Quentin Tarantino attempted to sidestep a copyright issue (most likely) by rearranging a few vowels in his World War II movie. And he tried to hoodwink us again! Chapter one’s title card might read “Once Upon a Time in Nazi-occupied France’ but the Inglourious Basterds filming locations are all (but one) located in Germany.
Inglourious Basterds (2009) is a fictional WWII drama and, in classic Tarantino fashion, there are a few storylines that crisscross now and again. Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) forms a team of vengeful Jewish men to scalp Nazi officers. Undercover German actress Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) attempts to bring down top Third Reich leaders. And Shoshanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent), cinema owner, seeks ventage against the Nazis for her family’s demise.
Tarantino shot many of Inglourious Basterds’ scenes in Studio Babelsberg, Potsdam which is near Berlin. But there are some great Inglourious Basterds locations in Germany and one in France, too. So let’s see where they are!
Where Was Inglourious Basterds Filmed?
Inglourious Basterds Filming Locations in Germany
1. Hertigswalde, Sebnitz
The film opens in 1941 on a farm in the French countryside. But in reality, it is along the Hertigswalde road on the outskirts of Sebnitz, a town on the German-Czech border. It’s not far from the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. This is the scene where SS Hans “The Jew Hunter” Landa (Christoph Waltz) interrogates a farmer about the whereabouts of a missing Jewish family. He kills all but one, Shoshanna, who escapes.
Unfortunately, you cannot visit or even see this Inglourious Basterds filming location from afar! The exterior was a set and Tarantino shot the interior in the studio.
2. Fort Hahneberg, Berlin
Chapter two is also the title of the film: Inglourious Basterds. Here, the movie introduces us to Lt. Aldo Raine and his eight Jewish American soldiers. They are posing as civilians in France with the sole purpose of killing Nazis. The scene where they are tormenting the Nazi soldiers looks like they are deep in the countryside, but the US soldiers are actually in Berlin.
Fort Hahneberg dates back to 1888, only a few years after Germany became a republic. Now, tourists are able to book guided tours of the old underground Barracks which were one of the last to be built in a traditional Prussian style (with some modern extensions, as you can see from the photo below).
3. Lucius D. Clay Headquarters, Berlin
During chapter two, Inglourious Basterds cuts to Hitler having a hissy fit over Raine and his band of merry murderers. Hitler’s office is the interior of the Lucious D. Clay Headquarters in Berlin. This is where Private Butz, the only Nazi officer to survive the Basterds’ torment, recounts the gory details. General Clay is the top dog who oversaw Occupied Germany after WWII. The Nazis originally built this HQ, but now it houses lots of classified US documents so large swaths of the building remain unopen to the public.
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4. Cafe Einstein Stammhaus, Berlin
While working at her cinema, Shoshanna is whisked away by German officers to Cafe Einstein Stammhaus in Berlin (standing in as a random fancy restaurant in Paris, of course). It is here Frederick and Joseph Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda, inform her that the cinema will be hosting the premiere of his next propaganda film, Nation’s Pride. The subject of which is Private Frederick’s heroic actions in Sicily.
She also comes face to face with Hans Landa, the man who murdered her family, as he forces her to eat strudel with him.
5. Kleb- und Gießharztechnik Dr. Ludeck GmbH: Phenolharze, Polyimide, Polyacrylate & Co, Rüdersdorf
By now, you may have realised that the Inglourious Basterds cinema is, unfortunately, not a real cinema. A huge plot point is that the cinema burns down and I believe people frown upon destroying authentic art deco cinemas for the sake of a movie.
The production built the exterior set on Marlene-Dietrich-Halle in Studio Babelsberg. But a former chemical plant near Rüdersdorf housed the fire-proof interior of the Inglourious Basterds movie theatre. And it is a real shame because I absolutely love visiting gorgeous cinemas from films! The next best thing is the Filmpalast Görlitz (now a Cinestar) which looks strikingly similar and may have been the inspiration behind Shoshanna’s Le Gamaar Inglourious Basterds theatre.
6. Krampnitz Barracks, Potsdam
We have now arrived at chapter four, Operation Kino. Lt. Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender) meets General Ed Fenech (Mike Myers) and, of course, Winston Churchill. Because why wouldn’t Churchill be sitting at a grand piano about 300 yards away from two soldiers having a chat across an old drawing-room in England?
Tarantino shot it at the old Krampnitz Barracks in Potsdam, a city very near Berlin. The Nazis built these Barracks in 1937 and the Soviets abandoned them in 1992. Most of the buildings are off-limits to the public as they are derelict and dangerous, but I bet they are absolutely fascinating to wander around. The Men Who Stare at Goats (2004) also shot scenes here.
7. Neue Straße 29, Nauen
Lt. Hicox is posted to a small town called Nadine, a (fictional) place 24km outside of Paris. General Fenech tells him he is to meet the Basterds at a basement bar called La Louisiane where they will assist him. The real Inglourious Basterds filming location is Neue Straße 29 in the German town of Nauen. Looks like a gorgeous town to me! Of course, Tarantino shot the bar scene’s interior in the studio.
8. Clärchens Ballhaus, Berlin
Before the premiere, Hans Landa captures Aldo the Apache and the Little Man and transports them to an undisclosed restaurant in Paris. The conversation takes a surprising turn when Landa decides to help Aldo and his pals kill the highest-ranking German soldiers and end the Third Reich. The restaurant where they are sitting is the Italian-German live music venue and restaurant Clärchens Ballhaus in Berlin. The place has barely changed so you could probably sit at their exact table!
9. City Council Town Hall, Untermarkt, Görlitz
So, we finally get to view the masterpiece Nation’s Pride, the film within the film. The Inglourious Basterds locations used for this short film are all in the gorgeous town of Görlitz on the German-Polish border which featured heavily in The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). The “heroic” events happened in Sicily, but I don’t believe the Nazis cared much about authenticity.
Untermarkt outside Görlitz’s Town Hall (where Frederick is positioned) and Obermarkt appear as filming locations in Nation’s Pride. In fact, the town hall had to close for four days while Tarantino filmed scenes here.
Inglourious Basterds Filming Locations in France
10. Bistrot La Renaissance, Paris (18th arrondissement)
The only authentic Inglourious Basterds location is Bistrot La Renaissance in Paris’s 18th arrondissement. It is 1944 and the cinema owner Emmanuelle (actually Shoshanna under another identity) is reading in this bistro when Nazi soldier Frederick Zoller (Daniel Brühl) spies her through the window.
Bistrot La Renaissance appeared in Le Sangue Des Autres (1984) which Tarantino saw and discovered that the restaurant had remained virtually unchanged for decades. It’s a classic French restaurant that opened back in la belle epoque.
And those are all the top Inglourious Basterds filming locations in Germany and France. Have you watched the movie or visited any of the locations? Let me know in the comments below!
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