GoldenEye (1995)

The seventeenth James Bond adventure unfolds in St. Petersburg, with 007 investigating the theft of a powerful satellite weapons system. As you witness the world being saved from yet another supervillain, you get a glimpse of post-Soviet, post-Cold War Russia as seen through the Hollywood lens.

One of the most iconic scenes in the film is a thrilling tank chase through the heart of the city. Not only the destruction it brings, but the route it follows, too, may drive a St. Petersburg enthusiast crazy: starting near St. Isaac's Cathedral, it moves to the Moika River embankment, passes the Transfiguration Cathedral near Liteyny Prospect and somehow finishes almost where it started, on Pochtamtskaya Street. Though the chase was filmed almost entirely on location in St. Petersburg, the other scenes set in the city were actually shot in London.

Downfall (2004)

Like every talented actor, St. Petersburg can embody more than itself on the silver screen. Downfall, a historical war drama about the final days of Adolf Hitler, transformed it into Berlin at the end of World War 2.

To recreate the gloom of Nazi Germany on the verge of defeat, the creators have turned to one of the city’s spookiest landmarks, Obvodny Canal. Some scenes were shot on Shkapina Street, where the backdrop of soon-to-be-demolished buildings effectively portrayed the devastated Berlin. While this area has since been filled with modern multi-story structures, the somber ambiance still lingers in the air.

War and Peace (2016)

Bringing the legendary Leo Tolstoy novel to life on screen, the BBC crew selected locations in Latvia, Lithuania, and Russia, with St. Petersburg playing a prominent role. As a result, the city's iconic landmarks, from Palace Square to Yusupov Palace, provided the perfect backdrop for the 19th-century setting of the story.

Suburbs also were at play, with Gatchina Palace serving as the home for Pierre Bezukhov and the Bolkonsky family, and the magnificent halls of Catherine Palace hosting a ball. You can watch it not only to feast your eyes on the city, but to discover a staple of Russian literature without having to read it. 

Anastasia (1997)

In addition to live-action productions, the Northern Capital has also made into the animated world thanks to a film about the surviving daughter of the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II. Although set in the background of real Russian events, it’s still a fairy tale, and that is what you should keep in mind when identifying various locations. For example, in the film a ball takes place in the Winter Palace, but the building resembles the previously mentioned Catherine Palace. Additionally, recognizable backdrops include Nevsky Prospect and a slightly modified Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. Nevertheless, these inconsistencies don't make the story or the soundtrack any less enchanting.

For more memorable dates with the city, check out our tag Unexplored St. Petersburg