Malta : “The Mediterranean’s Hollywood”

Malta, an archipelago situated at the heart of the Mediterranean, between Sicily and the African continent, was home to Hollywood actors and actresses like Robin Williams, Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie. Known for its turquoise waters and historicals fortresses, Malta has been a setting for many international films and TV shows. That is how Malta and its islands, Gozo and Comino, earned the nickname “The Mediterranean’s Hollywood”. 

Unknowingly, you have already seen this small island located between Sicily in the North and Libya in the South, named “Malta” — or Honey in ancient Greek. Since 1925 with the English movie Les Fils de la Mer, the Maltese islands has become a must film location for more than 200 films and TV shows. From author’s films to big Hollywood productions, this country offers rich and varied sceneries to a great diversity of movies. Many of the directors and producers are charmed by this island, which they adapt — for the time of a shoot — to a theatrical place for big cinematic stories. 

Discover the places which were home to these emblematic productions. 

Mdina, a baroque city and Malta’s former capital, lent its exceptional heritage as well as its historicals alleys and ramparts to the TV show Games of Thrones. Thus, during the first season of the show, the Mesquita square has been transformed into a battleground for Ned Stark and Jamie Lannister, and the city’s entry of King’s Landing is in reality Mdina’s entry. 

the Mesquita’s square 

Today, several mythical places created for the film industry became tourist spots. It is the case of Popeye Village in Anchor Bay, located in the North-West of the island. This place inherited its name from the title of Robert Altman’s musical Popeye, which was inspired by a comic of the same name and was written in 1929. Since the shooting of the musical, the traditional cottages, which had been refurbished for the movie, have been turned into an amusement park for young and old. 

With its cliffs and blue waters, Anchor Bay sets out a true paradise decor, which looks perfect for a walk by the sea. 

A historical city, Kalkara offers a gorgeous view on its fortifications [ where the knights of the Order of Saint John remained at the time ]. Thanks to its  stronghold’s decor and its remparts bordering the Mediterranean Sea, it was chosen by director Wolfgang Peterson for the adventure movie Troie, which came out on the big screen in 2004, and in which Achille, interpreted by Brad Pitt, takes up its quarters in the Fort Ricasoli. 

Fort Ricasoli (Kalkara, Malta) seen from Valletta © Sudika

However, it was not the first time that Brad Pitt was seen in Malta. In World War Z (2013), he plays the character of an ancient investigator of the United Nations, Gerry Lane. The modern city of Valletta was then the theatre of a zombie invasion for this american production. When watching this movie, it is easy to recognize the Triton Fountain, the Saint-Elmo Fort or even the Waterfront.

Eleven years later, it is Angelina Jolie’s turn, then director of film By the Sea, to settle on Malta’s little sister, the island of Gozo. Magnificent shots of Gozo, primarily the bay gorges of Mgarr Ix Xini are to be contemplated in this drama, whose purpose was to reenact the spirit of the French Riviera.      

Malta is such a gold mine for the film industry that it became an important part of the Maltese economy. Historical monuments, a turquoise sea, as well as an excellent climate provide directors with a panel of breathtaking sets, both modern or traditional. 

Don’t wait to watch your movies or series on TV to travel in your mind and discover these sets in real life ! 


Couverture : View of St Paul’s Cathedral in Mdina, Malta© Neale Clark / Robert Harding World Imagery / Corbis (DR)

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