When we say that Madrid is a film city, it is not just a simple saying. The Spanish capital has starred in scenes, and even entire films, both on the big screen and on the small screen.
Its monuments, façades and corners have been with us since cinema was cinema. That is the reason why visiting Madrid is like returning to a place you never left, even if it is the first time you set foot on its streets.
But the use of Madrid is not the exclusive right of Spaniards; productions from all over the world have the capital as a common point for filming some of their best shots.
Let's take a look at some of the best film productions that have decided to use Madrid as a backdrop, either in several scenes or for the entire plot.
Hollywood films set in Madrid
Way Down (2021)
One of the latest films to use Madrid as a backdrop. In this case, not only do they use famous locations, but the plot is set in and has the Spanish capital as its epicentre.
The film is about the robbery of the Bank of Spain by a motley crew of thieves, played by well-known national and international actors. We will see more than 1500 extras in the Plaza de Cibeles, simulating the party atmosphere of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
In addition to Cibeles, we will recognise a large number of places such as Palacio de Buenavista, Círculo de Bellas Artes, Instituto Cervantes, the National Library, Palacio de Cibeles, Metrópolis building and Calle Alcalá. A real list of all the essential places you must visit in Madrid.
The Cold Light of Day (2012)
A stellar cast, with Bruce Willis and a young Henry Cavill in the lead, will appear in this thriller that takes place almost entirely in Madrid.
Sigourney Weaver or Óscar Jaenada, will pass through Puerta del Sol, Plaza de Toros de las Ventas, Calle Alcalá, El Rastro, the best flea market in the city, or Plaza de la Independencia are just some of the places you will instantly recognise.
Although New York may win the battle in minutes on screen, Madrid has a prominent role in this film with a brilliant plot and a cast that rises to the occasion; Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor.
You will discover Instituto Cervantes, Banco de España, Plaza Mayor and streets like Alcalá and Toledo.
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
In the third, and most blockbuster, part of Jason Bourne's comings and goings, we will recognise Madrid in more than one shot, but we will also see it being interpreted.
The Spanish capital will be impersonating Turin in some of its locations. Only the real Madrileños will be able to unmask this trap.
We will see corners of Plaza de Canaletas, masterfully interpreting Turin, Calle de los Jardines, Atocha Station, and Paseo de la Castellana, as well as an aerial shot of Plaza de las Ventas.
Quantum of Solace (2008)
We are still talking about super agents, although this is the agent par excellence; James Bond. He is not the first Bond to set foot in the capital; Sean Connery and Roger Moore have already been here.
Although it does not have many great scenes, we can recognise the Royal Theatre or the Royal Palace.
And we leave other great classics behind because, if we included them all, you would spend several days reading. Watch out because they are on a par with "Spartacus", that's nothing.
Hollywood films in Madrid (With a trick)
Are they filmed in Madrid or not? The answer is yes, but... no. That is, the film crew and actors were there, but not the action.
Let's be clear. Don't get frustrated if when you see the film you recognise a street in the centre of Madrid but in the film they talk about it as if they were in Mexico, for example. That's what we mean.
In these cases, you can only enjoy the location if you know the truth.
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
As we've said before, Madrid represents Turin in an unforgettable performance. Bravo, Madrid.
Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)
Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to his beloved Spain, which reminds him so much of his beginnings with "Conan the Barbarian", in which, by the way, there was a kid called Jorge Sánz, does that ring a bell?
Like the mythical T-800, Arnold will be back, but not in Madrid, but in Mexico. Lavapiés, nominated for an Oscar for its interpretation of Mexico City, or Valdemoro, as an industrial zone in Mexico. Our locations are that versatile.
Spanish films in Madrid
This section is undoubtedly the star, because who is going to value our films more than us? We mention the most outstanding and memorable ones.
Abre los Ojos (1997)
If there is one scene from Spanish cinema in Madrid that we all have engraved in our minds, it is Eduardo Noriega walking, totally overwhelmed by the situation, along a deserted Gran Vía.
To this scene we can also add another great moment on the roof of the Torre Picasso. In addition to locations in Plaza Mayor, Paseo de la Castellana, Faro de Moncloa or Plaza de Pablo Ruiz Picasso among others.
Then Hollywood wanted to make its version with "Vanilla Sky", but without Eduardo Noriega, it's not the same.
El Día de la Bestia (1995)
Alex de la Iglesia brings us another of those moments that will remain engraved in the memory of all moviegoers. Does the light bulb go on if I tell you Carrión building, Schweppes poster and Santiago Segura not stopping laughing? It is an unforgettable scene.
The director would return to the capital for feature films such as "Las Brujas de Zugarramurdi" and "La Comunidad".
Mujeres al borde de un Ataque de Nervios (1998)
If you talk about Spanish cinema, whatever the topic of conversation, it is impossible not to mention the great Pedro Almodóvar. He has also portrayed corners of Madrid. We have chosen just one of the many films that feature Madrid as a backdrop, such as "Volver" or "Hable con Ella".
Telefónica building or Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas airport are scenes from the film, just to name a few that have not yet appeared.
El Guardián Invisible (2017)
Kicking off the Baztan trilogy, The Invisible Guardian tells us the beginning of the inspector Amaia Salazar in Madrid, before moving to Elizondo and Lesaka.
The Hospital Clínico Veterinario de la Avenida Puerta de Hierro or Pabellón multiusos de Madrid Arena are some of the familiar facilities that we can see in this fantastic film, as well as places like Calle Atocha and Embajadores.
Again we leave out some classics such as "La Colmena" from 1982 which had a stellar cast and was based on the novel by Camilo José Cela, "La Cabina" a must-see from Jose Luis López Vázquez's collection and "El Crack" directed by Jose Luis Garci, among other films.
As well as more contemporary ones such as “Las Trece Rosas”, “Lucía y el sexo”, “Stockholm” or the comedy “El Otro Lado de la Cama”.