Vienna Sewers from “The Third Man Movie”

“I wonder what the sewers looked like in “The Third Man?” my friend Rosie asked. One of the most famous scenes in the classic 1949 movie takes place in Vienna’s underground – in the city’s sewers.

Karin from The Third Man Museum

was able to provide photos

of the open and closed manhole coversopen-sewer-from-the-third-man-movie.JPG

and the stairwell to the underground

 that Harry Lime used in ‘The Third Man’

to escape through the sewers.

“Copyright Third Man Museum Vienna”



  Harry Lime and Vienna’s Underground

One of Vienna’s most popular guided tours is available again after the recent completion of the main intercepting sewer below Vienna river. This Tour is sponsored by The Sewer Department of the City of Vienna.  Thus Visitors can follow the tracks of “The Third Man” in the historic vaults of Vienna’s sewers.  These are the same sewers  which formed the background to the 1949 movie classic starring Orson Welles.

Learn more  about The Third Man Movie

on their website: 

This is The Third Man Museum

3mpc – third man private collection
pressgasse 25, 1040 wien, austria, tel. +43-1-5864872,

open saturdays 14.00 – 18.00.
in addition: Tuesday 18.00 – 20.00 on request.
groups welcome any time upon prior notice!


24 thoughts on “Vienna Sewers from “The Third Man Movie”

  1. Bobbi,

    I love the continuity of your obsession.
    I had forgotten about this type of manhole,
    and of thinking that the octagon shape must
    have been designed this way to prevent people
    from falling in while it was open.
    Yes? Also, it seems that if the streets were
    runnning high with water, this design would act as
    somewhat of a filter preventing debris
    from going down the manhole as well.

    Thanks for the update,


  2. Yes,
    The Third Man is one of the classics and one of my favorites;
    a superb realization by the Orson Wells group. The music is
    haunting and never forgotten.
    It is remarkable what can be done by creative folks.
    Orson Wells produced, starred and directed
    a series of incredible movies.
    Thanx Bobbi for bringing this to light again.
    God bless!

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed viewing the site “The Third Man” movie
    and the Vienna Sewers

    Initially, I had been surprised that such a labyrinth
    exists underground to which one can descend
    via a Manhole. In the story set in Vienna,
    the fascination heightens when everything
    comes together – the intrigue, the scene,
    and the manhole cover being of significance.

    One hardly expects such soothing music to be
    intertwined in the story, but it fits in superbly.

  4. Hi Bobbi,

    These are most unusual covers–I’ve never seen any like them. Saw The Third Man may years ago, long before my interest in sewers, so had no recollection of the locations pictured. Thanks for the info. Hope all is well.

    Mimi Melnick
    Author of “Manhole Covers”

  5. These photos are just fabulous. Just wish Vienna was closer
    and cheaper to get to – I’d love to see this in person.
    Long time fan of the 3rd Man movie.
    Thanks for providing the next best thing to all of us.

  6. How fascinating!
    Who would believe there is such a museum,
    not to mention the wealth of info on manhole covers.
    Keep going!!

  7. Hi Bobbi, long time, no see.

    I am always happy to hear of your updates. Your success
    with grates has been too “grate” and too interesting
    to branch away from it. It is contagious as I now look down
    and study them whenever I am near them.

    Hope to see you soon.


    Peggy Water-Color Artist

  8. To Whom It may Concern:
    My name is Jon Schladweiler and I helped start the
    educational/non-profit website:
    One part of our site shows photos of manhole covers
    from around the world.
    I am hereby requesting authorization from your organization
    to post the photos of the Vienna manhole (shown above)
    on our website. We would certainly credit whomever you
    would designate as having provided the photos for posting.
    I’d need to recieve a pdf of the two photos from you –
    if you grant us the permission to post the photos.

    Also, would you grant us permission to create a “link” –
    from out website to yours – on

    Thank you for your consideration of these requests.
    I will be looking forward to hearing from you.

    Jon Schladweiler, P.E.

  9. Bobbi- In 2000 I was in Vienna and saw this and the tour guide
    gave us a “Third Man” “briefing”. I was in high school when
    this movie came out and I never saw the movie at that time,
    but I sure loved the zither playing and remembered the songl.
    I finally got the movie.
    Joan Gentry
    Post Card Pen Pal

  10. Congratulations Bobbi !
    Your grate works are more and more interesting.
    Keep on doing them. Not only they are good works,
    but they are also historically important.
    All the best,
    Liana Moonie, Member NAWA
    Nat. Assoc. Of Women Artists

  11. Dear Bobbi,

    Thanks for your emails and the wonderful article on your website!
    It’s amazing how many “manhole fans” you gather…
    We will renew our website and I want to create a link to yours.
    I hope this is fine with you?

    Also thank you for the contact to Jon Schadweiler.
    I already answered him.

    Not to cause any misunderstanding, please let me mention that the
    Third Man Museum does not do the tours down to the historic
    vaultsof the Vienna Sewers. It is the Sewer Department of the
    City of Vienna who is doing these tours, but of course
    we are in friendly co-operation with them. For the tours down
    to the sewers I would recommend this site:

    If you any need more information on The Third Man, on the Vienna
    sewers, on Vienna itself…..I’ll be happy to assist you!

    And whenever you’ll make your way to Vienna, please come
    and see our Third Man Museum! I’ll show you around.

    All the best,
    3mpc – third man private collection
    pressgasse 25, 1040 wien, austria, tel. +43-1-5864872,

    open saturdays 14.00 – 18.00.
    in addition: tuesday 18.00 – 20.00 on request.
    groups welcome any time upon prior notice!

  12. Hi Bobbi,

    Thank you for keeping me up to date on your activities.
    I find what you do with the grates fascinating .
    Seeing the unusual one from the “Third Man”
    brought back memories of that wonderful film.

    Congratulations and Best Wishes,
    Bernice Harwood
    Member of N.A.W.A. FL Chapter

  13. Dear Bobbi,

    The grateworks were very interesting. I saw The Third Man a hundred years ago, it seems and remember none of it. If you look at the designs in the pointed opening and steps in a spiral, there is a certain beauty instead of just utilitarian design. Now I see your interest in preserving them.
    It was nice hearing from you.
    Joyce Hetrick

  14. Dear Bobbi,
    From April, once a week I began to read “Walden” by Thoreau
    in Iwate Prefectural Library. At lunch time, I usually surf the
    Internet. Yesterday, what a surprise it was to hit
    “Bobbi Mastrangelo- The Grate Works.”

    It was purely by chance that I hit “The Third Man Movie” topic.
    At once I was completely absorbed reading it and seeing
    pictures of the Vienna Sewers on your web site.
    The Third Man is one of my favorite movies.
    (I was in Vienna ten year ago, but I did not know
    about The Third Man Museum then.)

    “She’s my American Pen Pal!” I told my friend near by.
    He watched the web page and cried, Incredible, incredible!”

    Then, I found the next passage very interesting.
    “Bobbi Mastrangelo “Cover Girl” No, this artist
    is not in the fashion business! But she models her
    prints and sculptures on iron utility covers.
    What an unusual theme!….

    I’m looking forward to net surfing your web pages
    by computer in the Library’s Reading Room.

    Yours truly,
    Masayuki Shiga
    Morioka Japan

  15. Thanks Bobbi,
    What an interesting and clever design for a manhole
    cover. I have never seen one like this before.
    My only visit to Vienna was in the Winter
    and everything was covered in snow.

    Richard Clar
    Paris France

  16. Dear Bobbi,
    I loved that movie and have seen it everytime
    they show it on PBS. It’s a classic, and my father
    played a zither and I loved hearing the music.
    Your Maryvale H.S. Classmate,
    Mary Ann Haering Sanchez

  17. Dear Bobbi:

    I love your Municipal Obsession. It’s a special gift when you draw
    our attention to the artistry in those aspects of our environment
    that otherwise pass as thoroughly mundane.

    Also, I loved your daughter’s school paper. How great that you
    could read something like that while you are still around to enjoy it.
    Usually, we save such comments for funerals.

    Fond regards,

    Earl Babbie
    Author of “You Can Make a Difference”

  18. Hi. Echt ein schöner Artikel. Ich wohne bereits seit 5 Jahren in Vienna und bin wirklich angetan. Ich habe schon in vielen verschiedenen Metropolen wie München oder Frankfurt gewohnt. Aber nirgendwo ist es so lebenswert wie in Wien.(German)
    (Hi. Really a nice article. I live for 5 years in Vienna and I am really impressed. I’ve stayed in many different cities such as Munich and Frankfurt. But nowhere else is like living in Vienna.)

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