26 Famous Movies Filmed in Greece and the Greek Islands

Filmed in Greece Saronico Photo Nais Athanasakou
Filmed in Greece - Saronico -Photo -Nais Athanasakou

Location, location, location, that’s what it’s all about, and what better location is there than Greece, with her sparkling deep blue seas, and sunny skies, the land of mystical mythology?

Many a film producer, through the years, seems to have agreed, and chose glorious Greece as the backdrop for some memorable films, and now,  brilliant news:  the island of Syros may soon be home to a Hollywood film studio and film school!

 With the finalization of the The Greek Film Project in Syros”, we may be about to see many more films made in Greece, a great promotion for Greek tourism!

Syros Greece

Why not have another look at 26 famous films shot in Greece, I guarantee, after seeing the beautiful landscape, you’ll be on the next plane leaving for the land of the Gods!

In chronological order:

1. 1957 Boy on a Dolphin

Statue of "Boy on a Dolphin" Hydra
Statue of "Boy on a Dolphin"

Director Jean Negulesco

Starring Sophia Loren and Alan Ladd


 Hydra Greece, Poros Greece, Athens Greece, Rhodes Greece, Corinth Greece, Mykonos Greece and Delos Greece.

The first Hollywood movie filmed in Greece, and Sophia Loren’s English debut.

Sophia Loren "Boy on a Dolphin"
Sophia Loren
"Boy on a Dolphin"

Phaedra (Sophia Loren), an impoverished sponge diver, one day, whilst diving from the boat of her good-for-nothing, deceitful, illegal immigrant Albanian boyfriend, Rhif, unearths an ancient Greek statue of a  boy on a dolphin.

Things come to a head when Sophia wants to sell the statue and Rhif tries to thwart her plans.

2. 1960 Never on Sunday

The port of Piraeus Greece
The port of Piraeus

Director Jules Dassin

Starring Melina Mercouri, Jules Dassin, Georgos Foundas.
(In real life Melina Mercouri eventually marries Jules Dassin)


 Piraeus Greece

Melina Mercuri "Never on Sunday"
Melina Mercuri
"Never on Sunday"

Ilya (Melina Mercouri), is a fun-loving, larger than life prostitute, entertaining the dock workers of Piraeus, but Never on a Sunday!

Along comes Homer Thrace (Dassin), a would-be philosopher from America, whose intent is to save Ilya from herself.

3. 1961 The Guns of Navarone

St Paul's Bay  Rhodes, Greece
St Paul's Bay
Rhodes, Greece

Director J. Lee Thompson

Starring Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quinn


 The Acropolis of Lindos, Rhodes Greece, St Nicholas Bay, Rhodes Greece, Rhodes harbor Greece.

David Niven, Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, Stanley Baker, James Darren,  and Anthony Quayle in The Guns of Navarone
David Niven, Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, Stanley Baker, James Darren,
 and Anthony Quayle in The Guns of Navarone 

Based on the novel by Alisatair Maclean.

The Guns of Navarone is set in 1943, the axis powers (Germany, Italy, Japan) are planning to attack 2000 British soldiers stranded on the island of Kheros.

Six allied soldiers disguised as Greek fishermen, sail across the Aegean, overwhelm the crew of a German patrol boat, and, on landing, meet up with the Greek resistance.

4. 1962 The 300 Spartans

Lake Vouliagmeni Heraion Loutraki
Lake Vouliagmeni

Director Rudolph Maté

Starring Richard Egan, Ralph Richardson, Diane Baker


 Athens Greece, Loutraki Greece, Perachora Greece, Lake Vouliagmeni, HERAION Greece (Loutraki…home sweet home to us!)

The 300 Spartans
The 300 Spartans

The 300 Spartans, a true story; in 480 BC, 300 tough SPARTAN soldiers, led by King Leonidas, against all odds, ward off the invading Persian army of 250.000 at the Battle of Thermopolai.

5. 1963 America America

Parthenon, Athens  Greece
Parthenon, Athens

Director Elia Kazan

Starring Stathis Giallelis, Frank Wolff, Elena Karam.


 Turkey, Athens Greece, New York

Movie poster "America America"
Movie poster
"America America"

America America, was inspired by the life of the director Elia Kazan’s own uncle. (The Character Stavros in the film).

Stavros, a young boy born in a poor village in Ottoman Turkey in the late 1890s has a dream, a dream of life in America.

After witnessing the massacre, by the Turks, of Greeks and Armenians, Stavros heads to Istanbul to help fund a carpet shop, but on the way, loses the family fortune which has been entrusted to him.

After living on the streets, narrowly escaping an arranged marriage and an affair with a married woman, Stavros, at last, boards the SS Kaiser Wilhelm for America.

Working his way up from a shoeshine boy, Stavros saves every dime he earns and eventually manages to bring his family over to America.

6. 1963 A summer Holiday

Acropolis of Athens Greece
Acropolis of Athens

Director Peter Yates

Starring Cliff Richard, Lauri Peters, Melvyn Hayes.


 Athens, Greece, Aldenham Bus Depot, Aldenham, Hertfordshire, England, UK, The Elstree Studios of Associated British Picture Corporation, Hertfordshire, England, UK.

Cliff Richard "Summer Holiday" Athens Greece
Cliff Richard
"Summer Holiday"
Athens Greece

In this musical, Summer Holiday, four bus mechanics, soup up a London double-decker bus, transforming it into a hotel and tour around Europe, picking up girls along the way, little do they know that one girl is a runaway!

On reaching Athens, all the passengers on the bus are arrested for kidnapping.

7. 1964 Zorba the Greek

Chania Liighthouse Crete
Chania Liighthouse

Director Mihalis Kakogiannis

Starring Anthony Quinn, Alan Bates, Irene Papas, Lila Kedrova


 Kokkino Chorio, Crete Greece, Chania Crete Greece, Stavros Crete Greece (Zorba’s dance)

From the novel 'Zorba the Greek' by Nikos Kazantzakis

Anthony Quinn, Alan Bates "Zorba the Greek"
Anthony Quinn, Alan Bates
"Zorba the Greek"

Basil, half English, half Greek, typically British in his ways, meets Alexis Zorba, a Greek peasant, while they are both waiting at the port of Piraeus, to board a ship for Crete, where Basil’s family own land, and where Basil intends to reopen a lignite (A poor quality coal) mine.

Once in Crete, an unlikely friendship between Basil and Alexis leaves the wealthy, educated, English gentleman, having second thoughts as to if an education and a refined life are the be all and end all.

 The uneducated, coarse, Greek peasant Zorba, seems to have grasped what Basil has not: how to truly live life and be happy.

8.1976 Une femme à sa fenêtre

Delphi Greece
(Language; French)

Director Pierre Granier-Deferre

Starring Romy Schneider, Philippe Noiret, Victor Lanoux.


 Athens Greece, Delphi Greece, Paris France.

Romy Schnieder "Une Femme a sa Fenetre"
Romy Schnieder
"Une Femme a sa Fenetre"

 Une Femme a sa Fenetre, It’s 1936, when, on 4th August, General Metaxas, declares martial law in Greece and Primoulis, a hard- nosed police officer, is after union leader, Boutris, who manages to escape by the skin of his teeth.

The next morning, after his narrow escape, Boutris climbs through the apartment window of Marchese Margot Santorini, the bored wife of Rico, penniless Italian playboy diplomat.
Margot aides Boutris with his getaway, falling in love with him into the bargain!

9. 1978 The Greek Tycoon

Mykonos  Greece

Director J. Lee Thompson

Starring Anthony Quinn, Jacqueline Bisset, Raf Vallone


 Athens Greece, Mykonos Greece, Corfu Greece, New York, London

Aristotle Onassis
Aristotle Onassis

The Greek Tycoon,  based on the life of Wealthy Greek shipping tycoon, Aristotle Onassis and his rocky marriage to Jacqueline Kennedy, former wife of John Kennedy, president of the United States of America.

10. 1981 For Your Eyes Only

Corfu Town, Corfu Tower of  St. Spyridon Greece
Corfu Town, Corfu
Tower of  St. Spyridon

Director John Glen

Starring Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Topol


 Aghia Triada Monastery, Meteora, Greece, Corfu Town, Corfu, Achillion Palace, Corfu Greece, Agios Spyridon Tower, Corfu Town Greece

For Your Eyes Only, The twelfth James Bond film 007 spy film.

Carole Bouquet as Melina, Roger Moore as James Bond  in For Your Eyes Only in 1981.
Carole Bouquet as Melina, Roger Moore as James Bond
 in For Your Eyes Only in 1981.

Whilst trying to locate a missile command system, Bond becomes entangled in a web of deception, spun by dodgy Greek business man, Aris Kristatos.

As bond tends to, he falls for beautiful  Melina, who is out to get revenge for the murder of her parents, marine archiologists.

11. 1983 Rembetiko

Movie Poster for "Rembetiko"
Movie Poster for "Rembetiko"


Director Costas Ferris

Starring Sotiria Leonardou, Nikos Kalogeropoulos, Michalis Maniatis



Sotiria Leornadou, Michalis Maniatis "Rembetiko"
Sotiria Leornadou, Michalis Maniatis

Based on the life of Marika Ninou, a Rembetiko singer, born in Smyrna (Asia Minor) 1917, who was deported, together with her family at the age of seven, to Greece, where her family open a night club.

In the space of only a few years, Marika has witnessed her father murder her mother, run away from home, had a baby, and returned to the night club.

12. 1985 Eleni

  Movie poster for "Eleni"
Movie poster for "Eleni"

Director Peter Yates

Starring Kate Nelligan, John Malkovich, Linda Hunt 


 Greece, Canada, Spain, USA

From the book 'Eleni' by Nicholas Gage

John Malkovich "Eleni"
John Malkovich

A tribute to his mother, Eleni, by Greek-American Nicholas Gage, a journalist at the New York Times, who, when posted to a bureau in Greece, decides to solve the murder of his mother by the communist guerrillas, when they invade her village during the Greek civil war.

 (“Greek civil war; 1946 to 1949 between the Greek government army (backed by the United Kingdom and the United States), and the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE, the military branch of the Greek Communist Party (KKE), backed by Yugoslavia and Albania as well as by Bulgaria” Wikipedia)

13. 1986 Shirley Valentine

Little Venice, Mykonos Greece
Little Venice, Mykonos

Director Lewis Gilbert

Starring   Pauline Collins, Tom Conti, Julia McKenzie.


 Mykonos Greece, London England, Liverpool England.

Pauline Collins as Shirley Valentine
Pauline Collins as Shirley Valentine

Shirley Valentine, a fed up, English housewife with a penchant for talking to walls, jumps at the chance of a holiday in Greece, when her friend drops out, Shirley travels to Mykonos alone.

Here begins a passionate, holiday, love affair with Greek waiter; Costas, and the beginning of Shirley’s life in Greece.

14. 1988 The Big Blue

View from Hozoviotissa Monastery - Amorgos Island, Greece
View from Hozoviotissa Monastery
 Amorgos Island, Greece

Director Luc Besson

Starring Jean-Marc Barr, Jean Reno, Rosanna Arquette


 Aghia Anna Amorgos,Greece, Le Grand Bleu Bar, Amorgos Greece, Kalotarritisa Bay Greece, (The Olympia shipwreck scene) Amorgos Greece, Ios island Greece, Sicily, Italy, Corsica, France, Peru.

 Jean Reno, Jean-Marc Barr,  "The Big Blue"
 Jean Reno, Jean-Marc Barr,
"The Big Blue"

The Big Blue, a cult film, the heavily fictionalized story (In real life, neither diver reached 400 feet, and neither diver died whilst diving), of two friends, Enzio Maiorca(Jean Reno) and  and Jaques Mayol (Jean-Marc Barr ) both free divers, growing up in Greece in the 1960s, until their deaths in the 1980s.

15.1991 Mediterraneo

Kastelorizo Island  Greece
Kastelorizo Island
(Language; Italian, Greek, Turkish, English)

Director Gabriele Salvatores

Starring Diego Abatantuono, Claudio Bigagli, Giuseppe Cederna, Vana Barba.


  Kastellorizo Island, Dodecannese, Greece

Academy Award for Best Foreign Film 1991

Set during WWII, Mediterraneo is about a group of Italian soldiers stranded on what they think is an abandoned Greek island, their mission to spot enemy ships, but there is not an enemy in sight.

The Greek inhabitants, mostly women and children, as the German’s have taken all the men, apart from the village priest, after watching the Italians from their hiding place, realize they are harmless, and come out of hiding, and make friends.

A lot of quirky characters!

16. 2001 Captain Correlli’s Mandolin

Kefalonia Greece

Director John Madden

Starring Nicolas Cage, Penélope Cruz, John Hurt.


Chorgota Beach, Komitata village, Sami harbor, Kefalonia, Greece.

Based on the book 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' by Louis de Bernières.

Captain Correlli's Mandolin - Nicolas Cage & Penelope Cruz
Captain Correlli's Mandolin -
Nicolas Cage & Penelope Cruz

It’s1941, WWII, Italy has allied with the Germans and invaded Greece, Italian Soldiers are stationed on the remote Greek island of Kefalonia to keep its inhabitants in check.

Happy go lucky Captain Antonio Correlli, makes the best of a bad job, integrates with the locals, entertaining them with his mandolin, his passion in life.

Pelargia, the local doctor’s daughter, engaged to a fisherman who is away at war, against her better judgment, slowly falls in love with Antonio.

In 1943, Italy surrenders to the allies, what will be stronger, the couples love for each other, or the love for their respective countries?

17. 2002 The Bourne Identity

Mykonos Greece

Director Doug Liman

Starring Franka Potente, Matt Damon, Chris Cooper. 


 Mykonos, Greece (Final scenes), Sea Satin Market, Little Venice, Mykonos Greece (Scooter rental scene), Czech Republic, France, Italy, Spain.
Based on Robert Ludlum's novel, “The Bourne Identity”.

Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in  "The Bourne Identity"
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in
"The Bourne Identity"

In the Bourne Identity, a wounded man is found by fishermen, who nurse him back to health, but, once he has his heath back, he realizes his memory is gone.

The unknown man tries to find clues to his identity, using a Swiss bank account number, and soon finds he is being hunted, and so the adventure starts, he’s on a mission to find out who he is and why he’s being hunted.

18. 2003 A Touch of Spice

Plaka Athens Greece

(“The original Greek title is Πολίτικη Κουζίνα (Politiki Kouzina) which means Cuisine of the City and refers to the Cuisine of Constantinople.

 However, in the film's promotional material, the word Politiki of the title is depicted in capital letters, therefore allowing an alternative reading of the title, due to the lack of punctuation, as Πολιτική Κουζίνα (Politiki Kouzina) which means Political Cuisine signifying the important role that politics played in the lives of the main characters.

The Turkish title, "Bir Tutam Baharat" , Greek title, "A Touch of Spice".)

(Language: Greek, Turkish, English)

Director Tassos Boulmetis

Starring Georges Corraface, Ieroklis Michaelidis, Renia Louizidou


 Athens Greece, Lavrio Greece, Istanbul Turkey.

Grandfather Vassillis "Touch of Spice"
Grandfather Vassillis
"Touch of Spice"
In the film, Fanis reminisces about growing up in Istanbul, where his grandfather Vassillis, owned a grocery store, specializing in spices.

Due to political unrest, in 1964, Fanis and his family are deported from Istanbul by the Turks, and begin a new life in Athens, Greece, Vassillis, his grandfather, stays behind in Turkey.

The only way Fanis can come up with, to keep the link to his grandfather alive, is to cook, using all his grandfather’s culinary secrets of the “Politiki” cuisine; which spice goes best with this, which spice goes best with that.

Vassillis has promised to visit Fanis in Athens, but that promise is never kept, and, after thirty years, when Vassillis is ill, and near death, Fanis returns to Istanbul, where he meets up with his old friend Saime.

Reflecting on life, Fanis realizes that he never took his grandfather’s advice, he never did put a little spice in his life.

19. 2004 Brides- Nyfes (Νύφες)

Andros island, Greece
Andros island, Greece
(Language; Greek, Russian, Italian, Turkish)

Director Pantelis Voulgaris

Starring Damian Lewis, Victoria Haralabidou, Andréa Ferréol. 


 Andros Greece, Athens Greece, Crete Greece, Kastoria Greece. 

"Brides (Nyfes)"   Damien Lewis
"Brides (Nyfes)"
 Damien Lewis 

Nyfes (Brides): Set in 1922, during the Greco-Turkish war; “The Asia Minor Catastrophe”, and the Russian civil war, men are scarce, and so, the women from these countries, look elsewhere for a husband.

After corresponding with immigrants, 700 women board the SS King Alexander, clutching only a photograph, with a name; they head for a new life, with an unknown husband in America.

The ultimate "Mail order bride" !

20. 2008 Mama Mia

Skopelos Island Greece
Skopelos Island
Director Phyllida Lloyd

Starring: Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried.


Agios Ioannis Chapel, Skopelos, Greece (wedding procession), Kastani Beach, Skopelos, Greece, Damouchari, Pelion, Greece.

Meryl Streep "Mama Mia"
Meryl Streep
"Mama Mia"

Bride-to-be, twenty year old Sophia, lives on the Greek island of “Kalokairi”, with her mother Donna, who owns a small hotel.

One day, on finding her mother’s diary, Sophie discovers that any one of three men may be her father, and, without telling her mother, invites all three to the wedding which is to be held on the island, Mama Mia!

21. 2009 Dogtooth 

Stairs in Pagrati neighborhood, Athens.  Greece
Stairs in Pagrati neighborhood, Athens.

(Κυνόδοντας- Kynodontas original title)
(Language; Greek)

Director Yorgos Lanthimos

Starring Christos Stergioglou, Michele Valley, Angeliki Papoulia. 


Athens Greece

Dogtooth, was nominated for Best Foreign Film, Academy Awards 2011, plus it has won too many other awards to mention!

Yorgos Lanthimos Director of "Dogtooth"
Yorgos Lanthimos
Director of "Dogtooth"

The second film from Greek director, Yorgos Lanthimos :Over protective parents, won’t allow their three teenage children out into the world until their “dogteeth” fall out, they live in isolation, listening to homemade tapes, to aid their vocabulary, in a large, isolated, country house.

 A weird "Greek wave" thriller, Greek critic Dimitris Danikas gave the film a rating of eight out of ten and characterizes it as "black, surreal, nightmarish."

22. 2013 Before Midnight

iew from Patrick Leigh Fermor's garden in Kardamyli Greece
View from Patrick Leigh Fermor's garden in Kardamyli

Director Richard Linklater

Starring Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick.


Kardamyli - Mani , Messinia, Greece, The Westin Resort Costa Navarino, Messinia, Greece, Patrick Leigh Fermor's house - Kardamyli, Messinia, Greece (house where Jesse and Céline spend their Greek holiday), Pylos, Greece (street scenes), Kalamata International Airport - Kalamata, Messinia, Greece (Jesse and Hank at the airport in the opening scene).

Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy "Before Midnight"
Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
"Before Midnight"

The third and final (so far!) of the 'Before' films proceeded by "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset".

It’s eighteen years since the French-American couple, Jesse and Celine, first met on a train in Vienna.

Now, living in Paris, they have taken a trip to Greece, can they save their marriage?

23. 2013 Little England (Mikra Anglia original title)

Andros Island Greece
Andros Island
(Language; Greek)

Director Pantelis Voulgaris

Starring Pinelopi Tsilika, Sofia Kokkali, Aneza Papadopoulou.


 Andros, Greece

"Little England" Photo: Nikos Nikolopoulos
"Little England"
Photo: Nikos Nikolopoulos

Little England : “One home, one secret, one man, two sisters.”

Orsa is passionately in love with lieutenant Spyros Maltabes, but tells no one, Moscha, her sister, wants to leave the island of Andros, where it’s a woman’s fate to marry a sailor, who are never  home, or drown at sea.

Their mother, Mina, knowing that love means heartache and trouble, and  disregarding the well-being and feelings of her daughters, conspires to arrange marriages for them both.

 Orsa is to marry  Captain Nikos,  and later, Moscha is to marry the now Captain, Spyros Maltabes, her sister's secret love.

 Their house is divided into two. Down stairs lives Orsa and Nikos, up stairs lives Moscha and Spyros, not a good recipe for their happiness!

24. 2014 The Two Faces of January

Caryatid Porch of the Erechtheum   Acopolis Athens, Greece
Caryatid Porch of the Erechtheum
 Acopolis Athens, Greece

Director Hossein Amini

Starring Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, Oscar Isaac.


Athens Greece, Chania Crete Greece, Iraklion Crete Greece, Istanbul Turkey.

Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst "The Two Faces of January"
Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst
"The Two Faces of January"

The Twwo Faces of January; An American couple, Chester MacFarland and his younger wife Colette, arrive in Athens by boat via the Corinth Canal.

While sightseeing on the Acropolis, Chester and Colette meet the Greek-speaking tour guide, Rydal, who is scamming tourists, and Rydal accepts their invitation to dinner.

When at the couple’s hotel, Chester and Colette shock Ryder by asking him to help them move the body of a man, whom Chester says attacked him.

Rydal agrees to help the couple and finds himself in a situation he can’t wriggle his way out of.

25. 2015 Cloudy Sunday (Ouzeri Tsitsanis original title)

Thessaloniki, Greece
Thessaloniki, Greece
(Language; Greek)

Director Manousos Manousakis

Starring Andreas Konstantinou, Haris Fragoulis,Christina Hilla Fameli.



Henri Cartier-Bresson - Zeibekiko dancer in a café. Piraeus. Greece. 1953.
Henri Cartier-Bresson - Zeibekiko dancer in a café. Piraeus. Greece. 1953.

Ouzeri Tsitsanis: Greece. WWII, under German occupation, Christian, Giorgos, falls in love with Jewish, Estrea (Thessaloniki has a large 500 year old Jewish community), something frowned on by their families.

The story evolves in the “Ouzeri” where Tsitsanis, famous Greek composer and singer of “Rembetiko”- the blues, works.

German officers, Greek collaborators, black marketers, and undercover resistance fighters, mingle together in this story of betrayal, love and treachery.

26. 2016  Roza of Smyrna

(Η Ρόζα της Σμύρνης- original title)

Cafe in Agiassos, Lesvos - Greece
Cafe in Agiassos, Lesvos

(Language; Greek, English, Turkish)

Director George Kordellas

Starring Tasos Nousias, Leda Protopsalti, Evgenia Dimitropoulou


Athens Greece, Agassios Lesvos Greece, Izmir Turkey.

Tasos Nousias, Leda Protopsalti and Evgenia Dimitropoulou "Rosa of Smyrna"
Tasos Nousias, Leda Protopsalti and Evgenia Dimitropoulou
"Rosa of Smyrna"

Roza and Ismael have a secret, a secret they have kept for decades.

While on a trip to Izmir, with the curator of a renowned Athens museum, Dimitris is looking for objects for his exhibition about the Culture of Nationalities who lived together in Izmir before the genocide. 

In an antique shop in Izmir, Dimitris comes across an old photograph, a wedding dress soiled with blood and a letter.

 There are some wonderful films here, my favorites are, in order of best first, “Zorba the Greek”, wow, did he know how to live!

“The Big Blue”, could watch it over and over again, “A touch of Spice”, and then the Greek rembetiko era: “Rembetiko”, “Roza of Smyrna” and “Cloudy Sunday”.

How many have you seen?

Have I missed any? Let me know !

30 of the Most CREEPIEST and HAUNTED Places in Greece - Dare You Visit - Photos & Videos

Salem Mansion Thessaloniki Photo used as a poster for hit American TV Show, American Horror Story' Photo by Alexander Hadji ...

Take a peek at my most popular posts.