Visiting Malta gives you the unique opportunity to be in the same place where some of the biggest movie blockbusters and legendary TV series were shot. The small Mediterranean archipelago is renowned for its gorgeous natural landscapes and imposing architecture that save film production companies the hassle of building new sets.
If you want to walk on the same streets as your favourite actors or movie characters did, you can use this guide to the most visited movie locations in Malta that filming companies, such as Motion Blur, frequently use. Here are the most famous movies and TV series filmed in Malta!
Game of Thrones (2011 – 2019)
Filming Game of Thrones in Malta contributed to the series’ worldwide popularity and unanimous appraisal. The film production studios knew that one of the biggest sensations in the history of TV series needed to impress from its very first season. Their decision to shoot in the Maltese islands proved to be a major success.
Some of the easiest recognizable Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta include the ancient city of Mdina, St Dominic’s Convent in Rabat, and the Mhtaleb cliffs. The impressive architecture of Verdala Palace, Buskett Gardens, Fort Manoel, and the San Anton Palace and its Gardens offered the ideal settings for crucial scenes that take place in the series’ medieval-like world.
Unfortunately, the well-known location where Khal Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen tie the knot in season 1 of Game of Thrones no longer exists. The Azure Window in Gozo collapsed in 2017, and it has lost its touristic appeal. Even the Malta film commission has received fewer requests for shooting permits for it ever since.
Back in the 1980s when computer technology did not allow for green screen reproductions of real-world landscapes film companies had to build their sets from scratch. The production of Popeye, starring Robin Williams in Anchor Bay, Malta is a good example of what a video agency had to go through 40 years ago.
Nowadays, you can visit a fun amusement park built on the former set of the movie in Triq Tal-Prajjet, Mellieħa. Popeye Village with its vividly-colored houses that formed Sweethaven in the famous comedy flick makes for an entertaining day-trip for the whole family.
The epic movie starring Russell Crowe as a Roman general turned gladiator features iconic scenes that were filmed in Malta. The video production studio that was in charge of the film chose Fort Ricasoli in Kalkara and the old port of Vittoriosa as locations depicting ancient Rome. You can still visit these places today and marvel at their beauty that was included in an Oscar-winning blockbuster.
Filming Malta landscapes seems to be a key ingredient in movies that deal with ancient and medieval scenarios. The beautiful scenery of the Blue Lagoon in Comino and the Mellieħa beaches are just two examples that made it into the 2004 big budget production of Troy. The film starring Brad Pitt and Eric Bana also contains scenes shot in the imposing Fort Ricasoli whose limestone gateway serves as the impenetrable entrance of the ancient Trojan city.
You might remember this action-packed flick from Steven Spielberg that places its action all over 1970s’ Europe. In reality, apart from a few scenes shot in New York and Tel Aviv, almost 90% of the movie was shot in Malta where video services come at a cheaper price and with significant filming advantages.
In this film, the Republic Square in Valletta stands in for Athens, a hotel in Buggiba is the location of the infamous Olympic Hotel in Munich, and other iconic locations in Rabat and Valletta stand for Rome. You can see most of them during a peaceful stroll through Malta’s capital. This way, you can see the hassle that a film production house goes through to make a setting believable for movie audiences.
Captain Phillips (2013)
Malta is a tiny country, but its ancient harbors offer the perfect locations for video production services to set up their stories. Many of them choose to shoot their sea adventures, battles and thrillers making the islands top-list choices for every kind of movie taking place at sea.
A good example of Malta’s perfect setting for sea epics is Captain Phillips, which was nominated for six Oscars in 2013. The movie’s director Paul Greengrass chose the Grand Harbor in Senglea and the Freeport Terminals in Birżebbuġa and Marsaxlokk as defining locations for the thriller that is based on actual events.
World War Z (2013)
This zombie apocalypse starring Brad Pitt has multiple scenes showing the city of Jerusalem being attacked by hordes of the undead. The images are epic and frightening, but a closer look will reveal that the City of Peace is, in fact, Valletta, the capital of Malta.
As it stands, filming in the Fort St. Elmo is much cheaper and safer than in Israel. The production company of World War Z chose the remarkable military structure built by the Order of St. John to film exteriors resembling Jerusalem buildings.
By the Sea (2015)
Brad Pitt should know Malta by heart by now, considering that he returns here every couple of years to shoot another movie. This time, his former wife Angelina Jolie brought him for the 2015 drama By the Sea, which was filmed almost entirely on Gozo. While the film did not score big at the box office, it helped Malta’s second-largest island to benefit from video marketing and a significant rise in tourism.
Assassin’s Creed (2016)
This adventure flick starring Michael Fassbender is a movie adaptation of the famous video game series by the same name. Since the action takes place in medieval times, the video production company needed locations that would match that era’s architecture. They found them at Fort Ricasoli in Kalkara where a significant Malta movie studio has its headquarters.
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016)
Filming an action-packed thriller in a studio Malta does not have to include the most famous places on the island as this latest release from director Michael Bay proves it. This movie has many of its car chases, shootings and nail-biting scenes filmed on the streets of Attard and Mosta where videographers created jaw-dropping special effects.
Midnight Express (1978)
This movie directed by Alan Parker won Oliver Stone his first Oscar for script writing. Although the famous cineaste placed the film’s action in Turkey, most of its scenes are filmed in Malta. It seemed that the video production agency even slipped a few Maltese lines into the script and passed them for Turkish to bring homage to the small Mediterranean island.
The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)
This film adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ famous novel stars Jim Caviezel and Guy Pierce in a thrilling adventure directed by Kevin Reynolds. While the action takes place in France and Italy, most of the scenes have the stamp of video production Malta on them.
If you watch this movie after traveling to Malta, you will recognize landmarks from Valletta in the movie events that supposedly happen in Marseille. The same thing goes for the Comino Tower, which in the film is Château d’If, and for Mdina, which a skilled videographer made it pass for Venice.
Queen of the South (2016–)
This TV series starring Alice Braga delves into the dark world of drug trafficking and the reckless lives that people in this business have to endure. While most of the action of the series takes place in the U.S. and Mexico, some of its scenes have been filmed in Malta.
For a few episodes in the 3rd season, the entire crew spent a whole week shooting action scenes in Fort St. Elmo. The imposing structure hosts numerous filming projects that range from small music video production to big-budgeted Hollywood blockbusters.
Clash of the Titans (1981)
The Azure Window of Gozo crashed into the sea in 2017. Fortunately, the magnificent structure lived long enough to be captured in memorable movies like the Clash of the Titans. This 1981 video production may seem a bit outdated today due to its plastic special effects, but at the time of its release, it was a remarkable example of audacious film making.
Inspired by true events, this Oscar-nominated film tells the story of legendary explorer Thor Heyerdahl who attempted crossing the Pacific on a small raft in 1947 to prove that Polynesia was colonized by South Americans many millennia ago.
Almost the entire film takes place at sea. The video company behind this courageous movie depiction of the Norwegian explorer scouted for the best maritime scenery. Needless to say, the neon-blue waters surrounding Malta made it into the movie.
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
This James Bond movie starring Roger Moore as the popular 007 agents had many of its scenes shot in and around Malta. Just off the Maltese shores takes place one of the most famous scenes of the franchise where Bond’s car proves its amphibian qualities by cruising underwater.
At the time, filmmakers would engage in training video production without benefiting from today’s quick-fix computer technology. They would have to film all their scenes without present-day special effects even if they contained breathtaking, underwater car chases.