Travel planning

Austria reading and movie list

Prague at sunset along the Charles River

Here are some books and movies we have enjoyed.

  • A Nervous Splendor: Vienna 1888 – 1889, by Frederick Morton. An account of a 10 month period critical to Vienna’s history covering the murder/suicide of the Crown Prince Rudolf (heir to the Habsburg empire) and his mistress Mary Vetsera.
  • Thunder at Twilight: Vienna 1913/1914, by Frederick Morton. Another account of Vienna focusing on the social, cultural and political atmosphere of Vienna before World War I.
  • Fin-De-Siecle Vienna: Politics and Culture, by Carl E. Schorske. An academic and detailed account of the changes in Vienna in the late 1800’s. Reviewers either love it or hate it for his details.
  • Schubert’s Vienna, (Aston Magna Academy Book) by Professor Raymond Erickson. An engaging read for anyone interested in composer Franz Schubert or Vienna during the early 19th century.
  • The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, by Maria von Trapp. The story of the Trapp family.
  • Beethoven: the Music and the Life, by Lewis Lockwood. A historical look at Beethoven’s life written in a way that helps readers gain an appreciation for his music.
  • Historic Coffeehouses: Vienna, Budapest, Prague, by Carol Dirtich. A complete guide of the cities’ historic coffee houses included photos, architectural design, hours of operation and descriptions.
  • Amadeus (1998). Academy Award winner for Best Picture based upon the lives of composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri.
  • The Great Waltz (1938). The story of composer Johann Strauss Jr who in 1845 Vienna follows his passion and brings the waltz to the masses.
  • The Third Man (1949). This film receives high praise for its cinematography and musical score. An American writer travels to Vienna post WWII to meet his friend only to find his friend has been accidentally run over by a car and killed – was it really an accident?
  • The Emperor Waltz (1948). In this musical Bing Crosby plays a travelling salesman that goes to Vienna to sell the American gramophone to Emperor Franz Joseph I, but stumbles upon a Countess (Joan Fontaine) and her dog. It is a story about love and social status differences (dogs and people).
  • Oh Rosalinda!! (1955). Set in post WWII Vienna the plot involves an American officer, a British officer and his wife, a masked ball and a practical joke.
  • Mayerling (1968). Omar Sharif and Catherine Deneuve star in this movie about the suicide of Habsburg heir Archduke Rudolf.
  • Before Winter Comes (1969). Set in post WWII, a British officer is in charge of returning the displaced civilians of an Austrian refugee camp to either Russian or American zones. His friendship with a helpful refugee translator and a beautiful innkeeper becomes strained when romance and secret pasts come to be known. Starring David Niven, Topol, and Anna Karina.
  • The Red Violin. The story reveals the 300 years of history of a beautiful instrument deep red in color known as a perfect violin. The violin’s history is set in five different locations, Vienna being one of them.
  • The Sound of Music (1965). Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical of the Trapp family starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. Many scenes were filmed on location in Salzburg, Austria.
  • The Illusionist (2006). The story of master illusionist Eisenheim in 20th century Vienna.
  • Downhill Racer (1969). A downhill ski racing movie starring Robert Redford and Gene Hackman. The Hahnenkamm and St. Anton, Austria are featured.
  • The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). Roger Moore plays secret agent 007 James Bond. At one point the movie depicts Bond in Austria narrowly escaping Soviet agents during a downhill skiing chase scene.
  • Before Sunrise (1995). A young American traveler and young French student meet on a train from Budapest to Vienna, and grow fond of one another as they spend the day in Vienna. Stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.
  • The Counterfeiters (2007). Academy Award winning Best Foreign Language Film (Austrian-German) about a post WWII Nazi plan to crash the United Kingdom’s economy by flooding England with counterfeit British currency. Those enjoying classic tango and opera from the 1930’s and 1940’s will be pleased with the soundtrack.
  • Quantum of Solace (2008). As agent 007 James Bond (Daniel Craig) battles the Quantum organization and seeks revenge for his lover’s death he attends an opera performance (Tosca) in Bregenz, Austria. In typical Bond fashion a battle ensues.
  • Seven Years in Tibet (1997). Austrian mountaineers are captured in northern India and imprisoned by the British in 1939. Escaping into Tibet, one of the climbers (played by Brad Pitt) meets and becomes friends with the young Dalai Lama. The musical score features Yo-Yo Ma.
  • The Peacemaker (1997). In this high action thriller starring George Clooney and Nicole Kidman, 10 nuclear warheads go missing when a Russian missile base is being decommissioned. Some scenes are shot in Vienna.
  • Woman in Gold (2015). Based upon a true story, Helen Mirren stars as Maria Atmann, an elderly Jewish refugee living in Los Angeles. Maria and her attorney sue the Austrian government to reclaim museum quality paintings, one being an iconic painting of her aunt, that were stolen from her family home in Vienna by the Nazis at the start of World War II.
  • The Empress (2022). Young Bavarian princess Elisabeth marries Franz Joseph the emperor of Austria Hungary and contends with life at the Viennese court after her free upbringing in the Bavarian countryside. An intriguing period drama offering an interpretation of private life and drama at court during the Austro-Hungarian empire.