Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Date: 2001
Director: John Madden
Production Company: Universal Pictures, StudioCanal, Miramax Films

Stars: Nicolas Cage, Penelope Cruz, John Hurt, David Morrissey, Christian Bale, Irene Papas
Location(s): Cephalonia (Greece)



Mandolin-playing Italian captain occupies Greek island and falls in with a local girl during World War II. Events turn nasty when Italy surrenders to the Allies. Epic adaption of Louis de Bernières’ novel. SJ

Additional Information:

Curiously there is, to date, little on the internet on locations despite a huge upsurge, especially immediately after release, of FIT to Cephalonia. However since posting these, there may be more light on locations when I follow the director’s commentary on dvd and read a book by Steve Clark on its way to me now.


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The sleepy hillside village where Hurt and daughter Cruz live in Cephalonia.

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The set was built at the junction of the road leading from Sami to Antisamos and the track to Dihalia. This is looking inland south from the ruins. SJ

A procession up a path.

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Stumbled upon in rather a hair-raising drive from Agia Fanentes, a ruined church above Sami. This is the dirt road leading from the ruins to Janetata and Katapodata. It is the second hairpin bend from the top. SJ

After the procession up the zig zag path, the festival starts on top of the hill.

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This is opposite Agia Fanentes looking northeast towards Dihalia (behind that rise) and that's Ithaca in the background. SJ

Dancing with Bale and Cruz begins just above the track.

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Ithaca again on the horizon. This is an old threshing circle or alonia. SJ

  • 'Now' required

Hurt and Cruz's house, a set, just a little further north on the Dihalia path.

Cruz runs down to the shore to greet Bale's boat.

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Souvenir huniers or storms have done their worst with the jetty. All that's left of the specially built construction after 13 years. SJ

Bale bungs Cruz into the briny.

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This is Gorgota/Horgota/Chorgota Bay, a small bay in the northeast of the island. Is accessible down a paved windy road. Parking is very limited at the bottom. SJ

Back to the set at Dihalia.

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I wonder whether they took that pole down or "digitised" it out. SJ

Hurt and Cruz walk home, with the village set in the background.

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A little further along the Dihalia/Dixalia path. SJ

  • 'Now' required

The house, a set without a back, propped up by scaffolding on a hill.

Another shot.

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This is roughly where I think the house must have been. SJ

Cruz waves good bye to the Greek young men including Bale as they go off to fight at "Argostoli."

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Not the capital at all but Sami close by to Dihalia. This requires a great deal of imagination to squeeze in a set here ... In fact I'm right about the imagination as I'm in the wrong place! See below! SJ

As above.

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This is the correct shot. I was one open area to the east too much. The building on the left is the sea-fronting Kastro Hotel which was clad with set decoration. SJ

A view of "Argostoli" harbour.

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Note the hillside across Sami Bay. And also the Captain Corelli bar to the left. SJ

  • 'Now' required

Hurt and Cruz watch the Italians parachute in.

The Italians seek the surrender of the local dignitaries.

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This is the central square of Sami. Could the facades of the set fit here? The shadows of the then, if shot in the morning, would support this angle. Right angle, wrong open space, as explained above. The hotel Kastro's internet site shows the set from above which helped. SJ

Now this is shot in the afternoon as the Morrissey and the Germans arrive to accept the island's surrender.

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This now focusses on the navigation tower seen in the background of the then. Perhaps this statue was inspirational for the set built a little further to the west. SJ

The Italians pitch camp by the sea.

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This is Antisamos beach just to the south of Dikalia, easy to reach by car and, when I was there, with free sun beds, just for once! SJ

The opera-loving troops make themselves at home.

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There are now two beach bars, two car-parks and lots of beach paraphernalia there now. SJ

Cage is billeted to Hurt's house.

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Pretty good tree match here in Dikalia. SJ

Back at Horgota Bay.

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Again, the tree helps, and will do when the jetty has finally gone. SJ

Some ladies frolic for the Italian troops' amusement.

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Beach lovers frolic on famous Myrtos Beach in the northwest of Cephalonia. SJ

Cage conducts some opera extracts.

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The north end of Myrtos Beach. SJ

Morrissey and Cage begin to share courtesies and respect.

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Myrtos Beach car park and there is a beach bar just to the left.

Cruz looks on from above Myrtos beach with distaste.

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I think the then was taken from the Myrtos to Assos Road which was closed in most of 2014 so this shot from halfway up the drive from the beach will have to do. SJ

The mine scene was also filmed at Myrtos Beach.

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Now. SJ

A long shot of the mine sequence.

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A long shot of sunbathing. SJ

Cruz's fraternisation cause the suspicion of the locals.

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The struck set at Dikalia, roughly where the inn was. SJ

  • 'Now' required

Cruz visits Papas in Dikalia.

Stukka bombers make their presence felt as the Germans take over from the Italians.

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A view from Dikalia. SJ

  • 'Now' required

Sets are destroyed in the fighting.

Italian prisoners are lined up to be shot. This may be Paleo Vlakhata, Karavomylos, just to the west of Sami... Location confirmed by both Richard Ellis and Kevan Winch, who provides 38°15'16"N 20°36'08"E for Old Vlachata. SJ

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This was taken by Richard, proof positive, in August 2018; and there are more by him and indeed Kevan (who also sent in photos of old Vlachata: there seem to be multiple spellings) at much the same time from 37 onwards. (SJ)

Another view of the set.

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Dikalia again. That may be the same wall at the bottom right. SJ

Back to the dancing.

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The same threshing circle as seen at the start. Close to Agia Fanentes. SJ ... For a better angled shot, see 48.

  • 'Now' required

A tender moment between Cage and Cruz after the 1953 earthquake. Sia Monastery.

The same hairpin bend coming down from the monastery ruins and threshing circle... or, after 4 years, is it?

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Now, but there are doubts, read on. SJ

Cruz steps into the camera frame.

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And this is Richard's which made me doubt my effort in the previous shot. (SJ)

A repeat of the above.

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But fortunately I must have had doubts back in 2014 as I snapped this back then to mirror Richard's shot. SJ

Back to the beginning of the film: this comes just before capture 1 as Hurt makes his way down the hill to reveal the set.

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Richard's now. (SJ)

A request to billet Cage at Hurt's house, before capture 20 chronologically.

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Richard's now. (SJ)

Cruz watches some air action, just before capture 30, and about to be joined by Hurt.

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Richard's nicely framed shot with "Cruz" in situ. (SJ)

Hurt watches Cruz rush off.

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That rock really helps. Richard again. (SJ)

The Italians, having surrendered to the Germans, are escorted to a quiet location.

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Taken by Kevan on the 25th September, on his third holiday, and third time lucky try in finding the location. (SJ)

Morrissey is horrified for what he has to do.

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I think that tree to the right matches. Taken by Kevan. (SJ)

The massacre.

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Another from Kevan. (SJ)

St Fanentas monastery area.

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Found by Richard. (SJ)

Years later and time for a reunion at Sia. Just before capture 35

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Ricahrd's now. (SJ)

And back to the threshing circle for more dancing. See also 34.

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And Richard's well angled now shot. (SJ)