Our island as a film location

When visitors come to Malta, they often remark that the island looks like a film set. Take the pretty alleys of Mdina for instance, or the grandeur of Valletta. With this in mind, it is no surprise that Malta has hosted hundreds of films in recent years, and has played a role in everything from BBC documentaries to blockbusters starring Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Tom Hanks, Orlando Bloom, Robin Williams, Michael Fassbender, Rachel Weisz, Oscar Isaac, Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix and more!

Here are just a few of the biggest movies filmed in Malta:

  • Midnight Express (1978)
  • Popeye (1980)
  • The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)
  • Troy (2004)
  • Munich (2005)
  • Captain Phillips (2013)
  • By The Sea (2015)
  • 13 Hours (2016)
  • Assassin’s Creed (2016)
Malta as a film location
Filming of World War Z. Photo by The Malta Film Commission

Here, local production manager Colin Azzopardi, who works overseas on projects such as the award-winning Game of Thrones, tells us why Malta is such a special film location.

Why is Malta such a popular film location?

The island has a lot to offer: natural locations, water tanks, experienced crew at reasonable rates, and good auxiliary services such as top hotels and travel companies. Plus, it is well-connected, locals speak English, the weather is good and there are great fiscal incentives.

Why does it make sense for Malta to welcome so many films each year?

There are two main reasons and the first is money. Films and TV shows generate a lot of money for the island; not just in relation to local crew wages, location fees, hotels and so on, but indirectly, with each crew member spending their own money too. Secondly, Malta gets great exposure from the industry. Every production brings hundreds of crew members from all over the world, each of whom will go away and talk about their time here. Bigger productions also generate a lot of interest in the international press, which also gives us great exposure.

Filming of Game of Thrones. Photo by the Malta Film Commission.

What do film crews look for when they’re staying here?

Flexibility, comfort and convenience. The film industry is actually very unstable and things change very quickly, so the more local businesses understand that, then the better it is. Foreign crews are looking for a home away from home while they’re here, and it’s vital that we give them that. When we do, they really appreciate it!

If you’re in Malta for a visit, then you may like to discover some of Malta’s film sites for yourself. Fort Ricasoli, in the south, is the base of the island’s film studios and a great place to head to for information. And if you’re in the mood for more culture, check out our list of 5 Historical Homes You Must Visit.