Filming Locations: Where was Murder on the Orient Express filmed?

Where was Orient Express filmed
Posted by Ra Moon
Istanbul, 1935. Detective Hercule Poirot, embarks on the Orient Express headed for London. During the second night of the journey the train crosses a region of the Balkans under heavy snowfall. The following morning one of the travellers, a rich American businessman, is found dead in his compartment, killed by twelve dagger shots. The train is blocked by the snow and Poirot takes on the task of investigating the case.

Based on the brilliant book first published in 1934 by Agatha Christie, the new adaptation directed and played by Kenneth Branagh is a great opportunity to time-travel back to the days of railroad glamour. The movie contains a pantheon of celebrities including Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench and Daisy Ridley.

Most of Murder on the Orient Express was filmed on the soundstages and backlot of Longcross Studios in London. Branagh's crew travelled on the 21st century version of the Orient Express -that still exists- as at first they were considering filming on a real train. Finally this option was ruled out, due to the complex logistics of the production. We go behind the scenes to find the sets and places that produced and inspired this new Orient Express Movie:

Orient Express Istanbul Station
The voyage begins in a building loosely inspired by the actual Sirkeci railway Station, the former terminal stop of the Orient Express in Istanbul, Turkey. This Ottoman art nouveau landmark is hosting today the Istanbul Railways Museum. Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox and Martin Dürrschnabel - Map


Murder on the Orient Express Location
However, no filming took place in Turkey; The interior of the station was completely recreated in a wondrous set in Longcross Studios in UK. The mosque, the twilight sky and many other elements were added using CGI.
Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox


Bridge scene
A monumental set of the convoy cut off in a viaduct railroad was erected in a backlot at Longcross. The Artemis Fowl house from the movie directed by Kenneth Branagh, was also built here. Green screens and digital graphics help to create the illusion that you are stranded in the Balkans, when in fact you are filming at less than 30 miles from central London. Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox


Steam locomotive comboy
Two working replicas of the legendary train, with the locomotives and carriages, were made as well in the studios. Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox


Behind the scenes
Many scenes were shot old-school style using a projector in the windows of a coach built in a soundstage. Instead of using digital cameras, Branagh decided to film with the last four 65mm cameras in the world.
Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox


Brod train station
The beautiful Brod railway station is also a set built in the studios.
Image by Hans Hillewaert


Shoot in Malta doubling as Jerusalem
The filmmakers shot on location the first scenes, set in Jerusalem, in Valletta (Malta). The boat is departing from the old custom house near Lascaris Bastion, that was digitally altered to remove modern elements, like the new Barrakka Lift (at the left side). Image by Frank Vincentz- Map


Mord im Orient-Express drehort
Additional filming with no cast took place in a private railway line between Triengen and Büron in Switzerland. The crew were taking shots from various angles of a 1-241 A 65 steam locomotive, one of the last surviving models of its kind. Image by SchApo


Mountain range scenery
Landscape footage of the mountains and backgrounds was filmed in New Zealand. Some local newspapers reported that some filming took place in the Great St Bernard Pass, at the border between Italy and Switzerland.

Can you help to improve this article about the filming locations for Murder on the Orient Express?
To complete and correct this report, any feedback, info or images that you may have are more than welcome, thank you!

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7 comments

  1. Vinkovci and Brod are Croatian cities placed in the Pannonian basin not in the mountains.

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    1. Brod I suppose is short from Kostinbrod which is a city in Bulgaria on the railroad to Belgrade.

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    2. Well how lovely to receive an answer, thank you👋🏻

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  2. Nope, it's short for Slavonski Brod, as seen in a movie train passes thru Vinkovci (which is in croatian plains) and it's on the way to Slavonski Brod, also in plains. Also in the novel train is stopped by snow drift, located in the plains between Vinkovci and Slavonski Brod, not by avalanche.

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    1. When you notice that there are not mountains on the way from Vinkovci to Brod...😂😂

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  3. Thank you very much for this article. I started my search after seeing the end scene at Brod station and noticed the forest were not indigenous. Your pictures of CGI and additional information was informative.

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  4. It's really interesting how the film makers makes things so unique that it comes alive on the screen, without even going to places to shoot a movie. Thank you for sharing.

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