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8 Famous Movies Filmed in Greece & the islands

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Last updated on November 4th, 2021 at 12:57 pm

The Greek islands have a well-deserved reputation for being among the most amazing places on the planet.

They combine the warmth of the southern sun, the Mediterranean Sea’s freshness, and the mountain rocks’ beauty.

Exotic fruits, delicious wine, cheeses, and seafood – a fantastic diversity of these delicacies add to Greek residents and travelers’ everyday life bright colors and flavors.

It is no wonder that these lands have always attracted artists and, starting with the 20th century, filmmakers to live and create there.

As a result, a lot of movies are connected to this area. These are mainly dramas, love stories, and comedies.

We offer you a list of the most popular and exciting films made in Greece and the Greek Islands.

Our list will be of great inspiration if you plan a trip to Corfu, Santorini, Crete, Kefalonia, Zante, Mykonos, or other Greek islands.

1- Summer Lovers (1982)

Summer Lovers-(1982)
Summer Lovers-(1982)

Summer Lovers is a youth romantic movie.

The main characters’ summer romance takes place on the island of Santorini in Greece.

Santorini’s characteristic snow-white houses on the island’s rocky shores were the most distinctive elements of this movie’s theatrical posters.

There are many picturesque places in Greece, but the film creators managed to spot the best-fitting locations. The directors aimed to emphasize youth yearning for freedom, the atmosphere of summer and warmth, and romance.

Often, the dialogues of the main characters shoot on sandy beaches. Some scenes were shooted at real excavations in Greece.

During the shooting, professional archaeologists who were actually working under the camera lenses found several artifacts dating back over 3500 years.

The director of the film claimed that choosing Santorini as the major location was not a coincidence.

According to the scriptwriters, this place enticed them with its nature and architecture, inspiring them to reflect on youth love and summer romances’ essence.

2- The Big Blue (1988)

The Big Blue-(1988)
The Big Blue-(1988)

Luke Besson made this amazing movie in 1988.

The narrative acquaints us with the life story of two freedivers who broke the world record of diving to depth without any equipment.

The story is partly real, as it is based on the lives of two divers – Enzo and Jacques.

As it quite often is with the art world, in the film, their achievements are exaggerated. But this film has not made their stories simplified or less attractive.

Most of the scenes were filmed in the waters near Amorgos Island in Greece.

This location was chosen for a reason. According to the directors, this is where the Mediterranean Sea has an unusual shade; thus, many beautiful diving scenes were filmed.

The film has received many international awards, even though it failed in primary distribution.

3- Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001)

Captain Corelli Mandolin-(2001)
Captain Corelli Mandolin-(2001)

This film is based on the novel by the writer Louis de Bernieres, which depicts the early days of the second world war.

The action takes place on the Ionian Islands of Greece, presented to a viewer as a beautiful nameless narrative at the beginning of the film.

The story emanates from historical events of the Italian occupation of the Ionian islands in 1943.

These tragic events and breathtaking scenery of Kefalonia used as a set for unraveling complicated relationships between peaceful island inhabitants and men of war.

And, of course, the central focal point is a romantic one, portrayed by Nicholas Cage and Penelope Cruz as are leading actors of the movie.

Part of the filming took place in Kefalonia, which is nowadays a top-rated destination among tourists and travelers looking for romantic getaways.

This place is famous for its numerous bays with sandy beaches, where the water is emerald, which is not often found in Greece, famous for its rocky cliffs.

The directors have successfully managed to show the charm of tranquil Greece against the background of World War II.

4- Mediterraneo (2001)

The Italian film portrays eight soldiers who found themselves on one of the Greek islands during World War II.

They survived the shipwreck, so they had to stay on the island and temporarily settle: learn to live there and establish contacts with locals.

This film has won many international awards. In all its glory, you can see the architecture and culture of the Greeks in the mid-40s.

5- The Bourne Identity (2002)

The Bourne Identity-(2002)
The Bourne Identity-(2002)

Film critics highly praise the thriller starring Matt Damon.

It is a story about a special agent, who constantly gets into trouble in different parts of the world.

The shooting partially held in Mykonos, Greece. This small town is famous for its beautiful and atmospheric berth and its new port.

Only 4000 inhabitants live in this picturesque city.

Every year the place visited by many tourists who admire the cozy atmosphere of Greek maritime architecture.

6- Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)

Lara Croft-Tomb Raider-The Cradle of Life-(2003)
Lara Croft-Tomb Raider-The Cradle of Life-(2003)

This follow-up to the successful first part of the series about Lara Croft filmed mainly on the Greek island of Santorini.

According to the plot, after the earthquake, the Luna temple emerged after being hidden from human eyes for many centuries.

As it turns out, the long-lost treasures of Alexander the Great revealed in the temple: attracting treasure hunters, including Lara Croft (who works for British exploration of Mi 6) and her nemeses.

In the movie scenes, you will see many Santorini archipelago locations.

The population of the main island is only 15,000 people. But since it became highly popular with tourists, the island welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world.

Santorini is admired for its beaches that spread for dozens of kilometers. On the rocky terrain are houses of locals and numerous hotels with picturesque views.

7- Pepper Bristle (2003)

The 2003 film tells the story of the protagonist, whose grandfather owns a spice shop in Istanbul.

Over time, the whole family deported to Greece, but the main character’s grandfather stays in Turkey with his shop.

This film shows the national food culture of Greece in all its glory.

After a while, the protagonist named Phannis begins to spend more and more time in the kitchen, cooking various dishes and helping others to prepare national Greek and Turkish dishes.

You will not see many of Greece’s tourist beauties, but the narrative fully reveals the theme of the Mediterranean kitchen.

8- Mamma Mia! (2008)

Mamma Mia!-(2008)
Mamma Mia!-(2008)

This musical film is the result of a successful international co-production.

Mamma mia! would definitely be of particular interest to ABBA band admirers since it is all set around their songs.

The filmmakers decided to film most of the scenes on a Greek island called Kalokairi (a fictional name as the real island is Skopelos).

This is probably one of the most commercially successful movies made in the Greek islands.

But after the Mamma Mia! premiere, the island of Skopelos saw a significant increase in its tourist flow ( probably, fans of the ABBA).

In the film’s shots, you can see numerous churches and temples. About 300 of them are on the island.

Many buildings we see in this movie preserved since the 3rd-5th century AD. This adds to the unique authenticity of the film.

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