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10 blockbuster films shot in Turkey

Turkey is a beautiful country that draws attention from international filmmakers due to its cultural and historical importance and its varied locations. From beautiful beaches to densely built cities and bazaars, Turkey offers a variety of locations not typically found within a single nation.  This is why many film makers have chosen Turkey to be the stage and back drop to their feature films.  In this article, we’ll look at ten of these films.

Taken 2 shot in Istanbul Turkey 2012Taken 2 starring Liam Neeson was 80% shot in Istanbul, Turkey. This city that Liam Neesons character Bryan tore apart has been known as a classic spy location.  In this action sequel from director Olivier Megaton and producer/co-writer Luc-Besson, the action follows the life of Bryan Mills, a contract protection specialist and former government spook. 

While on a job in Turkey, Bryan entertains his ex-wife and daughter.  

Bryan Mill’s (Liam Neeson) family is targeted by a crime lord in Istanbul who is seeking retribution for the killing of his son by Bryan. Bryan must fight an army of killers to ensure their safe return. Kidnappers have gathered together for a mass funeral of the “victims” of Bryans previous encounter with the group.  Their leader, Merad (played by Rade Sherbedgia) proclaims to make Mills, who has brought them so much pain and misery, must pay. 

Mills invites his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) and their daughter Kim (Maggie Grace), to join him on a trip to Istanbul after their long awaited trip to China falls through. The family arrives and starts to settle in and take in the sites of Istanbul and that’s when Merad exacts his plan and his gang seizes Mills and Lenore. Now on her own and collaborating with her father via a secret cell phone, Kim is told to access her father’s secret weapons cache and embark on a feverish race through the foreign city in an attempt to rescue her parents from certain death. She manages to find and free her father and that’s when Mill’s puts to habit his “particular set of skills” as he attempts to rescue his ex-wife Lenore, and help his family escape Merad’s merciless attack.


Skyfall James Bond shot in Turkey in 2012Skyfall is the 23rd instalment of the James Bond characterised films. Directed by Sam Mendes, Skyfall is produced by Eon Productions and written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan. 

The story plot opens with James Bond (Daniel Craig in his 3rd performance as agent 007), along with Eve Moneypenny. investigating an attack on MI6 in Istanbul. They end up having to chase a mercenary named Patrice who has stolen a hard drive that contains classified information on undercover agents that have been placed in terrorist rings by NATO states. 

As Bond and Patrice fight atop a moving train in Istanbul Patrice wounds Bond’s shoulder. In the struggle Eve inadvertently shoots Bond and this allows Patrice to escape as Bond falls off the train into a river.  Bond goes missing and is presumed dead. In the aftermath M is pressured by MI6 to retire. When she returns to her office she finds a cryptic taunting message on her computer.


Moments later, the MI6 office explodes, killing many employees. MI6 is relocated to its underground emergency offices. Bond, who was enjoying life in Fethiye on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, had faked his death in order to finally retire, gets word of the attack and comes back to London to assist. M approves his return to the field.  Using the shrapnel taken from his shoulder, MI6 is able to find Patrice’s location in Shanghai where he is planning an assassination. Bond is tasked with the mission to identify who Patrice’s employer is, recover the stolen hard drive, and eliminate Patrice. The Fethiye parts of the movie were shot in Calis Beach area.


Argo was shot in Turkey instead of IranTurkey is substituted for Iran in Argo. The cast consists of Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Taylor Schilling, Victor Garber, Tate Donovan, Clea Duvall, Scoot McNairy and Rory Cochrane.  Argo was also directed by Affleck and is based on actual events.

On Nov. 4, 1979, Iranian rebels capture the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran, and take 66 American hostages. In the chaos of the raid, six Americans succeed in slipping away and attain refuge with the Canadian ambassador. 

Aware that it's just a matter of time before the refugees are discovered and put to death, the U.S. government calls on CIA “extractor” Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) to rescue them. Mendez hatches a plan to use a Hollywood film production as a cover to rescue the trapped Americans.  He enlists the help of Hollywood veterans John Goodman and Alan Arkin to create the illusion.  Mendez's plan is to impersonate a Hollywood producer surveying sites in Iran and guide the refugees in appearing as his "film" crew.

The International is a 2009 American action thriller film directed by Tom Tykwer.  The film used several Istanbul, Turkey locations during production. In one of the scenes, characters are seen running atop the famous Grand Bazaar. The film joins an Interpol agent and an American attorney who are investigating fraud within the IBBC, a fictitious merchant bank based in Luxembourg. Organized crime and immoral governments are apparent as a banker and as an arms dealer become the film’s nemesis. The bank's callous managers assassinate possible threats to cover their illicit activities, including employees who uncover pieces of the fraud.  It is up to the heroes to uncover and stop the fraud if they can stay alive long enough.

Accidental Spy with Jackie Chan in TurkeyAccidental Spy is a 2001 film starring Jackie Chan and directed by Teddy Chan. Istanbul and Cappadocia, Turkey were key locations. This action movie introduces Bei, played by Chan, a salesman at an exercise equipment retailer, who entertains dreams of big adventures. 

It all starts when on a normal day as Bei follows his impulses to pursue two questionable looking men into an alley. When he discovers that these men are robbing a jewel store, Bei springs into action to hinder their efforts.

Soon after, Bei meets Liu, a private investigator who persuades Bei that he may be the forgotten son of a rich Korean businessman. In no time, Bei is on his way to accomplishing his dreams of exploration and fortune travelling to Korea and Turkey.  Bei is stunned to discover that his parents are retired spies who lived the life that Bei always craved.

As Bei is lured further into the intrigue, he understands he has become the source to discovering a lung cancer virus that is killing many. With a collection of personalities opposing him along the way, Bei will either arise to his destiny or be destroyed by it.

Ghost Rider, Spirit of Vengeance is a 2012 American 3D supernatural superhero film based on the Marvel Comics antihero Ghost Rider. It is a sequel to the 2007 film Ghost Rider and features Nicolas Cage returning in his starring role as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider.  The film was directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, from a screenplay written by David S. Goyer, Scott Gimple and Seth Hoffman and many scenes were shot in Turkey. 

In Eastern Europe, a dark group guided by Ray Carrigan raids a stronghold secured by monks to capture the boy Danny. His mother Nadya saves him while the priest Moreau distracts the attackers.  Moreau pursues Johnny Blaze and offers to set him free of his Ghost Rider curse provided he defends Danny from Roarke, with whom Johnny made a deal years ago to save his father. In the meantime, Ray discovers Nadya and her son, but the Ghost Rider appears and battles against Ray's mob.  However, Ray uses a formidable weapon against the Ghost Rider and triumphs in abducting Danny and seriously injures Blaze. When Johnny Blaze awakes in the hospital, he joins with Nadya and Moreau to rescue Danny from Roarke and Ray. 


Indiana Jones and the last crusade Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Is a 1989 American fantasy-adventure filmed partially in Turkey and directed by Steven Spielberg, from a story co-written by Executive Producer George Lucas. It is the third chapter in the Indiana Jones legacy. 

Harrison Ford returns as Indiana’s role and Sean Connery plays Indiana's father Henry Jones, Sr. Other cast members include Alison Doody, Denholm Elliott, Julian Glover.  River Phoenix, and John Rhys-Davies also have featured roles. 

In the film, set largely in 1938, Indiana searches for his father, a Holy Grail scholar, who has been kidnapped by Nazis. In typical Jones fashion, a combination of wits and almost superhero-like skills are used by Jones to attempt his father’s rescue while uncovering much more sinister Nazi plans.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a 2007 fantasy filmed in Turkey, directed by David Yates and distributed by Warner Bros Pictures. It is based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. The film, which is the fifth instalment in the Harry Potter film series, was written by Michael Goldenberg and produced by David Heyman and David Barron. 

Harry Potter and the order of the Phoenix shot in TurkeyThe story follows Harry Potter's fifth year at Hogwarts Academy as the Ministry of Magic is in denial of Lord Voldemort's return. The Order of the Phoenix, a secret society established by Albus Dumbledore, warns Harry of the impending disaster. 

The Daily Prophet newspaper has also launched a slander promotion against Harry and Dumbledore due to Harry's alleged encounter with Voldemort at the end of the previous year. This encounter has had a huge psychological consequence on Harry as he now has nightmares about the darkness swirling around him. 

While at the Order's headquarters, 12 Grimmauld Place, Harry's godfather, Sirius Black, references that Voldemort is in pursuit of an object which he didn't possess during their last encounter.  Harry rejoins forces with his allies as he battles to protect all that he loves, to clear his name and to protect the naive from evil.

The Rebound is a 2009 American romantic comedy filmed partially in Istanbul, Turkey and directed by Bart Freundlich, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Justin Bartha. Sandy (Catherine Zeta-Jones), uncovers her husband's adultery while viewing her son's birthday video and decides to leave the suburbs and move into the city. She gets an apartment that's atop a coffee shop where she creates a friendship with one of the employees, Aram, a guy whose wife solely married him so she could acquire a green card. Aram's family believes he's squandering his life and education by working in the coffee shop. Shortly following her move into her new apartment, Sandy employs Aram to be her children’s caregiver while she takes on employment for the first time since her children were born. It isn't long before Aram and Sandy find that they get along perfectly and become romantically involved.  But, is it true love or just a rebound? 


Hitman 2007 movie was shot in Istanbul TurkeyHitman is a 2007 action directed by Xavier Gens and centered on the video game series of the same name. The film features Timothy Olyphant and Dougray Scott.  

The story revolves around Agent 47 a gun-for-hire expert "Hitman" who is a genetically-engineered, raised and trained elite assassin known only as Agent 47 and groomed by a group known only as “The Organization.”  

Agent 47 is being targeted by his handlers because he failed to kill Nina, an innocent woman his employers claimed had witnessed a previous assassination.  He ultimately joins forces with the woman after he discovers that she is the mistress of an Organisation leader.  

The Organisation has planned to gain control of Russia’s government, using Agent 47 to kill the Russian leader so a body double can be placed in the powerful position.  Agent 47 and Nina encounter obstacle after obstacle as they try to swart the plan and free themselves once and for all.

As you can see, the variety of Turkish film locations produces a variety of film genre and you can be certain that Turkey will continue to be a filming gateway in the future.



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