The Third Man, 1949


Carol Reed


visit the film locations

Vienna: Flights: Vienna International Airport

You can take guided Third Man walking tours of the city. For latest details on visiting the famous sewer system (hey, what else would you want to do on your holiday?), consult the Vienna Tourist Board.

Holly Martins got himself a good deal, so unless you have a pal in British Intelligence to foot the bill, you'll have to shell out big bucks today to stay at the luxurious Hotel Sacher Wien, Philharmonikerstrasse 4 (tel: 0222.514560), behind the Opera House. But you know it's worth it.

Catch a performance at Josefstadt Theatre, Josefstadterstrasse 26 (tel: 0222.4025127).

Despite the real cafe not being seen in the movie, it's still forever associated with the film ("Cafe Mozart, eight'o'clock" hisses Jim Dale in Carry On Spying). Cafe Mozart, Albertinaplatz 2.


Prater, Vienna’s huge park which houses the famous ferris wheel, is featured in 1987 Bond movie The Living Daylights and in Fred Zinneman’s The Day of the Jackal.

The Third Man filming location: Riesenrad, Prater, Vienna, Austria

The Third Man filming location: Harry Lime’s “cuckoo clock” speech on the ferris wheel: Riesenrad, Prater, Vienna, Austria

Providing one of the first and most famous film location tours, fans of the Carol Reed classic have been visiting the setting of Vienna for many years. The city, as press releases love to say, is almost another character in the film.

Naive Western writer Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) arrives in war-ravaged Vienna on the promise of a job from his friend, the shady Harry Lime (Orson Welles).

Graham Greene’s story is given heavy expressionist treatment with wildly tilting camera angles. After seeing the film, veteran director William Wyler sent Carol Reed a spirit level.

The movie makes great use of the rubble-strewn city, though some interiors were reconstructed at Shepperton Studios in London.

Arriving at Westbahnhof, Europaplatz (Vienna’s West Railway Station, from which he later goes to watch Anna Schmidt (Alida Valli) leave), Martins is taken to Harry Lime’s apartment building, which is supposedly ‘15 Stiftgasse’.

The palatial building, though, with its statuesque entrance, is Palais Pallavicini, Josefsplatz 5, which is where Martins learns his pal died after being hit by a truck. Lime is – apparently – being buried with the great and the good in Vienna’s Central Cemetery, the Zentral-Friedhof, Simmeringen Hauptstrasse in District 11.

A deleted shot, intended to establish the locale, panned across the memorials of celeb internees Brahms and Beethoven. Music lovers can also pay homage at the graves of Schubert and the Strausses.

At the funeral, Martins meets English intelligence officer Major Calloway (Trevor Howard), who arranges for him to stay at the venerable Hotel Sacher Wien, Philharmonikerstrasse 4, behind the Opera House. At today’s top-of-the-range rates, that’s a pretty generous offer.

Martins meets Lime’s sinisterly camp friend, Kurtz, at another Viennese institution, the Cafe Mozart. Although the scene was not actually filmed at the cafe, but nearby, on Tegetthofstrasse at Neuer Markt, you’ll probably want to visit anyway: Cafe Mozart, Albertinaplatz 2.

And, like Holly Martins, going to see Anna, you can still attend performances at the Josefstadt Theatre, Josefstadterstrasse 26 (tel: 0222/4025127); or spend some time at the Casanova Club, Dorotheergasse 6, where Martins meets Kurtz and the second man to witness Lime’s ‘accident’, Popescu.

You can take a stroll on the Reichsbrucke, over the Danube, but it’s not the same bridge on which Dr Winkel meets up with Kurtz, Popescu and the mysterious third man. A sleek, modern structure has replaced the the original suspension bridge, which collapsed in the 1970s.

The Third Man filming location: Schreyvogelgasse, Vienna, Austria

The Third Man filming location: Harry Lime’s mysterious entrance in the doorway: Schreyvogelgasse, Vienna, Austria

Harry Lime finally makes his long-awaited entrance, a kitten nibbling the laces of his shoes (the laces having been coated with pilchard) in the ornate doorway at 8 Schreyvogelgasse. The unpredictable Orson Welles proved to be almost as elusive as Lime himself, and wasn’t always available for filming. As the sly racketeer scoots off into the night, the shadow on the wall is actually that of assistant director Guy Hamilton, who went on to helm several Bond movies, including Goldfinger and The Man With The Golden Gun.

The vast, cobbled square, in which Lime disappears, is Am Hof. Disappointingly, you won’t see the central kiosk, which hides the entrance to the sewers, which was no more than a prop erected for the film.

Lime comes to meet Martins at the big wheel (where Orson Welles gives his, allegedly, self-penned ‘cuckoo clock’ speech). The Riesenrad, the Grand Ferris Wheel, erected in 1896 and restored in 1948 after war damage, still stands in the Prater, Vienna’s huge park in District 2, between the Danube and the Danube Canal (subway: Praterstern). The park and the wheel are featured again in 1987 Bond movie The Living Daylights.

Finally convinced of Lime’s villainy, Martins colludes with the trap, set at Hoher Markt, the oldest square in Vienna, with its elaborate 17th-century nuptial fountain. Lime retreats into the sewers beneath the city, where his career is cut short.

You can tour the sewer system, if you like. For latest details, consult the Vienna Tourist Board, or take guided Third Man walking tours of the city.

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