Famous films made in Greece
A list of all the famous film & TV productions shot in Greece
Greek scenery isn’t simply a tourist draw, it almost makes a great backdrop for film and TV.
From 1957 and the film “Boy on A Dolphin”, that made Hydra one of the most popular Mediterranean destinations and Sophia Loren a household name, to the BBC’s The Little Drummer Girl, which after a lot of deliberation, ended up being shot in Sounio amongst many other locations, let’s look at who else chose Greece as their production location.
The Little Drummer Girl
The Little Drummer Girl is a spy drama based on the book by John Le Carre, directed by award winning South Korean director Park Chan-Wook. The British TV series, produced by the BBC, Ink Factory and AMC and broadcast in 80 countries, was filmed in Sounio, the Acropolis and elsewhere despite a protracted licence process as the Central Archaeological Council initially turned down their application to film in Sounio. In the end it was all arranged and included scenes from Lebanon, Yugoslavia and Rome. The series focuses on the tensions between Israel and Palestine in the late 70s.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
One of the biggest Hollywood successes of the early 00s was Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, filmed exclusively in Kefalonia and giving the island’s tourist trade a massive boost. The film is about a Greek girl falling for an Italian captain, who is charmed by the Greeks and stands up against German atrocities. It stars Nicholas Cage and Penelope Cruz, it’s directed by John Madden, while the cinematographer, who really brought out the best of the island, is John Toll.
For Your Eyes Only
James Bond in 1981 was on a mission that took him to Greece, Meteora and Corfu in particular, with the most breathtaking scene being in Meteora with Roger Moore hanging off the side of the rocks. The Orthodox church was initially against the movie but the filming ended up going ahead as planned.
Set against Skiathos, Skopelos and Pelion, an American ex-hippy finds out that her soon to be married daughter has invited 3 of her mother’s ex-lovers to the wedding so she can find out who her dad is. A great, uplifting musical with the ABBA songs being the perfect match for the colours of the Sporades islands.
The Big Blue
It was 1988 when Amorgos became a favourite destination for French tourists because of this film, its deep blue waters and the 900-year old Virgin Mary Hozoviotissa monastery, which hangs on a rockface 300m above sea level. The stars of the film, Jean Reno and Jean Marc Barr, played free diving champions.
Zorba The Greek
Based on the book by Nikos Kazantzakis, the film brought home three Oscars in 1964, with the most important being the one for supporting actress, awared to Lila Kentrova for the role of Madame Hortense. The legendary Zorba the Greek was played by Anthony Quinn, with Alan Bates and Eirini Pappa in other main roles. The film was set in Crete and the famous dance scene was filmed on the beach of Stavros, outside Chania. The music Mikis Theodorakis wrote for the film became known as syrtaki.
Boy On A Dolphin
Boy On A Dolphin was the first big American production to be shot in Greece, back in 1957. The film locations included Hydra, Poros, Meteora and the Acropolis. The infamous scene is when Sophia Loren comes out of the sea in Hydra, with her wet dress clinging to her. The film stood out for its music and the Italian diva singing, in Greek, Tony Marouda’s song “Ti Einai Afto Pou To Lene Agapi” (What is this thing called love).
The Guns Of Navarone
A famous war movie from 1961, filmed in Rhodes with Gregory Peck, David Niven and Anthony Quinn. News agencies from all over the world descended on the island, as well as then Queen Frederika and her daughters Irene and Sophia. The German soldiers was played, on a voluntary basis, by members of the local Greek police.