Preparing for your trip to Greece can include seeing a movie or two filmed in Greece or the Greek islands. You'll be inspired by the white sand beaches, blue skies, and ancient villages. Some of the films took bits and pieces of Greek islands and villages and combined them into one town for purposes of the film. Others stayed true to their locations and portrayed the beauty of Greece as it is and as you will discover it on your travels.
While Greece will be even more beautiful "in person," these films shot in Greece will give you a glimpse of what is waiting for you.
Mamma Mia! The Movie and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
By far the most successful movie shot in Greece, this modern musical based on ABBA songs is silly fun against a backdrop of Skopelos, Skiathos, and the Pelion coast.
Singlehandedly, it has probably inspired more trips to Greece than any other film shot there, and its legions of fans continue to grow with each viewing.
Released in 2018, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again featured some of the old cast returning for an encore, including Dominic Cooper, Pierce Brosnan, and Julie Walters.
Not returning was the old filming location. This time, the producers moved the filming location to the remote Croatian island of Vis, which sits off the Dalmatian coast in the Adriatic sea.
Zorba the Greek
This tremendous, life-affirming classic epitomizes the Greek spirit and was filmed in various locations on the island of Crete, including Stavros, a village and beach in the Akrotiri district of the city of Chania, Crete.
The beach and village were the places where Michael Cacoyannis partially filmed the movie Zorba the Greek with Anthony Quinn in 1964.
The main beach, which was awarded a blue flag designation, is known for its white sand and turquoise water. The beach lies at the base of the mountain where the scene with Anthony Quinn, dancing the Greek sirtaki, was filmed.
This light-hearted romantic comedy has an intriguing darker side, but it all takes second place to the beautiful Greek island of Rhodes. There are nine main characters in the film, a mixture of English, Greek, and a Greek-American. The film stars Jacqueline Bisset and a young Kenneth Branagh who has a small role.
Rhodes is known for its beach resorts, ancient ruins and remnants of its occupation by the Knights of St. John during the Crusades.
A guilty pleasure, this light-on-substance movie is filled with shots of Darryl Hannah and Peter Gallagher, an irresistibly upbeat soundtrack ("I'm So Excited!" is the theme song), and glorious shots of Greece.
Unfortunately, they combine several locations in Greece (including Santorini, Mykonos and Crete) into one "super-island."
For Your Eyes Only
This lively James Bond 007 flick offers heart-stopping shots of hang gliding at the hanging monasteries of Meteora.
The beauty of these cliff-top monasteries and beautiful mountain formations can easily inspire a trip to Meteora. From the early Christian times, the Meteora vertical cliffs were regarded as the perfect place for the location of monasteries. The isolation and natural beauty supported the monk's desire for spiritual growth.
Only a part of this is shot in Greece, but after seeing the movie many folks want to find out where it is so they can make their own escape there. If you're one of them, we can tell you it's on the Greek island of Mykonos.
Mykonos is an island in the Cyclades group in the Aegean Sea known for its vibrant party atmosphere and number of bars and discos.
Mykonos is also known for the 16th-century windmills which sit on a hill above the town of Mykonos.
Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Starring Nicholas Cage and Penelope Cruz, this loosely fact-based action-romance story depicts Cephalonia during World War II. It prompted a tourist deluge for the island.
Cephalonia is the sixth-largest of the Greek islands. It is known for sandy coves, hidden beaches, and dry rugged landscapes. The capital, Argostoli, is built on a hillside overlooking a narrow harbor. To the east of Argostoli, there is a preserve, a feeding ground for loggerhead turtles.
Frustrated housewife Shirley finds romantic adventure, and her own soul, on the island of Mykonos. The "Shirley Valentine beach" is Ai Giannis.
Ai Giannis is known for the parties that take place during the summer organized by the beach bars there. It's also known as a beach that doesn't get too crowded.
Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
Angelina Jolie returns as Lara Croft in this action-packed movie which features many Greek locations, including the island of Santorini. Your own travel adventures may vary from this fictional depiction!
Greek archaeological authorities are sticklers at preventing the theft of Greece's cultural heritage. But now there is one "tomb raider" that is being welcomed with open arms by Greece and the citizens of Oia (Ia), the heretofore quieter sister of Thira (Fira) on the island of Santorini.
Starring Matthew Modine, this independent film had a limited release when it came out in 2009. It's shot on location on the Greek island of Patmos.
Patmos, an Aegean island in the north of Greece’s Dodecanese island group, is an important Christian pilgrimage site. There is a cave where John of Patmos is said to have written the Book of Revelations. An 11th-century monastery dedicated to the saint overlooks the capital, Hora.
The Big Blue
A fascinating movie shot in part near the Greek island of Alonissos, it's the fictionalized story of a determined deep-water free diver.
Alonissos is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea, the third member of the Northern Sporades. The island is somewhat isolated with no airport. You get to Alonissos via ferry from the nearby islands of Skopelos and Skiathos.
Two Faces of January
Based on the Patricia Highsmith novel, this movie was shot in Athens and Crete and stars Viggo Mortensen. It enjoyed just a limited release but is available on DVD.
In the film, con-artist (Viggo Mortensen) kills a detective. He and his wife (Kirsten Dunst) find that they must trust a potentially dangerous stranger (Oscar Isaac) to help them get out of Greece.
"D'Agostino" was shot overlooking the caldera of Santorini, with the volcanic islands of Nea Kameni and Paleo Kameni visible below and the partial crescent island of Thirassia in the distance.
From the angle, it looks like the balcony we see in the film is located in Imerovigli, between Fira and Oia. Some scenes were shot beachside on the cliffs below. The script is minimal so there are many pretty shots of Santorini, showing scenic vistas, chickens, donkeys, shops, markets, and the iconic 'on the balcony with a glass of wine' shots.
These montages sometimes last for minutes at a time as we watch the hero walk through the winding lanes of Fira, hike in ancient Thira, and wander elsewhere on the island.