time to explore with esplora
Malta’s famous filming locations
Malta’s famous filming locations
The Maltese Islands have long been – for 92 years, in fact – a top destination for international film productions. During this long and fruitful history, the country has plated host to some of the most high-profile productions to shoot out of several countries.
Our local skilful crew, excellent talent and unique sites make the islands a prime location so we thought it fit to focus on some of the country’s best filming locations.
The Malta Film Studios
It seems obvious that the Malta Film Studios would be included in this list, but many are unaware of exactly what the studios consist of and how impressive and unique they are, even from an international perspective. Celebrating almost 55 years of operation, the studios are one of the largest production facilities in the world and having serviced more than 200 feature films, TV movies, commercials and documentaries, the facilities’ track record are second to none. Up on the top of the studios’ list of cool facilities, is the special effects water tank, which boasts an indoor tank and two large exterior ones, situated along the coast. The studio also has a vast range of water SFX equipment, and expert crew to operate it, making the studio renowned for water-based filming activities.
The historical, fortified city of Mdina, which is also known as the Silent City, has been recognised by many a local and foreign director, for being an ideal filming location. The likes of the Count of Monte Cristo (2002), Revelation (2001), Game of Thrones (2011-2019) all used the city in their productions. The latter, in fact, shows Catelyn Stark riding through Mdina’s moated egress, and deeper in the silent city, Mesquita Square doubled up as Littlefinger’s House of Pleasures.
Measuring just 3.5 square kilometres in area, the island of Comino has served as the backdrop for many a top production, including Troy (2004) and The Count of Monte Cristo (2002). The former, which starred Brad Pitt and Eric Bana, was filmed primarily on the Maltese Islands, and many scenes were filmed on Comino. Pitt, who played the feeble-heeled Achilles, wades in the luminous waters of the Blue Lagoon, alongside his sea nymph mother Thetis. Perched on Comino’s highest peak is the Santa Marija watchtower, which appeared as the French prison fortress of Chateau f’If in The Count of Monte Cristo.
The capital city of Malta, Valletta, has also been featured in many a production, including Midnight Express (1978), where the main characters can be seen walking through the city streets, as well as the building that hosts the Suq tal-Belt. Scenes of Spielberg’s Munich (2005) were also filmed in Valletta, with the main road, Republic Street, acting as a stand-in for the capital of Greece, Athens. The 2013 movie, World War Z, was also filmed in Valletta, as Fort St Elmo was used as a stand-in for the city of Jerusalem.
Within the southern village of Kalkara, one will find Fort Ricasoli, a bastioned fort that was built by the Order of St John between 1670 and 1698. Many films and TV series have used the fort as a backdrop, due to its location and stunning appearance. The adventure packed Assassin’s Creed was filmed there in 2016, as was famous Gladiator (2000), which was filmed in all its entirety at Fort Ricasoli. Scenes from Troy (2004) also featured the fort, as its gateway served as the entrance into the Trojan city.
Malta’s sister island of Gozo has also received a great deal of interest from the filming industry. Famously, the iconic Azure Window in Dwejra served as the backdrop to Kahl Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen’s wedding in the opening of hit series Game of Thrones in 2011. The island also featured in By The Sea (2015), starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. The movie was filmed in the picturesque Mġarr ix-Xini Bay, which doubled up as the couple’s hotel in the south of France, as well as Victoria, Gozo and included the Sannat Parish Church, too.
There are many other locations that have been featured in a myriad of productions, and we are just scratching the surface. The Malta Film Commission was set up in 2000, with the dual aim of supporting the local filmmaking community, while at the same time strengthening the film servicing sector. Over the years, the Maltese Islands have served as the sets for many a successful production and we cannot wait for more.