There are plenty of movies about Greece to watch to help you get in the mood for a trip to the Mediterranean. In fact, it has been romantic Greek movies set on Cycladic islands, with whitewashed houses and handsome actors that have been the source of inspiration for many people who have suddenly decided to up and go to Greece.
Similarly, if you are not able to get over to Greece right now, your trip has been postponed, or anything else, you can live your dream Greece itinerary via one of the many movies set in this gorgeous country. The movies about Greece shortlisted here are broad.
Some are romantic comedies, designed to help your daydreams about someday moving to a remote Greek island, and falling in love. Others focus on Greek history or mythology.
Movies About Greece to Watch
When you mention movies about Greece, there are probably a few ultra-popular titles that immediately spring to mind. Namely, Mamma Mia, Shirley Valentine (at least for British audiences!), Zorba the Greek (a classic!), and 300.
However, the reality is, that there are more movies set in Greece than people realise. Dozens of movies have been made over the past few decades that have Greek culture, history, mythology, and Greek gastronomy as focal points of the plot.
Similarly, there are plenty of movies set in Greece where the story isn’t all about Greece per se, but various filming locations are used around the country to depict paradisical islands and gorgeous natural scenery. Various Hollywood movies have used Greece as a backdrop.
The number of movies filmed here looks poised to increase in the coming years too. So while people flock to the Sporades and Volos to search for Mamma Mia filming locations currently, in the future, it may be other islands that movie fans venture to too.
In 2021, 18 international movies were shot in Greece, including the hugely successful Beckett. The Hellenic Cinema Center predicted that revenues from foreign productions shot in Greece in 2021 would hit €90 million ($106 million US).
A diverse selection of movies about Greece is shortlisted below for your perusal. These are perfect for when you feel like enjoying your evening entertainment with shouts of ¨oppa!”, plate smashing, and loud folk music.
A few decades ago, Shirley Valentine was the movie that inspired droves of women that they must up and pack their bags and travel to Greece immediately. The movie follows the story of Shirley, a bored housewife from Northern England.
Unhappy with her mediocre life and marriage, she travels to Mykonos, the Cyclades, and meets a dashing local named Kostas. Will Shirley stay in Mykonos or be lured back home by the great British rain?
This short movie is witty and lighthearted. It may be particularly enjoyable for you if you are also British.
Some of the humorous portrayals of British people, the way they act abroad, and their dry, sarcastic sense of humour are spot on, even to this day. One of the Mykonos beaches where the movie was filmed has been informally renamed as ¨the Shirley Valentine beach¨
If it was Shirley Valentine that inspired women to travel to Greece in the late eighties and early nineties, it was Mamma Mia! That followed suit in the noughties. The Hollywood Blockbuster is the movie adaption of the broadway musical of the same name.
Mamma Mia tells the story of Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) and her mother (Meryl Streep) as they prepare for Sophie’s wedding. The only issue?
Sophie does not know who her father is and there are three possibilities. So, she invites them all!
Hollywood movie directors scoured dozens of Greek islands looking for the perfect setting before settling for Skopelos. The island, with its pristine beaches and awe-inspiring nature and hiking trails, is the greenest in the Mediterranean.
It is possible to visit all of the Mamma Mia filming locations while in the area. The film was shot at various locations across Skopelos beaches, Skiathos town, Volos, and Pelion. Arguably the most famous location is the clifftop church of Agios Ioannis Kastri in the northern part of the island.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
My Big Fat Greek Wedding follows the life of Toula (Nia Vardalos), a Greek-American waiter living in Chicago. Toula is constantly a disappointment in her very traditional Greek parents’ eyes on account of the fact that she is over 30 and not yet married or a mother.
This disapproval only increases when she meets a non-Greek partner (John Corbett). The movie is very funny, particularly as it discusses the cultural differences between Greeks and westerners.
You may find it especially relatable if you are of Greek heritage, or you are someone dating a Greek man or woman. There is also a sequel to the movie: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.
Beckett, released in 2021, is an action movie starring John David Washington, Boyd Holbrook, Vicky Krieps, and Alicia Vikander. Washington plays an American tourist that travels to Greece on vacation with his girlfriend. Unfortunately, he finds himself involved in a tragic car accident that makes him the focus of a political conspiracy and forces him to go on the run.
The movie was filmed on location in various areas of Northern Greece, including the Thessaly region, Ioannina, Trikala, Zagori, and the ancient city of Delphi. Washington’s character has to try to get to Athens, in order to reach the American Embassy and clear his name.
After its release, the movie quickly shot to the number 1 most streamed movie on Netflix in various countries around the globe. Beckett is not a true story, but it is so fast-paced and anxiety-inducing that it will have you on the edge of your seat all the way through!
The movie, which premiered at the 74th Locarno Film Festival, may not have a main focus on the nature of Greece. However, some of these lesser-known gems around the country make a great backdrop to a compelling story.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, released in 2016, is the much-anticipated sequel to the first Big Fat Greek Wedding movie. Set years after the original move, Toula and her husband Ian are struggling with the challenges that come with parenting, particularly in an intercultural relationship.
Their teen daughter, Elena, in particular, struggles to identify with Greek traditions and aspects of Greek culture, as a Greek American kid. Arguably the movie struggles to live up to expectations after the popularity of the first movie.
Still, it’s a light-hearted, easy-to-watch, and funny movie regardless. Better still?
The producers have confirmed that Nia Vardalos and John Corbett will be returning to their roles for a third movie. In August 2022, the cast headed to Athens to conduct filming and the principal photography for the movie.
As of yet, the directors have kept things pretty quiet about the storyline and the specific filming locations of the new movie. However, they have confirmed that several islands, as well as the Greek mainland, will be the filming locations.
Rise (aka the ¨Greek Freak movie¨) is a 2022 movie set in Greece that follows the true story of NBA player Giannis Antetokounmpo. Antetokounmpo currently plays for the Milwaukee Bucks in the US.
Since moving to the United States to play basketball professionally, his speed and skills have gained him a lot of recognition as one of the best basketball players of all time. Since he is of Nigerian roots and grew up in Greece, his huge success has made him the pride of Greece, Nigeria, and the US.
This is particularly true due to his humble beginnings. Antetokounmpo grew up in Sepolia, a somewhat rundown and less-than-desirable Athenian neighborhood.
He and his two brothers moved to Greece with their parents Vera and Charles Antetokounmpo, who sought a better life and better opportunities for their children. Rise is a heartwarming and inspiring rags-to-riches story that is fun to watch, even if you aren’t a sports fan.
The movie has been filmed in various Athens neighborhoods including Monastiraki, Zografou, Psiri, and several Athens hotels. If you have visited the Greek capital before, you will find it fun to try and recognize the different parts of town.
Knives Out 2
Knives Out 2 is set for international release in November 2022. (Its official new name is Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery).
The movie sees Tech Billionaire Miles Bron (played by Edwards Norton) head out to his private Greek island with his friends for the weekend. After someone dies, a detective (played by Daniel Craig) is called up to investigate.
Filming took place on the gorgeous island of Spetses, Greece – a lesser-known paradise with phenomenal natural scenery that sits just 3 hours away from Athens in the Argolic Gulf. This is a fast-paced action movie that has a much-anticipated arrival after the success of the first Knives Out movie.
The backdrop of beautiful blue seas, luxurious Greek villas with huge pools and terraces, and dense woodland is enough to inspire anyone to visit Greece. Little Spetses, is one of the closest islands to Athens
It is home to just 4,000 people and outside of the main settlement (Spetses town), the island is essentially just one big national park. No cars are permitted on the island, and the best way to get around is by renting a bicycle or an ATV.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
The 2005 movie ¨The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants¨ starring Blake Lively and Alexis Bledel is one of the best movies about Greece for younger viewers. It is based on the book of the same name.
The movie sees four best girlfriends who want to remain in each other’s lives as they grow older and start to move in different directions. One girl heads to Mexico, another to Greece, and two of the girls stay in the US.
They are all the same dress size, so they share a pair of jeans that fit them all, and the jeans make their journey across the world. What may be a somewhat gross concept, actually translates into a fun and uplifting movie about friendships and getting older.
The Greece scenes of the movie are set in Santorini. More specifically, picturesque Oia and Ammoudi Bay. The second movie, shot in 2018, is also filmed in Santorini.
Xenia, a 2014 drama movie directed by Panos H. Koutras, tells the story of two Albanian teenagers in search of their Greek father. After their mother, an Albanian singer, passes away, they embark on a road trip across Greece to search for their father.
The film explores many important topics affecting modern Greece today. For instance, the relationship between Greece and Albania, the perception of Albanians in Greece, as well as LGBTQI+ issues.
One of the brothers, Dany is gay. Although some areas in Greece (e.g. Skiathos) are known for being LGBTQI friendly, the country on the whole still has a long way to go before this community sees equality. So, to have a gay man as the main character is important.
The movie was filmed in various locations across Greece. The abandoned Xenia hotel set was in Kozani, a scene where the two teens are on a boat at night was filmed on the Pineios River in the Peloponnese.
Piraeus, the Athens Acropolis, and central Thessaloniki all also make appearances. Xenia was selected to compete in the 2014 Cannes film festival and the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.
The Trip to Greece
The Trip to Greece is a 2020 British comedy movie featuring British comedy legends Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. They set off to beautiful Greece to follow in the footsteps of Odysseus as he made his way home from Troy.
The movie was filmed in several locations in Greece and on Turkey’s north-west Aegean coast. Their Turkey itinerary starts in the ruins of Troy in Hisarlik. From there, they head to Assos, just opposite the Greek island of Lesbos to see the famous Moria refugee camp, then board a boat to Kavala.
The ruins of Ancient Stagira (the birthplace of Aristotle) are up next. Then, the duo continues onwards to the villages of Pinakates and Damouchari in the Pelion, the ruins of Ancient Delphi, the UNESCO-protected Theatre of Epidaurus, Hydra, the Mani peninsula, Kefalonia island, and Ithaca. Phew.
Throughout the journey, the pair squabble comedically about all manner of Greek cultural topics. The Trip to Greece will inspire you to visit off-the-beaten-track parts of Greece that you have perhaps never heard of.
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life
The first Tomb Raider movie, Cradle of Life, was filmed in 2003 and starred Angelina Jolie (as Lara) and Gerard Butler. Lara is tasked with retrieving Pandora’s box before it is found by a man who plans to use it as a weapon of mass destruction.
The movie was arguably not met with a lot of positive reviews and enthusiasm when it was first released. However, fans of the Tomb Raider game series will no doubt enjoy it, and it does contain lots of fast-paced action and stunts.
It was filmed in numerous exotic locations around the world, including China, Wales, England, Hong Kong, and Kenya. The opening scene was filmed in Santorini, Greece.
A Touch of Spice (Politiki Kouzina)
If you are looking for wonderful movies about Greece that are actually Greek, showcase excellent Greek actors, and provide insight into the country´s culture and issues, you will enjoy A Touch of Spice (Politiki Kouzina). The movie follows the story of a young Greek boy that grew up in Istanbul, Turkey, and leaves the country to return to Greece due to political turmoil.
It explores a topic that is still a sensitive matter of discussion for most Greeks today. Namely, the tumultuous relationship between Greece and Turkey.
El Greco is a 2007 movie directed by Yannis Smaragdis. It is a biographical film about the life of Greek Painter Domenicos Theotokopoulos, known internationally as ¨El Greco¨.
Renowned contemporary Greek actors such as Dimitra Matsouka and Dina Konsta play some of the main roles. So too, do Greek actors that rose to fame during the 1960s golden era of Greek cinema.
(For instance Sotiris Moustakas and Katerina Helmi.) El Greco himself is played by British actor Nick Ashdon. The Greek scenes of the movie were filmed in locations in Heraklion, Crete, Rhodes, and Athens.
Summer Lovers is a 1982 movie directed by Randal Kleiser that explores the themes of love, lust, and temptation in long-term relationships. The story follows an American couple that visits Greece on vacation and befriends a young French woman.
Peter Gallagher, Daryl Hannah, and Valerie Quennessen play the main character roles. The movie was filmed in Santorini so the backdrop of the scenes is always made up of idyllic white-washed traditional houses and gorgeous beaches. The movie, and the classic 80s music that makes up the soundtrack, perfectly capture the people that travelled to Greece in the 1970s and 1980s.
¨This. Is. Spartaaaa.¨ 300 is the shockingly inaccurate Greek history movie that followed King Leonidas and the Spartans during the Battle of Thermopylae. While the Battle of Thermopylae was indeed a real battle that took place in Ancient Greece in 480 BC, the movie is not true to historical facts.
It is based on the comic of the same name by American Comic Book Artist Frank Miller. Regardless, it is gory, action-packed, and engaging to watch.
Better yet, it inspired new generations to learn more about ancient Greek history and travel to the country’s historical sites. The city of Sparta in Lakonia, Peloponnese was the home of the Spartans.
Although it is unfortunately not so well preserved today, there are numerous archaeological sites and museums around the city that are worth visiting if you should find yourself in the area. Nearby, you can also visit the charming Byzantine city of Mystras.
Zorba the Greek
Zorba the Greek is a timeless classic. This award-winning movie filmed in 1964 follows the story of an English Writer that travels to Greece, befriends an elderly local man, and falls in love with a local woman.
Despite being shot in black and white and now being somewhat dated, this should be high on your list of classic movies about Greece to watch when planning your first Greek adventure. The movie is particularly famous for its theme music ¨sirtaki¨.
Even if you haven’t heard of or seen this movie, you have most likely heard sirtaki. This instrumental music starts off slowly and gradually gets faster and faster.
Today, the associated dance is one of the most renowned Greek dances. However it was actually created specifically for the movie! The music is regularly played at Greek tavernas, and in touristic districts like Plaka, Athens, or Thissio.
Zorbas the Greek was set and filmed in Crete. Notable filming locations include Chania, Kokkino Chorio village, and Stavros beach, Akrotiri.
Clash of the Titans
Despite all of the weird and wonderful Greek mythology stories out there, there are shockingly few movies that tell them. One movie that changed that was the 1981 Clash of the Titans.
The movie loosely (very, very loosely) tells the story of Perseus. The Greek hero ventures across Greece to kill the Kraken, a giant mythical sea monster.
The movie was actually filmed on location in Spain, Malta, and at movie studios in London, UK. However, regardless, it was the movie that inspired many to learn more about Greek myths.
Today, some of the CGI and makeup effects are both dated and comical. In its day, some of the characters in the original Clash of the Titans movie, particularly the snake-haired Medusa, terrified younger generations.
The Clash of the Titans is still very worth a watch. In 2010, the movie was remade, and the remake essentially follows the same story.
Wrath of the Titans
Wrath of the Titans was released in 2012 as a sequel to the Clash of the Titans remake. It once again joins Perseus as he ventures into the Underworld to save Zeus who has been captured by Hades and Ares. In doing so, he hopes to save Mankind.
There are many mythological inaccuracies in this movie. It has essentially taken the names of Greek mythology figures and nothing more.
So, if you are an avid follower of Greek myths and legends, you may be disgruntled or downright irritated. Sadly, the movie also received fairly negative feedback and reviews.
This is not a terrible movie to watch if you just want some easygoing, action-inspired viewing. It’s something you can have on in the background without having to concentrate too much.
Like its predecessor, Wrath of the Titans was not filmed in Greece. It was filmed mostly in Tenerife and Wales.
The 2004 Troy movie directed by Wolfgang Petersen is based on Homer’s ¨The Iliad¨. For many Grecophiles, literary aficionados, and history buffs, the Iliad is one of the best books about Greece and it is something of a right of passage.
The movie ¨Troy¨ deviates massively from Homer’s writing. This meant that the movie was heavily criticised and disappointing for many.
Troy tells the story of the 10-year Trojan war, with Brad Pitt playing the hero ¨Achilles¨. Regardless of its imperfections, it is an enjoyable action movie about the Greek wars.
The 2019 movie Greed is a British satirical comedy. It follows a billionaire fashion tycoon as he throws a yacht party in Mykonos designed to help him improve his reputation.
The movie has aspirations of light-heartedly questioning capitalism, the existence of billionaires, and the lifestyles of the super-rich. Although in parts, it seems a little unsure as to the direction it is following.
Regardless, it’s an amusing watch, and it stars a number of notable British Comedians and Comedy Actors. Not to mention, Mykonos, displayed in all its glory, is a spectacular backdrop.
My Life in Ruins
My Life in Ruins is a romantic comedy set in Greece starring Nia Vardalos, of ¨My Big Fat Greek Wedding¨ fame. Vardalos plays tour guide Georgia who is tired of showing obnoxious tourists around the Acropolis, the Agora, and other touristic sites of Greece.
That is until she meets a handsome Greek bus driver that changes her perspective. Not only is the movie uplifting, light-hearted, and fun to watch, but it also showcases some of the very best landmarks in Greece.
If you have just booked a trip to Greece and you want to see a movie that will get you in the mood to go, My Life in Ruins is undoubtedly one of the best movies about Greece.
Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again
Mamma Mia ¨Here we go again¨ is the second installment of the Hollywood Blockbuster ¨Mamma Mia¨. It is simultaneously a prequel and a sequel to the first movie.
In this movie, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is expecting her first child while struggling to run her mother´s guesthouse. The film alternates between the present day and flashbacks to her mother’s younger life.
While Mamma Mia 2 is set once again on the fictional Greek island of Kalokairi, it was actually filmed in Vis, Croatia. The movie directors cited Greek bureaucracy, costs, and taxes as the reason for the move.
The Big Blue
The 1998 movie ¨The Big Blue¨ is an English-language movie by French director Luc Besson. It was originally released with the French title ¨Le Grand Bleu¨ and is based on the true story of two childhood friends Jacques Mayol, and Italian Enzo Maiorca.
The friends try to compete and outdo each other at free-diving in different destinations around the world. Although the movie has been heavily hyperbolised from the true story, it is still one of the best deep-sea diving movies in existence.
The Big Blue was filmed at a number of gorgeous locations around the world, including the little Greek island of Amorgos. In the background of some of the scenes, you can see Agia Anna and the monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa.
At the time, The Big Blue was a huge box office hit and encouraged thousands of French tourists to vacation in the Cyclades and go Greek island hopping. Aside from that though, Amorgos remains relatively off the beaten track. It is a great island to visit if you prefer quieter islands.
Rembetiko (Ρεμπέτικο) is a 1983 Greek film produced by Costas Ferris and Sotiria Leonardou. It was filmed in Greek but has English subtitles. It is essentially a Greek history movie with a twist.
While other Greek history films may focus on Greek wars, the struggle for independence, or Ancient Greece, Rembetiko follows the stories of musicians called Rembetes.
Rembetiko could be described as being the Greek version of the Blues. Today, it is still possible to enjoy Rembetiko.
Some tavernas and restaurants around the country host live musicians to entertain their patrons as they dine. Similarly, you will often find it played out over loudspeakers in a lot of bars and eateries.
The movie follows the events in Greece that took place between 1917 to 1956. It provides a great glimpse into Greek culture, while simultaneously allowing you to enjoy Greek music and dancing.
Boy on a Dolphin
In 1957, Italian screen goddess Sophia Loren and a team of American producers and directors flew to Greece to film ¨Boy on a Dolphin¨. This was the very first American movie to ever be filmed in Greece.
Sophia’s character Phaedra is an impoverished Greek sponge diver who finds a statue of a boy riding a dolphin while diving in the Aegean sea. After her discovery, she is torn between giving it to a man that wants to sell it, and a man who wants to give it as a gift to Greece.
This movie was filmed throughout Greece, and various beautiful destinations act as the backdrop. That includes the little island of Hydra in the Saronic Gulf and notable museums of Athens. While watching, it is interesting to see how much these Greek destinations have changed throughout the last few decades.
Sophia Loren was open about her love of Greece. She would often vacation in the upscale region of Vouliagmeni and the Athens Riviera in its early days. Upon arrival in Greece to film the movie, she was met with huge crowds.
Alexander (2004) is a historical drama that aims to tell the story of the life and conquests of Alexander the Great. The real-life Alexander III of Macedon was born in the city of Pella, Northern Greece.
He ruled over Macedonia for less than 13 years. However, he certainly made an impact during his rule.
Alexander the Great conquered and invaded a vast amount of countries. He travelled from Macedonia and Greece to Egypt and India. In doing so, he spread Hellenistic culture across the world.
His birthplace, Pella is a wonderful place to visit on a day trip from Thessaloniki. Despite its historical and cultural significance, the Central Macedonia region of Greece is often overlooked by tourists, who prefer to see the historical sites of Athens, Delphi, and Olympia.
The Alexander movie emphasises why this region, and this particular ruler, were so important in shaping Greece’s history. Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, and Jared Leto star in this movie.
However, sadly, it was an international flop. This was, in part, due to its many historical inaccuracies.
Before Midnight is the third movie in a trilogy of romantic movies. It is preceded by ¨before sunrise¨ and ¨before sunset¨.
Each movie is set and filmed nine years after its predecessor. The movies tell the story of a married couple spending their vacation days in the Peloponnese with their children.
The rugged Peloponnese is one of the wildest, and most underrated parts of Greece. It doesn’t receive the attention it deserves globally.
However, many who visit fall in love with the villages of Lakonia, the castle towns of Mystras and Monemvasia, and the breathtaking Mani peninsula. This is one of the best movies about Greece that provides some inspiration for visiting this stunning region.
Never on Sunday
Never on Sunday (Ποτέ την Κυριακή) is a Greek romantic comedy that was filmed in 1960. The movie sees Ilya, a Greek Escort, meet Holmes, an American Scholar.
It was filmed throughout Athens and gritty neighbouring Piraeus. The film is in Greek, however, it’s possible to get versions that contain subtitles in a variety of languages, including English.
Ilya is played by the late Melinda Mercouri. She was an acclaimed Greek Actress who pivoted her work so as to get involved with activism and Greek socialist issues.
Best Movies About Greece: Parting Words
Do you have any questions about these movies about Greece? Perhaps you have some additional suggestions that you’d like to share?
Feel free to comment below. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Safe travels! Geia! Melissa xo