Best Movies About Crete that you Need to Watch Before your Trip

One of the best ways to get a closer look to our next destination is by reading books or watching movies. Whether you’re actively planning your trip to Crete or you’re simply dreaming about the island, here is a list of interesting films that you can watch from home before your next Crete adventure. Grab some popcorn and enjoy!

BEST MOVIES ABOUT CRETE

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CRETE ESSENTIALS
Last-minute plans?

Check these top picks

Where to stay in Crete: For a boutique experience, Casa Delfino in Chania or Avli in Rethymnon (luxury). Mrs. and Mr. White (affordable luxury) is a gorgeous resort near Chania. Budget trip around the island? Check Archipelagos in Rethymnon or Sofia Hotel in Heraklion. Hostel type? No problem! The best options are So Young Hostel in Heraklion and Cocoon City Hostel in Chania.

Top-rated tours in Crete:
Boat Cruise to Balos Lagoon & Gramvousa from Kissamos Port (Bestselling tour from US$ 29.65).
Samaria Gorge Trek: Full-Day Excursion from Rethymno (Another best-seller, from US$ 36.73).
From Ierapetra: Boat Cruise to Chrissi Island (From US$ 27.25).
Day Trip to Elafonisi Island from Chania (From US$ 41).
Knossos Palace: Pre-Booked E-Ticket & Smartphone Audio Tour (Check Knossos at your own pace, from US$ 19.34).
Spinalonga Boat Trip from Elounda Port (From US$ 14.50).

Touring Crete by car? By far the best way to discover the island. I use both Discover Cars and Rentalcars.com to reach far off places where my old jalopy won’t take me.

Are you covered? For complete peace of mind, it’s always better to have travel insurance. Check quotes on World Nomads.

Three items you need in Crete: Don’t forget your daypack for beach days and excursions. Add a good map, the Lonely Planet Guide, or get a copy of my own guide to West Crete!

Need more info? Head to this page with my favorite resources or join my Facebook Group!

Best movies about Crete

Checking out movies filmed, set or simply about Crete is a great way to ignite your wanderlust. It’s also a good way to anticipate all the things you’ll see and experience on the island.

The beautiful locations, the interesting history, and the remarkable traits of the locals will definitely inspire you. You’ll learn more about the history of Crete, including the painful occupations endured by the locals. And, for that reason, some films will be helpful to understand what Cretans are today.

Watching some of these films you will enjoy magnificent beaches and forgotten villages. Those that you can set to explore on your own the day you visit Crete.

Best movies about famous Cretan characters

The following biographic movies tell the story of famous characters born on the island. The fantastic Cretan writer, Nikos Kazantzakis, and the Renaissance artist Domenicos Theotokopoulos, universally known as El Greco.

El Greco

(2007)

A fantastic biography about Domenicos Theotokopoulos, El Greco. The movie presents the life of this great artist of the sixteenth century, who sets off from his native island Crete, going first to Venice and then settling in Toledo, Spain.

El Greco features the life and uncompromising character of one of the greatest painters of the Renaissance  and his struggles against the Spanish Inquisition.

Check the official trailer:

Kazantzakis

(2017)

The film tells the fascinating story of the life, travels, and dreams of the great Cretan author r Nikos Kazantzakis. It’s a fascinating account of his existential search for religious and philosophic ideas. A quest that gained Kazantzakis detractors and persecutors who he face with dignity and always sticking to his own values.

The film is based on his autobiography, Report to Greco. If you’re interested in his life and works, do watch Zorba, the Greek (next in this list), based on one of his most acclaimed books.

Check the trailer:

Zorba the Greek 

(1964)

Although Zorba is a fictional character, it can rightfully be considered the perfect stereotype of any Cretan, with its unique view about life and friendship. This is the main reason to include this film among the movies portraying famous Cretan characters.

Although Zorba is a fictional character, it can rightfully be considered the perfect stereotype of any Cretan, with its unique view about life and friendship. This is the main reason to include this film among the movies portraying famous Cretan characters.

This Greek-American drama is based on the great Kazantzakis’ novel The Life And Times Of Alexis Zorba

While waiting for his boat to depart to Crete, Basil, a conformist writer meets Alexis Zorba, an enthusiastic peasant who persuades Basil to take him along. The film is about their friendship and misadventures on the island. A clear picture of the Cretan character and way of life. Some of the most famous scenes of the picture where shot in the fantastic Stavros Beach, not far from Chania.

Best war movies about Crete

Despite the over 400 years of Venetian domination and the 267 years of Turkish rule, the relatively short period of Nazi occupation of the island has been a great source of inspiration for film-makers when it comes to movies set in Crete.

The legendary Battle of Crete, also known as Operation Mercury, took place during World War II on the island.

On the morning of May 20th, 1941, the first mainly airborne invasion in history took place in the western region of Maleme, when over 20.000 German paratroopers invaded the island.

Greek and Allied forces, as well as civilians members of the Cretan Resistance defended the island with unique courage and fierce battle.

A battle bound to be remembered as the most tragic and bloody victory of the German troops.

These events inspired the following movies about the Battle of Crete.

The 11th Day: Crete 1941

(2005) 

This is a great documentary for those interested in the history of Crete during World War II. It’s an eyewitness account from survivors of the Battle of Crete. It features the invasion of the island by the elite German paratroopers in Maleme, not far from Chania, in West Crete.

The documentary is about the details of Operation Mercury and the role of the Cretan resistance which, together with British and Commonwealth soldiers, put a fierce resistance to Nazi Germany.

>> These are some best-selling and top-rated tours in Crete!

Ill Met by Moonlight

(1957)

The film is based on the book Ill Met by Moonlight: The Abduction of General Kreipe by W. Stanley Moss. And it’s an account of events during the author’s service on Crete during World War II during the Nazi occupation.

Most of all, the movie is about the legendary kidnapping of German commander of General Kriepe, by British officers. It also features the help of the local resistance during the operation and their trip to a secluded cove in south Crete.

Once there, they are picked up and General Kriepe is taken to Cairo, the Middle East headquarters of British forces.

In Which We Serve

(1942)

This British war film was produced during World War II. It is a patriotic and propaganda movie and with the governmental help of the British Ministry of Information.

The film is a perfect example of wartime British cinema, as well as a good historic account of national unity in the context of World War II. Worth watching if you’re a fan of history.

Max Schmeling

(2010) 

Not only related to the World War II and the played by Crete, this movie is an outstanding biography about boxing star Max Schmeling.

The film is mostly about his life and his lack of sympathy for the Nazi ideology. Several scenes present hist involvement in the Battle of Crete. As a matter of fact, Schmeling was instructed to enlist as a German paratrooper taking part in the invasion of the island.

The Naked Brigade

(1965)

Another war film, this time a Greek-American coproduction. The Naked Brigade tells the story of a British girl who becomes trapped on Crete during in World War II following the events of the Battle of Crete, in 1941.

The female leading character will eventually join the Cretan Resistance to fight agains the German occupation of the island.

Best movies about Greek mythology

The myth of the Minotaur and King Minos is intimately related to the island of Crete. According to the legend, Crete is also the place where the great god Zeus was born and raised. The legend of the Minotaur and the ruins of Knossos, in Heraklion, have inspired some of the following movies set in Crete.

Minotaur, the Wild Beast of Crete

(1960)

The film is based on the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. As the story goes, the dreadful creature lives inside the labyrinth on the island (Knossos royal palace).

Classic characters include King Minos, Queen Pasiphae and her daughter Phaedra and Ariadne who is rescued by Theseus. Great for those who are fans of Greek mythology.

Immortals

(2011)

A film loosely based on the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. It was a commercial success at the box office for its 3D features as well as criticised for the flat development of the characters.

Check the Minotaur:

My Son, the Hero

(1961)

My Son, the Hero is an Italian mythological comedy that tells the story of Cadmos, a king of Crete who gets rid of his wife to pursue the love of Ermione.

The film tells the episodes following the murder and the curse by a prophetess who foretells him that the day his infant daughter falls in love with a man will be the day he dies.

Sinbad and The Minotaur

(2011)

A perfect film for those who love fantasy movies. ,This Australian film features the hero of the Arabian Nights, Sinbad the Sailor and the Greek legend of the Minotaur.

Sinbad embarks on a journey to Crete in search of the treasure of King Minos, thought to be hidden in the Labyrinth.

Other films set on Crete

The Two Faces of January

(2014)

This intense thriller is based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1964 homonymous novel.

The Two Faces of January takes place both in Greece and Istanbul. It tells the story and misadventures of two American tourists in Europe. Key scenes of the movie take place in Chania and Heraklion.

Watch the trailer:

The Moon-Spinners

(1964)

This American mystery is the story of a young girl during a holiday in Elounda, Crete. There, she falls in love and is involved in mystery and intrigue in the Moon-Spinners Hotel.

It’s there that she meets a young Englishman who might be a jewellery thief… or not.

The Inbetweeners Movie

(2011)

If you’re looking for a film somewhat lighter in plot and spirits, go for The Inbetweeners Movie. Also released as Sex on the Beach in some countries, this is a comedy based in the sitcom The Inbetweeners.

In short, it accounts for the misadventures of a group of teenagers on holiday in Crete. The film takes place in the coastal village of Malia, near Heraklion. A trip to celebrate the end of school with typical cliché scenes, but overall quite funny.

>> Bookings through Airbnb have soared on Crete during the last years, and all indicate that the trend is here to stay. Check here the best Airbnbs in Crete.

Series set in Crete worth watching

Who Pays the Ferryman?

(1977)

Not a film but an 8-episode English television series. Who Pays the Ferryman? is about the local history and popular culture of the island

Who Pays the Ferryman? about a former British soldier who travels to Crete thirty years after the Battle of Crete. The character goes back to his days fighting against the German army. The title of the series refers to the ancient myth of Charon, the ferryman to the Hades.

To Nisi

(2010)

Another series worth entering this list is To Nisi, one of the most successful productions of the Greek television. To Nisi (The Island) is based on the best-selling English novel by Victoria Hislop, The Island.

The series portray the sad and tragic story of the Leper Colony of Spinalonga. The main characters, touched by the tragedy, live in the small village of Plaka right across the islet.

Check the English trailer here:

Are you ready to explore Crete? It can be the trip of your lifetime. Get in touch if you need extra help to plan your itinerary. Or check this guide if you’re touring West Crete. You’ll find detailed info about where to go, what to see, where to eat, and more!

Want more? Join my Private Facebook Group to connect with like-minded travelers who love Crete as much as you do!

Coming to Crete any time soon? These resources will help you organize the trip!

Start by reading these helpful tips to plan a trip to Crete, which covers details such as when it’s best to travel, what documents you need, or how to get a SIM card. Check family holidays in Crete if you travel with kids.

To visit Crete’s heavenly beaches, check my guide to the best beaches in Crete. Discover what region is best to stay or check what things you can do in Crete.

For updated information about the island, join my private group on Facebook, or get my West Crete Guide!

Finally, make sure you’ve got everything you for a hassle-free trip!

I never move around Crete without my Osprey backpack, a sturdy, light, roomy, and super comfortable travel partner I just love. To visit villages, sites, and museums instead, I carry this little crossbody bag.

When driving around, I pack my Crete Michelin map and my Nikon D7200. In Summer I also carry good sunscreen lotion, the sun on the island can be pretty aggressive.

Airfares to Crete can change from one airline to the other, make sure to compare prices with a powerful search engine. Planes are fast, but nothing like the romantic experience of traveling by sea in Greece. Direct Ferries has great ticket deals to reach Crete from Athens or to visit other Greek islands.

If I need to book accommodation, I personally use different search engines. Booking.com and Hotels.com are my go-to options.

Sometimes, the best way to get to know a place and make the most of your time on Crete is to join an organized tour. GetYourGuide has top-rated tours to save time and money. From cooking lessons to archaeological site tours, skip-the-line attractions, and even airport transfer!

Do you have everything you need? Then you just have to get ready to discover Crete, Greece’s most beautiful island!

If you want to read further about Crete check these posts

If you would like to learn everything about the practical aspects of planning a trip to Crete, you should also check what to pack for a road trip around Crete and this crazy useful guide to renting a car and driving on the island. This 3-week-in-Crete itinerary is super flexible and can be adapted for less (or even more) time on the island. However, you might already know that the island is quite big, and it’s not always easy to decide which region to visit or where to stay. I’ve written a post about the best regions to stay in Crete according to your interests and travel style, and it’s a must-read before your trip.

Once on the island, make sure you check some of the best archaeological sites in Crete as well as the stunning Balos Beach, on the western coast. Make some time to discover Crete’s beautiful monasteries and to taste the most delicious street food in Chania while exploring the Turkish district in the old town!

Have you watched any of these movies about Crete?
Let me know in the comments below!

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best movies about Crete
Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

About the Author

Hola! I’m Gabi. Welcome to The Tiny Book – Crete Travel Blog! I moved to Crete to explore the island all year round. I love taking pictures and driving on the mountain roads of Crete. I’m a beach freak and on this island I’ve found heaven on earth!

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