous films shot in Görlitz is “The Monuments Men” with George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murry, John Goodman, Cate Blanchett and Hugh Bonneville. The Obermarkt, now used as a car park, was completely cleared for the filming and historic army cars were on the road there in search of art treasures.
For example, filming of the movie “Grand Hotel Budapest” took place on Demainiplatz, which is located below Kaisertrutz, and in front of the Gerhart Hauptmann Theatre.
For the film “The Reader” with Kate Winslet, an old tram was driven across the square. For this, historic trams were brought into the city using the existing rail network.
Scenes for the TV crime series “Wolfsland” with Yvonne Catterfeld were also filmed on the course.
The bus tour passes the Postplatz with its beautiful buildings. The fountain in the centre of the square is an eye-catcher. In 2016, the film “Everyone Dies Alone” was released, based on a story by Hans Fallada. The Görlitz Postplatz was transformed into Berlin for the filming.
One of the most famous film locations in the film city of Görlitz is the former ‘Görlitz department stores’. The building is designed in Art Nouveau style and is one of the most beautiful department stores in Germany.
The façade resembles the façade of the Wertheim department stores’ on Leipziger Platz in Berlin. I find the building very impressive even from the outside. Unfortunately, during our visit to Görlitz, the department stores’ was being renovated and so you could only catch a glimpse of the inside of the building through a few windows.
You can already make out the atrium, which was the interior of the hotel in the film “Grand Hotel Budapest”. In any case, I could recognise the stairs, which are very often seen in the film.
Gründerzeit district (Wilhelminian Quarter)
The bus also drives along some of the streets of the well-preserved Gründerzeit district of Görlitz. Film crews have already been through some of the streets. Suitable film locations were found here for the ARD two-parter “Der Turm” with Jan Josef Liefers and the crime series Wolfsland.
Görlitz train station
The bus passes the train station in Görlitz. But you should not miss going into the station. The new station was built at the beginning of the 20th century. The entrance hall is in Art Nouveau style. The high hall is now used by small shops, but a look up at the ceiling shows how magnificent it must once have looked.
Scenes for the film “The Silent Classroom”, which had its world premiere at the Berlinale in 2018, were shot at the station.
Neißstraße and Untermarkt
The Untermarkt is located right next to the Görlitz town hall. This is where the rich merchant families once lived and you can still see this today in the beautiful buildings. The Untermarkt is divided into two areas and offers an impressive film set. For example, scenes from “Around the World in 80 Days” were filmed here, transforming the square into “Paris”.
Anyone who has seen the film “Inglourious Basterds” with Brad Pitt and Christoph Waltz will also discover scenes here that were filmed on the Untermarkt. This time, the square was transformed into an Italian village where a battle with resistance fighters was raging. The scene in which one of the fighters is shot from a tower is unforgettable. That was the Görlitz town hall tower.
In the film “The Book Thief”, the Untermarkt was transformed into a place of hate. A night-time book burning was filmed with hung Nazi banners.
The “Brauner Hirsch” building on Untermarkt is often used as a backdrop. In the film “The Captain” the building became the “Hotel Oranien”. In “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” there was a pharmacy here.
Disclosure: The bus tour was part of a research trip to Görlitz.