Do you like movies? Are you looking for what movies to watch? As a traveler are you looking for destinations, attractions, or new vacation ideas? Have you ever been to Greece? Before I travel to a country I’ve never visited, I try to do some research. You might have read some of my fun facts posts about countries. I just posted a review of fun facts and history about Greece here.
Madeline and I loved Greece. We have been to Greece twice. The first time we stayed in Athens for a week and discovered as much as we could in Athens and nearby. I have a post about attractions in Greece here. The next time we went further afield and stayed in Thessaloniki for a week. We have not been to the Greek islands yet. That’s next on our list. I even have a post about Greek islands here. What are good movies that are filmed in Greece? What about movies that focus on cities in Greece? I put together a selection of what movies to watch that I think you would enjoy.
Let’s start with Mama Mia which was first produced as a stage show in 1999, featuring the music of the Swedish pop group ABBA. The show was written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, and the music and lyrics were composed by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, former members of ABBA. The musical tells the story of a young woman named Sophie who is about to get married and invites three men who could be her father to her wedding on the Greek island of Kalokairi, hoping to find out which one is her real father. The show features many of ABBA's greatest hits, including "Dancing Queen," "Mamma Mia," and "Take a Chance on Me." In 2008, a film adaptation of "Mamma Mia!" was released, starring Meryl Streep as Sophie's mother, Donna, and Amanda Seyfried as Sophie. The film was directed by Phyllida Lloyd and featured a star-studded cast that also included Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Julie Walters. The film follows the same basic plot as the stage show, with the addition of some new characters and songs. The movie was a commercial success, grossing over $600 million worldwide and becoming one of the highest-grossing musicals of all time which, of course, required a sequel. "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again," was released in 2018 and grossed nearly $400 million worldwide. The original movie was filmed on Skiathos, one of the Greek islands we covered in our post here.
Shirley Valentine was filmed on Mykonos. The film tells the story of Shirley Bradshaw (played by Pauline Collins), a middle-aged housewife and mother from Liverpool who is feeling trapped and unfulfilled in her life. She spends her days doing household chores and cooking meals for her husband Joe (played by Bernard Hill), who takes her for granted and has lost interest in her. One day, Shirley decides to take a trip to Greece with her friend Jane (played by Alison Steadman) and finds herself on a journey of self-discovery and rediscovery of her passion for life. In Greece, Shirley meets a local man named Costas (played by Tom Conti) who encourages her to embrace her freedom and enjoy life to the fullest. As Shirley begins to explore the beauty of the Greek island and embrace the culture, she realizes that she has been missing out on so much in her life and begins to consider making some big changes. The film was a critical and commercial success, winning numerous awards and nominations, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for Pauline Collins. It is considered a classic British film and is beloved for its portrayal of a strong, independent woman who breaks free from the confines of her mundane life to pursue her dreams and passions. There are lots of scenes of Mykonos for you to enjoy.
Summer Lovers, starring Darryl Hannah, was filmed in Santorini, Mykonos and Crete. The film is set on the Greek island of Santorini and follows the romantic and sexual relationships between three young adults during a summer vacation. The film centers around Michael (played by Peter Gallagher) and his girlfriend Cathy (played by Daryl Hannah), who are on vacation on the Greek island. They meet a young French archaeologist named Lina (played by Valerie Quennessen) and the three soon become romantically and sexually involved with each other. The film explores themes of sexuality, love, and jealousy as the trio navigates their complex relationship. The film has stunning cinematography of Santorini. It has become a cult classic among fans of romantic dramas.
For Your Eyes Only
For Your Eyes Only was filmed on Corfu with Roger Moore playing the iconic role of 007, James Bond. The film was the twelfth in the James Bond series and is based on a short story by Ian Fleming. In the film, Bond is tasked with recovering a stolen British encryption device that has fallen into the hands of the Soviet Union. Corfu provided the setting for the scenes involving the villain's hideout, which was actually the 13th-century monastery of St. George in Palaio Frourio. The scenes involving the underwater wreckage were also filmed near the coast of Corfu. Additionally, the film features several other locations in Greece, such as Meteora and the Acropolis in Athens. It’s a great Bond film with plenty of scenes on beautiful Corfu.
Before Midnight features a lot of Greek locations. Most of the filming took place in Kardamili, a town by the sea about 20 miles southeast of Kalamata. The opening scenes were filmed at Kalamata International Airport. It is a romantic drama film directed by Richard Linklater and written by Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke. It is the third and final film in the "Before" trilogy, which includes "Before Sunrise" (1995) and "Before Sunset" (2004).
The movie follows the continuing story of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), who first met on a train in Europe and spent a night walking around Vienna in "Before Sunrise," and then reunited in Paris in "Before Sunset." In "Before Midnight," Jesse and Celine are now in their 40s and are on vacation in Greece. They are dealing with the realities of a long-term relationship. The film takes place over the course of a single day and night, as Jesse and Celine have an intense and emotional conversation about their relationship and the challenges they face.
My Life In Ruins
My Life in Ruins has principal photography in Greece. You can tell because the lead character, Georgia, follows a group of tourists to Athens and beyond. She sees the Acropolis, Delphi, and plenty more. The film is often noted for its stunning visuals of Greece's ancient ruins and landscapes.
Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is a film set in Greece with Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz as the main characters. The setting is wonderful Kefalonia during the time of the island’s occupation during WWII. The film tells the story of the atrocities committed by German forces in September 1943 against Italian soldiers and as Greek civilians, whose lives were lost both during the war and in a massive post-war earthquake. It features secluded coves and crystal-clear waters of rugged coastlines in the stunning Ionian Island of Kefalonia. The film tells the story of a young Greek woman named Pelagia, who falls in love with an Italian army officer named Captain Antonio Corelli.
Pelagia is engaged to a local fisherman named Mandras, but when he leaves to fight in the war, she becomes drawn to the charming and charismatic Captain Corelli, who is sent to the island to lead a company of Italian soldiers. Despite the animosity between the Italian and Greek forces, Pelagia and Corelli fall deeply in love and must navigate the political and personal tensions that arise as a result. The novel explores themes of love, war, cultural identity, and the resilience of the human spirit. It also includes elements of magical realism, such as a belief in prophetic dreams and the power of music to heal and transform. The film was shot on location on the Greek island of Kefalonia and was noted for its stunning visuals and authentic depiction of Greek culture and history.
Other than Mama Mia, Zorba The Greek is probably the most recognized film about Greece. It won 3 Oscars for Best Actress, Lila Kedrova, Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography. The majority of the film was shot on location on the Greek island of Crete. The village of Stavros served as the setting for the famous dance scene where Zorba teaches Basil how to live in the moment and enjoy life. Other locations used for filming include the beaches of Chania and the White Mountains of Crete. Anthony Quinn's performance as Zorba is considered one of the greatest in cinema history and earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. The 1965 Oscars had a packed list of A-list actors for the award including Rex Harrison (winner), Richard Burton, Peter O’Toole, Peter Sellers and Anthony Quinn. Anthony Quinn’s career changed as a result of this movie. It cemented Quinn's status as a leading actor in Hollywood and opened up new opportunities for him. He went on to star in many other successful films, including "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962), "The Guns of Navarone" (1961), and "Lust for Life" (1956).
I’ve given you plenty of excellent movies to watch in this post – all about Greece. Some were on Greek Islands and others were on the mainland. There is plenty of scenery to soak up and some wonderful moments to see. Enjoy Greece.