While Greece’s stunning landscapes can be used for vacations and exploration, they can also be used as filming locations for a wide range of genres. A variety of stories have been brought to life by Greek scenery, from the spectacular crater views of volcanic Santorini to the mythological “Soaring” rock formations of Meteora.
1. Mamma Mia
Mamma Mia, one of the most recognizable Greek films, was shot on the island of Skopelos. Skopelos hotel owner Donna (Meryl Streep) organizes the wedding of her beautiful daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) to attractive Sky (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Three guys from Donna’s past show up at Amanda’s invitation in the intention of meeting her father.
With a soundtrack full of ABBA-inspired tunes, the film doesn’t skimp on the contemplative aspects of profound dialogues and a rollercoaster of emotions. Aegean blue waters, rich vegetation, and white-washed churches are just a few of the stunning sights we see. In the film, these are some of the few beautiful Sporades depicted.
2. My Life In Ruins
Athens-based romantic comedy Driving Aphrodite, or My Life in Ruins, was released in 2009. Travel guide Georgia (Nia Vardalos), an ex-academic who dislikes her current employment, stars in the film. Following a group of fun visitors to Athens, she will soon discover her “kefi,” or mission in life, after touring the Acropolis, Delphi and other landmarks.
Beautiful scenery, archeological ruins, infinite blue, and stunning panoramic views are all featured in the film.
3. Before Midnight
As a love picture, Before Midnight is set in Greece as well. They are a well-known couple, and we follow their story in it. Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) from the Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004) films flirt, challenge each other, and reminisce about the history of their 18-year relationship. They ponder their past, present, and future selves and how they may have been if they had taken various courses in life.
The stark simplicity of the Mani Peninsula in southern Peloponnese provides the ideal setting for contemplation and the exploration of complex human relationships. Summer nights, crystal clear lakes, and rugged mountains contrast with the ruins of the past in the film.
4. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
It’s a teen comedy, and it’s set in Greece, when a bunch of closest friends from Maryland go on an adventure. As summer vacations begin, Bridget (Blake Lively) and her friends Carmen (America Ferrera), Lena (Alexis Bledel), and Tibby (Amber Tamblyn) set out on a journey to find their one-of-a-kind pair of jeans.
It is Lena Kaligaris who takes the pants and us on a journey to whitewashed houses, caldera views, and the pure beauty of volcanic Santorini while visiting her grandparents in the Cyclades.
Visitors can also travel to Mexico and Southern California with Bridget and the rest of the girls in addition to Greek settings.
5. The Big Blue
The Big Blue, Luc Besson’s second Greek-set picture, was released in 1988 and features a style that combines inventive images with fast-paced action. Jacques Mayol and Enzo Maiorca, two freediving enthusiasts, are the subject of this novel. From 1965 to the 1980s, their childhood in Greece is depicted in the film.
Friendship and rivalry unravel in front of the gorgeous and pristine environment of Amorgos, with its infinite blue Aegean waves and the steep rocky grandeur of the cliffside The film has become a cult classic because of its many underwater scenes and profound emotional and psychological components.
6. For Your Eyes Only
On the other hand, For Your Eyes Only is a 1981 film that takes place in Greece. James Bond is summoned by the British government to recover a stolen encryption equipment before the Russians can get their hands on it.
A romantic interest and a wealthy Greek resistance hero, who is also involved in locating the equipment, are intertwined with the action. Italy, England, The Bahamas and Greece are only few of the beautiful places where the film was shot, as well.
Metropolitana in mainland Greece, with its monasteries perched precariously on craggy cliffs that seem to be “soaring,” offers as an excellent backdrop for the action. Long walks on sandy beaches and sights of the Ionian islands are also included.
7. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
The 2001 film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin stars Nicolas Cage and Penélope Cruz and is set in Greece. It is based on the 1994 novel by Louis de Bernières. Set in Kefalonia during the island’s colonization, the scenery is stunning.
German forces committed atrocities against Italian soldiers and Greek residents in September 1943, which resulted in the deaths of many people both during the war and in a devastating post-war earthquake.
The picturesque Ionian Island of Kefalonia has hidden coves and crystal-clear waters throughout its mountainous shores!
8. Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
Lara Croft, played by Angelina Jolie in The Cradle of Life, goes on an adventure in Santorini (2003). Lara Croft discovers a magical orb and other fascinating artifacts after a powerful earthquake unearths the ‘Luna Temple’ built by Alexander the Great.
Even underwater scenes were shot in and around Santorini’s deep caldera for this film, which makes full advantage of the island’s extraordinary volcanic splendor. In the village of Oia, which is famous for its sunset over the caldera and the surrounding’moonscapes,’ the film takes place.
9. Zorba the Greek
Zorba the Greek (1964), a famous film about Greece and Greek culture, is classified as a drama/adventure film. On a trip to Crete, Basil the English author, played by Alan Bates, visits an abandoned mine that belonged to his father. His first encounter is with an illiterate, peasant named Alexis Zorba (Anthony Quinn). As part of the’mining experience,’ Basil invites him along with the two other guests for an evening of adventure, Greek dancing, and love.
Zorba the Greek is always there for Basil when things start to turn sour, teaching him how to live life to the fullest. Basil’s stern Englishness contrasts beautifully with Zorba’s joyous exuberance and the organic Cretan scenery.
10. The Two Faces of January
Athens, Crete, and Istanbul are all featured in The Two Faces of January (2014), a thriller that was shot primarily in Greece. Con artist Viggo Mortensen and his wife, wealthy socialite Kirsten Dunst, are on vacation when things take a turn for the worse. To flee Greece, the husband kills a Greek detective and relies on a stranger (Rydal) who appears to be untrustworthy, to say the least.
The Acropolis, Chania, Knossos, and the Grand Bazaar all appear in magnificent photography, as do numerous action sequences, twists in the plot, and manhunts.
11. The Bourne Identity
Mykonos, as well as other European cities like Paris, Prague, and Italy, provide the backdrop for another Greek film. As Jason Bourne, Matt Damon’s character was ‘fished’ out of the ocean by an Italian fishing boat as he lay dying in the water. Amnesia sets in and he loses all memory of who he is and what happened in the past. Only signs of good fighting and self-defense remain. Without realizing it, Jason is being hunted by fatal assassins as he works with Franka Potente’s Marie to learn who he was.
Alefkandra and Mykonos’ famous windmills, both of which appear at the film’s conclusion, are (known as Little Venice). Short pictures like these are enough to make anyone want to visit Mykonos.
12. Shirley Valentine
As a housewife from Liverpool, England, Shirley Valentine (Pauline Collins) longs for a fresh start, but she is unable to get one. On a trip to the Greek island of Mykonos with Jane (Alison Steadman), Shirley discovers a romance with another passenger, and Jane dumps her. As Shirley wanders the island, she meets Costa Dimitriades (Tom Conti), a taverna owner, with whom she develops an emotional connection.
Shirley Valentine’s Mykonos-set film, which features Agios Ioannis beach as its primary location, evokes the Cyclades’ Cycladic culture, as well as the picturesque scenery, boat trips, skinny dipping, and breathtaking sunsets of most Greek island holidays.
13. High Season
Katharine Shaw (Jacqueline Bisset) is an English expat and skilled photographer who lives on the idyllic Greek island of Lindos near Rhodes in High Season (1987). Her best friend is a British art expert who is a Russian agent, and her ex-husband is a playboy. The narrative develops during the summer when vacationers come on the island. In addition to the presence of Rick (Kenneth Branagh) and her teenage daughter, she is “chased” by these presences.
You may get some stunning images of the crystal-clear waves, historic ruins, and Greek culture at Lindos in Rhodes.
14. Summer Lovers
Michael Pappas (Peter Gallagher) and his fiancée Cathy (Daryl Hannah) go on a romantic getaway to the Greek island of Santorini in this 1982 romantic drama. When Michael meets Lina (Valerie Quennessen), a French lady archaeologist from Paris who resides in Greece, they are enjoying the white sand beaches and the hospitality. Afraid about the intimacy between Michael and Lina, Cathy addresses the woman and expresses her displeasure. She had no idea that she, too, would be swayed by her charms.
Akrotiri town, with its classic Cycladic white houses and friendly residents, is the setting for many of the images depicting the pure beauty of Santorini, its caldera, and its dramatic sunsets.
Eric (Matthew Modine) is an archaeologist who wants to uncover the cup of St. John the Divine, which is buried deep beneath the ground of the Greek island of Patmos in this 2005 film set in Greece. Soon, he discovers that life on the island is more leisurely than he expected, and he begins to relish the food, drink, dance, and flirtation that come with it.
On a beautiful Greek island, “kefi” and an optimistic soundtrack accompany the film’s promise of uplifted spirits. There are even reports that John of Patmos, who is said to have been inspired to write Revelations there, has done so. Dodecanese culture and architecture are well-illustrated in the film.
Those are the majority of Greek-set films worth seeing, if not for the story, at least for the visual study of the country’s numerous regions.
Get ready for an exhilarating ride that includes spectacular views and action!