With it’s deep history, unique culture and fantastic architecture; Istanbul has always been a cinematic city. Fabulous atmosphere in the city has inspired many artists throughout the history and it continues to do so.
Since the earliest days of cinema, many great movies has been filmed in Istanbul. In this article we listed 10 great movies which are either set in Istanbul or some part of the movie is filmed in Istanbul. These movies will not only give you a couple of hours of entertainment but they will also take you on a journey through time.
1) Tintin and the Golden Fleece (1961)
Based on the comic book series “The Adventures of Tintin” written by Belgian writer-artist Hergé, Tintin and the Golden Fleece (Tintin et le Mystère de La Toison d’or) is a live-action movie first released in 1961. The movie was filmed in Turkey and Greece with the main characters of Tintin and Captain Haddock, who are searching for treasure after inheriting a worthless ship called the “Golden Fleece”.
The movie was the first live-action addaptation of The Adventures of Tintin series. We found a short but high quality video on YouTube which was compiled of the Istanbul scenes of the movie. Unfortunately, the video only has Turkish subtitles but watching the beautiful Istanbul from the perspective of 60 years back is priceless.
2) From Russia With Love (1963)
In this 1963 movie, Legendary MI6 agent 007, or James Bonds, visits Istanbul in search of a stolen encryption device.
The movie starring famous actor Sean Connery as James Bond was mostly filmed in Istanbul. Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and the Sirkeci railway station are some of the locations where the movie was filmed.
In this 1 hour and 55 minutes long of movie, beautiful Italian actress Daniela Bianchi accompanies agent 007 as Tatiana Romanova, a Soviet consulate clerk in Istanbul. Many 007 fans and cinema critics frequently considered “From Russia with Love” as the best movie of the James Bond film series.
3) Topkapi (1964)
The movie “Topkapi” is based on the British author Eric Ambler’s novel “The Light of Day” and it tells the story of a conman who gets mixed up with a group of international theft gang who plan to rob the Topkapı Museum in Istanbul to steal a jewelled dagger.
The movie was filmed in the summer of 1963 and released in 1964. You can watch the high quality video below to see the Istanbul scenes of the movie.The video features sceneries from Istanbul and an oil wrestling scene filmed in Edirne province of Turkey which is famous for it’s traditional oil wrestling tournament.
4) Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
Murder on the Orient Express is a movie which is based on the same name novel written by Agatha Christie. The movie tells a story which took place in the 1930s and depicts a murder occured on the famous Orient Express train which runs between the Istanbul-Paris route.
The film was commercially successfull and received good comments from the critics, as well as receiving six nominations at the 47th Academy Awards. Ingrid Bergman won her third Oscar for her performance in “Murder on the Orient Express”.
Another film adaptation of the story was released on 3 November 2017; featuring a cast of famous actors and actresses such as; Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penélope Cruz and Dame Judi Dench.
5) The World Is Not Enough (1999)
The second Jamed Bond movie in our list is “The World is Not Enough” starring famous actor Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. It’s the 19th movie in the James Bond series and 3rd one that is featuring Pierce Brosnan.
In this movie, which is filmed in France, Spain, Azerbaijan, UK and Turkey, James Bond is assigned to proctect the daughter of an oil tycoon while trying to uncover a nuclear plot. In the Istanbul scenes of the movie, Maiden’s Tower and Küçüksu Palace are shown.
6) The Accidental Spy (2001)
The Accidental Spy is a Jackie Chan movie released in 2001. The movie was filmed in Hong Kong, Seoul, Istanbul and Cappadocia. The movie tells the story of a salesman from Hong Kong who finds himself as an accidental spy, chasing a narcotic gang in the exotic locations of Turkey and Seoul.
7) Skyfall (2012)
Skyfall is the 3rd James Bond movie in our list. In this twenty-third movie of the James Bond series, agent 007 investigates an attack on MI6 which forces the agency to relocate. The filming of the movie took place in 2012. Istanbul, Adana and Fethiye provinces were the main filming locations where the scenes in Turkey filmed.
In Istanbul scenes; The Spice Bazaar, New Mosque, the Grand Post Office, Sultanahmet Square and the Grand Bazaar were shown. The movie also features the famous motobike chase scene across the rooftops of the Grand Bazaar, which was critized for allegedly damaging historic buildings while filming.
8) Taken II (2012)
Taken 2 is the second movie in the Taken triology. The movie follows the story of a retired CIA agent Bryan Mills who takes his family to a trip to Istanbul and kidnapped by the leader of a gang who seeks revenge for the death of his son.
Taken 2, starring Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace and Famke Janssen was filmed in late 2011 and early 2012. Istanbul scenes of the movie were filmed in November 2011.
9) Dil Dhadakne Do (2015)
Until now, our list was full of action and adventure movies which would make you think that Istanbul is full of action and adrenaline. Who knows, maybe because of the mysterious and sometimes chaotic atmosphere of Istanbul, many directors and producers have thought that Istanbul is the best spot to film their movies full of action. However, there also many other movies which are looking into Istanbul from a romantic perspective. Dil Dhadakne Do is one of them.
This Indian romantic comedy tells the story of the Mehra family, who invite their family and friends on a cruise trip to Mediterranean to celebrate the parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. The movie starring famous Indian actors and actresses such as; Anil Kapoor, Shefali Shah, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma and Farhan Akhtar. The movie also features voiceover performance of Amir Khan as the family dog Pluto who narrates the story.
Dil Dhadakne Do (which literally means “Let (your) Heart Beat” in Hindi) was filmed in several Mediterranean countries including Turkey, Greece, Italy, France and Spain. It was released on 2 May 2015. Turkey scenes of the movie were filmed in Antalya, Cappadocia and Istanbul.
10) Inferno (2016)
Inferno is an American thriller based on Dan Brown’s novel of same name and it’s the sequel to The Da Vinci Code (2006) and Angels & Demons (2009) movies.
In this movie, Harvard University professor Robert Langdon (portrayed by Tom Hanks) teams up with Dr. Sienna Brooks (portrayed by Felicity Jones) to prevent a massive biological attack, which would unleash a deadly virus and wipe out half of the world’s population. Hagia Sophia and the Basilica Cistern were the main filming locations of scenes filmed in Turkey.
We included notable mentions to our list. These movies also features scenes which were filmed in different parts of Istanbul. On your next Netflix and Chill sessions, don’t forget to watch one of these 14 movies if you alredy haven’t watched them yet. If you would like to add a new movie to our list, don’t be shy to comment below :))