Mission: Impossible, 1996


Brian De Palma


visit the film locations

London: Flights: Heathrow Airport; Gatwick Airport

Liverpool Street Station, Liverpool Street at Bishopsgate, EC2, is a mainly commuter station, serving Essex, East Anglia and Stansted Airport (tube: Liverpool Street, Central, Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City Lines)

The Anchor Bankside, 34 Park Street, SE1

Prague: Prague Airport

Tourism: Prague Tourist Information

Hotel Europa, Václavské nám 25 on Wenceslas Square (tel: 420.224.215.387)

Národní Muzeum, Natural History Museum, Václavské nám 68: Information for visitors


Prague is becoming a top filming location: see it in films as diverse as Amadeus, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Van Helsing and XXX.

See London’s Liverpool Street Station before modernisation, in all its crumbling Victorian grandeur, in David Lynch’s The Elephant Man. In 1969 international thriller The File of the Golden Goose, for scenes set in the north of England, a crafty bit of framing turns the building into ‘Liverpool Station’

Mission: Impossible location: National Museum, Prague

Mission: Impossible location: the ‘embassy’: National Museum, Prague

Photograph: Glen Platts

It doesn’t matter that this breathless adventure hardly pauses to make sense with kinetic director Brian De Palma pulling out all the stops, and then some.

The film was shot mainly in Prague and London. The ‘embassy’, where the doomed first operation begins, is the rather rundown Natural History Museum, Václavské nám 68 in Prague. The same interior becomes the lobby of a grand ‘Venetian’ hotel in Casino Royale.

As the mission falls apart, controller Jim Phelps (Jon Voight) falls into the Vltava River from the famous Charles Bridge.

Mission: Impossible location: Charles Bridge, Prague

Mission: Impossible location: Phelps plunges into the River Vltava: Charles Bridge, Prague

Photograph: Glen Platts

Other Prague locations include Wenceslas Square at the centre of the old town and the Lichtenstein Palace, Malostranské nám 13 on Kampa Island.

The art deco HQ of villain Max (Vanessa Redgrave) is the Hotel Europa, Václavské nám 25, also on Wenceslas Square.

Mission: Impossible location: Europa Hotel, Prague

Mission: Impossible location: Max’s HQ, Europa Hotel, Prague

Photograph: Glen Platts

The exterior of the CIA Building in Langley, Virginia is the real thing, but the interior is London’s old County Hall, on the south bank. The London safe house in which Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and Franz Krieger (Jean Reno) hole up, is above Liverpool Street underground station, Liverpool Street at Broad Street, EC2, and Hunt meets up with Phelps nearby, on Liverpool Street Railway Station, mightily revamped since its dilapidated appearance in David Lynch’s The Elephant Man. The row of telephones, where Hunt and Phelps meet, has been replaced by cashpoint machines.

Mission: Impossible location: Liverpool Street Underground Station, Liverpool Street, London EC2

Mission: Impossible location: the safe house: Liverpool Street Underground Station, Liverpool Street, London EC2

The supposedly ‘cross-channel’ railway climax, which so infuriated train buffs, were filmed in Scotland, on stretches of line between Annan and Dumfries, and Dumfries and New Cumnock.

The terrace pub, where Ethan finally unwinds, is the Anchor Tavern, Bankside on London’s south bank by Southwark Bridge. A historic area of the city – nearby are Tate Modern (formerly the Bankside Power Station) and the re-creation of Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, the culmination of years of campaigning by the late actor and director Sam Wanamaker.

Mission: Impossible location: Anchor Tavern, Bankside, London SE1

Mission: Impossible location: Chilling out after the chase: Anchor Tavern, Bankside, London SE1

In Shakespeare’s day, Southwark, then outside the bounds of the city, was the red-light and entertainment district. Brothels, taverns, bear-baiting and cockfighting flourished, along with the new-fangled entertainment form that marked the end of civilised values – the theatre. Apart from the rebuilt Globe, you can view the remains of The Rose, a genuine Elizabethan playhouse, where Shakespeare’s earliest plays were performed.

In 1666, an exhausted Samuel Pepys watched resignedly from the Anchor as the Great Fire of London consumed the city across the river.

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