Best Movies About Crete To Watch Before Your Trip!

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One of the best ways to get a closer look at 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!

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Best movies set on Crete island, Greece

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Crete on the Big Screen: The Best Movies About Crete

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 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)

best movies about Crete

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)

best movies about Crete

The film tells the fascinating story of the life, travels, and dreams of the great Cretan author 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 stuck to his 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 of 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 were shot in the fantastic Stavros Beach, on the Akrotiri Peninsula not far from Chania.

Best War Movies About Crete

best 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 filmmakers 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 civilian 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) 

best movies about Crete

This is a great documentary for those interested in the history of Crete during World War II.

It’s an eyewitness account of 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.

Ill Met by Moonlight

(1957)

best movies about Crete

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 the German commander 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)

best movies about Crete

This British war film was produced during World War II. It is a patriotic and propaganda movie 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) 

best movies about Crete

Not only related to World War II and played by Crete, but this movie is also 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 his involvement in the Battle of Crete. Schmeling was instructed to enlist as a German paratrooper taking part in the invasion of the island.

The Naked Brigade

(1965)

best movies about Crete

Another war film, this time a Greek-American coproduction. The Naked Brigade tells the story of a British girl who becomes trapped in Crete during 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 against the German occupation of the island.

Best Movies About Greek Mythology

best movies about Crete

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)

best movies about Crete

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)

best movies about Crete

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 criticized for the flat development of the characters.

Check the Minotaur:

My Son, the Hero

(1961)

best movies about Crete

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)

best movies about Crete

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

In no particular order, these are some other great and inspiring films that portray the island…

The Two Faces of January

(2014)

best movies about Crete

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.

In fact, some scenes were filmed in one of my favorite restaurants in Chania Old Town, Adespoto!

Watch the trailer:

The Moon-Spinners

(1964)

best movies about Crete

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 at the Moon-Spinners Hotel.

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

The Inbetweeners Movie

(2011)

best movies about Crete

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 on 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.

Series Set in Crete Worth Watching

Are you a series fan? Check these two series set in Crete.

Who Pays the Ferryman?

(1977)

best movies about Crete

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 Hades.

To Nisi

(2010)

best movies about Crete

Another series worth entering this list is To Nisi, one of the most successful productions of Greek television.

To Nisi (The Island) is based on the best-selling English novel by Victoria Hislop, The Island.

The series portrays 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:

Have you watched any of these movies about Crete?

Read more about Crete

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More resources to enhance your Crete adventure

Start by checking out my ultimate guide to planning your trip to Crete, packed with helpful essential information. Explore the articles on prices in Crete, common mistakes to avoid, and insider secrets for an unforgettable experience.

When it’s time to plan, explore the best places to visit on Crete Island, discover my tours and activities, and be amazed at Crete’s incredible beaches. If you are exploring specific areas like Heraklion, Rethymnon, Lasithi, and Chania, I’ve got detailed guides to help you make the most of your time.

Suggested accommodation in Crete

No time to read all my accommodation guides? Check out these places to stay:

More useful travel resources

  • Check out all the digital travel guides I’ve specifically written about Crete. They are affordable and practical to check from your mobile.
  • Find convenient ferry tickets with Ferryhopper.
  • Welcome Pickups offers a convenient pre-paid airport transfer service, while Discover Cars is my favorite engine for finding a rental car on the island.
  • To book adventures, tours, and cultural experiences, I recommend Get Your Guide for its flexible cancellation policy.

Pin it Now! Pin This Article About All the Great Movies Set in Crete to Inspire Your Next Adventure!

Best movies set on Crete island, Greece


About me:

Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

Gabi Ancarola

I have lived in Chania, Crete, since 2016. As a local, I have an intimate knowledge of the Crete. I host culinary and concierge tours and experiences in Crete and write about the island for several travel media. During the last five years, I have helped many travelers plan the perfect holiday in Crete. I co-authored DK Eyewitness Top 10 Crete and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person could ever handle.

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