Barcelona movie walks 

title page 




Barcelona 1963. Professor at the CETT-University of Barcelona Hospitality and Tourism School, director of research and director of the University Master’s Degree in Tourism Management Innovation. An expert in marketing, heritage and cultural tourism, in recent years he has specialised in tourism and cinema. This has resulted in him leading projects on film tourism, including Barcelona Movie (2008), the first initiative to consider the possibilities for film-based tourism in Barcelona, and Horta-Guinardó de Cine (2013), an innovative project that has made the Barcelona district of Horta-Guinardó the first to include cinema in its promotional plan for tourism and culture. In 2012 he published a number of film tourism guides to cities including Barcelona, Paris, London, Rome and Venice, for smartphone and tablet.

For Laura and Meri




First Edition: October 2013


© Eugeni Osácar, 2013

© English translations by: Fiona Kelso and Michelle Przemyk


Edited by: Diëresis and Barcelona City Council


Editions and Publications Committee of Barcelona City Council: Jaume Ciurana i Llevadot, Jordi Martí i Galbis, Marc Puig i Guàrdia, Miquel Guiot i Rocamora, Jordi Joly i Lena, Vicente Guallart i Furió, Àngel Miret i Serra, Marta Clari i Padrós, Josep Lluís Alay i Rodríguez, José Pérez Freijo, Pilar Roca i Viola, Albert Ortas i Serrano.

Director of Communication and Public Assistance: Marc Puig

Director of Image and Publishing Services: José Pérez Freijo


© Image and Publishing Services Office of Barcelona City Council

Passeig de la Zona Franca, 66

08038 Barcelona

Tel. 93 402 31 31


Coordinators Editorial Diëresis: José Ángel Martos, Teresa María Amiguet, Didac Tudela, David Moreno, Martí Làzaro


© Editorial Diéresis, S.L.

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Tel.: 93 491 15 60


Design: dtm+tagstudy


ISBN: 978-84-941438-4-7



All rights reserved.

Any form of reproduction, distribution, public communication or transformation of this work may only be carried out with the author’s permission, with the exceptions contemplated in law. If you need to make photocopies or scan any part of this work contact CEDRO (Centro Español de Derechos Reprográficos,


In the e-book edition of Barcelona Movie Walks you can find 20 routes focused on the parts of Barcelona that have been immortalised by filmmakers. Each route is a description in the form of a walking tour around 200 selected spots in the city.

Every chapter begins with a presentation: you will find detailed and interesting information about films of a certain genre shot in Barcelona, or about a specific director or film. You can find more information about the shoots and then re-live stories on the routes.

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The second half of each chapter lays out the suggested routes themselves. All the recommended stops on the route are marked in bold.

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We have created a great tool for you to use on the the 20 routes when visiting Barcelona: at the end of the route description you will find a QR code that can be scanned with a smartphone to open interactive Google maps of the area. On these maps you can see different stages of the route are shown and all the places are named. All you have to do is scan the QR codes and each route will be displayed on your screen on a web page.

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This new feature offers a really useful way to follow our Barcelona Movie Walks: transfer each route directly from your e-book to your smartphone.

These web maps offer exclusive content for ebook readers.

Additionally, at the end of the e-book you will find two interactive indexes: the first includes all the places and monuments mentioned in the book and the second contains all the films that appear in Barcelona Movie Walks. With these interactive indexes you can easily access all the information with a single click.

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We hope you will enjoy them as well as the whole e-book.

Are you ready? Barcelona is on the big screen – lights, camera, action!

chapter 1 


International film productions in Barcelona practically date back to the year in which cinema was invented: on 28 December 1895 the Lumière brothers gave their first public screening at the Salon Indien in Paris and at the beginning of 1896 August and Louis Lumière sent a young assistant, Alexandre Promio, to shoot the series Spanish Views. That film, along with other material shot all over Europe, would serve to present this new invention. The first of the famous Views series was shot in April 1896 in Barcelona. Entitled Place du Port à Barcelone, the film included a series of panoramic views of the Port of Barcelona, to which city scenes in Madrid, bullfights and military parades were later added. The premiere was held in Lyon (France) on 9 July and ever since then the city’s links with this brand-new industry, with France at its epicentre, have always been very close. A good illustration is that the two pioneering French production companies, Gaumont and Pathé, both set up film editing studios in Barcelona.

Once the First World War was over, Barcelona in the 1920s also became a major focus for films made in Hollywood since it was the distribution centre for American productions in Spain: in 1924 the Metro Goldwyn Corporation and Hispano Foxfilm established a base here and Paramount Films followed suit in 1927.

The visit in 1924 by Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, the silent screen’s most famous couple and great representatives of the Hollywood star system, only strengthened the city’s ties with the American movies. The glamour, hitherto unknown here, captivated the people of Barcelona and the Catalan intellectuals, who grew to prefer modern American cinema over the French or Italian productions.

In 1937 Errol Flynn visited Barcelona as a guest of the Propaganda Committee of the Catalan government. Already considerably famous, the actor came with the intention of writing articles about the Spanish Civil War for the US magazines owned by the Hearst empire. But he would be better remembered for his nocturnal forays than for his early career as a reporter.

Frank Sinatra

Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra in Tossa de Mar during the filming of Pandora and the Flying Dutchman. In this charming image the composer Jimmy Van Heusen shows Ava how to use the camera.

Editorial Diëresis

In the 1950s, Barcelona received a visit from two of the greatest movie stars of all time: Orson Welles and Ava Gardner. Welles was a great director and actor with an intermittent career and movies considered to be masterpieces such as Citizen Kane (1941) and The Third Man (1949) combined with out-and-out failures and unfinished projects. Two of his movies were partially filmed in Catalonia: Mr. Arkadin (1955), on the Costa Brava and in Barcelona, and Chimes at Midnight (1965), filmed in Barcelona and other parts of Spain.

Ava Gardner, once described as “the world’s most beautiful animal”, came to Catalonia in 1950 to shoot Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, directed by Albert Lewin. At the beginning of April she arrived in Barcelona on a regular flight from New York, with stopovers in London and Paris. After visiting the Spanish capital and Seville, on 20 April Ava arrived elated at El Prat airport in Barcelona, accompanied by her sister Beatriz and her publicist, Kitty Owen. The media fray was extraordinary and in a packed press conference, set up on the spot in a waiting room, she declared, “I am happy and grateful. When they asked me to come and act in this beautiful country, which I wanted so much to see, they gave me the happiest moment of my life. It is even better than I expected”. During the two months of filming Ava got the chance to see Tossa de Mar (the main setting for the film), as well as other towns on the Costa Brava such as Palamós and S’Agaró and, of course, Girona and Barcelona. She was fascinated by the Costa Brava, and by Spain in general, and within a short time she decided to move to Madrid, where she lived until 1968. A passionate and vibrant woman, she connected immediately with the Spanish people and was a great admirer of the social scene in Madrid.

In the second half of the 20th century the relationship between the star system and Barcelona remained alive and constant: Peter Sellers, Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway and James Mason (who had a part in Pandora and the Flying Dutchman with Ava Gardner) are some prime examples of actors who came to film here.

As Barcelona burst onto centre stage as an internationally recognised city, particularly as a result of the 1992 Olympic Games, the number of international productions grew and grew. Great names like Robert Pattinson, Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, Ewan McGregor, Harrison Ford, Julianne Moore and Scarlett Johansson have come to the city and left on it the Hollywood mark of professionalism and glamour.

The relationship between Hollywood and Barcelona remains strong: some of the most recent celebrities to film here are the well-known director Steven Soderbergh who made Haywire in 2010, and Robert de Niro and Sigourney Weaver who starred in the latest film by up-and-coming director Rodrigo Cortés, Red Lights in 2011.

J. Wayne

John Wayne and director Henry Hathaway, being met at the airport by Deputy Mayor, José Blajot (left), when they came to film Circus World.

Francisco Gallés


Ever since the success of the pioneering and recently departed Sara Montiel in the 1950s, many Spanish actors have tried to break into Hollywood to find fame in this Mecca of the cinema. But there is no doubt that it is in the last decades that quantitative, and especially qualitative, changes have taken place: Jordi Mollà, Eduardo Noriega, Elsa Pataky and Paz Vega are just some examples of the globalisation of the movies and the new opportunities they offer. However, the only actors to have made it to Hollywood stardom are Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem. These three highly acclaimed actors, who have won over huge audiences, already have their stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The first to receive the honour was Antonio Banderas in 2005 followed by Penélope in 2011 and Bardem in 2012. The last two, partners in real life, have stars next to one another just in front of the Dolby auditorium (the old Kodak premises), where the Oscar Awards ceremony takes place. The most international couple in Spanish cinema confirmed their relationship here in Barcelona during the shooting of Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona in the summer of 2007. The film brought Bardem and Cruz together again, after having filmed Jamón, Jamón by Bigas Luna together way back in 1992. (Luna died on 6 April 2013.) Rumours abounded during the filming but it was not until October that they were confirmed. Barcelona proved to be a fundamental step in the rise to fame of both Hollywood stars.



NEIGHBOURHOODS ON THE ROUTE: Eixample | Olympic Village | Raval | Born

Barcelona is an open and cosmopolitan Mediterranean city, with great cultural and leisure attractions, and one that both amazes and seduces everyone who comes here. The world of film is no exception and there is growing interest in finding out more about the city: the locations, the filming, and so on. But this phenomenon is not exactly new. Ever since the 1920s, movie stars have been visiting the city, especially from Hollywood, either to work or simply as tourists. In the 21st century this constant flow of celebrities has increased to the point where Barcelona has become part of a select group of must-visit cities.

We suggest two separate routes: one through the city centre neighbourhoods and the other from the Old Port (Port Vell) to the mountain of Montjuïc.

Passeig de Gràcia is a good starting point for this original and glamorous journey. It is one of the most exclusive and sophisticated avenues in the city centre, and home to some of the best shops, restaurants and hotels in Barcelona. On the corner of Carrer València is the luxury 5-star Hotel Majestic, with over 90 rooms. It was in one of those rooms that a sequence from the movie Red Lights, starring Robert de Niro, was filmed in 2011. The Majestic Group also owns the luxury Majestic Residence apartments at number 69, just opposite the hotel, and that is where Sigourney Weaver, co-star of Red Lights, stayed while she was here.

In the same street, at the crossroads with Carrer Aragó, is Baixador del Passeig de Gràcia, a railway station that was located on Carrer Aragó between Passeig de Gràcia and Carrer Roger de Llúria. It soon became the main point of arrival into the city and a meeting point for large crowds who turned out to greet the rich and famous of the time. That was the scene in 1924 when two of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, arrived. The welcome was spectacular and most of those present wanted to accompany the couple to the Hotel Ritz, where they were staying. Curiously, a few days beforehand, the King and Queen of Spain had arrived to a much cooler and less multitudinous reception; so much so that the press managed to play down the news of the arrival of the American actors for fear of causing any political ill-feeling. The station was demolished in 1960 when the line was diverted underground.


Spectacular sequence filmed at Port Vell from the American super-production Circus World, where Barcelona is clearly recognisable.

Album / Paramount Pictures


Two of the great stars of the silent movies, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, on the balcony of the Hotel Ritz (now Hotel El Palace) during their visit to Barcelona in 1924.

Editorial Diëresis

Very close by, in Carrer Pau Claris on the corner with Carrer València is the Hotel Claris, another luxury 5-star hotel located in the city centre. The interiors and roof terrace restaurant were the scenes for several sequences of Sahara (2005). This super-production adventure movie, with a budget of 130 million dollars, flopped with significant losses. It is almost certainly best remembered for the relationship between the two stars, Matthew McConaughey and Penélope Cruz – an affair that was closely followed by the media and which lasted about a year.

Not far from the Hotel Claris, three streets up towards Avinguda Diagonal, is the Bar Mut. This grill-style restaurant is a must among the city’s in-crowd and also for many of the film and rock stars visiting Barcelona. Robert de Niro discovered the place almost by accident. In February 2011, when he was shooting Red Lights, there was a problem with the restaurant that had been chosen for the evening and de Niro’s chauffeur, who turned out to be a friend of the owner of Bar Mut from their advertising days, Kim Diaz, suggested going there. De Niro liked it so much that he went back several times during the fortnight he was in Barcelona. Sometimes he had lunch or dinner alone there, sometimes he met the director Rodrigo Cortés and on the last few days he was seen with his wife, Grace Hightower, who had just flown in. Visits to this restaurant established both a personal friendship and a professional relationship between the actor and director. Other stars from the movie world who have tasted chef Albert Meniola’s dishes are Woody Allen, who has been there several times, Russell Crowe, who went there when he was here for a weekend break in May 2009, before starting filming for Robin Hood in England, and Cameron Diaz and her partner at the time, singer Justin Timberlake, when they came to Barcelona in June 2006 to shoot the singer’s video clip Sexy Back.

Continuing down Carrer Pau Claris towards the sea in around fifteen minutes we reach Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes. On the corner with Carrer Roger de Llúria is the Hotel El Palace, the third luxury 5-star on our route. With almost a century of history, the Grand Ritz (name of the hotel until a few years ago) was considered for a long time to be the best in the city. In the 1950s, when Ava Gardner and Orson Welles came to the city they always stayed here. Woody Allen would also become a regular guest until 2007, when he decided to change hotel while filming Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

If we carry on along Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes in a southerly direction we come to the next point of interest: the Coliseum Cinema, between Rambla de Catalunya and Carrer Balmes. This historic building has seen the evolution of cinema in the city: the first “talkies”, all kinds of films, premières and first public screenings in the presence of world-famous stars (for more information see the “Star Location” section).

During our tour in the footsteps of the Hollywood stars we have to take a walk down the most popular street in the city: La Rambla. This is an essential visit for anyone coming to Barcelona for the first time and film stars are no exception. Despite the fact that most celebrities hate crowds, their desire to see this unique street has meant that they end up walking down it like all the other tourists. Many international productions have included La Rambla in their productions as an unmistakeable symbol of Barcelona. For example, the American comedy The Bobo was partly filmed in Barcelona and stars Peter Sellers in the role of a grotesque bullfighter. More recently, in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), Woody Allen included two sequences in La Rambla: one with Scarlett Johansson and another with Rebecca Hall and Chris Messina (for more information see Chapter 15).

Walking down La Rambla on the right, between Carrer Sant Pau and Carrer Unió, you can see the Gran Teatre del Liceu, one of Europe’s most important and prestigious opera houses. Its spectacular interior has appeared in several American films: in 1964 the Russian-born producer, Samuel Bronston, who was the driving force behind many of the Hollywood productions in Spain, chose it as the location for some of the sequences of Circus World, directed by Henry Hathaway and starring John Wayne, Rita Hayworth and Claudia Cardinale. The main lobby of the Liceu became a spectacularly colourful set for the circus. In the movie there is a lion show, supposedly set in a circus in Hamburg. One anecdote from the filming is that a small fire broke out and John Wayne, proud as he was, refused to have a double and was on the point of being badly burned. His physical efforts resulted in a sprained leg during filming in Barcelona.


Robert Pattinson played Dalí in Little Ashes, filmed in Barcelona, before he became famous worldwide for the Twilight series.

Album / APT Films / Aria Films / Factotum Barcelona SL / Met Film Prod

On the same side of La Rambla is the Hotel Oriente. This historic inn, with more than 150 years of history, is now a 3-star hotel managed by the Husa chain. There is an amusing anecdote about Errol Flynn’s stay in Barcelona relating to the hotel. Flynn arrived in 1937 as a guest of the Catalan government to write about the Civil War. Among the other gifts he received there was a case of cava, which he wanted to share with his companions, including theatre director and producer Xavier Regàs (who recounted the story years later, in the 1970s). Flynn, well-known for being something of a drinker, was put to the test that night at a party in the hotel ballroom that went on until the early hours, and ended up with the actor being accompanied to his room by one of the hotel staff.

On the other side of La Rambla, just a few metres away, is the Plaça Reial. This is a lively square with a Mediterranean air: fountains, street lamps and palm trees. The uniqueness and visual beauty of this square means that it has attracted many foreign directors and producers of films such as Voyage of the Damned (1976), directed by Stuart Rosenberg and starring Faye Dunaway and James Mason among others. More recently the prestigious American director Steven Soderbergh shot one of the scenes for Haywire here in 2010, with Antonio Banderas and the impressive US women’s martial arts champion Gina Carano.

Cutting through to Carrer Ferran towards the Plaça Sant Jaume, we soon reach Carrer Avinyó on our right. At nº 9 is the El Gran Cafè Restaurant. This restaurant in the Catalan Modernisme style still has many of the features that take us back to the beginning of the 20th century. Inside this restaurant a scene from Savage Grace (2007) by Tom Kalin was filmed, starring Julianne Moore. The scene is an aerial shot showing Moore seated and pensive, surrounded by the furniture and lamps that are so characteristic of the place and the era.

From Plaça Sant Jaume, Carrer Jaume I takes us to Via Laietana and, from there, down Carrer Argenteria to the Ribera neighbourhood, also known as El Born. This is undoubtedly one of the most fashionable quarters of the city offering a wide range of options for leisure and culture. Numerous film stars have been attracted to this area over the years, either to visit the museums, restaurants and boutiques or for the nightlife. Harrison Ford and TV star Calista Flockhart were in Barcelona in 2004 when she was starring in Jaume Balagueró’s Fragile, and they were often seen around El Born, visiting the Picasso Museum or having dinner at El Passadís del Pep. Another good example of stars who have fallen in love with the neighbourhood are Vicky Cristina Barcelona’s Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall who were frequent visitors to the restaurants and boutiques in the area in the summer of 2007. At nº 60 Carrer Rec El Salero Restaurant, with its mix of traditional and vintage furnishings, was the scene of a true movie star moment: after having dinner Scarlett Johansson ordered an ‘Olive Juice’ cocktail – her own concoction consisting of white Martini, vodka, and – wait for it – the brine from a tin of stuffed olives! Eccentricities of the Hollywood stars! There was another anecdotal moment here when Rebecca Hall visited Xocoa – a small but exclusive purveyor of fine chocolate to which she returned on several occasions, each time buying a different box of chocolates to take to the shoot and share with the crew.


Gina Carano and Ewan McGregor on the set of scenes from Haywire at the Mirador de l’Alcalde. On the right, in white t-shirt with his back to the camera is the director, Steven Soderbergh.

David Oller

Leaving the narrow streets of El Born we move on to Pla de Palau. In the historic building known as the Cases de Xifré on Passeig Isabel II is the 7 Portes Restaurant, an establishment with over 170 years of history. This gastronomic temple has been visited by a multitude of celebrities from the worlds of art, spo rt, music and, of course, cinema. Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Ava Gardner, Orson Welles, Jerry Lewis, Charlton Heston, Michael Douglas, Bo Derek, Calista Flockhart, Harrison Ford and Woody Allen are just a small sample of its universal recognition. The restaurant even puts bronze plaques with the name of the celebrities at the places where they were seated, which is another good reason for visiting it.

The street that crosses the picturesque and eternally fascinating neighbourhood of Barceloneta takes us to the last point on our tour: the Olympic Port and the Hotel Arts, a luxury 5-star hotel that has become an icon of the city’s skyline. Its most opulent rooms and penthouse suites have accommodated directors such as Woody Allen and Steven Soderbergh, and actors such as Robert de Niro and Halle Berry in an experience that is greater than fiction.



The first stop on our second route begins at the Old Port of Barcelona, or Port Vell, from where we go up the mountain of Montjuïc using two of Barcelona’s most visible, but not necessarily the most popular, forms of transport: the Port Cable Car and the Montjuïc Funicular. Montjuïc offers several sites where the link between world of Hollywood and Barcelona is evident.

Port Vell was the scene chosen for one of the first sequences of Mr. Arkadin (1955), directed by and starring Orson Welles. The film starts with a shot of an aircraft and a voiceover that says, “On December 25, an aeroplane was sighted off the coast of Barcelona. It was flying empty”. The story attempts to reveal the mystery of the enigmatic Mr. Arkadin (played by Orson Welles), his daughter, and a smuggler who also fancies himself as a private investigator who goes by the name of Van Stratten. Curiously, in the film the port of Barcelona is the port of Naples. However, despite the fact that it is a night scene, the mountain of Montjuïc is clearly recognisable.

Another great scene featuring the port is in Circus World. In 1964 director Henry Hathaway arrived in Barcelona with the principal actors, the main one being John Wayne. One of the first sequences of the film was made in the port, in which the ship carrying the circus sinks. The shoot took place in the waters of the Moll de les Drassanes harbour and what is now the Moll de la Fusta, inexistent at that time. It occupied the area which today is known as the Rambla del Mar. It was a long and difficult shoot, involving more than six hundred people, as well as animals, and it required weeks of work. The ship was the Cabo Huertas, which after fifty years of service was destined for the scrapyard.

Another major film to be shot here was Voyage of the Damned in 1976. Based on a true story from 1939, the film tells the tragic story of almost a thousand German Jews who escaped from Hamburg on the St. Louis heading for Cuba. It included big name actors such as Max Von Sydow, Faye Dunaway, James Mason and Orson Welles. The port and the seafront of Barcelona became the port of Hamburg and also the port of Havana in a strange transatlantic voyage that took place without even leaving the city. The ship used was the Irpinia, a passenger vessel that was later converted into a cruise liner. The area shown in the film is very different from the seafront that is enjoyed all year round today by hundreds of visitors.

The Port Cable Car takes us effortlessly to the Miramar area of the mountain of Montjuïc from where we can enjoy incredible views of the city. In the Avinguda Miramar we take the Montjuïc Funicular to Montjuïc Castle. This spectacular fortress on the highest point of the mountain formed part of the location for Chimes at Midnight, directed by and starring Orson Welles in 1965. The film was based on the Shakespearian figure of Falstaff and the castle became the palace of English king, Henry IV. Close by are the gardens of the Mirador de l’Alcalde. As its name, translated as the Mayor’s Viewpoint, suggests, the view of Barcelona is exceptional. Steven Soderbergh was amazed by this calm, luminous spot and chose it for one of the sequences of Haywire with Ewan McGregor and Gina Carano.

A couple of minutes’ walk down the road and we get to Avinguda de l’Estadi and the biggest sports installations of the 1992 Olympic Games. Our main point of interest is the Palau Sant Jordi, a stadium that is habitually used for sports events and concerts, but which is occasionally also used for filming advertising commercials. In October 2005 Demi Moore and her partner at the time, Ashton Kutcher, flew into Barcelona by private plane. They had come from Ireland where they had spent their honeymoon (they were married in Hollywood on 24 September that year). So why did they stop off in Barcelona? The answer is that Demi Moore had been chosen as the star of the Freixenet cava (Spanish sparkling wine) Christmas advertising campaign. The shoot took place over two days in the Palau Sant Jordi, alongside actor Gabino Diego, and was directed by the team of Leopoldo Pomés, the creator of the ‘Freixenet Bubbles’.


Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, at the reception held at Barcelona City Hall in 1924.

Editorial Diëresis

Very close by is the Poble Espanyol, the final stop of our “Hollywood” tour. It is a little-known fact that the world-famous vampire of the Twilight saga, Robert Pattinson, made a film in Barcelona in 2007. It is called Little Ashes and tells the story of the relationship between Buñuel, García Lorca and Dalí (the latter role taken by Pattinson himself, curiously in character sporting Dalí’s unmistakeable moustache). The Poble Espanyol, or Spanish Village, became the ideal set for representing the different towns and parts of Spain and in total seven scenes were filmed here. So now, when you hear Pattinson singing the praises of Barcelona (something that is very common when he comes to promoting a film) you will know where his own particular love story with the city began.


The Coliseum Cinema has always been inextricably linked to the history of film in the city. The project of promoter Josep Solà i Guardiola, it was designed by Francesc de Paula Nebot and opened in 1923, and was considered to be one of the highlights of the Noucentisme style of the early 20th century.


American actor Christian Bale and his wife, Dona Sibi, at the premiere of The Dark Knight at the Coliseum Cinema on 23 July 2008.

Album / Martí E. Berenguer


The main façade of the cinema, which was home to the musical Grease, based on the famous film.

Meritxell Arjalaguer

Its fame grew with the arrival of sound movies or “talkies” at the end of the 1920s. Thanks to the installation of a sound system from the American Western Electric company, on 19 September 1929 the Barcelona audience was able to enjoy the Paramount musical Innocents of Paris, starring singer and actor Maurice Chevalier. It had its limitations, however, since the songs could be heard during the projection but not the actors’ voices. This, and subsequent American productions shown at the Coliseum, intensified the existing relationship between Barcelona and the world of Hollywood.

In the 1950s the cinema was bought by Pere Balañá, a promoter in the world of bullfighting and show business. Today, the Balañá Group is one of the biggest cinema and theatre companies in Barcelona, and the Coliseum is still one of the city’s most prized possessions, both for its glittering history and the sumptuousness of the building.

Although the cinema itself, and in particular its famous dome, is often used for filming, it is especially well-known as the venue for film presentations. The red carpet in the impressive entrance hall was used in April 1999 for the world presentation of the award-winning film by Pedro Almodóvar, All About My Mother. The director was accompanied by most of the stars of the movie and the presentation was attended by all the main political, artistic and social figures in the city. Another major presentation at the Coliseum was Perfume: The Story of a Murderer in November 2006, in the presence of the director Tom Tykwer and leading actor Ben Whishaw, among others. One of the film premieres to attract most media attention was The Dark Knight, part of the Batman saga, which brought the director, Christopher Nolan, and the leading actor, Christian Bale, to Barcelona.

map 1 chapter 1.jpg



1. Hotel Majestic and Majestic Residence apartments

2. Baixador del Passeig de Gràcia

3. Hotel Claris

4. Bar Mut

5. Hotel El Palace

6. Coliseum Cinema

7. La Rambla

8. Gran Teatre del Liceu

9. Hotel Oriente

10. Plaça Reial

11. El Gran Cafè Restaurant

12. El Passadís del Pep Restaurant

13. El Salero Restaurant

14. Xocoa

15. 7 Portes Restaurant

16. Olympic Port and Hotel Arts

map 2 chapter 1.jpg



1. Old Port (Port Vell)

2. Montjuïc Castle

3. Mirador de l’Alcalde Park

4. Palau Sant Jordi Stadium

5. Poble Espanyol