"The Third Man" in Vienna: How to Celebrate the 75th Anniversary

The classic movie "The Third Man" premiered in September 1949. Check out four experiences fans can enjoy in Vienna right now.

Set in post-war Vienna, Carol Reed’s “The Third Man” is one of the most popular film classics ever shot in Austria. The iconic film noir, centering around American Holly Martins (Joseph Cotton) who arrives in the city to start a job with his friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles), only to learn that he has died, celebrates its 75th birthday this year. “The Third Man” first screened at the Ritz Cinema in Hastings, East Sussex, on 1 September 1949 and went on to win both an Oscar (Best Cinematography, Black-and-White) and a BAFTA award (“Best British Film”).  

Fans of “The Third Man” are in for a treat in Vienna, where they can not only visit some of the most famous shooting locations but also marvel at original artefacts from the film – or rewatch it at the cinema or at the Giant Ferry Wheel.  


One of the most iconic scenes towards the end of “The Third Man” sees Orson Welles as Harry Lime racing down the staircases into the sewers of post-WWI Vienna. The Third Man Canal Tour gives film fans the unique opportunity to relive this very piece of cinematic history, by taking them down the original staircase into one of Vienna’s oldest sewer systems. Projections on the walls of the 1830s-canal - which has mostly been untouched since – allow visitors a peak into the world of the sewer workers, smugglers, spies, and, of course, the movie stars. The tour ends with a rare view of the Wien River below the ground.  

The Third Man Canal Tour starts at Karlsplatz and runs from May to October (English tours available).  


This private museum close to the Naschmarkt (and the starting point of the above tour) has no less than 13 rooms with 3,000 original artifacts on display, including Anton Karas’ zither featured in the world-famous “Harry Lime theme”. The Third Man Museum also owns original screenplays, photos, cameras used on set and the cap of little Hansel. Additional highlights are a cinema projector from 1936 which plays a short sequence of “The Third Man” (the film classic was screened on a similar projector in 1950), and an interactive station where visitors can listen to 420 cover versions of the film tune. The Third Man Museum also houses an exhibition on postwar Vienna.    


Want to rewatch the classic movie in the city where it was filmed? Vienna’s Burg Kino shows “The Third Man” on selected days every week throughout the year (in English with German subtitles). And it’s not just the screening itself that is worth noting here: The Burg Kino was founded in 1912 and is now one of the oldest cinemas in the world. Unlike most cinemas in Austria, the Burg Kino shows all films in their original rather than the dubbed version. In fact, it was the only cinema in the German-speaking world to do so in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.  


Fans of “The Third Man” who are looking for a more exclusive experience can enjoy a themed dinner on the Giant Ferris Wheel in the Viennese Prater, another signature shooting location besides the canal as well as one of the city’s most famous landmarks. The package includes a three-course dinner, decorations, and Harry Lime cocktails (with gin and lime). During the dinner, the most important scenes of the classic as well as some behind-the-scenes glimpses are screened inside the cabin. The Giant Ferris Wheel boasts stunning views over the city and is the perfect way to cap a day full of (film) sightseeing in Vienna. 


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