20 Movies About Greece You Must Watch

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When travelling to a new place, we tend to immerse ourselves in travel blogs, travel guides and YouTube videos to search out the best places to visit. We look for monuments, museums and natural landscapes to discover for ourselves. Food blogs are poured over to find the best deals in town or the best location for a local dish. Sometimes though, the real excitement for a trip comes not from the research, but from watching a movie set in the location you are heading to or inspired by stories from its past.

Greece is a country steeped in mythology and ancient history, but many of the incredible Greek movies set there focus more on the more recent past and present. This shows viewers a more accurate representation of where they are heading while showcasing some of the best locations, talent and scripts that Greece has to offer. Here are 20 Greek movies not to be missed before you travel to Greece.

Greek Movies

20 Movies About Greece You Need To Watch Before Visiting

1- Mamma Mia! (2008)

Movies about Greece on Netflix
One of the most popular movies about Greece, Mamma Mia!, is set in Skopelos.

While the movie is set on the fictional island of Kalokairi, Mamma Mia! was actually filmed on the island of Skopelos during the summer months.

Mamma Mia! is based on a musical of the same name, which launched in theatres in 1999.

The musical features songs from ABBA throughout and had ABBA member Benny Andersson compose the additional music used.

Mamma Mia! is a feel-good rom-com about a young girl who invites three men to the island for her wedding, with the hopes of finding out which man is her father.

It’s a must-view for ABBA fans and those who dream of a Greece filled with sun, blue seas, and white sands.

2- Boy on a Dolphin (1957)

Greek movies on Netflix
A panoramic view of the port of Hydra on Hydra island in Attica, where several movies about Greece have been filmed.

Boy on a Dolphin is an American adventure-romance movie set in Greece.

The story centres around Sophia Loren, acting in her first English-language movie as Phaedra, a sponge diver based on the island of Hydra.

This stunning island is in the Aegean Sea and gets its name from the number of natural springs on the island.

There is plenty of mythology in this Greek classic.

Phaedra finds a statue of a boy riding a dolphin at the bottom of the sea.

A competition between an archeologist who wants the statue to go to the people of Hydra and a dealer of historical artefacts who is only interested in money ensues, but who will be victorious?

3- Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001)

greek movies and series
Aerial drone view video of the colourful traditional fishing village of Assos on the island of Cefalonia in Greece where a number of movies on Greece have been shot.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is a movie based on a 1994 book by British author Louis de Bernieres.

The book and film are set on the idyllic island of Cephalonia during the Italian and German occupation of WWII.

The film centres around a fisherman and his girlfriend, who falls in love with an Italian commander when he departs to fight for Greece.

To ensure the book was accurate, de Bernieres spoke to locals from the island and visited regularly.

The same level of care and detail was taken with the movie, which is still recognisable when visiting today despite being set in the 1940s.

4- Arcadia Lost (2010)

Old greek movies Moni Timiou Prodromou.
Moni Timiou Prodromou monastery in the mountains of Arcadia is a mysterious place where a movie about Greece was filmed.

Arcadia Lost is an American Drama set in a small village named Poulithra in the Arcadia region of Greece.

The movie centres around two teenagers stranded in central Greece following a car accident.

When the teens meet an American ex-pat named Benerji, they head towards the sacred Mount Parnonas searching mystic waters.

Arcadia Lost explores more of rural Greece through its locations, however, it is dotted with calls to Greece’s ancient past.

Scenes filmed in Poulithra are some of the most beautiful in the movie, with its cliffside houses surrounded by rocks, green shrubbery and of course, the glistening sea.

5- My Life in Ruins (2009)

greek movies acropolis of athens at night
The Acropolis of Athens has starred in many movies made about Greece.

My Life in Ruins is a romantic comedy surrounded by the ancient ruins of Greece.

The story follows Nia Vardalos, star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, as a tour guide in Greece.

Her personal life takes an unusual turn whilst comedic situations happen to her and the tourists as they tour around some of Greece’s most famous ruins.

Famous Greek landmarks are taken in during the movie, including the Parthenon, which sets the scene for an unusual fight between a rival tour guide and Nia’s group.

This is certainly the film to choose for a more light-hearted approach to movies set in Greece, with a healthy handful of landmarks thrown in for good measure.

6- Zorba the Greek (1964)

Best movies about Greece couple on Voulisma beach
A young happy couple on Voulisma beach, which is a stunning location where a few movies about Greece were filmed.

Michael Cacoyannis wrote, produced, edited and directed Zorba the Greek, a Greek comedy-drama.

This Greek movie is based on a 1946 novel called The Life and Times of Alexis Zorba, written by Nikos Kazantzakis.

In the movie, Greek-British writer Basil has grown up the perfect English gentleman.

He heads to the island of Crete to reopen a lignite mine owned by his father.

On his travels to Crete, he meets the enthusiastic Zorba.

As the two travel to the island together and work there together, they find themselves in unusual situations with the locals.

Despite the many highs and lows in the movie, the film closes on a beautiful scene of Zorba and Basil dancing on the most perfect of Greek beaches.

It’s a true masterpiece that shows off the beauty of the island.

7- Before Midnight (2013)

greek movies Nafplio
Nafplio old city is a beautiful spot on the Peloponnese peninsula and the perfect place to shoot a greek movie.

Before Midnight is part of the Before trilogy is the third instalment, following Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.

The story follows now couple Jessee and Celine as they holiday in Greece with their children.

Much of the film is set on the Peloponnese peninsula.

Despite the film, like its two predecessors, not having much of a plotline with most of the events centred around characters in conversation, the film does open up the peninsula’s beauty.

8- The Big Blue (1988)

Greece Movies Alonissos Island
Lakes Beach on the Alonissos Islands is a beautiful spot that deserves to feature in movies about Greece. 

While not solely set in Greece, The Big Blue will undoubtedly make you long for its tranquil blue waters.

The Big Blue is set in Peru, Sicily, France and of course, the Greek Islands.

The movie follows two champion deep-water free divers who are friends and, of course, rivals.

While the film is spectacular in its rawness and emotion, keep your eyes peeled for the scenes shot on the island of Alonissos.

The island is remote and is only reachable via ferry.

What it offers is unrivalled deep blue waters filled with incredible sea life.

Those who watch The Big Blue before heading to Greece are bound to want to search out snorkelling or scuba diving equipment to see this incredible site for themselves.

9- For Your Eyes Only (1981)

greek movies meteora in greece
Meteora in Greece is a jaw-dropping destination that has featured in several Greek movies.

Starring Roger Moore as the famed MI6 agent James Bond, For Your Eyes Only was filmed between England, Italy and Greece.

The movie’s plot centres around Bond, who is trying to locate a missile command system.

With a Greek businessman adding to the tangled web of deception, and a woman seeking revenge for the death of her parents, this Bond classic has it all.

Filming locations included Meteora and Achilleion. In Meteora, a Greek bishop permitted scenes to be to filmed within the monasteries, much to the dismay of the local monks inhabiting it.

While the Greek locations in the movie are small, their appearance on screen certainly adds to the wanderlust of those wanting to travel to the country.

10- Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life (2003)

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Santorini at sunset. The stunning spot is the star of quite a few movies on Greece.

Angelina Jolie returns as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life. The film is set on Santorini, an island in the Aegean Sea.

Following an earthquake on the island, the Luna Temple is discovered.

Built by Alexander the Great to house his treasures, the temple is, of course, raided by Croft and her team.

A rival team appears, and a deadly fight ensues.

Following her escape from the fight, Croft is approached by MI6 to locate Pandora’s box, which is hidden in the Cradle of Life. But Croft must find it before the rival team do.

While the movie is set between Africa, China and Greece, the locations on the island of Santorini are precisely how we imagine treasure hunting in a land so rich in ancient history as Greece.

11- The Two Faces of January (2014)

Movies about going to Greece
Knossos palace is a gem from the Minoan civilisation and has been featured in historical movies about Greece.

The Two Faces of January is an exciting thriller set in 1962 and was filmed between Greece and Turkey.

Like any good thriller set in the 60s, The Two Faces of January follows three people, a conman and his girlfriend and an American who has alienated himself from his family and has resorted to cheap scams on tourists.

While the story twists and turns, and characters are involved in deception, cons and even murder, the viewer is treated to stunning shots in Crete’s capital Irklion and incredible ruins at Acropolis and Knossos.

12- Shirley Valentine (1989)

greek movies mykonos on the streets Mykonos
Mykonos is a famous island where some of the best movies about Greece have been shot.

Shirley Valentine was filmed on the island of Mykonos, an idyllic island filled with perfect white houses set against rich azure skies.

The movie tells the story of Shirley, a frustrated housewife who heads to the island to find herself. Here she falls in love.

The island has seen an enormous increase in tourism thanks to the movie.

To recreate its romantic splendour for yourself, head to Ai Giannis for its beach bars and restaurants.

13- High Season (1987)

best greek movies
Fortress on the Mandraki harbour of Rhodes, where this Greek comedy was shot.

British romantic comedy High Season is set on the Greek island of Rhodes and has an eclectic mix of characters.

The nine main character’s time on the island intertwines, however is centred around Kath and Patrick, a divorced couple still living on the island.

As the stories progress and the nine principal characters get embroiled in each other’s lives, the stunning surrounding of Rhodes completes this British rom-com, transforming it into a must-watch before heading to Greece.

14- Opa! (2009)

Movies on Greece
Patmos Island on the Katun River is the backdrop for this movie about ancient Greece.

Opa! is set on the island of Patmos.

In the movie, archeologist Eric discovers that an incredibly important artefact may be buried underneath a restaurant owned by the woman of his dreams, Katerina.

While the characters explore archeology, history, and love, the viewer is whisked to a romantic corner of Greece filled with ancient wonder, calm blue seas, and postcard-perfect coastal towns.

15- The 300 Spartans (1962)

Greek mythology movies on Netflix
The ancient temple of Hera near Perachora village, where this historical movie to watch about Greece was set.

The 300 Spartans were shot in the village of Perachora in Peloponnese.

The filmmakers gained the permission of the Greek government to use the village as the location.

The movie follows the tale of the 300 Spartans in their epic fight against a seemingly unlimited army of Persians.

As the movie builds up and tensions rise between the two rivals, the 60s views of Perachora offer nothing aside of wanderlust for those watching.

16- Troy (2004)

greek movies trojan horse in canakkale turkey
Trojan horses have featured in several good movies about ancient Greece. This Trojan horse, however, is in Canakkale in Turkey.

When thinking of Greece and its incredible array of ruins and mythology, Troy is always at the top.

The 2004 reimagining of the movie is an epic undertaking, loosely following the Iliad by Homer. The film focuses on the decade long Trojan war and the heroes depicted in the Iliad.

Despite the film not being set in Greece, with much of the filming on a gigantic set built on the island of Malta, Troy is still a must-watch before heading to Greece.

The movie condenses a decade long war into scenes spanning a mere few weeks and gives the viewer an understanding of one of Greece’s most powerful and important tales from its ancient history.

17- Alexander (2004)

Movies Greece Statue of Alexander the Great
Statue of Alexander the Great

Alexander is an epic three-hour-long movie that follows the life of Alexander the Great.

The movie features incredible costumes from Ancient Greece and some familiar names from Ancient Greek writings.

Sadly none of Alexander was filmed in Greece, with much of the filming undertaken in Thailand.

That being said, this epic movie offers an insight into one of the greatest war-minds in history, and for those interested in Ancient Greece and the landmarks now in ruins to be explored, this film cannot be missed.

18- Politiki Kouzina (2003)

Translating to A Touch of Spice, Politiki Kouzina is a Greek film directed by Tassos Boulmetis.

The story is moving and follows a professor reminiscing on his childhood growing up in a Greek community in Istanbul.

Following riots and deportation, the lead character Fanis finds himself struggling to adapt to life in Greece.

This movie is a heartfelt reflection on Greece’s troubled history and its impact on its citizens, who are nostalgic for the past whilst optimistic for the future.

19- Cheap Smokes (2000)

Greek movies series athens
Athens skyline sunset viewed from Mt Lykavitos. The city has been the star of many movies about Greece on Netflix and online.

Set in Athens during the summer, Cheap Smokes is a powerful Greek language film that cannot be missed before heading to Greece.

We follow Nikos, an out of work poet, and Sophia, a fashion stylist who meet in the still of the night by a phone booth.

The film follows the pair throughout the night as they open up to each other and wonder what changes their lives should take.

Despite the film being set in Athens at night, the romance and allure of the city oozes from the screen.

20- The Other Me (2016)

Movies about Greece
Map of the regions of Greece.

A movie with contention around its release is The Other Me. Sotiris Tsafoulias directed the crime film.

The plot is inspired by Pythagoras’ amicable numbers and sees a serial killer use 220 as their calling card.

Criminologist Professor Dimitris Lainis is called in to help police catch the killer before more people die.

The movie is powerful and is set in varying locations across Greece.

While the movie has strong ties to Greece’s mathematical history, it was withdrawn from cinemas following the death of a taxi driver, which was believed to be inspired by the movie.

The movie has since been released online by the director.

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sarah holmes travel writer
Sarah Holmes is a travel and fashion writer living in the heart of England. From family adventures in numerous parts of the UK and Europe to exploring cities as an adult, Sarah has a wide knowledge of the best areas, sights and local tips that the UK and the neighbouring continent can offer. Sarah grew up in the North East of England, with incredible sights and landmarks only a short drive away. Her favourite places to visit include Seaham Beach, the Lake District and Alnwick Castle. Sarah has written for a range of fashion and travel blogs and print publications.