Taking A Look At The Backdrops Malta Gave To Blockbuster Films

popeye's village

Malta over the last  30 – 40 years has been in a wide array of films, offering its stunning scenery and culture to the film industry. It comes as no surprise that Malta has also been selected to lend its environment to a number of movies thanks to its rich history and landmark buildings. With so much history both in terms of culture and the film industry, we take a look at the most iconic backdrops Malta has provided for some of the biggest films and productions. 

Popeye: Popeye Village, Mellieħa

Popeye: Popeye Village, Mellieħa

Perhaps one of the most iconic films to be shot on the island, Popeye, starring Robin Williams, had its own entire set on the island which served as the main setting for the film.

The set is still available to this day and is located in Anchor Bay Mellieħa where visitors can go and visit with family and friends. Be immersed in the brightly coloured buildings and small houses that once upon a time served as an actual community (for Popeye of course).

The area has been revamped to offer its services as an amusement park offering plenty of different sights and activities. The attraction offers cocktails, snacks, a cinema room – allowing you to sit back and take a trip down memory lane by watching a documentary of the filming process of Popeye, a splash pool, a bar and restaurant and a main square where welcoming shows take place. 

These are just some of what Popeye’s Village offers visitors and it is truly one not to miss out if you are visiting the island.

Assassin’s Creed: Valletta (and its many rooftops), Fort Ricasoli, Basilica of St Dominic

Valletta rooftop

Based on the wildly successful video game, with the same name, Assassin’s Creed was filmed at the famous Fort Ricasoli. Malta (and Fort Ricasoli specifically), was chosen as a scenic choice for the film due to its medieval look and feel which aims to transport the audience way back in time.

A large number of fighting/combat scenes were shot in Valletta too, to help bring the image of 15th Century Spain to life. The major fight scene in the film took place on the roof of the Basilica of St Dominic.

Whilst watching the film, try to see where the scenes were shot around Malta to help get an idea of the approximate locations of Valletta.

Troy: Fort Ricasoli, Ghajn Tuffieħa and Blue Lagoon (Comino)

ghajn tuffieha

Starring blockbuster actors Brad Pitt and Eric Bana, Troy was filmed at Malta’s Blue Lagoon and of course, Fort Ricasoli. The crystal blue waters add to the overall picture and cinematography of the film and transport you to an almost Carribbienaen island.

The city of Troy was built on Fort Ricasoli and the fighting scenes were shot at Ghajn Tuffieħa – a very popular beach loved by tourists and locals alike.

Gladiator: Fort Ricasoli

fort ricasoli

A very fitting time to include Gladiator as its sequel Gladiator 2 is currently being filmed in Malta. Of course, the famous Fort Ricasoli was used to replicate Ancient Rome and the fighting area.

Gladiator spent 19 weeks filming at Fort Ricasoli and obviously seemed to prove itself worthy enough as Gladiator 2 is making its comeback to once again, shoot in Malta.

By The Sea : Ta’ Frenc Restaurant, Sannat Parish Church, Victoria, Triq Tal-Kannal and Mġarr Ix-Xini

Mġarr ix-Xini

Brangelina (Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt) starred side-by-side in the romantic drama By The Sea. It was filmed in different locations in Gozo with a large amount being filmed in Mġarr ix-Xini.

The bay perfectly captures the romantic getaway feel as it is secluded and throughout the film, boasts a single mansion with all the privacy in the world.

Many spots around Gozo were used for the filming, either highlighting the crystal waters, mesmerising cliffs and cultural/religious buildings.

The Count of Monte Cristo (2002): Grand Harbour and Vittoriosa

View of Vittoriosa Harbor from Valetta

An impressive 80% of the production  of The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) was filmed in Malta and highlighted the beautiful Grand Harbour. The Harbour was used to replicate the French Marseilles Harbour.

Originally, the production was set to only last five days in Malta but the director loved it so much that they decided to extend their trip for five months.

Vittoriosa was also chosen to help bring the story and scenery to life.