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Turkey, offering many different landscapes and historic monuments of various different ages, had always been a great spot for shooting movies. Turkey has a great cultural variety which helps to find a setting for any movie easily. A movie about ancient Rome, a spy thriller about Soviet – NATO clashes, a love story about Europe and the Middle East can be shot without moving the set more than a couple of miles. This is the reason why many Hollywood, European, Asian and Bollywood movie producers choose Turkey as a shooting ground.
The Two Faces of January (2014)
The Two Faces of January, the thriller starring Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, and Oscar Isaac, was adapted for the screen by Oscar-nominated Hossein Amini from Patricia Highsmith’s novel of the same name. The film tells a story between three people: a swindler, his wife, and a stranger. One of them is caught after the murder of a police officer.
From Russia With Love (1963)
“From Russia With Love”, shot in 1963, is the second film in the Bond film series. Sean Connery takes on the role of James Bond again, as he did in the first movie. Terrance Young, who also directed Doctor No, the first James Bond movie, is in the director’s chair. The British Secret Service assigns James Bond to take the Lektor encryption machine in the hands of the Russians and sends it to Istanbul. The real danger that awaits Bond is the trap set for him by his nemesis Spectre.
The Ottoman Lieutenant (2016)
Set during World War II, The Ottoman Lieutenant is about the love between an idealistic American nurse and a Turkish officer. Nurse Lillie meets Ottoman officer Jude, whom she met in Van, and goes first to Istanbul and then to Eastern Anatolia on a difficult journey that lasts for sixty days. For Lillie and everyone there, torn between two loves, the upcoming big war will make things more difficult. Set in the period just before the First World War, the Ottoman Officer was filmed in different parts of Turkey and in Prague.
Taken 2 (2012)
The sequel to Taken. In 2008, retired CIA agent Bryan Mills, who is struggling to save his daughter who was kidnapped in Paris, is kidnapped in Istanbul with his wife, by the son of someone he killed during this struggle in the second film. The chase on the roof that comes to mind when the Grand Bazaar and Hollywood movies are mentioned is not missing in Taken 2.
Charlie’s Angels (2019)
Charlie’s Angels, a new feature film adaptation of the popular 1976 TV series directed by Elizabeth Banks, tells the new story of talented agents working for the international security agency.
The characters, played by Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska, work for the mysterious Charles Townsend of the international security and investigation bureau. Now there are Angel teams, made up of the smartest, bravest, and best-trained women in the world, taking on the toughest missions around the planet, and each team has its own Bosley.
The Murder of the Orient Express (2017)
The movie was shot at the famous train station in Istanbul called Sirkeci Station. The same station is also the beginning point of the famous Agatha Christie novel with the same name. Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley are the leading actors in this blockbuster movie.
Inferno is another addition to the famous line books by author Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series. Monuments such as Hagia Sophia, Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque, and Underground Cistern can be seen in the movie.
The International (2009)
The film, in which an Interpol agent is dragged to the four corners of the world in pursuit of an international crime syndicate, is almost a beautification to the architectural wonders of the world. Istanbul, the Blue Mosque, and the Grand Bazaar are featured in the film, which sets the agenda with its shots of architectural masterpieces of many cities from New York to Berlin, from Istanbul to Milan.
Turkey hosted more than one Bond flick. Skyfall was one of them. I consider Skyfall as the movie which put the Bond franchise back on track. The movie features many different locations around Turkey such as Grand Bazaar, Fethiye, Mugla, and Adana.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
As a result of the events during the Cold War, a Russian KGB agent is thought to have infiltrated the British Secret Intelligence Service, and the head of the service is launching an operation to expose him.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a high-quality production. The movie also has scenes shot in Istanbul. The most crucial part of the movie, which has scenes in the Karaköy region of Istanbul, must be the place where Irina and the British agent fall in love with each other. This love story that started in Istanbul makes the movie even more attractive.
Ben Affleck’s great hit Argo used Istanbul and various spots in Turkey. This movie about and CIA agent trying to extract six embassy workers out of Iran is one of my favorite movies.
Gary Oldman, Colin Firth ve Tom Hardy had great performances in this cold war spy thriller. Areas of Karakoy, Istiklal Street, and Taksim Square can be seen in the movie.
The Empire of the Wolves (2005)
Two of my most loved French nationals worked together in this movie and this makes this movie one of my favorite movies. Famous French actor Jean Reno acts as the detective Paul Nerteaux investigating connections of the French mafia in Cappadocia, Turkey. This movie is based on a novel written by French author Christophe Grange.
The Water Diviner (2014)
Most of the scenes of Russell Crowe’s 2014 movie The Water Diviner, released in 2014, were shot in Turkey. The Water Diviner tells the story of a father who came to Anatolia in search of his three missing sons after the years of the Gallipoli war came to an end. Actors such as Olga Kurylenko, Yılmaz Erdoğan, Cem Yılmaz, and Jai Courtney accompany Russell Crowe, who also plays the leading role in the movie.
The Accidental Spy (2001)
I believe there should be no one who doesn’t like Jackie Chan. People around my age literally grew up watching his movies. In this movie, Jackie ends up in a Hamam (Turkish Bath) trying to fight on very slippery ground.
The World is not Enough (1999)
Another Bond movie in Istanbul. Places such as Dolmabahce Palace, Bosphorus, and Maiden Tower were featured in this movie. Fighting scenes taken in a nuclear submarine were shot in Turkey too.
The Secret of Stamboul
The Secret of Stamboul is one of the first international movies ever shot in Turkey. Valerie Hobson, James Mason, and Frank Vosper are the leading actors in this thriller about a British spy trying to stop a communist plot in Turkey.
Tintin and the Mystery of the Golden Fleece (1961)
Turkey was the main setting in this 1961 movie about the famous French comic character Tintin. Tintin and Captain Haddock try to understand why everyone is behind their seem to be old and useless ship.
Hire Tour Guide in Turkey for Visiting Movie Locations
I created a list of ”Famous Movies Shot in Turkey” for you. I hope you liked it and I hope one day you will have a chance to see all of the iconic landscapes featured in these movies. Contact me to hire a Turkish tour guide who can take you to all the important movie and TV show sets in Istanbul also around Turkey. See you soon, Hasan Gülday.