I am so chuffed that 2017’s Atomic Blonde film locations were largely authentic. I can’t remember if I have ever seen a Hollywood film utilise Berlin so prolifically as a film location.
And why not? It’s a huge, multicultural city with more history than you could shake a stick at. It must be ripe with stories and of course, Atomic Blonde uses one of the most important stories from the 1980s.
It’s 1989 and the Berlin wall is about to fall. Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) is an MI6 agent on a mission in Berlin to recover some secret documents and unveil an underground team of spies. Her search takes her all over the city of Berlin, East and West. The film also shot inside Studio Babelsberg in Potsdam (as did Inglorious Basterds (2009)) which is just outside of Berlin. However, Budapest takes credit for a lot of the Berlin wall, protest and street scenes. Yes, even the ones in London. That’s all Budapest with a bit of green screen/CGI magic.
But many of the Atomic Blonde film locations are still authentic to Berlin. Let’s take a look…
All of the Atomic Blonde Film Locations in Berlin
1. Flughafen Tempelhof Airport, Tempelhof
The Flughafen Tempelhof Airport and airfield is an old city/military airport which is now an events/museum/exhibition space. During the cold war, the airport was used for American Military transport until slightly after the end of the cold war in 1993. In Atomic Blonde, this is where Lorraine arrives in Berlin. Let’s just say it’s not the kind of airport Pan Am would normally fly into in 1989.
2. Messedamm Underpass, ICC Berlin, Westend
This is where Lorraine fights two Russian agents after they pick her up from the airport, causing their car to crash in this tunnel.
This underpass under the ICC Berlin has received a crazy amount of publicity in recent years (you know, for a frickin’ subway station) due to the number of Hollywood productions that have shot scenes there. We’re talking The Bourne Supremacy (2004), Hanna (2011), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (2015) and Captain America: Civil War (2016).
If you don’t believe me, The Guardian wrote a whole article on the Messedamm Underpass.
3. Berlin Cathedral Church/Berliner Dom
Okay, SO I don’t recall seeing the Berlin Cathedral/Berliner Dom in the Atomic Blonde. And I did keep an eagle eye out for it on my last watch. But IMDB seems confident that the Cathedral appears somewhere in Atomic Blonde. Considering it’s super near the TV tower and Alexanderplatz I have every faith that it does, at least in a passing glance. So, that’s essentially why I’ve included it on this list: blind faith in the wisdom of IMDB.
4. Kino International Cinema
Yours truly has actually been to this cinema! You can read about it in my First Timer’s Guide to Berlin Film Festival post. This cinema is one of the prettiest in Berlin, and it’s where Lorraine watched Stalker (1979) before leaving halfway to rifle through people’s coats, the dirty thief.
It’s a 1979 film in a 1989 set movie, but since it’s an Andrei Tarkovsky film it makes sense for East Berlin.
5. Berliner Zeitung Building
The Berliner Zeitung is a newspaper in Berlin and its Block House office tower block is a pretty cool filming location. I really love the revolving sign you can see in the background of this shot. Not to mention the TV tower which is super, super close and can also be seen in this Atomic Blonde filming location.
This is where Lorraine meets Merkel, a young, allied German with slicked-back hair and lots of charisma AKA. the very gorgeous Bill Skarsgård (just one woman’s opinion).
6. Berliner Fernsehturm (TV Tower)
Given that the Berliner Zeitung Building and Berlin Cathedral Church are in fairly close proximity to one of Berlin’s most iconic, tallest structures, the Berlin TV Tower, it’s no wonder it appears in the background of one or two shots.
7. Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church/Gedächtniskirche
This filming location (like the three above it) appear in Atomic Blonde within quick succession of each other. Right after the film cuts away from Lorraine on the roof of the Berliner Zeitung office building, a timelapse of this historic monument is on our screens. And David Percival is waiting right outside.
And I do love a bit of real-life continuity in films. A Carl F. Bucherer watchmaker shop is just down the road from the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church at Kurfürstendamm 45, 10719. So, it’s quite feasible he’d be smoking a cheeky cig outside the church before walking down the road to do some spying in the watch shop.
8. Burgstraße 26
Just after Lorraine sinks her car into the nearby river, she emerges on this street with a bloodied face and soaking wet hair/coat/everything. The car chase and river scenes were actually filmed in Budapest, but mere seconds later, she’s back in real life Berlin. Ah, movie magic! Actually, this filming location is also near the Berliner Dom so maybe we see it better in this scene.
One last thing…
The business card that the Russian spies give to Lorraine is for a very swanky bar she ends up visiting. The bar is called Central Cafe Und Restaurant. The address is Fasanenstraße 9-10 which, I’m sorry to say, is actually home to the Hotel Savoy in Berlin and is definitely not one of the Atomic Blonde film locations. The bar scene was actually filmed in Budapest. Sad face.
And those are all the Atomic Blonde film locations in Berlin! Have you watched the film? Let me know in the comments below!