15 SPANISH FILMS YOU MUST SEE

Spain has always had a reputation of good quality cinema. During its long story, it was the great filmmaker Luis Buñuel who first achieved universal recognition, when together with Salvador Dalí made the surrealistic Un Chien Andalou in 1928. However, due to the nation’s political isolation, Spain did not participate in the European cinema new waves, and remained mostly inconspicuous.

The “new cinema” of the ‘60s produced some great films, but only after Franco’s death in 1975, Spanish cinema gained renewed international recognition, led particularly by its “terrible child” Pedro Almodóvar. Since then, a whole generation of filmmakers has grown-up and kept producing interesting work, and many other talented, cine-literate artists have emerged.

For this list I picked 15 great Spanish films of the 21st century, which put in evidence the talent of Spain’s contemporary filmmakers; for the sake of variety I chose only one film per director. Enjoy them, and let me know which one is your favourite!

1. TODOS LOS SABEN (EVERYBODY KNOWS), 2018

The plot: A Spanish woman living in Buenos Aires returns to her hometown to assist to her sister’s wedding. Unexpected events, though, will upset the wedding and bring deeply buried family secrets to the surface.

Go see it, because… This is another great film by the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who reunites this time an outstanding cast: Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Ricardo Darín, among others. Everybody Knows provides an emotional and thought-provoking journey into a small Spanish community, evokes several contemporary dilemmas, and leaves the morality of the story open to the viewer’s judgement.

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2. CONTRATIEMPO (THE INVISIBLE GUEST), 2016

The plot: A young businessman wakes up in a hotel room next to the body of his dead lover. He hires a prestigious lawyer to defend him, and over the course of one night, they work together to find out what happened.

Go see it, because… It is an awesome thriller with great acting and pacing, masterfully directed and exquisitely written by Catalán Oriol Paulo. Tense and suspenseful, it is certain the plot twist at the end will leave completely shocked!

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 3. TRUMAN, 2015

The plot: Julián, a theater actor, has had cancer for a year, and his only companion is his dog Truman. When he receives an unexpected visit from his friend Tomás who lives in Canada, the two men, together with Truman, will share emotional and surprising moments trying to cope with Julián’s complicated situation.

Go see it, because… Directed and written by Cesc Gay, with the adequate dose of honesty and realism, Truman is a moving, sweet and sour, well-acted comedy/drama about grief, friendship, love and family. Cámara and Darín are superb in their roles, providing effortless, emotional depth to their characters.

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4. 8 APELLIDOS VASCOS (SPANISH AFFAIR), 2014

The plot: Rafa is a Sevilian who has never left his native Andalucía, until he meets a Basque girl named Amaia and decides to follow her to the Basque Country. A series of misunderstandings forces Rafa to impersonate a full-blooded Basque with eight Basque surnames, getting more and more entangled in that character in order to please Amaia.

Go see it, because… Emilio Martínez Lázaro’s romantic comedy was a box-office phenomenon in Spain, becoming the highest-grossing Spanish film of all time! Besides its solid script and amusing characters, the film’s huge success is arguably due to the way it deals with the different stereotypes and preconceptions among the different Spanish regions, a subject always relevant to the country. People who are not familiar with Spanish local traditions, accent and politics may miss some of the gags, but everybody will enjoy most of the hilarious situations, and the beautiful scenery of País Vasco (Basque Country) and Andalucía (Andalusia).

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 5. LA ISLA MÍNIMA (MARSHLAND), 2014

The plot: In 1980, two Madrid homicide detectives are sent to the Guadalquivir Marshes in Spain’s ‘Deep South’ to investigate the disappearance of two teenage sisters during the town’s festivities. Both detectives must settle their ideological differences and bring the murderer to justice before more young women lose their lives.

Go see it, because… It is a hypnotic, multi-layered thriller, masterfully directed by the talented Alberto Rodríguez, with breathtaking photography and superb acting. A careful character-study, which also introduces some political undertones during a turbulent period of the Spanish history. The film received 10 Goya awards (Spain’s main national annual film awards), among many other prizes and nominations.

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6. TAMBIÉN LA LLUVIA (EVEN THE RAIN), 2010

The plot: As a director and his crew shoot a controversial film about Christopher Columbus in Bolivia, local natives rise up against the privatisation of their water supply. The production is beset by more and more problems and the riots escalate, raising the tension between the crew members and leading them to a moral crisis.

Go see it, because… Written by Paul Laverty (Ken Loach’s regular collaborator) and skilfully directed by Icíar Bollaín (who is also a well-known Spanish actress), the film examines a social and political event that took place in Cochabamba, Bolivia in the year 2000, known as the Water War. Featuring an excellent cast, which includes the Mexican actor Gabriel García Bernal, the film parallels indigenous resistance 500 years ago and nowadays, managing not only to teach us without dogmatism and bias, but also to be moving and entertaining.

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7. CELDA 211 (CELL 211), 2009

The plot: Juan Oliver reports to his new work as a prison officer one day earlier to make a good impression, leaving at home his pregnant wife Elena. During his tour of the prison though, a riot in the High Security zone begins, leaving him trapped inside Cell 211. Juan must then pretend to be another inmate in order to guarantee his own safety, while trying to draw a plan to get him out of the prison. The situation escalates though, and unexpected shifts occur, both within and outside the prison.

Go see it, because… It is a raw, enthralling thriller, with great plot and character development, and edge-of-the-seat suspense. Excellent direction by Daniel Monzón and top-notch acting add up to make Celda 211 a memorable film. It was an artistic and commercial success; it received 43 awards (including 8 Goya Awards) and 24 other nominations. 

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8. [REC], 2007

The plot: Late-night TV reporter Angela and her cameraman are following the night shift of Barcelona’s fire station. When they receive a call from an old lady trapped in her apartment, journalists and firemen remain confined inside the perilous building. A terrible nightmare ensues, which is thoroughly recorded by the TV crew.

Go see it because… It is a superb horror film, among the scariest I have seen lately, but also a dark satire of the mass media. It may remind us The Blair Witch project; nevertheless, it is quite fresh and original in its plot development and ending. Co-directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza, the film was so successful that inspired an American remake, Quarantine and three sequels, [REC]2, [REC]3 and [REC]4.

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9. EL ORFANATO (THE ORPHANAGE), 2007

The plot: A woman brings her family back to her childhood home, which used to be an orphanage. Before long, her son disappears, and is later presumed dead. Grief-stricken Laura believes she hears spirits, who may be trying to help her find the boy.

Go see it, because… It is a scary, creepy, thrilling and suspenseful film, but also a moving and intelligent one, wonderfully acted by Belén Rueda and carefully directed by Juan Antonio Bayona. It was critically acclaimed and received multiple national and international awards, including 7 Premios Goya.

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10. EL LABERINTO DEL FAUNO (PAN’S LABYRINTH), 2006

The plot: In the falangist Spain of 1944, a young girl fascinated by fairy-tales is sent to live with her stepfather, a captain of the Spanish army. As the girl witnesses her stepfather’s sadistic brutality, she is drawn into Pan’s Labyrinth, a magical world of mythical beings.

Go see it, because… This is one of the most critically acclaimed films of Spain’s contemporary cinema, directed by Mexican-born Guillermo del Toro. It won 99 awards, including 3 Oscars; it is on IMDB’s best films of all time list (#129), with a Metascore of 98! Of course, all of them deserved: El laberinto del fauno is indeed a beautiful, magical, dark fairy tale, a brilliant and timeless masterpiece.

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11. MAR ADENTRO (THE SEA INSIDE), 2004

The plot: The true story of former sailor and writer Ramón Sampedro, who was quadriplegic for almost thirty years and fought in court in favor of euthanasia and his own right to die. Despite his wish to die, he taught everyone he encountered the meaning, value and preciousness of life.

Go see it, because…Young director Alejandro Amenábar had already displayed his talent before in the films Tesis, Abre los ojos (Open your eyes) and The Others. With this movie, though, not only he established himself as one of the best Spanish directors of his generation – he also wrote, edited and scored the film – but also managed to tackle an extremely delicate subject with utmost dexterity and sensibility. Not to mention the exceptional cast –Javier Bardem, Belén Rueda, Lola Dueñas-  which adds up to make this film a beautiful and unforgettable piece of art. Mar adentro won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film, as well as many other national and international awards.

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12. HABLE CON ELLA (TALK TO HER), 2002

The plot: After a chance encounter at a theater, Benigno and Marco meet at the private clinic where Benigno works. Marco’s girlfriend is a bullfighter who has been gored and is in a coma. Benigno is looking after Alicia, a young ballet student who is also in a coma. The lives of the four characters will intertwine, dragging them towards an unsuspected destiny.

Go see, it because… Pedro Almodóvar is arguably Spain’s most iconic filmmaker; his particular style, although irreverent, sarcastic and witty, always manages to dig deeply into the human soul. Hable con Ella is regarded as Almodovar’s greatest film: it is a very profound and multi-layered film about love, friendship and existence. Brilliant, disturbing and thought-provoking… Hable con ella was internationally acclaimed, obtaining many international awards such as Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA, Cesar, among others.

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13. LOS LUNES AL SOL (MONDAYS IN THE SUN), 2002

The plot: A group of men left jobless by the closure of the shipyards in Vigo, Galicia bide their time together in the local pub, opened and run by one of their former coworkers. The group is held together by the affable Santa, who is the de facto leader and sometimes father-confessor. 

Go see, it because… Director Fernando León de Aranoa deserves credits for capturing the feeling of the unemployed with no family, possession or future in such a poignant and realistic manner, without becoming dull or boring. Besides its impeccable direction, the film delivers a really intelligent – and relevant – script, and outstanding acting by two among Spain’s best: Javier Bardem and Luis Tosar.

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14. LA COMUNIDAD (COMMON WEALTH), 2000

The plot: A real state agent accidentally discovers a treasure hidden in the apartment of a deceased man. She is determined to escape with the loot, but the rest of the building’s tenants think otherwise…

Go see, it because… Alex De La Iglesia is well known for his dark comedies – his 1995 El día de la Bestia (The day of the Beast) catapulted him into fame – and this film is no exception: it is a terrific dark tale that brings out the darkest side of human nature. No need to show devils, zombies, or evil spirits: nothing is scariest than the guy next door! The film is creepy, suspenseful and crazily funny; the characters – led by the great Carmen Maura- are all memorable.

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15. EL BOLA, 2000

The plot: El Bola (“the Pellet”) is a 12-year-old boy emotionally and physically damaged by the constant abuse of his father. The arrival of a new boy at school exposes him to the true meaning of friendship and family.

Go see, it because… The film deals with a very relevant issue, that of child beating, which is displayed with great realism – although keeping violence to a strict minimum, pertinent to the story-telling – and deep characters, who avoid exaggerating the crude and difficult situations enacted. Remarkable cast, excellent direction by Achero Mañas, who won 4 Goya awards with this film, including best film and best new director.

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Do you agree with this list? Let me know of other, great Spanish Films!

Η ΕΛΛΑΔΑ ΠΑΕΙ ΣΙΝΕΜΑ: 12 ΤΑΙΝΙΕΣ ΠΟΥ ΜΑΣ ΤΑΞΙΔΕΥΟΥΝ ΣΤΗΝ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΟΜΟΡΦΙΑ

Δεν είναι μυστικό πως η Ελλάδα είναι ένα από τους σημαντικότερους τουριστικούς προορισμούς παγκοσμίως. Με την απαράμιλλη φυσική της ομορφιά και τη βαριά ιστορική κληρονομιά εδώ και χρόνια έχει προσελκύσει, όχι μόνο τουρίστες, αλλά και σκηνοθέτες, ηθοποιούς και παραγωγούς από όλον τον κόσμο. Ήδη από τη δεκαετία του ΄50 πολλές ταινίες γυρίστηκαν στην Ελλάδα, οι οποίες έκαναν την χώρα γνωστή σε όλα τα μήκη και πλάτη της Γης, ενώ παράλληλα αποτύπωσαν ορισμένα ρομαντικά στερεότυπα και αντιλήψεις σχετικά με την αρχαία ελληνική ιστορία και τη μυθολογία, τον πολιτισμό, τις παραδόσεις και το σύγχρονο ελληνικό τρόπο ζωής.

Αν είστε λάτρεις του σινεμά, ακολουθήστε τα βήματα των  αγαπημένων σας ηθοποιών μέσα από αυτήν την κινηματογραφική περιοδεία στην φυσική ομορφιά και το πολιτιστικό πλούτο της χώρας… Και αν είστε εγκλωβισμένοι στην πόλη και δεν μπορείτε να πάτε διακοπές, δεν πειράζει! Μαζευτείτε με κάποιους φίλους στην αυλή ή την βεράντα του σπιτιού σας, πάρτε λίγο ποπκόρν… και απολαύστε την Ελλάδα μέσα από τον κινηματογραφικό φακό!

1) ΠΕΛΟΠΟΝΝΗΣΟΣ: Πριν τα μεσάνυχτα (Before Midnight,2013)

Movies in Greece Before Midnight

Κάντε μια βόλτα στα στενά δρομάκια της Πύλου και της Καρδαμύλης, πηγαίνετε για φαγητό στην περίφημη  Lela’s taverna, επισκεφθείτε το σπίτι του Σερ Πάτρικ Λη Φέρμορ, και αν θέλετε περισσότερο glamour, κανονίστε μία διανυκτέρευση στο ξενοδοχείο Costa Navarino, για να θυμηθείτε τους Ethan Hawke και Julie Delpy στο γλυκόπικρο τρίτο μέρος της θαυμάσιας τριλογίας “Πριν …” του Richard Lindlaker. Διαβάστε περισσότερα για αυτήν την ταινία εδώ.

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Before midnightMovies in Greece Costa Navarino

2) ΣΚΟΠΕΛΟΣ ΚΑΙ ΣΚΙΑΘΟΣ: Mamma Mia! (2008)

Movies in Greece Mamma Mia

Αυτά τα δύο καταπράσινα νησιά των Σποράδων αποτελούν το φόντο αυτής της χαριτωμένης μουσικής κωμωδίας, η οποία είναι ένα απόλυτο must-see για τους fans των θρυλικών Abba. Στη Σκόπελο πρέπει οπωσδήποτε να επισκεφθείτε το όμορφο εκκλησάκι του Αϊ Γιάννη στο Καστρί, όπου γυρίστηκαν οι σκηνές του γάμου – στο οποίο πολλά ζευγάρια παντρεύτηκαν από τότε. Από εκεί μπορείτε να απολαύσετε μια εκπληκτική θέα στις πανέμορφες Σκιάθο και Αλόννησο.

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Movies in Greece Skopelos Movies in Greece Skopelos Agios Ioannis Church

3) ΚΕΦΑΛΟΝΙΑ: Το Μαντολίνο του Λοχαγού Κορέλι (Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, 2001)

Αυτή τη φορά τα σμαραγδένια νερά του Ιονίου αποτελούν το σκηνικό αυτής της κλασικής ερωτικής ιστορίας, βασισμένη στο βιβλίο του Louis de Bernières. Κατά τη διάρκεια του Β΄Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου, ο Ιταλός λοχαγός Αντόνιο Κορέλι (Νίκολας Κέιτζ) ερωτεύεται την Κεφαλονίτισσα Πελαγία (Penelope Cruz). Από τότε, η Κεφαλονιά είδε μία θεαματική τουριστική αύξηση… Δεν είναι εύκολο να αντισταθείς στην ομορφιά της μόλις δεις την ταινία! Οι εκπληκτικές παραλίες Αντίσαμος και Χοργοτά, και τα πανέμορφα χωριά Σάμη και Κομιτάτα εμφανίζονται στην ταινία.

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Movies in Greece Sami

4) ΑΜΟΡΓΟΣ: Το απέραντο γαλάζιο (Le Grand Bleu, 1988)

Movies in Greece Le Grand Bleu cr

Ο Λικ Μπεσόν σκηνοθέτησε αυτό τον πανέμορφο ύμνο στη φύση, την ελευθερία και τη φιλία, που λαμβάνει χώρα στα καταγάλανα νερά της Αμοργού. Η διάσημη παραλία της Αγίας Άννας και το μοναστήρι της Παναγίας Χοζοβιώτισσας εμφανίζονται στην ταινία, η οποία έχει παραμείνει ως ένα καλτ, all-time classic φιλμ.

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Movies in Greece Amorgos Panagia Hozoviotisa Movies in Greece Agia-Anna-Beach-Amorgos-island

5) ΚΑΣΤΕΛΛΟΡΙΖΟ: Mediterraneo (1991)

Movies in Greece Mediterraneo

Αυτή η θαυμάσια ιταλική κωμωδία, βραβευμένη με Όσκαρ, γυρίστηκε στην πανέμορφη Καστελλόριζο. Κατά τη διάρκεια του Β’ Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου, μια ομάδα Ιταλών στρατιωτών υπηρετεί σε ένα μικρό ελληνικό νησί. Ενώ στην αρχή οι ντόπιοι τους αντιμετωπίζουν με επιφυλακτικότητα, σιγά-σιγά όλοι συνειδητοποιούν πόσα κοινά έχουν μεταξύ τους… Τα πολύχρωμα, νεοκλασικά σπίτια στο λιμάνι θα σας μαγέψουν.

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Movies in Greece Kastellorizo Grotto

6) ΚΕΡΚΥΡΑ, ΜΕΤΕΩΡΑ: Για τα μάτια σας μόνο (For your eyes only, 1981)

Movies in Greece For Your Eyes Only

Σε αυτή τη δωδέκατη ταινία του πράκτορα Τζέιμς Μποντ, ο φλεγματικός 007 πρέπει να εντοπίσει μια χαμένη συσκευή κρυπτογράφησης, η οποία τον οδηγεί στο όμορφο νησί της Κέρκυρας. Το Αχίλλειο στο Γαστούρι, η ατμοσφαιρική πόλη της Κέρκυρας και το νησί Κανόνι πρωταγωνιστούν στην ταινία. Σε μία από τις πιο εντυπωσιακές σκηνές, ο 007 αντιμετωπίζει τον εχθρό κυριολεκτικά αιωρούμενος στους βράχους των Μετεώρων! Παρά τις αρνητικές αντιδράσεις της μοναστικής κοινότητας των Μετεώρων, οι οποίοι προσπάθησαν να μποϊκοτάρουν την ταινία, “Για τα μάτια σας μόνο” έγινε μια τεράστια εισπρακτική επιτυχία.

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Movies in Greece For your eyes only Corfu r Movies in Greece Meteora

7) ΑΘΗΝΑ, ΑΡΧΑΙΑ ΟΛΥΜΠΙΑ, ΔΕΛΦΟΙ: Έρωτας αλά ελληνικά (My Life in Ruins, 2009)

Movies in Greece My Life In Ruins

Αν και όχι τόσο επιτυχημένη όσο η “Γάμος αλά ελληνικά”, στην δεύτερη της κωμωδία η Νία Βάρνταλος ενσαρκώνει μία Αμερικανίδα ακαδημαϊκός η οποία ταξιδεύει στην Ελλάδα για να βρει το mojo της (ή κέφι επί το ελληνικότερο). Με φόντο την ομορφιά των αρχαίων ελληνικών μνημείων -την Ακρόπολη, την Αρχαία Ολυμπία, και τους Δελφούς, η ίδια ανακαλύπτει και τη διαχρονική γοητεία των Ελλήνων αρσενικών.

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 The Acropolis in Athens, Greece.

8) ΣΑΝΤΟΡΙΝΗ: Οι Εραστές του Καλοκαιριού (Summer lovers, 1982)

Movies in Greece summer lovers

Όταν ένα συντηρητικό ζευγάρι Αμερικανών πηγαίνει για καλοκαιρινές διακοπές στη Σαντορίνη, η εκπληκτική ομορφιά του τοπίου, και τη γνωριμία τους με μία Γαλλίδα αρχαιολόγο θα τους οδηγήσει να αναπτύξουν μια ιδιαίτερη σχέση μεταξύ των τριών -και να περάσουν τις καλύτερες διακοπές της ζωής τους. Είναι βέβαιο πως αν δείτε αυτή την ταινία θα θέλετε να επισκεφτείτε αυτό το μαγευτικό νησί -όχι απαραίτητα να συμμετάσχετε σε ένα τρίο 😉 – αλλά για να περπατήσετε τα στενά, ατμοσφαιρικά δρομάκια της Οίας και των Φηρών, και να βουτήξετε στα καταγάλανα νερά του Αιγαίου.

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Movies in Greece Santorini 2 Movies in Geece Santorini

9) ΥΔΡΑ: Το Παιδί και το Δελφίνι (Boy on a Dolphin, 1957) 

Movies in Greece Boy on a Dolphin

Αυτή ήταν η πρώτη αμερικανική ταινία που γυρίστηκε στην Ελλάδα. Η Σοφία Λόρεν είναι μια φτωχή δύτρια που συλλέγει σφουγγάρια στο γραφικό νησί της Ύδρας. Σε μία από τις καταδύσεις, ανακαλύπτει ένα χρυσό άγαλμα ενός αγοριού σε ένα δελφίνι, το οποίο λέγεται ότι μπορεί να εκπληρώσει κάθε επιθυμία. Ακόμα και σήμερα θεωρείται ένα από τα κλασικά φιλμ του Χόλιγουντ.

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Movies in Greece Hydra

10) ΜΥΚΟΝΟΣ: Shirley Valentine (1989)

Movies in Greece Shirley Valentine

Αυτό η βραβευμένη βρετανική ρομαντική κωμωδία – δράμα βασίζεται σε ένα θεατρικό έργο με τον ίδιο τίτλο. Μία μεσήλικη Αγγλίδα, απελπισμένη με τη ζωή της, έχει την ευκαιρία να ταξιδεύει στην Ελλάδα. Εμπνευσμένη από την ομορφιά της Μυκόνου, η ζωή της αλλάζει για πάντα … Φημολογείται πως το Shirley Valentine βασίζεται σε μια πραγματική ιστορία, και ότι έχει εμπνεύσει πολλές μεσήλικες γυναίκες να μετακομίσουν στην Ελλάδα ακολουθώντας τα βήματα της…

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Movies in Greece Little-Venice-Mykonos-Greece-house_1920x1200_DxOo1 Movies in Greece Mykonos11) ΡΟΔΟΣ: Τα Κανόνια του Ναβαρόνε (The Guns of Navarone, 1961)

Movies in Greece Guns of Navarone

Εμπνευσμένη στη μάχη της Λέρου κατά τη διάρκεια του Β΄ Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου, αυτή η κλασική ταινία περιγράφει μια φανταστική μάχη μεταξύ των Γερμανών και των Συμμάχων για την κυριαρχία του νησιού Ναβαρόνε. Πρωταγωνισούν οι Gregory Peck, David Niven, Ειρήνη Παπά και Άντονι Κουίν. Η ταινία γυρίστηκε στο νησί της Ρόδου, το οποίο μετά την ταινία έγινε παγκοσμίως γνωστό. Ο Άντονι Κουίν λάτρεψε τόσο πολύ τη Ρόδο, που αποφάσισε να αγοράσει μια παραλία στο νησί. Δεν τα κατάφερε όμως λόγω της διαβόητης ελληνικής γραφειοκρατίας, αλλά η πανέμορφη παραλία έχει κρατήσει το όνομά του: παραλία Άντονι Κουίν.

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Movies in Greece Rhodes old town Movies in Greece Rhodes Saint Paul Beach

12) ΚΡΗΤΗ: Αλέξης Ζορμπάς (Zorba the Greek, 1964)

Movies in Greece Zorba the Greek

Φυσικά δεν θα μπορούσε να λείπει από τη λίστα αυτή η πασίγνωστη Zorba the Greek, η οποία συνέβαλε σε μεγάλο βαθμό να τοποθετήσει την Ελλάδα μεταξύ των κορυφαίων τουριστικών προορισμών στον κόσμο, και έκανε το συρτάκι ένα mainstream χορό. Το φιλμ βραβεύτηκε με 3 Όσκαρ, είναι βασισμένο στο βιβλίο του Νίκου Καζαντζάκη, με μουσική του Μίκη Θεοδωράκη. Γυρίστηκε στο νησί της Κρήτης, κυρίως στην πόλη των Χανίων, στο Ακρωτήρι Χανίων, τον Αποκόρωνα και στην παραλία Σταυρό, όπου λαμβάνει μέρος η περίφημη σκηνή με τον Άντονι Κουίν να χορεύει συρτάκι.

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Movies in Greece Chania

 

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GREECE GOES TO THE MOVIES: 12 FILMS THAT INSPIRE GREEK VACATIONS

It is no secret that Greece is one of the world’s most important touristic destinations. With its unparalleled natural beauty and its profound historic heritage, it has been long attracting not only tourists, but also filmmakers, actors and producers from all over the world. Already from the 1950s, many movies filmed in Greece have contributed to place it as a popular destination in the world tourism map; at the same time, they were able to build and consolidate various romantic stereotypes and perceptions about Greek’s ancient history and mythology, culture, traditions and modern way of life.

If you are stuck in the city, not being able to take a break, never mind! Take this cinematic tour to Greece, admire its natural and cultural wealth through the lens of the world’s largest film studios.… And who knows? Maybe after watching these films you will get inspired to see Greece by yourself!

1) PELOPONNESE: Before Midnight (2013)

Movies in Greece Before Midnight

Stroll in the narrow roads of Pylos and Kardamyli, eat in famous Lela’s taverna, visit the house of sir Patrick Leigh Fermor, and should you want more glamour, spend a night at Costa Navarino Hotel, while you follow the steps of Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in the bittersweet third part of Lindlaker’s marvellous “Before…” trilogy. Read more on the film here.

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Before midnightMovies in Greece Costa Navarino

2) SKOPELOS AND SKIATHOS: Mamma Mia! (2008)

Movies in Greece Mamma Mia

These two super green Sporades islands serve as background for this feel-good musical comedy, a must-see for the fans of Swedish group Abba. Don’t miss the lovely Church of Agios Ioannis Kastri in Skopelos, where the wedding’s scenes were filmed -and many couples followed since them. From there you can enjoy breathtaking views of -equally beautiful- islands of Skiathos and Alonissos.

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Movies in Greece Skopelos Movies in Greece Skopelos Agios Ioannis Church

3) CEPHALONIA: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001)

This time the emerald-like waters of the Ionian Sea are the setting for this classic love story, based on Louis de Bernières’ book. During WWII, Italian Captain Antonio Corelli (Nicholas Cage) falls in love with Cephalonian Pelagia (Penelope Cruz). The island of Cephalonia saw a spectacular touristic increase after the film… It’s actually hard to resist a visit to the island once you see its magnificent beauty! The amazing beaches of Antisamos and Chorgota, and the lovely villages of Sami and Komitata feature in the film.

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Movies in Greece Sami

4) AMORGOS: Le Grand Bleu (The Big Blue, 1988)

Movies in Greece Le Grand Bleu cr

Luc Besson directed this beautiful hymn to nature, freedom and friendship that takes place in the deep blue waters of Amorgos island. Famous Agia Anna’s beach and the monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa can be seen in the film, which has remained as a cult, all-time classic.

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Movies in Greece Amorgos Panagia Hozoviotisa Movies in Greece Agia-Anna-Beach-Amorgos-island

5) KASTELLORIZO: Mediterraneo (1991)

Movies in Greece Mediterraneo

This beautiful Oscar-winning Italian comedy was filmed in the island of Kastellorizo, one of the Dodecanese islands. During WW2, a group of Italian soldiers serve in a small Greek island; while in the beginning the locals face them with reticence, little by little they all realize how much they have in common… The colorful, neoclassical houses in the seafront will captivate you.

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Movies in Greece Kastellorizo Grotto

6) METEORA, CORFU ISLAND: For your eyes only (1981)

Movies in Greece For Your Eyes Only

In the twelfth of James Bond’s film series, phlegmatic 007 is assigned to hunt for a lost British encryption device, which leads him to beautiful Corfu island. Achillion Palace in  Gastouri, atmospheric Agion Spyridon tower in Corfu town and Kanoni Island all appear in the film. In one of the most adrenaline-packed scenes, 007 faces the enemy literally hanging from the rocks of imposing Meteora! In spite of the negative reactions of Meteora’s monastic community, who tried to boycott the film, “For your eyes only” became a massive box office success.

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Movies in Greece For your eyes only Corfu r Movies in Greece Meteora

7) ATHENS, OLYMPIA, DELPHI: My Life in Ruins (2009)

Movies in Greece My Life In Ruins

Although not as successful as “My Big Fat Greek Wedding“, Nia Vardalos’ second comedy features an American academic who travels to Greece to find her mojo (or “kefi” in Greek). With background the beauty of ancient Greek monuments -the Acropolis, ancient Olympia, Delphi– she also discovers the charm of Greek men.

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 The Acropolis in Athens, Greece.

8) SANTORINI: Summer lovers (1982)

Movies in Greece summer lovers

When a conservative American couple goes on summer vacations to Santorini island, the amazing beauty of the place, and their acquaintance with a bohemian French archaeologist will lead them to develop a particular relationship between the three -and to have the vacations of their lifetime. It is certain that if you see this movie you will want to visit this magnificent island -not necessarily to engage in a threesome 😉 – but just to walk its narrow, atmospheric streets and dive into the deep blue waters of the Aegean Sea.

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Movies in Greece Santorini 2 Movies in Geece Santorini

9) HYDRA: Boy on a Dolphin (1957)

Movies in Greece Boy on a Dolphin

This was the first American film shot in Greece. Sophia Loren is a poor diver who collects sponges in picturesque Hydra island. While diving, one day she discovers a gold statue of  a boy riding a dolphin, which is said that can fulfill your every desire. The film is considered still to these days one of Hollywood’s classics.

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Movies in Greece Hydra

10) MYKONOS: Shirley Valentine (1989)

Movies in Greece Shirley ValentineThis award-winning British romantic comedy- drama is based on a play of the same title. An English middle-age woman, bored with her life, has the opportunity to travel to Greece. Inspired by the beauty of the island of Mykonos, her meaningless life changes forever… It is rumored that the play is actually based on a real life story, and that has inspired many middle-aged women to move to Greece following Shirley Valentine’s steps…

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Movies in Greece Little-Venice-Mykonos-Greece-house_1920x1200_DxOo1 Movies in Greece Mykonos11) RHODES: The Guns of Navarone (1961)

Movies in Greece Guns of NavaroneInspired by the Battle of Leros during the World War II, this classic film describes a fictional battle between the Germans and the Allied for the domination of Navarone island. It stars Gregory Peck, David Niven, Irini Papas and Anthony Quinn. The movie was filmed in the island of Rhodes, which after the film became world famous. Even Anthony Quinn was so impressed by Rhodes that decided to buy a beach in the island. Unfortunately, he was not able to do so due to the infamous greek bureaucracy, but the beach has kept his name: Anthony Quinn Beach.

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Movies in Greece Rhodes old town Movies in Greece Rhodes Saint Paul Beach

12) CRETE: Zorba the Greek (1964)

Movies in Greece Zorba the GreekNo list on films in Greece would be complete without mentioning this quintessential film, which certainly contributed to place Greece among the world’s top tourism destinations, and made syrtaki a mainstream dance. This Oscar-winning movie is based on Nikos Kazantzakis’ book and features music by legendary Mikis Theodorakis. It was filmed in the island of Crete; among the places seen in the movie are the city of Chania, the Akrotiri Peninsula, Apokoronas region and the Beach of Stavros Town, where the famous syrtaki scene was filmed.

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Movies in Greece Chania

 

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