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Third Man Movie Tour: A Native Viennese’s Tour Review

Third Man Movie Tour. Even if you visit Vienna for the first time it pays to join a special themed tour like the ‘Dritter Mann Tour’.  Not only will you get under the skin of an international cult film, you will also get to know Vienna off the beaten path. Read my review and watch the Third Man move trailer below.

Why I Liked The Tour

Orson Welles as Harry LimeI thought I knew my hometown’s history after the Second World War, and The Third Man movie, Graham Greene’s 1949 cult classic with Orson Welles. I had watched the film ten times, and my Viennese mum, who was a little girl in 1945, told me a few things about life in the city during that time. In short, the tour filled a knowledge gap I didn’t even know existed.

What I loved most about the tour was the insight the guide provided into life in Vienna post World War II, when my Viennese mum was a little girl. While our group roamed the historic centre we learned about key and hidden landmarks, from a dark and exciting perspective. Find out whether that experience is for you.

Going on the walking tour and not the sewer tour proved to be right. 80 percent of the sewer scenes in the Third Man movie were done in London studios. Besides, Orson would not squeeze into narrow smelly funnels. Totally understand him.

Three Reasons To Join

Moelkerbastei in ViennaTo begin with, our tour guide Christopher took our small international group to all key locations used in the film. Not only did we get several deja vus but we learned amazing historical facts and film anecdotes whereever we stopped. In addition, scurrying around between landmarks and hidden corners opened up perspectives of the city we would have otherwise have missed on a general walking tour.

At the very least consider these three reasons that should make the tour worthwile for you, too.

First, for those who know the film, visiting the original film locations and learning about the many anecdotes and film production flaws that were made is fascinating. The idea for the film script itself was born at the Hotel Sacher Vienna, where author Graham Greene stayed in 1948.

Third Man film locationSecond, you learn about everyday life in Vienna after the Second World War: from the story of the Russian pea king of Vienna, at that time, to the Allied Forces, having roof rabbit for Sunday lunch to the dealings of the British Secret Service in Vienna and diluted penicillin trades on the Black Market, which is the main context of the film. And third, you discover great locations that you probably wouldn’t have visited otherwise, like the Mölkerbastei.

Third Man Movie Tips

Should you have seen the Third Man movie before doing the tour? It’s not essential but you will have even more fun.

Vienna Unwrapped symbolMy tip: Watch out for the following scenes in the film before you do the tour:

  1. Holly Martin arrives at Harry Lime’s house (see Josefsplatz and statue in the background)
  2. Holly speaks with the porter (watch his gestures when he talks about Harry having gone to heaven or hell)
  3. Baron Kurtz meets Holly Martin at a cafe (watch the Capuchin Church on Neuer Markt in the background)
  4. Watch the balloon seller scene which takes place at Michaelerplatz
  5. Major Callaway opens the door of an advertising column when he follows Harry Lime (watch the large square Am Hof in the background)
  6. See Harry’s fingers coming through the sewer grid at the end of the film (anything wrong with that?)

Tour Details

Tour timings: Mondays and Fridays 4pm to 6.30pm
Language: English and German
Bookingsget tickets

Third Man Movie Trailer

Further Resources

The Third Man’s Vienna, a thoroughly researched picture book based on the film and the locations used, written by historian Brigitte Timmermann (Christopher’s mother). The book can be bought when you do the tour.

Notably, the film music includes the famous zither theme by Anton Karas. When the production team heard zither music at the local wine taverns they were keen to use it for The Third Man. Unlike other Hollywood films about Austria, the tunes produced by Austrian Anton Karas are absolutely authentic Viennese. You can get the CD on Amazon and all larger music stores in the US and Europe.

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