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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Let’s Start by Getting Ready for Crete!
RESOURCES TO BOOK YOUR TRIP:
Book your flight: I use Skyscanner to compare prices before booking a plane ticket.
Book your ferry: When ferries are more convenient than air travel, I use Ferryhopper.
Book your accommodation: I’ve tried many different platforms for accommodation, but none of them beats the advantages of Booking.com.
Book your car: The best way to find an affordable car to rent is to use a powerful search engine that compares all the rental companies in the market. I use Discover Cars.
Book your tours: Live unforgettable adventures and cultural experiences with Get Your Guide. For instance, you can Visit Elafonisi, discover Balos Beach, hike Samaria, or explore Knossos.
Don’t forget travel insurance: Things can go wrong at times, but travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. I recommend Safety Wing for peace of mind.
A quick guide to the best hotels in Crete
Budget: So Young Hostel in Heraklio, Cocoon City Hostel in Chania, Matthias Hotel Apartments in Rethymnon, and Villa Galini in Agios Nikolaos.
Mid-range: Capsis Astoria Heraklion in Heraklion, Porto Antico in Chania, Archipelagos Hotel in Rethymnon, or Hotel Port 7 in Agios Nikolaos.
Luxury: Galaxy Iraklio Hotel in Heraklion, Hotel OFF in Chania, Avli Lounge in Rethymnon, or Minos Beach Art Hotel in Agios Nikolaos.
Check more: Where to stay in 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.
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:
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 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
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, 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 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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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:
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
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?
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.
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?
Let me know in the comments below!
You might also want to read these articles about Crete:
- Explore the Fantastic Unspoiled Beaches in South Crete
- Amazing Things to Do in Agios Nikolaos, Crete
- Caves of Crete: Zeus Cave, Lasithi
- Trip to Spinalonga Island, Crete – Visit Guide
- Gavdos, Crete: The Only Guide to the Island you Need
Pin it Now! Pin This Article About All the Great Movies Set in Crete to Inspire Your Next Adventure!
About the author of this blog:
Gabi has been living in Crete for the last five years. On the island, she juggles being a solo mom, hosting culinary tours in summer, translating, and freelance writing.
She’s written for Greek Reporter, published several travel guides about Greece, and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person would be able to handle.
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