10 Popular Movies Shot In Malta 

  • Apr 27, 2019

...step in the footsteps of the stars when you visit Malta!

Malta’s natural beauty, coupled with the stunning architecture brought to the islands shores by every invader through the ages, has resulted in many a Hollywood blockbuster finding the perfect film set on the islands. Add to that the near perfect weather all year round and you have every Director’s dream, so it’s no wonder these very popular films where shot here in Malta. And probably the most popular TV series ever… Game of Thrones. Read on to find out where you can step in the footsteps of the stars when you visit Malta.

1. Troy

Starring Brad Pitt, Troy released in 2003 was filmed at several locations across the island. Pitt, alongside his then wife, Jennifer Aniston and British co-stars Orlando Bloom and Sean Bean spent many months in Malta filming Troy. The famous azure water of the Blue Lagoon also plays a starring role and should be on any visitors must see list with or without Hollywood’s seal of approval. The blockbuster was also filmed at Fort Rinella, where an impressive set was built only to be then burned down, no spoilers here. Brad Pitt has been said to have loved the island so much during his time filming Troy that he bought his own probably not so little piece of Maltese heaven.

2. Simshar

Simshar is a Maltese film based on the story of a dramatic explosion that took place on a sailing vessel named Simshar in 2008, just off the eastern coast of the island. The film with a predominantly Maltese cast was the nation’s first ever entry for the Academy Awards as it was up for the Best Foreign Language film. The film is most definitely worthy of this accolade and we would strongly recommend checking it out and not just to see the stunning Maltese coastline on screen!

3. Midnight Express

The 1978 drama Midnight Express is set in a prison in Turkey though in reality it was filmed in Fort St. Elmo in the Maltese capital Valletta which proved to be the perfect location for a Turkish prison. The film which won multiple awards was also held in high regard by critics and the viewing public too as despite being released some 40 years ago Midnight Express grossed $35 million at the box office worldwide.

4. Gladiator

Ridley Scott’s masterpiece was released at the start of the millennium. Gladiator was truly a massive blockbuster. Bringing in nearly $35 million in just the opening weekend in the U.S. alone and was a winner of 11 awards, including an Oscar for Best Picture. The film starting Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix was shot on a variety of locations around the world. However, Malta was the location for the partial rebuilding of a replica of Rome’s majestic Colosseum. The replica was skilfully made from plaster and plywood and the amazing construction stood over 15 metres tall. The full Colosseum in the film was partly the structure that was built on set in Malta and partly computer generated. The film Gladiator was also the last film in which the great British actor Oliver Reed was seen on screen as he sadly died before the film had been finished. A pub aptly named “The Pub” in Valletta is dedicated to the actor as this is the place where he passed away after a reputedly very heavy drinking session. This quaint little bar attracts many a visitor to see the tributes that line the walls and the seat where Reed sat in to enjoy his last pint.

5. Popeye

This film was somewhat of a flop despite it starring the late, great Robin Williams. The entire film was shot in Malta on a filmset made from scratch named Sweethaven. The set was located on the outskirts of Mellieha where it still is to this day, perched on a cliff looking out onto the beautiful blue waters of the Mediterranean.

The set remains a popular attraction for many tourists as they can walk freely around the location, go inside the buildings, enjoy a drink and a bite to eat, sunbathe and go for a dip in the swimming pool, and even take a boat trip. Sweethaven is off the beaten track even for this small island but it has proven so popular with visitors that regular buses go straight to this old film set’s door.

6. Captain Phillips

This film is based on the real-life story of Captain Richard Phillips, played by the ever-popular Tom Hanks. The film tells the tale of Captain Phillips’s ship the Maersk Alabama which was hijacked in 2009 off the African coast by Somali pirates. The water off the island of Malta was seen as the perfect location for the nerve-racking hijacking scenes that were filmed aboard another working vessel that resembled the Alabama.

7. Game Of Thrones

With numerous seasons of the HBO series Game of Thrones it is time to look back at the early days when they were filmed in part on Malta. With the series proving to be popular around the world you will even find a Game of Thrones film tour on the island led by two of the actors who took part in season one. The tour will gain you access to sights as well as insights into the great world of Game of Thrones that you will not get otherwise, however, here are some top sites to get you started. The fortified city of Mdina, Malta’s former capital, will evoke many a familiar scene for GoT aficionados, particularly its medieval plaza including the courtyard outside Littlefinger’s brothel. Then we head to the small town of Rabat, which is worth exploring for a myriad of reasons, but if you are a GoT fan Saint Dominic’s Priory is the main draw as this was the set for the Red Keep’s courtyard. Gozo has only one GoT location but it is a truly iconic one – the Azure Window, which is a 30-metre rock formation surrounded by an out of this world honeycomb-like stone structure. This structure is punctured with small pools of stunning blue water. This Martian like location was used for Daenery and Drogo’s wedding scene, it is also where we are introduced to Jorah. Finally Valletta, which was used as a set for several King’s Landing scenes, with the 17th century Fort Ricasoli being used as the Red Keep.

8. By The Sea

By the Sea staring then husband and wife team, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, was filmed whilst on their honeymoon. The film is certainly an unusual one to be filming as newlyweds as it tells the story of a couple in a fragile marriage who travel to the South of France. Here they meet with a younger couple and through this relationship they have to come face to face with the fragility of their own relationship. With beautiful Malta, that Pitt fell in love with whilst filming Troy many years earlier, as the replacement backdrop for the South of France, the stunning location hopefully made up for the emotion of the work.

9. The Count Of Monte Cristo

Based on the classic novel of the same name by Alexandre Dumas this wonderful 2002 version starring Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce, Luis Guzmán and the film legend Richard Harris is a tremendous showcase for the beauty of Malta. From Comino Tower which is Château d’If (a French prison similar to the famous Alcatraz), to the capital Valletta which stands in for the city of Marseille, to Imdina which is a formidable stand in for Venice.

10. World War Z

Well to our final piece of work, World War Z, staring Brad Pitt again. This 2013 American apocalyptic zombie film which is based upon the popular book series, wasn’t exactly Critics choice when it was released. However, we feel that the high-octane zombie pile-up scene that was filmed cascading down the streets of Valletta means that it must make it in to this round up of popular movies filmed on the stunning natural sets of Malta and Gozo!