Disclamer

I have not attempted to list films shot by Greeks in Greek - that would be a huge list, and I have no way of seeing Greek-produced films.

 

 

Links

The Greek film center promotes contemporary cinema. (Up 2/5/13; posted 8/21/04)

The Aussies have a Greek featuring films made in Greece. (Up 2/5/13; posted 8/29/04)

GreeceTravel (Matt Barrett) has a page on Greek films. (Up 4/16/14; posted 7/1/09)

Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (Up 4/16/14; posted 11/9/09)

 

 

 

The Best ... of movies about Greece
My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)The immigrant experience done in a way that anyone from a big, enmeshed family can identify with. Hilarious. Nia Vardalos, Michael Constantine, Lainie Kazan, John Corbett. Shot in part in Toronto's Greektown.Recommended.
meditMediterraneo (1991) Some Italian soldiers get stranded on a Greek island during WWII. A collection of misfits, they decide to make this their home, and start interacting with the locals. A charming, warm, human, anti-war film. Shot on Kastellorizo in the Dodecannese. Won the Oscar for best foreign language film in 1991. An Italian film, produced in part by Silvio Berlusconi, so at least he's done one good thing in his life. WHEN will this be available on Netflix? Recommended.
Z (1969) A political thriller directed by Costa Gravas about a true event. A progressive deputy is killed - is the government complicit? Well done. In French with subtitles. Despite being shot in French and in Algeria, this has "the look" of 60s Greece. Yves Montand, Irene Papas, Jean-Louis Trintignant. Especially recommended. The story of the real events behind the film.
zZorba the Greek (1964) The quintessential battle between the self-disciplining and self-expressing dimensions of the human. Anthony Quinn, playing Zorba, a Mexican, here firmly establishes himself as a Greek. Alan Bates plays the repressed, responsible Basil. Irene Pappas also stars. Basil goes to Crete to take charge of some land and a mine. Zorba invites himself along. For all the romance and the music, this is a blunt look at some of the less happy aspects of old time rural Greek culture. Shot on Crete. Especially recommended.
Never on Sunday (1960) American tourist, full of the ancient Greeks, comes to Athens and decides to 'rescue' a prostitute (Melina Mercouri, nominated for an Academy Award) by filling her with the true spirit of the ancients. Of course, he's clueless and she is not interested in being 'improved.' A classic. Fair number of Greek actors actually get to play Greeks. Filmed in Piraeus. Music by Mano Hadjidakis won an academy award. Recommended.
The Best... of movies set in Greece
300 (2006) Not really shot in Greece, more like - shot inside a computer. Very 'artistic.'. Tells a considerably fictionalized account of the battle of Thermopylae. The Persians were not crossdressers, for example. One can argue for its emotional resonance being worth a look. But no straight woman can resist those washboard abs - also fictitious. Gerard Butler, Lena Headey.
The Bourne Identity (2002) Not about Greece or shot in Greece, except for the final scene which is on Mykonos. (This is a decent action adventure movie, but there is only the one scene in Greece.)
aGirl on a Bridge (1999) After a lengthy prologue, we see a young woman about to jump off a bridge. She is rescued by a man who turns out to be a knife-thrower in a circus. She becomes his "target." At first this is a movie about luck, but it turns into a movie about connection. A few scenes in Greece. Recommended.
svShirley Valentine (1989) Received horrible reviews but is sweet and moving. Archetypical story of person who runs away from their life in order to find their real life - in this case frustrated housewife who no one will listen to escapes to Greek island in search of self-actualization. Notable because, for once, the woman really gets to talk and also because, for once, the husband isn't evil, just worn down by life like his wife is. Takes a while to get going. A little clunky and some scenes cry out for a re-write, but its heart is in the right place. Shot on Mykonos at Manoulas Beach Hotel and Sunset Taverna. Pauline Collins, looking like a real 40 year old. Recommended.
aWhose Got the Black Box? (1967) A quite bad satirical action comedy. Black boxes are jamming Greek radar, a man is killed and Jean Seaburg (playing his wife) is out for revenge, the sort of revenge that requires many costume changes and much pouting and flirting in order to dodge bullets. Pretty bad, but I list it here just for the many views of old Athens, Nafplo, and Corinth. In French with subtitles.
aThe Guns of Navarone (1961) WW II Adventure: Commando group tries to blow up big guns that guard a shipping channel. With Gregory Peck, David Niven, James Darren, Richard Harris and the inevitable Anthony Quinn and Irene Papas. Said to be shot in Plyos, but sure looks like Rhodes. Decent example of the type. Won two Golden Globes and one Oscar (for special effects). Recommended.
The Rest
300: Rise of an Empire (2014) I'm not even sure this is about Greece. My god, they get everything backwards, wrong, twisted - they even get the weather wrong. And they take an interesting historical (female) figure, Artemisia, and turn her into a bad cartoon. The first 300 - well, you could at least argue it had some emotional and thematic accuracy. Not this.
Before Midnight (2013) Two people in Greece; alleged to be art, otherwise known as slow. Ethan Hawke. Shot in Messinia.
Arcadia Lost (2009) Two teenagers stranded in rural Greece after a car wreck. Haven't seen it. Nick Nolte.
Opa! (2009) Stiff archeologist goes to Greece. Meets Vibrant Young Girl Who Is Bursting With Life, and falls for her. Why she falls for him is never explained. Shot on Patmos, but doesn't really exploit the amazing beauty of that island. Has its moments, but so predictable. Matthew Modine.
My life in Ruins (2009) Weak effort by Nia Vardalos of My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame. She is a frustrated tour group leader. Things happen that force her to learn that Hollywood cliche that the way to true happiness is to give up all your dreams and ambition. Rather bad.
Mamma Mia! (2008) One reviewer said this movie was a "useful contribution to the debate over the definition of torture." Can't imagine the pitch meeting for this one. Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005) The pants spend some time in Greece. How in God's name could they make a sequel, but they did, and that is said to be partially filmed in Santorini.
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003). Apparently shot in part on Santorini. Why is she a heroine, exactly?
Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001) Story takes place on Kefalonia. Boring, bad acting.
Ulysses' Gaze(1995) Said to be amazingly boring.
Pascali's Island (1988). Ben Kingsley and Helen Mirren. Goings on around WWI. Haven't seen it. Filmed in Rhodes.
High Season (1987). Romance and spying on Rhodes. Jacqueline Bisset and the inevitable Irene Papas. Incoherent, slow, unconvincing characters that seem unconnected to each other. Kenneth Branagh paid his dues in this one. Awful, just awful.
Eleni (1985). Story of post-WWII Greece and its vicious civil war. Nicholas Gage returns to Northern Greece to track down how his mother was killed.
Table for Five (1983) Jon Voight takes kids on a vacation involving a cruise, in part to Athens. Haven't seen it.
Tempest (1982) Whatever connection this has to the Shakespeare play escapes me; well there is a big storm. Another 'go to Greece to find yourself' film, made less plausible in that here finding yourself involves avoiding making love to a young Susan Sarandon. As if. Raul Julia, Molly Ringwald, Gena Rowlands and Sam Robards attempt to make up for John Cassavetes' horrible acting. An inconsistent mess. Filmed in the southern Mani peninsula of the Peloponnesus.
Bloodtide (1982) IMDB: "An adventurer hunting for treasure in Greece accidentally frees a monster that forces local villagers to sacrifice virgins." I hate it when that happens. James Earl Jones, Jose Ferrer.
Summer Lovers (1982) Young people (including Daryl Hannah) go to Corfu, Mykonos and Santorini. Stuff happens that is thought to be Very Meaningful, but not to me.
For Your Eyes Only (1981) A Roger Moore James Bond film that was shot in part in Corfu and also misuses a monastery at Metora. They go there mainly to smash things. The real monks were not that thrilled with the filming and tried to protest. While apparently this is regarded as a pretty good Bond film, I though it was weak.
Escape to Athena (1979) A WWII movie with Roger Moore, Telly Savalas, David Niven, Claudia Cardinale and Sonny Bono for crying out loud. Prisoners escape, steal stuff. Haven't seen it. Filmed in Rhodes.
The Greek Tycoon (1978) Anthony Quinn, the only person who can star in a Hollywood film about Greeks, plays Aristotle Onassis as he courts Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis. Shot in part in Athens, Corfu and Mykonos.
For the love of Benji (1977) Smart dog, dumb people run around Athens including the Agora, Plaka, Piraeus, and Anafiotika. Fun to see old Athens before globalization. Very slow paced. If you've got a kid who likes dogs, then maybe. Benji is played by the daughter (yes, daughter) of the dog Higgins who was the smartest mammal on Petticoat Junction.
Medusa (1973) Stewardess is murdered. Suspicion falls, understandably, on George Hamilton. Haven't seen it.
The Burglars (1971) AKA: "Le casse." Omar Sharif, Jaen-Paul Belmondo and Dyan Cannon do something in Athens involving a jewel heist.
Bloodsuckers (1970) Quite possibily so bad it might be good. English student has disappeared in Greece. Murders and vampires. Patrick Macnee, Peter Cushing. Filmed on Hydra?
The Magus (1968) Teacher comes to a Greek island becomes involved in mind-games. Slow, pointless, with a script seemingly generated at random. Michael Caine, Anthony Quinn, Candice Bergen. Filmed on Spetses.
The Day the Fish Came Out (1967) Huh? Comedy about nuclear bombs on an abandoned Greek island, or so I'm told.
Topkapi (1964) ('Top-CAP-ee') Most of this takes place in Istanbul, but it starts in Kavala, Greece and Melina Mercouri stars, overacting her way into our consciousness.
Jason and the Argonauts (1963) Was this even shot in Greece? I doubt it.
Phaedra (1962) Anthony Perkins makes Melina Mercouri throw everything over for him? Well, it's a movie. Many call it a classic. I don't. Shot on Hydra.
The Angry Hills (1958) Set in 1941 occurpied Greece. Robert Mitchem as a journalist with info on the resistance that everyone wants. Even the diretors says it wasn't the good. Could have been interesting.
Ill Met by Moonlight (1957) Story of true events involving the the kidnapping of German General Kreipe by Greek and U.K. advisors on Crete during WWII. Dirk Bogarde. Sometimes titled Night Ambush. Apparently, no location shooting in Greece.
Boy on a Dolphin (1957) Sophia Loren, in one of her early movies. They find a stature of a boy on a dolphin, conflict arises between her and her lazy boyfriend about what to do with it. With Alan Ladd. Shot on Hydra.
Stella (1955) Not to be confused with all the later films of that name. Melina Mercouri, in her film debut, stars. Director Michael Cacoyannis also did Zorba the Greek.
Last modified 6/13/2016; posted 8/28/04; original content © 2016, 2004 John P. Nordin