The 1966 Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Film, “Closely Watched Trains” is a charming look at the life a young train conductor during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. He is ineptly led into an erotic encounter with a beautiful girl and fails to perform. But this unlikely hero takes a stand when his village is threatened by the occupying German Army.
This classic fairy tale adaptation was a favorite among Czech youth in the 1970s. Cinderella is harassed by her stepmother and stepsisters, but when a handsome prince comes knocking, the she doesn’t quickly fall into the prince’s arms. In this version, he must actively pursue the young woman, who is a skilled sharpshooter and fancies hunting outfits! Cinderella also has three wishes at her disposal, gained from three magic nuts.
Director Matej Minac’s debut feature relates the trials and tribulations faced by a Czech-Jewish family during World War II. It’s also the real-life story of Nicholas Winton, a righteous gentile who saved hundreds of Jewish children from certain death at the hands of the Nazis. Moments of pure horror are balanced with heroic acts in this gripping saga of one ordinary man who took extraordinary risks.
Czech pilot Franta Slama (Ondrej Vetchy) and his young protégé, Karel Vojtisek (Krystof Hadek), escape Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia to join the British Royal Air Force in fighting the Germans. A father-son relationship develops between the two, and after three months of training, they’re both finally sent into combat. But the stress of the war, plus their mutual love for a married English woman, tests their strong friendship.
During the dark days of World War II, a Czechoslovakian couple grudgingly agrees to shelter a Jewish escapee from a concentration camp in their tiny apartment. Filled with pungent humor and universal truths about the fragility of the human condition, director Jan Hrebejk skirts a fine line between comedy and tragedy in what Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times calls, “a poignant, humanistic and irresistibly comic film.”
Frantisek Hana (Vlastimil Brodsky) is a 75-year-old Czech man who refuses to believe his days are nearly over — even as his ever-practical wife prepares for their impending death. He doesn’t want to while away his last few years on earth living like a hopeless, aged crone. As a tonic, he spends as much time as he can with his friend Eda, engaging in pranks and other frivolities to infuse hope into his daily existence.
This gorgeously shot World War II drama tells the story of a clash between two different worlds and two different people. Eliska, a nurse in a city hospital, donates her blood to save the life of injured mountain-dweller Joza, and the two form a strong bond. When the resistance group Eliska belongs to is discovered by the Gestapo, she’s forced to seek refuge with Joza, leaving her urban life behind and starting anew in the remote mountains.
When a group of small-town firemen find out that their chief is retiring, they organize a party to end all parties. But as soon as the celebration commences, the attendees experience one disaster after another, including stolen raffle prizes, unwilling beauty contestants and even a fire. This Czechoslovakian comedy — the last film director Milos Forman made in his native country — received an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Milos Forman directs this mood-pleasing working-class drama in which a naive factory worker falls in love after a one-night stand with a visiting pianist from Prague.
While vacationing in a quiet resort town, three middle-aged friends (Rudolf Hrusinsky, Vlastimil Brodsky and Frantisek Rehak) are joined by a tightrope walker named Ernie the Conjurer (director Jiri Menzel) and his lovely young assistant, Anna (Jana Preissova). But the girl’s presence has the unfortunate side effect of throwing everyone’s life out of balance. This critically acclaimed Czech comedy is based on the novel by Vladislav Vancura.
Based on the legendary novel by Czech humorist Jaroslav Hasek, Good Soldier Schweik stands alongside Catch 22 and MASH as a riotous satire on the futility of war. In this absurdist comedy, the dim-witted Schweik (Heinz Ruhmann), a less-than-willing participant in the Austrian Army during World War I, doesn’t exactly take his place alongside such heroes as Napoleon, but he eventually does triumph … sort of. Karel Stekly directs.
Well-meaning soldier Schweik (Rudolf Hrusinsky) returns in this sequel to the uproarious first film based on Jaroslav Hasek’s novel. Europe’s own Forrest Gump, Schweik is back in action after causing mayhem galore in the first film. Always ready, willing and able, Schweik ambles through his military days unaware of the serious changes going on about him, successfully wreaking havoc with his superiors and the army despite his good intentions.
A renowned cellist in the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, middle-aged bachelor Frantisek Louka (Zdenek Sverak) is reduced to playing funerals at the city crematorium. Strapped for cash, Louka indulges himself by having sex with other men’s wives. On the eve of the 1989 “Velvet Revolution,” Louka has no idea that more than political turmoil is imminent; the personal revolution he’s about to experience is just as unpredictable.
An inept Slovak peasant is torn between greed and guilt when the corrupt, Nazi-backed bosses of his small town appoint him “Aryan controller” of an old Jewish widow’s button shop. Humor and tragedy fuse in this scathing exploration of one cowardly man complicity in the horrors of a totalitarian regime.
Writer-director Jirí Menzel helms this bittersweet fable of Jan Dite (Ivan Barnev), an opportunistic young waiter in pre-World War II Czechoslovakia. Shrewdly attaching himself to the rich and famous, Dite dreams of one day owning his own hotel. When a tragedy unexpectedly delivers his wish, Dite discovers that hanging on to his dream is even harder than achieving it. Julia Jentsch and Martin Huba co-star.
After enduring a vivid nightmare in which he’s dragged off to an insane asylum, a young man (Pavel Liska) is forced to face his greatest fears in this haunting philosophical horror film from Czech director Jan Svankmajer. A bizarre blend of live action and stop-motion animation, the film is based on the works of the Marquis de Sade and a pair of stories by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Premature Burial” and “The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether.”
Monika (Tatiana Vilhelmova), Tonik (Pavel Liska) and Dasha (Anna Geislerova) are three friends from a small working-class Czech town. Living in a depressed cloud of industrialization spewed from one of the country’s largest chemical factories, the trio dreams of a brighter life, each of the three finding solace through love, fantasy or escape. Ultimately, comfort and happiness surface as they learn to accept the things they cannot change.
Human traffickers Goran and Milan (Zdenek Suchy and Jan Budar) ferry a truckload of illegal aliens into the Czech Republic and then learn that one of their passengers has misplaced a baby. Intent on profiting from the mishap, they sell the child to Lubos and Eman (Marek Daniel and Pavel Liska), two petty thieves who run a black-market adoption agency. Jan Hrebejik directs this dark take on life in post-Soviet-controlled Czechoslovakia.
In 2003, filmmakers Filip Remunda and Vit Klusak masterminded and documented the largest consumer hoax in the history of the Czech Republic, a scam that drew thousands to a megamarket that didn’t actually exist. Publicized by a renowned advertising agency via countless radio spots, fliers and more than 400 illuminated billboards, the store turned out to be nothing but a movie studio-quality facade in the center of a big green field.
Join the white dove as it wings its way home on an epic odyssey to the coast of the Baltic Sea. After losing its way, the dove alights in Prague, where it’s rescued by an artist and gradually nursed back to health by a small boy. Throughout its journey, the bird changes the lives of almost everyone it encounters. It’s an uplifting story about the precious freedom we all share.
A natural disaster forces Marcela (Anna Geislerová) and her husband, Jarda (Roman Luknár), to make difficult choices in this powerful drama from Czech director Jan Hrebejk. To make ends meet, a desperate Jarda resorts to stripping stolen cars, but Marcela can’t accept his new life. She moves in with her parents, becomes involved with a wealthy older man, and must choose between a life of quiet security and her turbulent, but passionate, marriage.
American Movies Made in the Czech Republic (Americke Filmy Natocene v Ceske Republice)
Location: Prague and Kromeriz
F. Murray Abraham earned a Best Actor Oscar for his imperious performance as Antonio Salieri, a mediocre composer whose churlish young rival, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce), wins immortality with his musical genius. Salieri, not happy to see his talent eclipsed, deviously plots revenge. Sly and compelling from start to finish, Amadeus also won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director (Milos Forman).
Milan Kundera’s acclaimed novel about a womanizing Czech doctor in the 1960s gets fine treatment from director Philip Kaufman. Although Tomas (Daniel Day-Lewis) is adept at juggling girlfriends Juliette Binoche and Lena Olin, he has a tougher time following the dictates (or lack thereof) of his political conscience. But when Soviet tanks rumble through Prague in 1968, all their lives are changed forever.
Location: Prague and Kromeriz
Through a series of flashbacks, director Bernard Rose investigates the artistic and romantic passions of Ludwig van Beethoven (Gary Oldman). After the master composer’s death, a lifelong friend (Jeroen Krabbé) finds a letter mentioning Beethoven’s “immortal beloved,” and he sets out to discover the identity of the apparent muse. The film’s finale features a magical encapsulation of Beethoven’s life and loves set to his “Ode to Joy.”
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is the leader of a crack espionage team whose perilous operation goes awry. Now a fugitive, Hunt finds that a mole has penetrated the CIA, and Hunt himself is the No. 1 suspect. To clear his name, Hunt must ferret out the real double agent and even the score in director Brian De Palma’s big-screen remake of the popular 1960s TV series. Gadgets, effects, and spectacular action sequences abound.
Location: Praha, Kutna Hora, Zatec, and Vrbno
Adapted from Victor Hugo’s classic novel of forgiveness and redemption, Les Miserables chronicles the life of Jean Valjean (Liam Neeson), an ex-con trying desperately to live a decent life. Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush is brilliant as Javert, the inspector who has no intention of letting Valjean escape his past. This version of the oft-filmed classic stays faithful to the source material and features stunning location shooting (Paris and Prague).
The classic role-playing game comes to life in this magical adventure. The empire of Izmer is a divided land: Elite magicians called Mages rule while lowly commoners are powerless. When Empress Savina (Thora Birch) vows to bring equality and prosperity to her land, the evil Mage Profion (Jeremy Irons) plots to depose her. But this good-vs.-evil battle is no game!
Robert Redford and Brad Pitt reunite in this espionage thriller from director Tony Scott. On the verge of retiring from the CIA, veteran spy Nathan Muir (Redford) learns that his one-time protégé and close friend, Tom Bishop (Pitt), is a political prisoner sentenced to die in Beijing. Although their friendship has been marred by bad blood and resentment, Muir agrees to take on the most dangerous mission of his career and rescue Bishop.
Location: Czech Republic
Rock ‘n’ roll meets The Canterbury Tales when a squire (Heath Ledger) befriends an aspiring writer and persuades him to forge documents that will pass off the squire as a knight of noble birth. With his new “history” in hand, the erstwhile squire finds romance and enters jousting competitions far and wide — all set to the infectious beat of contemporary pop tunes.
A movie that posits the true identity of Jack the Ripper, From Hell stars Johnny Depp as an opium-huffing inspector from Scotland Yard who falls for one of the Ripper’s prostitute targets (Heather Graham). The directing Hughes brothers laudably attempt to break out of their pigeonhole as “black directors” and demonstrate (like Ang Lee) that they can genre-bend with the best of them. Not for the squeamish!
Location: Prague, Dobri, Kutna Hora, Lednice, Valtice
18th century French countess Jeanne de la Motte Valois (Hilary Swank) and her family have had their royal title stripped by the crown in this tale of intrigue and corruption based on a true story. Determined to restore her good name and privilege, Jeanne schemes with her lover, Retaux de Villette (Simon Baker), her husband, Nicolas (Adrien Brody), and a mysterious Italian count (Christopher Walken) to obtain a diamond necklace worth millions.
Vin Diesel reunites with The Fast and the Furious director Rob Cohen for another high-octane, action-packed thrill ride! Xander “XXX” Cage (Diesel), a notorious underground thrill-seeker heretofore deemed untouchable by the law, is coerced by NSA Agent Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) to cooperate with the government and infiltrate a Russian crime ring; if XXX succeeds, Gibbons promises to keep him out of prison.
Location: Prague, Milovice, Zvoloneves
In a place where lies keep men alive, one man must find the truth — whatever the cost. An African-American pilot in a German POW camp is accused of murdering one of his fellow inmates, and Lt. Tommy Hart (Colin Farrell) must defend him. But Hart’s superiors (including Bruce Willis) caution the young officer that digging too deep could expose secrets that would mean death to all the camp’s prisoners.
A man (Matt Damon) washes up on an island in the Mediterranean Sea, suffering from gunshot wounds and amnesia. He soon realizes he’s being hunted down by assassins and that he’s very good at killing them before they get him … but the question of his identity perplexes him as he fights to stay alive. Franka Potente co-stars in this action thriller based on Robert Ludlum’s novel.
Recognizing that they’re powerless to stop vampire hunter Blade (Wesley Snipes), the vampires who rule the human race set up Blade to look like a serial killer, immediately prompting the FBI to go after him. But more trouble brews: Just as Blade realizes he’s being pursued, Dracula (Dominic Purcell), the biggest bloodsucker of all time, is released, forcing Blade to enlist the help of a dream team of vampire killers known as the Nightstalkers.
Veteran CIA agent Gaylord Oakes (Sir Anthony Hopkins) hooks up with street-smart bookie Jake Hayes (Chris Rock), who’s been asked to replace his murdered, Harvard-educated, superspy twin brother on a top-secret mission. Oakes has only nine days to train Hayes in what can only be described as a “mission: improbable”!
Vampires and werewolves have waged a nocturnal war against each other for centuries. But all bets are off when a female vampire warrior named Selene (Kate Beckinsale), who’s famous for her strength and werewolf-hunting prowess, becomes smitten with a peace-loving male werewolf, Michael (Scott Speedman), who wants to end the war. Think Romeo and Juliet with a big hickey!
Location: Prague, Karlovy Vary, Kutna Hora, Hluboka Castle
The dynamic duo of Chon Wang (Jackie Chan) and Roy O’Bannon (Owen Wilson) is back for another crazy adventure in this sequel to Shanghai Noon. This time, they’re in London to avenge the murder of Chon’s father. Chon’s sister (Fann Wong) is there to do the same, but instead unearths a plot to kill the royal family. No one believes her, though, and it’s up to Chon and Roy (who has romance on his mind… ) to prove her right.
Sean Connery heads a cast that includes Peta Wilson and Stuart Townsend in this action-adventure based loosely on Alan Moore’s graphic novel. In Victorian England, a madman is hell-bent on destroying the world, and only an auspicious league of literary heroes — among them Allan Quatermain, Tom Sawyer and Captain Nemo — can stop him. Will they succeed?
Vampire hunter extraordinaire Dr. Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) travels to a mysterious region of Eastern Europe on a quest to vanquish the big three — Count Dracula (Richard Roxburgh), the Wolf Man (Will Kemp) and Frankenstein’s Monster (Shuler Hensley). On hand is his intrepid assistant Anna (Kate Beckinsale), the heir to a family committed to hunting down and destroying the Count. Based on author Bram Stoker’s character that appeared in Dracula.
Location: Prague and some castles
College freshman Paige (Julia Stiles) is a force of nature (she likes to tear around on motorcycles). No sooner does she hit campus than she meets and sparks with one of her classmates, Eddie (Luke Mably). But she’s clueless that he’s actually a Danish prince spending a year hiding in America disguised as a regular guy. Martha Coolidge directs this winning comedy, a charming update of the classic Cinderella tale.
This fast-paced live-action film (based on Mike Mignola’s cult comic book series) tells the dark story of Hellboy (Ron Perlman), who’s put on Earth by the Nazis to terrorize the world. But Hellboy has other plans; he decides to fight for good instead, vowing to rid the world of supernatural monsters and the evil powers that rule them. Rupert Evans, Selma Blair, and John Hurt co-star in Guillermo del Toro’s stylish interpretation.
Scott Thomas (Scott Mechlowisz) has been fooling his high school German teacher into thinking he’s an ace student, when in reality he’s been getting help from a young German translator over the Internet. When Scott’s cyber-buddy, Mieke, suggests they meet face to face, Scott is reluctant at first. But when he finds out that Mieke is a pretty young woman (Jessica Bohrs), Scott and his friends embark on a trip to Europe for some wild adventures.
Location: Prague (Charles Bridge, National Museum, and others)
Fed up with being shadowed every moment of every day, Anna Foster (Mandy Moore), the 18-year-old daughter of the President of the United States (Mark Harmon) gives her Secret Service handlers (Jeremy Piven and Annabella Sciorra) the slip. Her plan is to embark on a wild and woolly road trip through Europe with her boyfriend, Ben (Matthew Goode).
The creepiest creatures from two epic thrillers face off in the ultimate showdown in this film directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. The fun begins when scientists and explorers (played by a cast that includes Sanaa Lathan and Raoul Bova) discover an ancient pyramid in Antarctica. But the structure isn’t the only behemoth in the ice. A battle between two otherworldly populations is threatening to destroy the region and its inhabitants for good.
Location: Prague (Barrandov Studios)
Gamer Travis Ryer (Ed Burns) chases the ultimate thrill — hunting dinosaurs — by turning back the clock with the help of a time-travel outfitter run by Charles Hatton (Ben Kingsley). But after unwittingly destroying a butterfly-like creature, Ryer finds his game going horribly awry, leaving him stranded in a prehistoric past that promises to erase all hopes of a future. Can he undo the damage he’s unleashed? Or is the world doomed to end?
A young American Jewish man begins an exhausting quest — aided by a naïve Ukranian translator — to find the righteous gentile woman who saved his grandfather when his small Ukranian village (along with most of the populace) was obliterated during the Nazi invasion of Russia in 1941. Stars Elijah Wood, Eugene Hutz and Boris Leskin. Liev Schreiber directs. Based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer.
Directed by Kevin Reynolds, this timeless medieval tale follows Tristan (James Franco) and Isolde (Sophia Myles), star-crossed lovers doomed by the forces of imperial politics. When gallant English knight Tristan wins the love of beautiful Isolde — the daughter of the Irish king (David O’Hara) — their liaison threatens to destroy the uneasy truce between their two nations. Rufus Sewell plays English warlord Lord Marke.
Location: Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad)
When her doctor gives her the worst possible news — that she has a terminal illness — a timid woman (Queen Latifah) decides to throw caution to the wind, break out of her shell and take a no-holds-barred European vacation. But while she’s celebrating her last hurrah, she touches the lives of everyone around her. L.L. Cool J, Timothy Hutton, Gerard Depardieu, Alicia Witt and Giancarlo Esposito co-star in Wayne Wang’s life-affirming comedy.
Location: Prague, Tabor, Dobris Castle, Vinohrady Theatre, fort Konopiste
Set in early 1900s Vienna, Neil Burger’s romantic thriller centers on illusionist extraordinaire Eisenheim (Edward Norton), who falls for an aristocrat (Jessica Biel) well above his social standing. When she becomes engaged to Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell), the master magician employs his powers to win her love. His daring scheme creates tumult within the monarchy and ignites the suspicion of Chief Inspector Uhl (Paul Giamatti).