27 Best Movies About Greece (And Ancient Greece): A Big Fat List

The Two Faces of January (2014) Best Movies About Greece

Greek cinema began its journey around the same time as other European countries, at the turn of the 20th century. It continued to thrive into the 1950s and 1960s when Hollywood came knocking and wanted to make movies about Greece and movies filmed in Greece. Today, homegrown Greece movies and foreign productions continue to shine a spotlight on the history, culture, and psyche of this beautiful country.

And let’s not forget about one of the most popular sub-genres of Greek movies: movies about Ancient Greece. Not only films about Ancient Greece but Greek mythology and the Greek Gods too. Cinema fans are just as obsessed, if not more obsessed, with Spartans and Hercules as they are about fictional westerners giving everything up to live on an island in the Aegean Sea.

I’ve spent a disgusting amount of time crafting this list of the best movies in Greece. It includes incredible local Greek films, the best Greek mythology movies, the best Ancient Greece movies, and the best travel-inspiring films set in Greece. If these films don’t make you want to book the next flight to Athens or learn how to sword fight, I don’t know what will!

Best Greece Movies That Will Make You Want to Visit

1. The Guns of Navarone (1961)

English | 158m | 92% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on Amazon Prime

I wanted to start this list of Greece movies with Boy on a Dolphin (1957) with Sophia Loren. It was the first American movie ever shot in Greece, alas, it’s impossible to stream online. But The Guns of Navarone is also a good start! It’s a WWII drama starring Gregory Peck and David Niven about a small team of soldiers tasked with destroying German weapons on a fictional island called Navarone to save the locals.

Director J. Lee Thompson filmed The Guns of Navarone on the Maltese island of Gozo, the tiny Italian island of Tino, and the Greek island Rhodes. The Acropolis of Lindos, St. Nicolas Bay, and Rhodes Harbour are all Greek locations that appear in the film.

The Guns of Navarone (1961)
The Guns of Navarone | © 1961/2011 Silver Screen Collection

2. Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

English | 104m | 89% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch Free on YouTube

It received a lacklustre reception upon its release, but today Jason and the Argonauts is a confirmed classic. Special Effects legend Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion skeletons are iconic. Based on the myth of Jason and the Golden Fleece, the titular character sets out on a quest to find the mysterious piece of wool with his band of brothers (i.e. the Argonauts). He’s encouraged to do so by the evil Pelias who plans to thwart Jason’s mission for personal gain.

If you’re looking for good Greek mythology movies, it doesn’t get much better. But I’m sorry to say Jason and the Argonauts wasn’t filmed in Greece. Jason outwits a giant at the Natural Arch of Palinuro and the winged harpies attack the gang at the First Temple of Hera in Paestum. Both of these locations are south of Naples in Italy on the Tyrrhenian coastline.

Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
Jason and the Argonauts | © 1963 Columbia Pictures

3. Zorba The Greek (1964)

English, Greek | 142m | 79% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on Amazon Prime

Zorba the Greek is one of those movies based in Greece that shows you just how fun life can be. You know, if you’re able to let go of stiff social niceties and let loose on a sunny beach with a gorgeous woman. When English author Basil visits his father’s abandoned mine in Crete, he meets a buoyant local man named Zorba. He teaches Basil how to enjoy life regardless of circumstances.

Greek-Cypriot director Michael Cacoyannis filmed Zorba the Greek exactly where it’s set, in Crete. It’s one of the most beautiful Greek Islands and some of the filming locations that feature are the city of Chania, the village of Kokkino Chorio, and Stavros Beach.

Zorba the Greek (1964)
Zorba the Greek | © 1964 20th Century Studios

4. For Your Eyes Only (1981)

English | 127m | 69% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on Amazon Prime

It’s not the best James Bond film and it’s not the worst, but it is the only Bond movie filmed in Greece (so far)! In this instalment, everyone’s favourite dapper spy (Roger Moore) has to track down a communications device before the Russians get a hold of it. When it ends up on a sinking ship, he teams up with a wealthy leader of the Greek Resistance Movement to recover the device.

Bond visits a casino on the Greek island of Corfu and an abandoned mountaintop monastery called St Cyril’s in an unknown location. Well, we know the filming locations! Director John Glen filmed scenes in Corfu Harbour and the Holy Trinity Tzagaroli Monastery in Meteora

For Your Eyes Only (1981)
For Your Eyes Only | © 1981 United Artists

5. Clash of the Titans (1981)

English | 118m | 63% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on Amazon Prime

Clash of the Titans is one of the best movies about Greek mythology, especially when compared to the 2010 version. It’s not perfect but, like Jason and the Argonauts, it benefits from Ray Harryhausen’s practical special effects before CGI took over. Laurence Olivier plays Zeus, whose son Perseus wishes to marry Princess Andromeda. In order to rescue her and fulfil his desire, he must defeat Calibos and the other evil monsters who stand in his way.

Unfortunately, not one of the Clash of the Titans filming locations is in Greece. Director Desmond Davis filmed in Spain, England, Malta, and Italy. But it’s still one of the top Greek mythology movies, and they aren’t normally set on earth, anyway!

Clash of the Titans (1981) Ancient Greece Movies
Clash of the Titans | © 1981 United Artists

6. Eleni (1985)

English | 114m | 86% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch Free on YouTube

Are you ready to learn some modern Greek history? Eleni follows the story of a woman who arranges for her children to travel to America to flee the Greek Civil War in 1948. After she succeeds, the communists occupying her village execute her. Decades later, her son Nick (John Malkovich) returns to work in Greece. Reminded of his childhood, he decides to take revenge on his mother’s killers.

It’s partly set in a mountain town called Lia on the Greek mainland but the director used a set in Spain to stand in for the village. Unfortunately, it’s not clear how much of Eleni he did film in Greece.

Eleni (1985) One of the Best Movies About Greece
Eleni | © 1985 Warner Bros. Pictures

7. High Season (1987)

English | 94m | 67% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on Amazon Prime

High Season is one of the more obscure movies that take place in Greece on this list, but I love the story. Katherine is an English photographer living in Lindos on the island of Rhodes with her daughter. But her quiet, idyllic life is soon invaded by her ex-husband, a dear friend with a secret, and two hapless tourists.

Director Clare Peploe did actually film High Season where it’s set, in Lindos. You’ll be able to spot Chapel Agios Pavlos (St Paul’s Orthodox Church) in one of the scenes with Kenneth Branagh playing one of the tourists.

High Season (1987) One of the Best Movies Filmed in Greece
High Season | © 1987 Curzon Film Distributors

8. The Big Blue (1988)

English, French, Italian | 168 | 62% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on Amazon Prime

Based on a true story but heavily fictionalised, The Big Blue follows the friendship and rivalry between Jacques Mayol and Enzo Maiorca. They were French and Italian free divers respectively. In the film, they grow up on the Greek Island of Amorgos in the 1960s.

Director Luc Besson set and shot the film in many locations around the world. These include Spain, France, U.S. Virgin Islands, Peru, France, the USA, and Greece. He filmed in Amorgos and you can spot the Panagia Hozoviotissa Monastery and Agia Anna Beach.

The Big Blue (1988)
The Big Blue | © 1988 Gaumont

9. Shirley Valentine (1989)

English | 108m | 71% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on Amazon Prime

I think the “underappreciated woman shakes up her life by flying to an exotic locale” movie narrative is one of my favourites. Shirley Valentine follows it down to the letter. When the titular Liverpudlian housewife’s friend wins a trip to Greece for two, Shirley tags along. The island, and a local tavern owner named Costas, help Shirley find a new lease on life.

They jet off to the Greek Island of Mykonos which is exactly where they filmed Shirley Valentine too (as well as England, of course). Mykonos is one of the most popular Greek islands for tourists, and for good reason. There are lots of amazing places to visit on Mykonos.

Shirley Valentine (1989)
Shirley Valentine | © 1989 Paramount Pictures

10. Hercules (1997)

English | 93m | 84% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on Disney+ | Watch on Amazon Prime

I’ve read lots of other articles on the best movies about Greece, and not one of them mentions Hercules. This seems like an outrageous oversight because it is definitely one of the best movies about the Greek Gods and Greek mythology ever.

Disney’s beloved animation follows the story of Hades, God of the Underworld, who kidnaps Hercules as a baby and forces him to live amongst mortals. As an adult, Hercules must perform several rites of passage on Earth to prove he is worthy to live with the gods on Mount Olympus. Obviously, there are no filming locations in Hercules, in Greece or otherwise. But it’s still a fun movie!

Hercules (1997) Ancient Greece Movies
Hercules | © 1997 Walt Disney Pictures

11. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001)

English, Greek, German, Italian | 129m | 28% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on Amazon Prime

Based on the modern classic novel by Louis de Bernières, Captain Correlli’s Mandolin is set on the Greek Island of Kefalonia during WWII. Nicholas Cage plays the titular Italian soldier who falls in love with the engaged daughter of a local doctor, played by Penelope Cruz. 

It’s not an amazing movie, but if you’re a fan of romantic war dramas then it’s perfect! Director John Madden filmed the movie where it is set, on the Ionian Island of Kefalonia, specifically the town of Sami. You can also spot the nearby Antisamos Beach in the movie. 

Captain Corelli's Mandonlin (2001)
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin | © 2001 Universal Pictures

12. The Bourne Identity (2002)

English | 119m | 84% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on Amazon Prime

Jason Bourne is quite the globe-trotter and he acquires a fair few stamps in his passport over the course of the franchise. In the first instalment, The Bourne Identity, Matt Damon plays the title character who wakes up on an Italian fishing boat with no memory of who he is or how he got there. But what he does realise is that he has a very particular set of skills (oh no wait, wrong movie!). 

Filming locations for this movie include Francethe Czech RepublicItaly, and Mykonos, Greece. Mykonos appears in the final scenes of The Bourne Identity when Bourne is searching for Marie in Little Venice and the Sea Satin Market next to the island’s iconic windmills.

The Bourne Identity (2002)
The Bourne Identity | © 2002 Universal Pictures

13. Troy (2004)

English | 163m | 53% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on Amazon Prime

Is it one of the best movies of all time? No, it is not. But is it one of the most popular Ancient Greece movies? It sure is! Troy is (very loosely) based on Homer’s Iliad which is about the Trojan War between the kingdoms of Sparta and Troy.

It has a star-studded cast, with Brad Pitt playing the lead role of Achilles. Troy was located in what is now Turkey, and Sparta was in the Peloponnese region of Greece. But director David Benioff didn’t use Greece for any filming locations in Troy, opting instead to build sets in Malta and Mexico

Troy (2004) Movies About Ancient Greece
Troy | © 2004 Warner Bros Ent.

14. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)

English | 119m | 77% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on Amazon Prime

As a kid, I absolutely adored all the Mary-Kate and Ashley, Amanda Bynes, and Lizzie McGuire travel movies that were super popular in the early noughties. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was one of those movies. It follows a group of four teenagers living in Maryland who find a magical pair of jeans that fits them all, despite the girls having different dress sizes. They have separate plans for the summer but they agree to share the pants as a way to stay connected.

One of the girls spends the summer in Santorini, Greece with her grandparents which is where director Kew Kwapis shot those scenes. Some featured locations include the village of Oia, Ammoudi Harbor, and various rock formations around the island. Canada and Mexico also feature as filming locations.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005) Greece Movies
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants | © 2005 Dungaree Productions LLC.

15. 300 (2006)

English | 117m | 61% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on Amazon Prime

Not to be confused with the 1962 film The 300 Spartans, this film is based on the comic book series of the same name. 300 is a fictionalised retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae fought in 480 BC between the Spartans and the Persians. Gerard Butler stars in 300 as the King of Sparta.

We already know former Sparta was located in modern-day Greece, but this is a highly stylised film. Director Zack Snyder shot most, if not all, of 300 at Icestorm Studios in Montreal, Canada. It’s not my cup of tea but so many people love this movie!

300 (2006) Best Ancient Greece Movies
300 | © 2006 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

16. Mamma Mia! (2008)

English | 109m | 55% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on Amazon Prime

Do you know what is my cup of tea? People singing and dancing on a gorgeous Grecian island and having the time of their lives! Meryl Streep stars in Mamma Mia! as Donna, a former singer-turned-hotelier and single mother living on the fictional Greek Island of Kalokairi. Her life is thrown into turmoil when her daughter invites the three men who potentially might be her father to her wedding. It’s an ABBA jukebox musical with a glittering all-star cast and an uplifting, enjoyable watch.

Director Phyllida Lloyd shot most of the film on-location on the Northern Sporades islands of Skopelos and Skiathos. You’ll recognise the Chapel of Agios Ioannis on Skopelos as the location for Sophie and Sky’s wedding.

Mamma Mia! (2008) Best Greece Movies
Mamma Mia! | © 2008 Universal Pictures

17. Dogtooth (2009)

Greek | 97m | 93% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on Amazon Prime

Yes, we’re only just getting to the first actual Greek-language film on this list of Greece movies. But it’s a great one. Dogtooth was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars the year of its release. It’s a physiological drama following a family who keeps their children shut away from the outside world until they are adults.

You may recognise the name of the director, Yorgos Lanthimos, as he’s now made a name for himself by directing several English-language films like The Favourite (2018). He set and shot this movie in Athens, Greece

Dogtooth (2009)
Dogtooth | © 2009 Kino International

18. My Life in Ruins (2009)

English, Greek | 95m | 10% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on Amazon Prime

Sometimes, if a movie is so wanderlust-inspiring and endearing, you don’t notice how bad it is. I hope that is the case with My Life in Ruins or Driving Aphrodite which was its name in some countries. It stars Nia Vardalos, of My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) fame, playing a tour guide in Greece. She feels like her life is going nowhere (ironic, for a tour guide) but as she leads a group of tourists around the country, she gains a new perspective.

Did you know that this was the first time the Greek government allowed an American film studio to shoot at the Acropolis in Athens?! It’s true! Director Donald Petrie also filmed in Olympia, Greece as well as several locations in Alicante, Spain.

My Life in Ruins (2009) Best Greece Movies
My Life in Ruins | © 2009 Fox Searchlight Pictures

19. The Inbetweeners Movie (2011)

English | 97m | 54% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch Free on All4 | Watch on Amazon Prime

Channel 4’s The Inbetweeners was a hugely successful comedy TV show in the UK so it’s unsurprising they made a film. The Inbetweeners Movie follows 18-year-old British boys as they venture on their first ever ‘lads holiday’ to Malia on the Greek Island of Crete. Lots of embarrassing moments, misadventures, and laughs ensue.

In a strange turn of events, director Ben Palmer didn’t shoot The Inbetweeners Movie in Greece. He turned to Magaluf on the Spanish Island of Majorca to provide the filming locations instead. Considering Magaluf is also an infamous party destination, why didn’t they just set the film there instead?! I fear we may never know.

The Inbetweeners Movie (2011)
The Inbetweeners Movie | © 2011 Wrekin Hill Entertainment

20. The Durrells (2016 – 2019)

English | 26 Episodes | 94% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch Free on ITV | Watch on Amazon Prime

I’m breaking my own rules by including a TV show on a list of movies about Greece. But it’s the only one and this TV show is worth the exception. The Durrells is based on a series of autobiographical books by Gerald Durrell. He was the youngest son of a family who moved to Corfu in Greece for four years in the late 1930s due to financial struggles.

It’s such a dreamy, wanderlust-inspiring show that will hit you right in the feels. Though some of the interior shots were filmed in Ealing Studios back in London, the exterior shots are authentic Corfu filming locations. Many of the locations are in the Kontokali part of Corfu, including the family’s idyllic villa which is now available to rent as Villa Posillipo!

The Durrells (2016 - 2019) Best TV Shows About Greece
The Durrells | © 2016 – 2019 ITV

21. Before Midnight (2013)

English, Greek, French | 109m | 98% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on Amazon Prime

This is the third instalment of a wonderful trilogy (my favourite film series) after Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004). All of the films follow the relationship of French woman Céline and American man Jesse over one day of their lives, nine years apart. In Before Midnight, it is the last night of their vacation in Greece and they are reminiscing about how different their lives would have been if they made different choices.

You’d be forgiven for assuming director Richard Linklater shot Before Midnight on a beautiful Greek island. But most of the locations are dotted around the coast of the Peloponnese region in Greece. Their friend’s villa is in Kardamyli and some of the other filming locations are in Pilos, including their hotel which is The Westin Resort.

Before Midnight (2013) One of the Best Movies About Greece
Before Midnight | © 2013 Song Pictures Classics

22. The Two Faces of January (2014)

English, Greek, Turkish | 97m | 80% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on Amazon Prime

Do you love The Talented Mr Ripley (1999)? Then you’ll probably love The Two Faces of January, another adaptation of a Patricia Highsmith novel. It’s set in 1962 and focuses on a con artist and his wife who need to get out of Greece ASAP. They’re forced to put their trust in a stranger, which may or may not work out well for them.

It starts in Athens before the action moves to Heraklion, the capital city of Crete, and then later Istanbul. All of these places feature as authentic locations in the movie, including Chania Harbour in Crete.

The Two Faces of January (2014) Best Movies About Greece
The Two Faces of January | © 2014 Studio Canal

23. Suntan (2016)

Greek, English | 104m | 73% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on Amazon Prime

Half of this movie is dreamy views of Grecian beaches and half is an unnerving thriller. Suntan is a Greek-language film which follows a middle-aged doctor who moves to the Greek resort island of Antiparos. When he treats a young tourist who is friendly to him at his clinic, he becomes infatuated with her which turns into an obsession.

Director Argyris Papadimitropoulos shot this film exactly where it is set, on the island of Antiparos. It is a hedonistic, party island during the summer which is exactly how it is portrayed in the film!

Suntan (2016) Best Greek Movies
Suntan | © 2016 Eureka Entertainment

24. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)

English | 104m | 79% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on Amazon Prime

If one ABBA jukebox musical set in Greece isn’t enough for you, there’s a sequel. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is half a continuation of life at the hotel and half a flashback to Donna’s youth and how she discovered the fictional island of Kalokairi in Greece.

Unlike the first movie, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again did not film in Greece. They turned to the island of Vis in Croatia to provide lush backdrops instead. Don’t worry, you’ll still feel inspired to pack up your life and move to Greece after you’ve finished watching!

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again | © 2018 Universal Pictures

25. Greed (2019)

English | 104m | 50% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on Amazon Prime

If you’ve ever wondered how the rich and famous enjoy a holiday on a Greek island, Greed can provide some insight. British actor Steve Coogan plays Richard McCreadie, a billionaire in a financial crisis with a tarnished reputation. In an attempt to salvage his image, he throws a lavish 60th birthday party on the Greek Island of Mykonos which he will document extensively online.

Michael Winterbottom shot the comedy primarily over three hotels on Mykonos. Two of the filming locations featured include Santa Marina Mykonos Hotel and Buddha Bar Beach in Santa Marina.

Greed (2019) Greece Movies
Greed | © 2019 Sony Pictures Classics

26. The Trip to Greece (2020)

English, Greek | 103m | 88% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on NowTV | Watch on Amazon Prime

Steve Coogan clearly adored Greece because he returned the next year to film the fourth instalment of his The Trip to… series with Rob Brydon. Following on from stints in the Lake District, Italy, and Spain, the two British comedic actors play highly fictionalised versions of themselves in this mockumentary. They visit restaurants, hotels, and landmarks around Greece from Troy to Ithaca, following in the footsteps of Odysseus. 

Their journey starts in Turkey and they visit the Temple of Athena at Assos, the island of Lesbos, Kavala, Stagira (the birthplace of Aristotle), Pinakates, Delphi, the island of Hydra and so many other places.

The Trip to Greece (2020)
The Trip to Greece | © 2020 IFC Films

27. Beckett (2021)

English | 108m | 47% Rotten Tomatoes | Watch on Netflix

Beckett is a Netflix Original film that, while it isn’t amazing, is a great political thriller movie set in Greece if you’re into that type of thing. It follows an American tourist who accidentally becomes embroiled in a political conspiracy while on vacation in Greece and has a target on his back. 

Most of Beckett is set (and filmed) in Athens where the titular character hoped to enjoy a nice city break with his girlfriend. Once the political unrest escalates, they escape and most of the filming locations from this point on are in Ioannina and Trikala.

Beckett (2021)
Beckett | © 2021 Netflix

Other Greece and Ancient Greece Movies: Boy on a Dolphin (1957), Never On Sunday (1960), Summer Holiday (1963), America America (1963), The Moon-Spinners (1964), The Trojan Women (1972), Escape to Athena (1979), Summer Lovers (1982), Rembetiko (1983), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life (2003), Alexander (2004), Opa! (2005), Immortals (2011), Miss Violence (2013), Little England (2013), Hercules (2014), Chevalier (2015)

And those are all the best Greece movies (and Ancient Greece movies) of all time (in my opinion)! Are you planning a trip to Greece? Or would you add any other films set in Greece to the list? 

Read next: 75+ Best Travel Movies To Inspire Your Wanderlust

Best Movies About Greece (And Ancient Greece) Of All Time | almostginger.com
© 1997 Walt Disney Pictures | © 2014 Studio Canal

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