5 Locations on Maltese Islands from Famous TV Series and Films
Hollywood has long known the Maltese Islands as hidden gems in the Mediterranean, but for those not involved in the filming industry the mention of the tiny islands might not immediately prompt images of epic blockbusters. However, the 90 year strong film industry in the Maltese Islands has indeed contributed to the successful production of classics such as Gladiator, Troy, The Count of Monte Cristo and Midnight Express. Even the first season of everyone’s current obsession – Game of Thrones – was filmed on location in Malta and Gozo! On 25 and 26 September 2015, the Malta National Philharmonic Orchestra shall be playing movie soundtracks from the famous films shot on the Maltese Islands in the last 90 years. In order to commemorate this memorable event, here is a list of 5 stunning real-life film locations you absolutely must visit on the Maltese Islands!
Popeye Village, Mellieħa, Malta
Popeye Village is located in the beautiful Anchor Bay near Mellieħa in Malta. It was originally the actual live set of the 1980 musical film Popeye produced by Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Productions and starring Robin Williams in his first feature film debut. Nowadays, the film set is used as an entertainment park with a museum and actors playing the parts of the Popeye cast.
Azure Window, Dwejra Bay, Gozo
You might recognise this one from the first season of Game of Thrones. Azure Window in Dwejra Bay, Gozo is a rock formation that was used for the scene of Daenerys’ wedding in the HBO hit TV Series Game of Thrones. The natural wonder has appeared in many famous films and has recently been crowned as the most Instagrammed sightseeing spot in the Maltese archipelago.
The Grand Harbour, Malta
The Grand Harbour is one of the oldest natural harbours in the world with remains dating back to prehistoric times. Fort Ricasoli is the most popular fortification in the harbour and has been used for many famous scenes which you may recognise from Gladiator, Julius Caesar and Troy! In 2012, Norwegian blockbuster Kon-Tiki was nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. The film, which is the true story of Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl crossing the Pacific Ocean on a wood raft, was mainly shot in Malta, and the historic scene of Heyerdahl’s raft first setting off on its adventure was filmed in the Grand Harbour. This was the fifth film in Norwegian cinematic history to have been nominated for an Oscar. The only Norwegian film to have ever won an Academy Award was Heyerdahl’s original documentary of his Kon-Tiki expedition, which won the 1951 Oscar for Best Documentary.
The Blue Lagoon is another highly photographed location in the Maltese Islands. It is situated in the island of Comino and its crystal clear waters have been used as a backdrop for many famous films including Troy, starring Brad Pitt as Greek mythological hero Achilles. Although crowded in the summer months it is definitely worth a visit because the bay is even more beautiful in person. Also, Brad Pitt has swum there. Need I say more?
Mdina was the first capital city of Malta before Valletta was built in the 16th century. St Paul’s Cathedral marks the centre of the city and has been used for films such as the Count of Monte Cristo. However, a walk around the grand bastions and medieval streets makes you wonder how many epic scenes have actually taken place in Mdina even before the movies! The fortifications surrounding the city and its streets are perfect for bringing to life tales of times gone by.
N.B. This post is in no way affiliated with the Malta Film Commission.