Slovakia on the movie screen: Do you know where The Incredibly Sad Princess, Fantaghirò or Dragonheart were filmed?
Beautiful nature and historical monuments have become the backdrop of foreign film scenes several times. Not only stars from the neighbouring Czech Republic or nearby Germany and Britain, but also top Hollywood stars have filmed in Slovakia. Thanks to that, such personalities as Alessandra Martines, Kevin Sorbo, Anna Friel, Dennis Quaid or Libuše Šafránková visited the heart of Europe.
Orava Castle: Love on a Thread
If you like the fairy tale Dragonheart: A New Beginning or King Thrushbeard, then you might be aware that you can find Orava Castle in them as a backdrop. Other fairy tales that have been filmed here include Love on a Thread starring Celeste Buckingham or Thomas the Falconer. Orava Castle was also the scene of the most famous horror movie in the world - the black and white version of Dracula.
Bojnice Castle: Princess Fantaghirò, The Incredibly Sad Princess
The famous fairy tale about Princess Fantaghirò (Alessandra Martines), who fought against evil, was filmed here. In this fairy tale, the castle appears as the seat of the Black Witch. Several wedding ceremonies took place in the Golden Hall of the chateau during the filming. For this reason, the director had to repeatedly put the shooting on hold.
There was even a struggle among the Italian guests for accommodation in the castle apartment. Lamberto Bava (director) and Brigitte Nielsen (the witch) showed the greatest interest in romantic nights at the chateau. The apartment eventually went to the director and the famous actress had to be taken to the chateau in Mošovce every evening.
The fairy tale The Incredibly Sad Princess with Helena Vondráčková and Václav Neckář, or Johanka's Secret were also filmed here.
Spiš Castle: Dragonheart, Radúz and Mahulena
The ruins of Spiš Castle have appeared on the screen abroad several times. You could see them in the film The Last Legion, or Dragonheart. The latter tells the story of a knight (Dennis Quaid) and a dragon, both of whom decide to stop an evil ruler. Unforgettable is the scene where the dragon donates half of its heart to the young knight.
In the 1970s, the fairy tale Radúz and Mahulena was also shot here, starring Magda Vášáryová and Jan Tříska. Some scenes from the film Kull the Conqueror, played by the strongman Kevin Sorbo, also took place in these ruins.
Red Stone: Salt is More Precious than Gold
The underground bastion of the castle played its part in the 1982 fairy tale Salt is More Precious than Gold. The main role belonged to the beautiful Libuše Šafránková, who could also be seen in the well-known fairy tales Three Wishes for Cinderella, The Prince and the Evening Star or The Third Prince. Libuše doesn't currently accept any job offers and is fully dedicated to her family, especially her grandchildren.
Smolenický Castle: The Tale of Haling Water
There is probably no need to introduce the cult Czechoslovak fairy tale Three Golden Hairs of Grandpa Know-All (Plavčík and Vratko). The film was shot in 17 different locations in Slovakia. Štefan Skrúcaný played the role of Plaváček in the aforementioned fairy tale. The filmmakers also shot several scenes at Smolenice Castle. Aside of that, the chateau appeared for a second in the children's musical The Miracle Bus with the then rising star Darinka Rolincová. We could even see shots of the castle park in the fairy tale The Goose Girl and the King in the scene in which Martin takes Dorotka to the castle. The late first lady of Slovak humour, Magda Paveleková, visited the castle too. The audience could see her in the films Pacho, the Brigand of Hybe, Sváko Ragan or The Tales of Doggie and Moggie.
"I remember a small humorous incident with the actress Mrs. Magda Paveleková. We met by chance in front of my office. She asked me if I was the landlord. When I nodded, she started complaining that she was hungry, why was there no plate of schnitzels and if we were being besieged by the Turks. I told her I'm not to blame for the fact that the food was arranged for a certain hour. She said she didn't care about that, since the sand in our clock was about to seep through, and we had to react quickly,"
Karel Volner, one of the oldest employees at the chateau, said for LP-Life.
The fairy tale The People and Sorcerers starring Miss Czechoslovakia 1989 Ivana Christová, The Rainbow Maiden and The Miracle Nose were also filmed in the chateau. The latest Christmas fairy tale The Tale of Healing Water was filmed in 2020. The main characters were portrayed by the Czech actress Darija Pavlovičová and the Slovak Jakub Spišák.
"I'd never have thought anyone would want me to star as a princess, I'd have put my money on a witch or a devil, but I was excited nevertheless,"
Darija Pavlovičová commented.
Čachtice Castle: Bathory
There is no need to introduce Juraj Jakubisko in particular, because his films are the perfect business card. One of them is the film Bathory - a story about a bloody countess. There are several film adaptations of the story about this noblewoman. The last versions were created in 2008 and 2009. During this period, a film by Jakubisko and a French-German version of the story called La Comtesse - Lady of Čachtice were screened in cinemas. The Slovak version with an English name starring English actress Anna Friel became a work that takes place in Čachtice thanks to the Slovak production.
Devín Castle: Kull the Conqueror
The film Kull the Conqueror was shot mainly in Slovakia. It was originally intended to be a sequel to the films about Conan. Arnold Schwarzenegger, however, didn't show interest in shooting another Conan, so the screenwriters renamed the film to Kull the Conqueror. The main role was played by Kevin Sorbo, who forever entered our minds as the legendary Hercules. However, the actor doesn't have good memories of Slovakia. He suffered three strokes while filming.
Museum of the Slovak Village
Perhaps the most famous film shot here is the popular The Feather Fairy. The filming took place around Orava, Martin and Zázrivá. The most interesting place, however, was the Dobšinská Ice Cave with more than three hundred steps. The protagonist Giulietta Masina had to be brought here by mountain bearers due to her age.
The chateau became more widely known thanks to the historical series 1890. The main roles were played by Vica Kerekes, Ján Koleník, Milan Ondrík and Andrea Karnasová. The filmmakers spent about 3 months on Betliar. Strict precautions had to be observed during filming.
As the crew and actors moved around the original furniture and the art collections in the exhibition space, they were under the supervision of the curators. It was forbidden to drink, eat, sit on chairs and smoke in the chateau. If the actor was sitting on a chair, he had to be careful. If something happened to the rare furniture, it would mean incalculable damage.