International movies shot in Greece and Films Set on the Greek Islands: Greece, the country of sun, history, and culture, and the Greek islands have frequently set the background of famous movies and, in many cases, of Hollywood movies. Providing bright sunlight and wonderful landscapes, Greece has been a magnificent natural scene for many directors and many films movies were shot in Greece. You will find below some of the many movies shot in Greece in which you can admire the beautiful landscapes and the way of life of Greek people in some periods of the 20th century.
Boy on a dolphin
Hydra is the first Greek island to host an American production, the well-known Boy on a dolphin, starring Sophia Loren. Most of the movie was filmed in Hydra, but there were also some shots from Athens, Rhodes, and Delos. The movie showed to the whole world, for the first time, the beauty of the Greek islands and it is considered as a classical Hollywood movie today.
Never on Sunday
Some years later, in 1960, the film director Jules Dassin, showed up another option of Greek beauty, having his future wife Melina Merkouri starring in Never on Sunday. The movie, filmed in Piraeus, the main port of Greece, gently introduces the viewer into Greek culture, including dance, music and daily life. The music theme of the movie became hits of the 1960s and brought to composer Manos Hadjidakis an Academy Award.
Guns of Navarone
A year later, another Greek island, Rhodes, becomes the center of the world's attention, hosting the famous movie Guns of Navarone. The movie is based on the 1957 novel of the same name. Starring Gregory Peck and Anthony Quinn, the movie starts with an aerial view of the Greek islands and scenes are set in famous archaeological sites, like Lindos in Rhodes and Sounio near Athens.
Anthony Quinn starred in another movie filmed in Greece in 1964. He became the legendary Zorbas in the famous film "Zorba the Greek", based on a novel by Nikos Kazantzakis. The film was shot in Crete, particularly in Chania, Apokrounas, and Akrotiri. The famous scene in which Quinn dances the sirtaki was shot on the beach of Stavros. The music of the film was composed by Mikis Theodorakis and became very popular.
For your eyes only
Another option of Greek beauty is filmed in 1981, in the James Bond series movie For your eyes only, with Roger Moore as the spy 007. The movie is shot in the impressive cliffs of Meteora and particularly in the monastery of Agia Triada.
The beautiful island of Santorini, famous worldwide for its magnificent sunset and volcano was the background of Summer Lovers, launched in 1982. The most romantic island in Greece captured the attention and became the most desirable tourist destination for the youth.
Lara Croft Tomb Raider
Santorini also set the background for Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, starring Angelina Jolie, in 2003 focusing on the famous myth of Atlantis. The movie had great international success and the volcanic island is promoted to the world once more.
In the neighboring islands of Amorgos, Ios and Mykonos, the famous movie Big Blue, an anthem to the Greek sea, was filmed in 1988. The film included extensive underwater scenes and advertised at its best the wonderful Aegean Sea and its seabed.
Captain Corelli's Mandolin
A love story between a Greek woman and an Italian captain was filmed on the green island of Kefalonia in 2001. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, starring Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz, referred to the time of the Second World War and was exclusively filmed in natural settings in Kefalonia, making the beauty of the island famous all over the world. In particular, there were scenes in Sami, Antisamos, and Fiscardo.
After romance, it was the turn of comedy. Skiathos and Skopelos provided the lovely scenery for Mamma Mia!, the legendary musical starring Meryl Streep. Particularly popular is the church of Agios Ioannis in Skopelos, where the wedding scene was filmed. Actually many people go to Skopelos just to visit the church of Agios Ioannis.
Life in Ruins
One year later, Nia Vardalos, the famous Greek-American writer, and actor launch her Life in ruins. This time, filming took place in the most famous archaeological sites in Greece, particularly in Athens, Olympia, and Delphi, promoting the rich culture of the country, too, not only the golden beaches.
Apart from these movies, many more are to come in the following years. As long as the sun is bright and the sea is blue, Greece will be the favorite place of filmmakers. Read more in our blog: Famous Films made in Greece