Croatia’s cinematic history began later than other Central European countries, around the 1940s. It continued to thrive into the 1960s and embraced modernism and political satire to outwit the censors. Unfortunately, there was a blip after Croatia’s independence in 1991 when there was neither money nor a market for Croatia movies.
But since the turn of the 21st century, Croatia is once again finding its filmmaking feet. It is welcoming more and more Hollywood productions to its sandy shores and medieval cities. Now, there are more TV shows and movies filmed in Croatia than ever before.
Most of the people who visit this site are English-language speakers and, unfortunately, few Croatian movies have gained notoriety on the international cinematic stage. So, I’ve put together a list of movies filmed in Croatia that are mostly American or British productions.
Though they aren’t all TV shows and movies set in Croatia, they all take advantage of Croatia’s unique UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 1,000+ islands dotted around the Adriatic sea. Let’s take a look at all the best movies filmed in Dubrovnik, Vis, Split, and beyond to inspire your own travels to Croatia!
Best Croatia Movies & TV Shows to Inspire You to Visit
1. Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
Adapted from the Tony award-winning Broadway musical, Fiddler on the Roof became the highest-grossing movie at the US box office in 1971. It follows a Jewish milkman living in 20th-century Imperial Russia who is finding it difficult to marry off his five daughters.
Though set in Russia (or Ukraine according to some sources), director Norman Jewison shot Fiddler on the Roof at Shepperton Studios in the UK and on-location in the former Yugoslavia. The Croatian villages of Lekenik and Mala Gorica stood in for the fictional town of Anatevka. Filming in Croatia at this time must’ve been a very different experience from filming now!
2. Titus (1999)
Titus was the director Julie Taymor’s debut, and we love highlighting female directors on Almost Ginger. It’s an adaptation of the Shakespearean tragedy Titus Andronicus. Anthony Hopkins plays the titular Roman General who becomes the target of revenge by four men he imprisoned.
Taymor shot the film at Cinecittà Studios in Rome as well as on-location in Rome and on the Istrian Peninsula in Croatia. The Croatia film location is the Pula Arena, a magnificent Roman amphitheatre featured at the beginning and end of Titus.
3. Fine Dead Girls (2002)
I couldn’t publish this list without any true Croatian movies. And I have it on good authority that Fine Dead Girls is one of the best Croatian movies released since the country’s independence. Iva and Marija rent an apartment in a building in Zagreb with unconventional tenants. Things go from bad to worse when the elderly landlady discovers that the girls are a lesbian couple.
Director Dalibor Matanić shot this film where it is set, Croatia’s capital city of Zagreb. Most of the Croatia movies on this list use historic and coastal cities as filming locations, so it’s a nice change to see a more modern Croatian city on screen.
4. The Hunting Party (2007)
The Hunting Party absolutely bombed at the box office, but it’s not completely terrible and features some great Hollywood actors, so it makes the list. Richard Gere, Terrance Howard, and Jesse Eisenberg play journalists who travel to Bosnia to uncover the country’s most-wanted criminal.
While some of the filming locations are in Bosnia and Herzegovina, some Croatian filming locations stand in for Bosnia too. They shot in the Jadran Film Studio in Zagreb as well as in the towns of Vojnic, Kostanjevac, Duga Resa, and the city of Karlovac.
5. Game of Thrones (2011 – 2019)
C’mon, you knew Game of Thrones was coming, right? It’s by far the most famous out of all the TV shows and movies filmed in Croatia. If you’ve been hiding under a rock over the last decade and don’t know anything about Game of Thrones, it’s an HBO fantasy adaptation set in the fictional land of Westeros. It follows noble families as they pursue the throne and fight a common foe.
Filming locations in Iceland, Spain, Northern Ireland, Malta, Scotland, Morocco and, most famously, Croatia all feature in Game of Thrones. Croatia appears throughout seasons two – eight.
Split stood in for fictional locations in Meereen, including UNESCO-listed Diocletian’s Palace. Dubrovnik mostly stood in as the fictional King’s Landing, including the infamous St. Dominika Street. Since the series filmed in Dubrovnik, thousands flock to the city every year to visit the locations. There are many other Game of Thrones scenes filmed in Dubrovnik and other places around the country.
6. Diana (2013)
Okay, so Diana is one of the biggest flops of the 2010s. But many people adore Princess Diana (played by Naomi Watts) and will watch a movie about her regardless! This film covers the last two years of her life including her charity work and romantic relationships.
Director Oliver Hirschbiegel shot Diana in several global locations including Italy, India, England, Mozambique and, of course, Croatia. The beautiful coastal town of Opatija, Rovinj, and Zagreb all feature. Heritage Hotel Imperial in Opatija was one of the filming locations where Diana appears on a balcony.
7. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)
Croatia is popping up in all the top Hollywood franchises, so it’s no surprise Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi filmed scenes there too. This epic sci-fi movie sequel continues the galaxy-spanning fight of the Resistance and the Jedi Knights against the evil First Order and the Sith Lords.
This Star Wars film used locations across England, Ireland, Bolivia, and Croatia. Director Rian Johnson transformed Dubrovnik into Canto Bight, a casino city on the desert planet of Cantonica. He used several filming locations including Stradun, Banje Beach, Rector’s Palace, and more. It’s one of the top Dubrovnik movies in terms of prolificity, for sure!
8. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is The Godfather Part II of rom-com movie musicals as far as I’m considered. This ABBA jukebox musical continues the story of Donna (played older by Meryl Streep and younger by Lily James) who runs a hotel on the fictional Greek Island of Kalokairi with her daughter. Half of the sequel is a flashback to Donna’s younger years and documents how she meets her daughter’s three potential fathers.
Mamma Mia! (2008), the first movie, used the Greek Islands of Skopelos and Skiathos as filming locations. But the sequel instead turned to Vis, one of the best islands to visit in Croatia, to stand in as Kalokairi. Don’t worry, it’s just as beautiful (if not more) than Greece so you won’t notice the difference!
9. Succession (2018 – )
While there are few Croatia movies filmed within the last five or so years, there are plenty of recent TV shows filmed in Croatia. Succession is another HBO show and it follows the Roy family. They are the ruthless owners of a media conglomerate all vying for control of the company due to the ill health of their Patriarch.
Succession is primarily set in New York City, but Croatia appears in the final two episodes (nine and 10) of season two when the family take a vacation. Most of the episodes take place on a superyacht in the waters outside Cavtat, on the Dubrovnik Riviera, and on the islands of Korcula, Mljet and Sipan.
10. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022)
Boy, Nicholas Cage has had an interesting career, eh? In The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, he plays a fictionalised version of himself who is down on his luck. He accepts $1 million to attend a wealthy fan’s birthday party, which is all well and good until the CIA recruit him for a special mission.
Director Tom Gormican shot this film in Los Angeles, Budapest, and Dubrovnik in Croatia. The majority of the movie takes place in Villa Sheherezade along the Dubrovnik Riviera. It’s a hotel so you can stay there in real life!
11. Conversations With Friends (2022)
Adapted from the hit Sally Rooney novel of the same name, Conversations With Friends is a BBC limited series mostly set in Dublin, Ireland. It focuses on a 21-year-old Trinity College student and her relationship with her former girlfriend-now-best friend and their friendship with an older couple.
Episodes four and five take place in Croatia when the students, Frances and Bobbi, join the older couple, Melissa and Nick, on holiday. They’re renting a beautiful holiday home named St George Court on the Croatian Island of Hvar. What could possibly go wrong?!
12. Clark (2022)
This is a more obscure entry on this list of Croatia movies and TV shows, but it’s fun and I love Bill Skarsgård (the main actor) so I had to include it. This Swedish-language, Netflix limited series is based on Clark Olofsson, the real-life mastermind behind the Norrmalmstorg bank robbery that gave birth to the term Stockholm Syndrome.
As you can imagine, most of the series takes place in Stockholm and most of the filming locations are in Sweden. But the crew also shot some scenes in Germany, Lithuania, and Croatia. The coastal towns of Rijeka, Opatija, Pula and the city of Zagreb all feature.
Other Croatia Movies & TV Shows: Sophie’s Choice (1982), Captain America (1990), White Lightenin’ (2009), The Odyssey (2016), Robin Hood (2018), Ibiza (2018), Bliss (2021), The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021), The Wheel of Time (2021 – ), The Weekend Away (2022)
And those are all the best Croatia movies and TV shows that you should watch before you visit Croatia! Are you visiting Croatia soon or do you have any films you would add to the list? Let me know in the comments below!