With Brian De Palma in the director’s seat, ‘Mission Impossible’ is a cerebral and fast-paced action thriller movie filled with surprises at every turn. Based on the popular television series by Bruce Geller, the espionage film follows Ethan Hunt, a valued asset at the Impossible Missions Force (IMF), as he gets plunged into a sinister conspiracy. After a mission goes awry, Ethan has to face the bulk of the blame, but he senses there may be a mole in the troop.
While running from the authorities, Ethan must discover the mole’s identity and clear his name. The narrative, which kickstarts a classic franchise, unfolds in locations in Prague and England. However, if you are eager to find out where ‘Mission: Impossible’ was filmed, allow us to be your guide.
Mission: Impossible Filming Locations
‘Mission: Impossible’ was filmed in locations in and around the Czech Republic, the UK, and the US, especially in Prague, London, and Illinois. Principal photography commenced on March 13, 1995, seemingly coming to a close on August 8 of the same year. Stephen H. Burum of ‘The Untouchables’ fame came on board as the director of photography.
At the same time, legendary production designer Norman Reynolds (‘Star Wars,’ ‘Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Arc’) filled every scene with little details and surprises. De Palma convinced Tom Cruise to set the movie in Prague since the city was rarely explored in Hollywood at that time. Let us now take you to the specific locations where the movie was lensed.
Prague, Czech Republic
The botched mission from the movie’s early moments takes place in Prague, and subsequently, those scenes were also lensed in the iconic European city. The sequence entailing Jim falling into the Vltava river was filmed in Prague’s historic Old Town neighborhood, especially the Charles Bridge. The medieval stone arch bridge was built under the auspices of King Charles IV, and its aura remains unchanged even after so many centuries.
Following the collapse of the Akvarium restaurant, Ethan heads to the Old Town Square of Prague. The production also took place in the Liechtenstein Palace on the Kampa Island in the Vltava River in central Prague. Located at U Sovových mlýnů 506/4, the Baroque architecture palace is one of the two palaces on the island that formerly belonged to the Princely Family of Liechtenstein. Unfortunately, it is permanently closed to the public, so you may not be able to visit the castle in person.
Additional portions were taped in The National Museum of Prague (also known as the Národní Muzeum). Located at Václavské nám. 68, in the New Town (Nové Město) part of the city, the museum enriched with historical artifacts stands in for the US embassy in the movie. A portion of the filming took place in Grand Hotel Evropa, a landmark Art Nouveau hotel located at the famous Wenceslas Square in the city. Since its inception in 1889, the hotel has served the global populace touring the city.
A significant chunk of shooting took place in and around the iconic metropolis of London. For the purpose of filming, the cast and crew charted the entire length of the Big Smoke, setting up shoots in multiple landmark locations. When Kittridge arrives in London riding a helicopter, we see a glimpse of the iconic Tower Bridge, a combined bascule and suspension bridge situated over the River Thames.
Some filming in the city took place in County Hall, a landmark building that was the former seat of the London County Council (LCC) and later the Greater London Council (GLC). Located on the South Bank of the river, in the neighborhood of Lambeth, the construct features Edwardian Baroque architecture. Ethan’s phone call scene under the clock was filmed in the Liverpool Street Station, a London Underground station located on Liverpool Street, in the central London neighborhood of Broadgate.
Shortly after, Ethan and Jim have a rendezvous at a cafe, and the sequence was recorded at the former Ponti’s Cafe. Once located at Liverpool Street Station, the Italian eatery has since been closed off. However, among the London locations that you can visit is Anchor Bankside, a bustling pub located at 34 Park Street in the Southwark neighborhood of the city. Some scenes were filmed at Tate Britain (the former National Gallery of British Art), an iconic art gallery located on Millbank in the City of Westminster.
Other Locations in England
Most of the exterior shots of the train were lensed in the southwest of Scotland. Regardless, many interior scenes were shot at Buckinghamshire’s Pinewood Studios, on a stage against a blue screen. Located on Pinewood Road, in the Slough neighborhood of Iver Heath, the studio features a world-class ambiance for cinematic productions.
From ‘Mamma Mia!‘ to several movies in the ‘James Bond‘ franchise, Pinewood Studios has been home to global scale productions. Additional filming took place in the township of Fleet, in the Hart District of Hampshire. The township serves as a dormitory town for London and Reading while being home to some of the best golf courses in the country.
Scotland, the UK
A great deal of filming, including the train sequences, went underway in Scotland. The production team had some difficulty finding a railway that would allow them to perform stunts. Cruise suggested using the French high-speed rail service TGF, but the authorities did not want the actions to be performed on their trains. De Palma undertook a journey chronicling two continents to find the ideal rail network where the scenes could be taped. The exterior scenes were recorded at the Glasgow South Western Line, a central railway line in Scotland between New Cumnock, Dumfries, and Annan.
The cast and crew then headed to the US, especially to the midwestern state of Illinois, to lens some more scenes. Filming in the state took place in the cities of Chicago and Champaign. The shooting of a few sequences took place at the Drake Hotel, a luxurious four-star hotel located at 140 East Walton Place in downtown Chicago. From ‘Risky Business’ to ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding,’ many classic Hollywood titles were filmed on the hotel premises.
Other Locations in the US
Filming also went underway in various locations in the US as the production team went through some reshoots. The unit captured a few scenes in the Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah. Located just outside the township of Moab, the park features a dramatic view of the Colorado River and the canyons. The cast and crew then headed to the southern state of Virginia, where they captured several scenes in the unincorporated community of McLean.
Situated in Fairfax County in Northern Virginia, the community is fraught with history, as home to former plantation houses. Lastly, the crew visited Washington DC, where a few more sequences were taped. As the seat of the administration in the US, Washington DC hosts tourists and filming crews all around the year.
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