Movies all around the world with a Greek backdrop!
The remarkable beauty of Greece is one of the reasons visitors return year after year. But it isn’t just travellers that love Greece. The movie industry fell in love with the Greek scenery long ago and that hasn’t changed since. Many producers have chosen Greece and the Greek islands as the ideal location for their movies. We are sure that you already know some of them, but you will be surprised by the rest of the list. So keep reading to discover what movies were filmed in Greece and where!
In 1957, Sophia Loren made her Hollywood debut with this movie. The plot of the movie is about Phaedra, played by Loren, who is a poor sponge-diver living in a small village on the Greek isle of Hydra. One of her discoveries was an ancient brass and a gold statue of a boy riding a dolphin.
Her first reaction is to return it to the Greek government, with the help of Jim Calder, with whom she fells in love. But her boyfriend wants to sell it to an unethical art collector to get more money.
The movie is mainly filmed in the picturesque island of Hydra. The crystal blue beaches, the small white-washed buildings, and the narrow streets were the perfect scenery for the movie. Apart from Hydra, there are many scenes from Athens and the Parthenon, Rhodes island, Corinth, Mykonos, and Delos island.
This was the first Hollywood production movie set in Greece. The beautiful scenery of Greece gave the movie that extra glimpse of the magic that it needed. Under the directions of the director, Jean Negulesco, the movie is an all-time classic masterpiece, which promotes the beauties of Greece.
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This is the story of Ilya, a famous prostitute who entertained the sailors of Piraeus every day, but never on Sundays. The appearance of a would-be philosopher from America comes to change the woman’s life. The role of Ilya is enacted by Melina Mercouri, a famous Greek actress and the role of Homer Thrace is played by Jules Dassin.
They were a real-life couple, that would eventually get married after the movie finished filming, and Dassin’s divorce was finalized. Melina Mercury is one of the most iconic female figures in Greece. Apart from her talent in acting and singing, she made a huge impact on the fields of politics. In 1981, she became the first female Minister of Culture and Sports. She was also a political activist during the Greek military junta (1967-1974) period, showing her strong liberal beliefs. She was a key figure in the European Capital of Culture program which she created and was heavily involved in campaigns for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens.
Never on Sunday was her first internationally succesful movie, which made her famous worldwide, and became one of the most famous movies in Greece. Mercouri won the Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Award for this movie and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress and the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress. The movie is filmed in black and white and the background is mainly the beautiful cities of Piraeus and Athens. Most of the scenes are from the port of Piraeus, offering us a look of the urban neighborhoods of Greece at the time.
Manos Hatzidakis is responsible for the wonderful music of the movie. Watching Never on Sunday, you will have the chance to discover the delightful Greek music, based on bouzouki and the crystal voice of Melina Mercouri. The composer won the Academy Award for Best Music.
In 1967, Mihalis Kakogiannis directed the movie Zorba the Greek, starring Antony Quinn, Alan Bates, Irene Papas, and Lila Kedrova. The story is about Basil, a half English, half Greek, who is on his way to Crete when he meets Alexis Zorbas.
The two men become friends, despite their different education, way of living and social status. The English gentleman changes his mentality and has second thoughts as to if “education and a refined life” are the most important things in life. The uneducated Greek peasant, Zorba, teaches Basil how to truly live life and be happy. The movie is basically a hymn to the Greek hospitality and lifestyle.
The location of the movie is the island of Crete and especially the city of Chania. The most iconic scene of the movie is when Zorba is teaching Basil to dance Greek syrtaki. This scene has introduced many people to Greek music and the Greek style of dancing. Since this movie came out almost 50 years ago it has become every visitor’s dream, to dance the famous syrtaki in a Greek restaurant (taverna).
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His name is Bond, James Bond! And in 1981 he had to solve some issues on the island of Corfu. The mission is to trace a missile command system, but at the same time he ends up falling for the Greek girl Melina, who seeks revenge for her parents’ murders. This is the twelfth James Bond film.
Roger Moore as the famous 007 spy and Carole Bouquet as Melina, live their romance with the background of Corfu island, making us all fall in love with this magical island that has something from the Venetian years.
We are going back to WWII when a group of Italian soldiers is going to what they think is an abandoned Greek island and their mission is to spot enemy ships. But there is not an enemy in sight. The inhabitants of the island, mostly women and children, since the men were taken by the German soldiers, come out from their hidden spots and make friends with the foreigners, despite their aggression.
Filming took place on Kastellorizo island. This small, beautiful and picturesque island of the Dodecanese upgraded the movie with its breathtaking landscapes and sceneries. It is located on the edge of Greece, and after watching this movie, you should put it on your bucket list.
Director Gabriele Salvatores did such a great job, that the movie won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1991.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolini is one of the most famous movies set in Greece. Hollywood stars like Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz came to Cephalonia for the filming of this movie and made the island famous worldwide.
The movie is based on the book “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” by Louis de Bernieres. The story is about Captain Antonio Corelli, who went to the island along with his team to keep the inhabitants under control, during WWII.
He gets to know the locals, by entertaining them with his mandolin, and gets close to them. There he meets Pelagia, the daughter of the local doctor and slowly falls in love with her. By the end of the war, the struggle of the couple is even bigger as they have to choose what’s more important, the love for each other, or the love for their respective countries.
The movie was filmed in the jewel of the Ionian Sea, Cephalonia island. Small Komitata village, Chorgota beach, and Sami harbor are the filming locations of the movie. Each one of them is exceptionally beautiful, with plenty of blue and green, giving an extra Greek element to the movie.
In 2008, legendary Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, and Amanda Seyfried traveled to Greece for the filming of Mamma Mia the musical. The story is about Sophie, who is getting married in Skopelos island. Before the wedding, she discovers her mother’s diary and the fact that the identity of her father is uncertain. So, she invites the three potential dad’s to the upcoming wedding and tries to find out the truth.
The key elements of this movie are two: the great songs of ABBA that are sang throughout the whole movie, and the endless blue of the Aegean that is in the background. Skopelos is a beautiful place, with crystal blue waters, layer upon layer of shades of green and art coming to life in every corner of the island, through the crafted vases, hand-painted plates, and miniature boats.
This is the final sequel of the “Before” films, proceded by “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset”. The movie follows the story of Jesse and Celine, who first met on a train in Vienna. Now living in Paris, they have traveled to Greece, and especially to Mani and Pylos, which are located in southwestern Peloponesse. The purpose of that trip is to save their marriage and solve all the issues they are facing.
Starring in the movie are, Ethan Hawke, Julie Deply, and Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick. Richard Linklater was the director of the movie. Definitely put this movie in your watch list, if you are a romantic soul.
Greece is famous for its history, culture, and the tremendous impact that it has had on global civilization but some of these movies set in Greece have played an equally important role in making Greece known all around the world and inspiring people to visit.
- Do you know of any other movies that were filmed in Greece? Has a movie ever inspired you to visit a country? Leave your comments below!